Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Oct 31st
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Our Founder Master's Teachings Miscellaneous Examples of Bodhisattvas - Kindness, compassion, joy and selfless giving

Examples of Bodhisattvas - Kindness, compassion, joy and selfless giving

E-mail Print PDF
Article Index
Examples of Bodhisattvas
Light of love
Kindness, compassion, joy and selfless giving
Gathering love
All Pages

Kindness, compassion, joy and selfless giving
When I took refuge with my mentor, Master Yin Shun, he instructed me to “be committed to Buddhism and to all living beings.” When people become my disciples, I encourage them to “emulate the Buddha’s heart and carry out my missions as their own.” This is the core spirit of our Jing Si dharma lineage.

The heart of the Buddha is pure and untainted. To emulate his heart, we must purify our own and let it stay tranquil, clear, and true to our altruistic vows. Only then can we be steadfastly dedicated to Buddhism and all living beings.

By encouraging my disciples to “carry out my missions,” I hope all of them can walk the Bodhisattva Path and go among people to help the needy. Everyone is like a living sutra containing wondrous teachings from which we have much to learn. When we go into the world and serve others, the innumerable dharma paths that lead us to penetrate life’s truths become clear to us. By helping others and creating happiness for them, we are actually cultivating our own wisdom.

It is my hope that every one of my disciples can emulate the Buddha’s heart and carry out my missions as their own. When they can do that, they will see everyone as a buddha, they will naturally thank, respect, and love all beings in the world, and they will help alleviate much suffering in the world.

This May, Tzu Chi celebrated its 44th anniversary. In the first decade after our foundation was established, we focused our efforts on charity. In the second decade, our work expanded to include medical care; in the third decade, we laid the foundation for our mission of education; in the fourth, we deepened our efforts in the mission of culture. All along the way, we have worked for the benefit of all living beings with an underlying Buddhist spirit. Upholding the principles of sincerity, integrity, faith, and honesty, we practice the spirit of kindness, compassion, joy, and unselfish giving. In our 41st year, I announced the establishment of Tzu Chi’s dharma path as a school of Buddhism. While working for all beings, we further stress our commitment to Buddhism.

Only when our hearts are pure and untainted can we truly adhere to the principles of sincerity, integrity, faith, and honesty. “Sincerity” is to give of ourselves with the utmost earnestness, without false pretences. “Integrity” is to walk in the right direction of life without straying off. “Faith” is to give unconditionally so that we can gain others’ trust and affirmation. “Honesty” is to keep our feet planted firmly on the ground and take solid, steady steps on the path of life. When we can abide by these principles, we can develop the strength to practice kindness, compassion, joy, and selfless giving.

What is “kindness”? When we see others, even complete strangers, suffering, in pain or in fear, we immediately go and help them. We even open our arms to embrace and comfort them so that they can regain peace of mind, just as a mother would treat her child who has been hurt. Such expressions of sympathy and love, with a mind to give happiness to others, display kindness.

“Compassion” is to relieve the suffering of others, but it is more than just that. It is also to think about their future as well, just as parents think about their children’s future. The Buddha is like a loving parent; after comforting the suffering, he helps them settle down so that they can quickly leave behind their pain, start life anew, and have a hopeful future.

In addition to kindness and compassion, we should also practice joy and selfless giving. Without being asked to, we should willingly give money, energy, and time to help the needy, and we should exercise our wisdom, perseverance, and courage to provide short-term relief and long-term companionship. Tzu Chi volunteers did exactly that by being there for survivors of Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan and the big earthquake in Haiti.

Responding to the needs of needy human beings, Tzu Chi volunteers humbly dedicate themselves to the service of others. They know that when it comes to doing the right thing, they should just do it. And once they have done their best, they should move on and let go of the past so that their minds can always be at peace and free of worries. It’s like making a long journey without getting your feet dirty. Even if some dust does stick to your feet, you can always quickly wash them clean.

So, let us do our best to give of ourselves without asking for anything in return. Even if we can only do a little, we should still seize every opportunity to contribute, to cultivate our blessings and wisdom. Let us not look upon helping others as hard work, but rather as a way to sow blessings for ourselves. That way, as time passes, we’ll be able to form good affinities with even more people in more places.


" It is meaningless to demand others’ respect. Only the respect inspired by the goodness of our character is real and true. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

Related Items