The Ability to Give Is a Blessing; The Ability to Let Go Is Wisdom

Master Cheng Yen’s Teachings
Translated by the Dharma as Water Team


Acts of kindness from each one of us are like the nectar of love that can enrich the hearts of many.

On September 18, an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck Chishang, Taitung. It instantly shattered the ground, tilted and shifted bridges, and even damaged sturdy buildings. This event truly showed the power of nature.

The government of Taiwan collaborated with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) Charity Foundation, Tzu Chi, and other agencies to undertake and assist disaster relief efforts. Faith Corps teams from across Taiwan, as well as repair teams with construction experiences in Taiwan gathered in Hualien and Taitung voluntarily. They were then dispatched to different areas to survey and gauge how much material to prepare, and how many shifts of people were needed. Then, they took their posts and began reconstruction. There were many things to do at that time, and the efforts would continue on for a while. This was a great endeavor for Tzu Chi volunteers.

When there is suffering in this world, Bodhisattvas cannot bear to see it, so they mobilize and contribute both resources and effort. At these times, people feel the call of duty, so they overcome many obstacles to give of themselves. Many do not take a day off from volunteering; instead they take a day off from work to volunteer. Some volunteers own businesses, and they choose to close their doors and businesses for a few days in order to go volunteer. This selfless love is truly beautiful. Tzu Chi’s compassion is long-lasting, and the love of Bodhisattvas is extensive. This is a true form of truth, goodness, and beauty.

The volunteers who helped after the September 18 earthquake were very attentive and mindful. As they were carrying out the repairs, they noticed that a family had certain tiles from many years before. It was very difficult to find the same tile to repair the damage. However, they not only tried their best, but also mindfully found a kind of tile with similar style and color as the original. In this way, the family would not see a mismatched tile color and recall the panic of the earthquake.

The volunteers repaired the damaged wall, hoping to heal the wound in the heart of the disaster survivors. For this, I am truly very grateful. There are also endless things to be grateful for. For instance, people from overseas heard about this disaster, and they prayed and gave their blessings to Taiwan. Many children around the world donated to the bamboo bank to help with the disaster relief efforts. In this way, love and blessings were accumulated every day. These people remembered that Taiwan often gives to the world as well, and now, it was their turn to give. All of these efforts are very touching.

Being able to help others is a blessing, and by giving of ourselves, we are creating blessings for ourselves. We must vow to help others no matter where the disaster or source of suffering is. As we give resources to others, we attain blessings ourselves. If everyone has the aspiration to create blessings, we can all be blessed and joyous every day. With such an auspicious atmosphere, it is as if we are protected by blessings.

Currently, we are witnessing imbalances of the four elements around the world. There is Hurricane Ian in the United States, floods in Thailand, and an earthquake in Mexico. Tzu Chi volunteers have reported that they are ready to assess the disaster and provide disaster relief. The sources of suffering in the world lie in the disasters in many places that are the result of climate imbalances, and in man-made calamities caused by people’s unsettled minds. In places where there are Tzu Chi volunteers, people can be helped. But in places without Tzu Chi volunteers, no matter how serious the disaster is, we can only lament; who can provide help? We always look to see if there are people available in neighboring countries who can provide help. I still hope that Bodhisattvas can extend their compassion and spread great love in this world.

We must not miss out on doing good deeds. The actions we take accumulate to give our lives value. The ability to give is a blessing; the ability to let go is wisdom. We must cultivate both blessings and wisdom so that there will be a group of Bodhisattvas wherever we are. When everyone is filled with blessed causes, blessed conditions, blessed fruits, and blessed retributions, then naturally, we will have happy families and harmony in the society. So, I hope that everyone will be mindful.

Compiled from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings from July 1 to 18, 2022


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