Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:40 am

Greetings,

I thought the following may be of interest.

Bodhisattva and Volunteer
[link removed - see transcript below]

:namaste:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
User avatar
retrofuturist
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1263
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:21 am

Hi Retro,

My Norton reported that site is unsafe. A word of caution :)

Kindly,
Laura
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:12 am

Greetings Laura,

Well that's no good (especially since that's the website of venerable Huifeng's lineage)

OK, well here's the speech in virus free text format :D .

Vice-Presidents, Elders, Directors, Chapter Elder-Advisors, Chapter Presidents, Distinguished Guests, Buddha’s Light Members, greetings to you all!

BLIA is a global organization whose members across all five continents work locally to promote the association. As members gather at the 12th General Conference of BLIA since its establishment seventeen years ago, I would like to use this opportunity to say “Thank you for your hard work!”

The 21st Century is a time of technological advancement. The information, medical, biochemistry and aviation technologies have pushed people forward at a tremendous pace. Nevertheless, an even greater accomplishment of humanity is the volunteers found across the globe. They dedicate themselves to helping people and benefiting society in different corners of the world. They bring warmth, kindness and beauty to society and add an array of light and hope to this world. To show the bright side of human nature is indeed the greatest accomplishment of all.

Speaking of volunteers, the Buddha was indeed the very first volunteer. After attaining enlightenment, he traveled around India and taught the Dharma for fifty years to help bring the human mind to a higher state of being. He also personally brewed medicine and threaded the needle for his disciples; thus served as a volunteer for sentient beings.

The Buddha served sentient beings on his own initiative and without any pay. He did not require others to guide him, and even inspired many bodhisattvas and eminent monks to also volunteer themselves for people. Just as the Buddha had said, “I plough the field of merit with my compassion and wisdom, and sow seeds of bodhi wisdom on this field.” The Buddha was a volunteer for sentient beings, and he enabled them to harvest from this field of merit. In virtue of Buddha and these bodhisattvas’ diligent efforts in spreading the seeds of Dharma and serving sentient beings as volunteers, the world thus had its darkness dispelled and became filled with brightness.

As time progresses, human minds and civilization also continue to advance, it has become a trend for members of society to volunteer themselves. The work of a volunteer is different from that of a general paid job which expects money and reward. Volunteer work on the other hand, focuses on happiness, joy and establishment of good connections, which is rather different from the former.

The word “volunteer” in Taiwan is interpreted with two different characters, yi and zhi, whose meanings are actually quite far apart. Yi means volunteering yourself with sentiment and righteousness, a mind that serves others with benevolence and righteousness. Zhi on the other hand, means doing something that you like out of your own will, yet what you are doing may not necessarily be something good. One can ‘will’ something that can either be good or bad. An eminent one may will something great, but a bandit can also will something that harms society. Wang Jing-wei had once said that one either leaves a good name for a hundred generations or leave a bad reputation that will long be remembered. This shows, one can ‘will’ to leave one with a good name for hundred generations or a bad reputation that will be long remembered!

The difference between yi and zhi can be explained with the difference between prajna wisdom and worldly knowledge as explained in the sutras. Knowledge can either be good or evil, while intelligence can also obstruct oneself at times. Science, for example, is a form of knowledge that has its advantages and disadvantages. Wisdom, on the other hand, is pure goodness; it is perfection, improvement, virtuous, pure and uncontaminated. Therefore, when you will yourself into doing something, it may not always be something good or kind, while serving others with righteousness will surely result in something good and kind. Without righteousness, the value of life will no longer exist. Therefore, while zhi is a good thing, yi gives an even more legitimate meaning to volunteer work.

Recently, there has been a lot of people working at children’s homes, senior’s homes and hospitals as volunteers. Although their contribution to providing clothing, food and material care is indeed a wonderful way of giving, the best way to be a volunteer is to abide by the four instructions the Buddha had taught to his disciples regarding alms-procession: 1) do no distinguish between the rich and poor; 2) do not choose between coarse or delicate food; 3) do not care for the clean or filthy; 4) do not care for the amount of food given. If a volunteer can be based on these four instructions to serve sentient beings with equality, and help them resolve their problems, one can then be called the wisest volunteer.

