Translated by Teresa Chang
The suffering in the world today is caused not only by changes in nature but even more so by the capriciousness of human emotions that give rise to numerous crises. Despite this, we can strive towards global harmony by cleansing our minds of impurities. Buddhism teaches the importance of selfless love. We must spread this love on the world stage and work towards alleviating the suffering of all people.
Since the establishment of Tzu Chi 57 years ago, I have consistently devoted my time to giving of myself. It is because of this and the efforts of all Tzu Chi volunteers that the world map before me is now dotted with Tzu Chi’s presence. I am deeply grateful for the contributions of our volunteers in every region. They have made a positive difference and together have helped countless people. The lives they lead are truly valuable.
Tzu Chi is committed to upholding the pure spirit of Buddhism and inspiring people around the world to make altruistic vows and join forces to promote the common good. Currently, in Nepal, volunteers from Singapore and Malaysia are working in a relay effort to provide aid in the areas of charity, medicine, and education to those in need in the Buddha’s birthplace. They selflessly give their own time and money to volunteer in that country, driven by the desire to bring hope to local underserved people. I can see that this hope is beginning to shine.
Real-life bodhisattvas go among people to give, to pave the way for the relief of suffering and help those in poverty or facing other challenges turn their lives around. However, charitable work can be a challenge to carry out. I knew of the efforts of Faisal Hu (胡光中) and other volunteers in Türkiye who have assisted many people in need in that country, but it wasn’t until recently that I heard them share about the immense difficulties and pressures they have faced over the past two decades. Despite these challenges, they never once complained. With compassionate love, they’ve persevered through one obstacle after another to reach where they are now. My gratitude for them is truly indescribable.
As an example of their work, they established El Menahil International School to help Syrian refugee children in Türkiye receive an education. They have also been providing aid to refugee families from Syria. Recently, after the devastating earthquakes in southern Türkiye and northern Syria, they also mobilized to help survivors. When holding distributions for quake survivors in southern Türkiye, volunteer Hu and others accompanied some Syrian refugees who volunteer for our foundation to a place where they could see their home country across the border. Despite being so close to their homeland, they couldn’t cross the border and return home. Overcome with emotion, they burst out in tears.
My heart goes out to these displaced people, just as it does to the victims of the Türkiye-Syria quakes. The strong tremors instantly destroyed countless homes, leaving many grieving the loss of their loved ones. It is as if their lives have been enveloped in darkness, so much so that even the brightest winter sun cannot warm their hearts. When we think about the pain they are going through, we can’t help but feel sad. We offer them comfort and support, hoping to ease their suffering in any way we can.
To assist earthquake survivors, our volunteers took to the streets to raise donations. Their goal was not just to collect money, but even more importantly, to inspire love and compassion. Disasters serve as poignant reminders of the impermanence of life, and at times like these, showing love and extending help is crucial. During times of peace, it can be easy to lose sight of the love we should have for our fellow human beings, as we become preoccupied with pursuing our own endless desires. However, we must never forget that the collective karma of all living beings is inescapable. We must live each day with vigilant care and pious sincerity, do our best to nurture the love in our hearts, and inspire others to do the same. With love, we will have the power to create blessings for the world and mitigate disasters.
Although we may appear small in the vastness of the universe, each and every one of us has unlimited potential. Whether we’re as tiny as a grain of sand or as small as an ant, we can achieve great things by giving what we can and combining our efforts with others’. With determination and cooperation, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
Volunteers in Zimbabwe organized donation drives to aid survivors of the Türkiye-Syria earthquakes. Community residents, including teachers and students from elementary and secondary schools, generously donated what they could to support the cause. Even those who were too impoverished to contribute financially offered their sincere prayers for the victims.