Dharma Master Cheng Yen announces three general resolutions every year: May all minds be purified, may there be peace in the community, and may there be no disasters in this world. Right before the ground-breaking ceremony of Hualien Tzu Chi General Hospital in January of 1983, Master Cheng Yen delivered three more resolutions for herself: I will not pray for health, I only hope to have a spirit filled with wisdom and acuity. I will not seek to have everything to go as I want, I only wish for perseverance and courage. I will not look for fewer responsibilities, I will only ask for greater strength.
Master Chen Yen has said that she has never asked for anything in her life. If she talks about “asking”, the “asking” is in the sense of these three resolutions.
Asking not for good health, but for wisdom and acuity:
With wisdom and acuity, one is able to know right from wrong, to understand the reasoning of things, to do certain things and not to do other things. That is why we seek wisdom so that we can really understand the truth. Otherwise, we may have good health but our mind is confused – then we cannot distinguish between right and wrong, virtue and non-virtue. What we do may harm others and ourselves.
Asking not for everything to go as one wants, but for perseverance and courage:
In our lives, things may not work out 80-90% of the time. How can we ask for everything to go as we want? Difficulties are inevitable. Instead, we must have perseverance and courage to overcome all the obstacles. Life will then be meaningful. Tzu Chi has come a long way. But each step has not been easy. If we did not have perseverance and courage, we will not have the Tzu Chi that we see today. Therefore, if compassion and sacrifice can have forms, every inch of the Tzu Chi path has been paved with everyone’s compassion and sacrifice.
Asking not for fewer responsibilities, but for greater strength:
Everyone comes to this world with a mission. If this weren’t so, how are we different from animals? Master Cheng Yen renounced the lay life to carry out the Buddha’s mission, and she is committed to do so. Master Chen Yen does not ask for fewer responsibilities. Instead she asks to combine everyone’s energy and effort, so that we can carry out together whatever heavy responsibilities come our way.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen said that her strength comes from everyone’s support. When the support increases, we will be able to help more people who are suffering and to take on the responsibility to build the future community. These two sets of new year resolutions are not only Master’s personal resolutions, but she hopes these resolutions will also encourage and guide all Tzu Chi volunteers to carry out Tzu Chi’s activities and overcome difficulties with perseverance and resilience. These resolutions also demonstrate that the strength of Tzu Chi’s compassion is now well established in Taiwan and can now extend to the rest of the world.