Compassionate Relief, these are the literal meanings of those two words, Tzu Chi. We have come to know these words in recent years when a group of Taiwanese and Filipino volunteers came to help us, Boholanos, after the 2013 Earthquake. Tzu Chi Foundation is the name of their organization.
While today we worry about Chinese Communists occupying our islands off Palawan and invading Metro Manila with their soft entry as gambling industry workers, here come the Taiwanese reportedly helping to rebuild even Roman Catholic church buildings destroyed by the earthquake despite the fact that their religion is really Buddhism. Interesting, to say the least.
What is it in Tzu Chi volunteers that inspire them to help others selflessly? Let us dig into their books. One such literature is entitled, “Twenty Challenges to Enlightenment, Lectures by Shih Cheng Yen”. Page 14 thereof partly says, and we quote, “It is easy to drift along with the current of life and death, but it is quite difficult to go against it. Most ordinary people are completely lost in the cycle of births and deaths [our paraphrase]. They do not know why they came into this world, and they never want to talk about where life comes from. Since they will not explore all this, they pass their days in confusion and ignorance”.
The book’s initial chapter goes on to tell stories of how difficult it is for the poor to give generously and other practical problems and solutions. One story tells of how a poor beneficiary of Tzu Chi’s assistance himself was able to save a few thousands and donated a bed for their charity hospital as a way of giving back and blessing others.
The story reminds us of Mark 12: 41-44, “Jesus sat down opposite the temple treasury, and watched the crowd puttingmoney into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poorwidow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth apenny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tellyou, this poor widow has put in more than all those who arecontributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out oftheir abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything shehad, all she had to live on.”
For the blessings we have received, we try to pay it forward. But we can never repay our parents who nurtured us at the stages of our lives when we were still helpless. We can never repay true friends who helped us, especially those who were with us when we were down, and almost out. We can only pray that the heavens will repay them with good karma and allow us to absolve our own faults and negative karma.
This month of August, the words of Saint Augustine might enlighten us: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee”.