Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

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Aug 17th
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The Way to Enjoy Life

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Article Index
The Way to Enjoy Life
Happiness comes from a heart full of love
Two things that cannot be stopped in life
All Pages
[Master's Teachings]
In mid-July, four months after the great earthquake jolted Japan, Tzu Chi volunteers returned to the disaster areas to distribute a second round of cash gifts to survivors. The distribution lasted three days and benefited over 6,400 households.

I saw video footage of the event. In one instance, I saw our volunteers gently helping elderly aid recipients upstairs. The sincerity, respect, and love they showed must have warmed the hearts of the survivors more than the money did.

July was very hot in Japan, and some volunteers suffered heatstroke as a result. But that didn't stop them from giving. After being treated, they returned to the front lines and continued to give of themselves cheerfully. Such is the love of real-life bodhisattvas.

Tzu Chi volunteers always give with respect and gratitude. For them, the biggest enjoyment in life is to see suffering people forget their sorrows and break into smiles. The smiles on the faces of the survivors in Japan made our volunteers feel that whatever hard work they had to go through to deliver aid to the disaster areas was well worth it.

Energy restrictions
The damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan this March was enormous. There still remains much to do to bring about a complete recovery. To this day, not even half of the rubble in the disaster zones has been cleared away. Over 20,000 people remain homeless, living in temporary shelters. A total of 40,000 households lack adequate water to meet their basic needs. To make matters worse, the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has resulted in a shortage of electricity. For the first time in 30 years, the Japanese government has had to impose energy restrictions.

Most Japanese people are used to living in comfortable air-conditioned rooms, but the disaster has turned life upside down. Even though this summer has been unusually hot, the Japanese government is urging people to conserve energy and refrain from using their air conditioners. As a result, the number of people suffering from heatstroke has spiked; over 10,000 people have had to be sent to hospitals this summer, and more than 20 people have died.

Energy-saving measures have even been adopted in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Subway stations are cutting down on their use of air-conditioning. Train lights are turned off as much as possible. Companies are even discouraging people from using elevators. They've put up posters that say, "Please take the stairs if you are going up three floors or going down five floors."

How hard it must be to live with insufficient water and power! Seeing other people suffering from disaster and enduring hardships should prompt us to take a critical look at our own lifestyles and choices. We should refrain from wasting natural resources and indulging in excessive comfort. Living wastefully results in larger carbon footprints. It also exacerbates global warming, triggers erratic climate conditions, and induces natural disasters.

According to media reports I've seen, some Americans are changing their daily habits and lowering their levels of materialistic enjoyment. They've started by eating less and cutting down on their needs. They carry reusable water bottles with them and bring home-made lunches to work. I'm happy for them. If everyone could live an eco-friendly lifestyle, we would be able to keep our environment from continuing to deteriorate.



 

" To take good care of ourselves is the way to repay others' kindness. To dedicate ourselves in doing good is the way to express gratitude. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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