Seizing the Opportunities to Do Good


If an opportunity presents itself, even if our ability to contribute is limited, we should just do it. If we apply our abilities to every opportunity, eventually we can create boundless merits.

A wise old gentleman named Mr. Xie lived a simple life in the township of Dalin. He and his wife were both over eighty years old. Nevertheless, they often helped out at Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital. 

On one occasion, the volunteers in the hospital visited the couple in their old and rustic house. After they had chatted for a while, the man took out five bills to show them. Each was a ten-dollar bill of old Taiwanese currency. He asked the volunteers, “Do you know how much these fifty dollars are worth now?” One replied, “I wasn’t even born when these bills were in circulation!”

The man said, “Back then, if you added another ten dollars to this, you could easily buy an acre of land. But at the time, I valued money more than anything else. I felt I needed to have money in my possession to feel secure. So I saved more than ten thousand dollars. But a few years after the end of World War II, all of a sudden, forty thousand old Taiwan dollars were only worth one New Taiwan dollar. Alas! I would have bought more land if I had known it would turn out that way. I would be very rich by now.”

Each person has their own perspective. Some people think very far ahead and believe things will remain unchanged in the long run. However, life is impermanent, and it would not always be the case that sixty dollars could purchase an acre of land. At the time, Mr. Xie believed that the more money he had, the more blessed he would be. Unfortunately, with time and political changes, he lost his wealth in an instant. He went from being a rich man to a poor tenant farmer and lived a tough life.

As Mr. Xie continued the conversation, he shared about how thirty years ago, he had already heard about Tzu Chi’s slogan of “saving fifty cents a day to save lives.” His life was difficult then, and he had six children to raise. Although he wanted to help, he simply did not have the money to spare. He had a strong desire to help but lacked the ability.

Fast forward to several years ago, Tzu Chi was about to build a hospital in Dalin. This couple no longer had any burden on their shoulders, as their children and grandchildren were all married and had settled down. They wanted to realize their long-held wish to help others. They were not rich, but they worked hard and saved enough money to buy an ambulance for Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital. This offered transportation to patients who did not have a car or had difficulty walking to the hospital.

Every day, Mr. Xie drove his wife to the hospital, where there were many volunteers to keep her company. Then, he would ride with the hospital staff throughout the countryside to visit villagers and provide hospital pick-up and drop-off services. He truly was a good man with a loving heart.

When karmic affinities arise, we must seize the opportunity to do good deeds. We must not wait. One does not have to be rich; as long as one has the heart and is willing to give, care for others, and dedicate oneself, these will act as the force that drives us forward. If everyone could contribute with the same mindset and make every effort, then this strength would be great enough to bring stability to our society.


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