My spiritual mission begins
Tuesday 22 October 2019 was a special day for me. I was on my way to meet my Spiritual Master, Master Cheng Yen, to be personally certified by her to become a certified Tzu Chi volunteer. This is my final update on my spiritual-training journey with Tzu Chi. I wrote an article earlier on this subject, "My Spiritual Journey with Tzu Chi".
The time has come but I have not arrived yet
Yes the time has come.
At 10.10am, Saturday 26 October 2019. (Just a sidetrack; are you aware that all clocks at clock shops are all set at 10.10? The reason is that at 10.10 the seconds hand and the hour hand display a smile.)
The certification ceremony started at 10.10 in the morning of 26 October, 2019. In front of the stage stood the regal figure of our Spiritual Master ready to certify us. With pent-up emotion we nervously proceeded slowly towards her. At 10.20am I stood in front of her. I was advised not to forget to look straight at her eyes, and I did not forget! I muttered, "hern kan en, shang ren" (utmost gratitude, Master) but I was too overwhelmed with emotion to realize whether she said anything to me. The brief moment lasted hardly 4 seconds, culminating my 4 years of training and involvement with Tzu Chi. One second for each year of my spiritual training, I presume.It was certainly the most memorable spiritually and exhilarating lifetime experience for me.
"You have arrived; but only at the starting point," our Spiritual Master reminded us. That was the message she consistently reminded newly certified volunteers. The serene ceremony was held at the Jingsi Hall of the Tzu Chi center at Hualien, Taiwan.
This certification formally confirmed our decision to be the disciples of the Master and to walk the "Bodhisatta" Path. In Tzu Chi spiritual parlance, this means we vow to undertake the mission to help others who are less fortunate than us, without any condition. By immersing ourselves in the vast ocean of human challenges, we not only help others alleviate their problems but also help ourselves to improve our spiritual cultivation and wisdom.
Tzu Chi Daai TV slot on opening ceremony of the certification conference. I appeared @ 39 sec. and 47sec.
Full commitment of a certified Tzu Chi volunteer
Confirmed "Certified Volunteers" have special names. The females are referred as "Wei Yuan" or "Commissioners", while the males are called "Tzu Cheng" or in English "Faith Corps". In public, we just call ourselves Tzu Chi volunteers. We were also given a "dhamma" (Spiritual) name being a disciple of our Spiritual Master. My dhamma name is Pen Yu ( 本 裕) (pronounced as "Pern Yee") simply translated as "My Enrichment". (Hanyu pinyin: Pen3 Yu4) If we pronounce the characters in different intonation, it can even mean "friend". Another joke by the sideline, "penyu" in Malay/Indonesian language, means "turtle". So befittingly I am "old, wise and long life"!
As a certified Tzu Chi volunteer, my mission is to walk the "Bodhisatta Path" as guided by our Spiritual Master, whom we addressed as "Shangren" which in Mandarin means "top person" or "person above". "Bodhisatta Path" is the mission to alleviate sufferings for those who need help. We do this without any condition and irrespective of race, nationality, or belief. We just help without asking for anything. We just "do it". This is the foundation of the "Bodhisatta Path". The path of compassion in action. Our Spiritual Master regards this outward approach as "Buddhism in action" or "humanizing Buddhism" .
Fighting for a cause Vs engaging in a cause
It is indeed very stressful to FIGHT for a cause. Only the very courageous and heroic can withstand the onslaught to carry on this very demanding mission. Let me leave it to the unyielding politicians and brave soldiers. It is less stressful to ENGAGE in a cause, peacefully. Engage in a cause of great love without conditions. Working in large groups among people of like minds, supporting one another, forward-looking just doing the good work of helping people alleviate sufferings. No petty squabbles and frivolous thoughts. Just Do It! Fighting for a cause is for soldiers and politicians, protecting a nation or supporting an agenda. Engage in a cause is like the paramedics administering to the sick and wounded, behind the scene. We need both groups to ensure a safe and happy environment. In due course I will not participate in the first group. A necessary and an inevitable choice in order to involve myself in serious dedication to serve sentient beings of all kinds. This mission requires oneself to serve all with great compassion; cutting across race, religion, and even the political divide. That is why we Tzu Chi volunteers have to rise above politics to serve everyone. An inevitable choice to be made: "fight for" or "engage in". I choose "engage in". So wish me well.
A disciplined and dedicated lifestyle
There must always be disciplined in life. Without it, life cannot be meaningful as we would be drifting like a piece of dead wood along a river always going downwards or getting stuck in corners. One method to stay focus is to be in a group of like-minded people. Tzu Chi provides this effective platform for its volunteers to stay focus through disciplined and dedicated effort. Walking the Tzu Chi path is not without obstacles but it is the path that gives ample opportunities for me to cultivate my spiritual wisdom, maintaining focus through acceptance, accommodation, patience and with gratitude. This will be my lifestyle.
Tzu Chi Daai TV news on the 2019 certification ceremony.
Tzu Chi Daai TV "life wisdom" series, on the 2019 certification.
Full video on the 2019 certification program. A glimpse of Good Guy @ 4.58.
My timeline journey with Tzu Chi in pictures from 2016
© 2019 Justin Choo
Joan King on December 10, 2019:
I agree with the importance of a disciplined life. Congratulations on your certification and wishing you much success.
manatita44 from london on October 30, 2019:
Congratulations! You seem to be saying that you have dedicated your life to the service of God in man... to being a chosen instrument of the Master, to help her carry out this mission of the Absolute. Nothing is more noble. God speed!
Val Karas from Canada on October 29, 2019:
Justin -- Congratulations on you Certification! You must feel honored and it's quite a dignifying moment of your life, as well as on your chosen spiritual path.
I wish you many moments of new discoveries within your searching soul. Like you say, it may come inasmuch easier since you are sharing your path with individuals of the same spiritual quest.
If you lived in this western hemisphere, it would be much more of a challenge, so enjoy the blessings of that favorable environment.
Robert Smith from Emsworth on October 29, 2019:
We all arrive at the same entrance eventually - some a lot faster than the rest of us. The soul is complete via extremes of emotion and events rather than just years lived; how else can we explain the millions of 'premature' deaths thru war, disease, genocide, accident and suchlike? I'm 70 next year, I have practised as a natural healer for the last 30 plus years - each and every time the gift works still leaves me dumbfounded, grateful and full of love for our guides who want to look after me for some strange reasoning. I just love this article and those good souls in the pictures - one of the gift assets is discerning true from false.....the folk here are angels, trainee or otherwise; theirs is a life worthy of all sacrifice(s) to get here. I work on the credo that gifts are for giving, that I am humbled to be able to appease or assuage another's pain or grief.....platinum would dull for the feeling that giving gives; may you all carry your good intentions to and beyond this daft existence we call mortality; love you all.