To show their appreciation to all donors and volunteers for their contributions throughout the year, Tzu Chi holds its Year-End Blessing Ceremony towards the end of each year. This year in Melaka, 530 volunteers spent six months in preparing for the musical sign-language presentation of four songs in the "Dharma As Water" Sutra Adaptation. The event took place on December 25, 2011, at Pay Fong High School Hall.
The four songs presented were:
* 一性圓明自然 (yi xing yuan ming zi ran)
(One Perfect, Bright and Inherent Nature)
* 懺悔法門廣演(chan hui fa men guang yan)
(Spread the Practice of Repentance Dharma Door)
* 懺悔煩惱障(chan hui fan nao zhang): 一一悉懺悔(yi yi xi chan hui)
(Repentance for Affliction-Obstacle: One Fault After Another We Repent)
* 懺悔煩惱障(chan hui fan nao zhang): 改往並修來(gai wang bing xiu lai)
(Repentance for Affliction-Obstacle: Amending the Past and Cultivating for the Future)
A very special movement
The 2011 was a year of upheavals around the world where regimes collapsed and natural disasters raged. How do we stop these disasters from happening? The answer is: "The human minds have to be purified. Thoughts of greed must be eradicated from the minds."
In early 2011, Master Cheng Yen called for all to practice the "Great Repentance". In August, Tzu Chi Taiwan staged 24 shows of the adaptation of the Sutra, "Dharma As Water". It is hoped that through the manifestation of the musical performance, both performers and audience can delve deeper into the meaning of Repentance.
In July this year, Tzu Chi Melaka kick-started their "Dharma As Water" study classes and sign-language practices. Volunteers also kept inviting more friends and relatives to attend and learn the teaching in "Dharma As Water" - Master Cheng Yen's explanation on the Compassionate Samadhi Water Repentance Text written by Tang Dynasty's Dharma Master Wu Da.
Besides Commissioners and Faith Corps, the 530 performers also included seniors, who are more than 80 years old and illiterate; and many recycling and community volunteers. Every Friday, they would faithfully appear at the study classes and practice sessions to absorb the teachings of Master Wu Da on the Law of Karma, and learn to get rid of their afflictions and bad habits through repentance.
Eighty-year old Qiu Yu Si chose to be a "miao-yin" performer on stage instead of joining other elderly and less mobile in the audience. Her daughter, Lin Hui Xin said, "My mother used to be very loud at home, and bad tempered. After joining the Sutra adaptation, she has mellowed a lot."
It is a Dharma gathering
The 530 performers led the 4,000 spectators (morning and after sessions) into the Dharma through their singing, hand and body gestures. Everyone was captivated and moved by the sincere calling, urging and advice depicted in the lyrics of the four songs.
Wang Xiang Ying from Singapore, who watched both shows, said, "The music and the performers' movements in unison made me feel like crying and wanting to do good deeds."
Audience Wu Qing Song said he came to the venue with an afflicted mind but found the answer through Master Cheng Yen's lecture. He said, "Master said the animals are just unfortunate to be born in the Animal Realm. But, why should we torture them? We love ourselves and we must also love other living beings. I was planning to buy a new car with leather seats. Now I have made up my mind not to have leather seats as I do not want to kill lives."
He was happy that the profound Buddha's teaching was expounded in simple words and sign-language to enable people to understand them easily.
A young lady, Huang Shu Hui, said she would like to join the performance in the coming year because the songs touched and inspired her.
Three siblings, Ye Wei Min, Xi Ling and Gui Ling, also watched both shows. They came to support their 73-year old mother, Zhang Yu Lan who was a "miao-yin" performer. Deeply touched by the performance, Xi Ling said she had never expected the show to be performed by both old and young people. The volunteers' dedication in putting up this show has motivated her to consider becoming a volunteer. Wei Ming also realized that life is impermanent, and as such, he must seize the opportunity to perform with his mother in future shows.
The world's population has reached 7 billion at the end of October this year. If everyone can always think good thoughts, it will become a great force that could turn our world around. It is hoped that the Dharma will stay in the hearts of all audience and help them to find the path to enlightenment.
By Tan Siew Chern & Loh Siew Chien, Melaka
Translated by Hew Kwee Heong
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