Despite all these, some still have incorrect attitudes towards volunteer work, and have only caused more obstructions to the establishment of good causes and conditions. Take Buddhists for example, some go to help out at the temples, but when mealtime comes, they would refuse to stay to eat, because they would feel that they are taking advantage of the temple, which will cause their merits to decrease. However, Buddhism advocates equality between the giver and receiver. If one makes an offering of food, he or she is even required to pay respect to those who accept the offering, because the giver also needs to be grateful to the receivers for giving him a chance to sow the seeds of merit. Thus, every bit of your dedication deserves a share of the offerings made by the devotees.

Furthermore, some also believe that it is wrong to get a paid job at Buddhist temples or organization, because once they accept money from the temple, their merits will also disappear. Due to this idea, many people have been unable to contribute to Buddhism. Even bodhisattvas need to accept people’s offerings, and even oxen and horses need to be given water and food for pulling carts. Therefore, even if one is doing paid work for Buddhism, they are still considered volunteers. As long as one cares not for the reward or payment, but for serving and helping people, their merits will not be forgotten.

I also hear many well accomplished Buddhists say, “I will come to the temple to volunteer my service after I retire.” However, if one is really willing to serve others, he does not need to wait until retirement. He can already make a wish to be a bodhisattva who never retreats or stops in this very moment. It is very difficult to be reborn as a human, and even if one already has, the chance to be a human again can be even more scarce. Wouldn’t life be more meaningful if we can grab onto every present minute and second to establish good connections wide and far? Therefore, we do not need to wait to become volunteers in the future; the bodhisattva practice can be realized in the here and now through our spirit of the volunteer. We can already benefit and bring joy to sentient beings through our practices of the Four Embracing Virtues and Six Paramitas.

For a long time, BLIA members have involved themselves in worldly endeavors with world-transcending ideas. They have shown selfless care to other people, to society, and to the earth with unconditional loving-kindness and impartial compassion. They have even vowed to propagate Buddhism and turn the mundane world into a humanistic pureland. Thus they truly deserve to be called “volunteers of the volunteers.” A true volunteer follows the spirit of the bodhisattvas who are compassionate to all beings and benefit them impartially. For this reason, not only do the distressed sentient beings in the Saha World need bodhisattvas to free them from suffering, they are also in dire need for volunteers who bring forth the spirit of the bodhisattva path through their actions.

For all said above, I would like to share the following points on this year’s keynote speech, “Bodhisattva and Volunteer”:



1) A Bodhisattva is a volunteer for sentient beings, while a volunteer is a bodhisattva for the world

As said in a sutra, “If you wish to become a dragon or elephant[i] of Buddhism, you must first learn to serve sentient beings like the horse and ox.” This is a demonstration of a bodhisattva’s kind heart and compassionate vows. Therefore, a so-called bodhisattva is one who is willing to benefit sentient beings and aspires to initiate the bodhicitta that vows to “reach upwards for buddhahood, and backtrack to deliver sentient beings” as a result of becoming awakened to the truths of suffering, emptiness and impermanence. Whether monastic or lay, noble or poor, anyone who fits the above criteria can be called a bodhisattva. On the other hand, once a person has vowed to develop the bodhicitta and is willing to practice the bodhisattva path, he or she will certainly be willing to serve others and be a volunteer for all sentient beings.

The Four Great Bodhisattvas of Buddhism all served sentient beings as volunteers. For example, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva traced the sounds of cries, relieved the distressed and let them become fearless; thus he was the most compassionate volunteer of all. Manjusri Bodhisattva inspired sentient beings’ minds with wisdom; thus he was the wisest volunteer of all. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva vowed to “never attain Buddhahood until all beings are freed from hell,” and “to delay the attainment of enlightenment until all sentient beings are delivered;” thus he was the volunteer with the greatest aspiration. Samantabadhra Bodhisattva realized his ten vows based on sentient beings, as a cultivation practice for all; thus he was the volunteer with the greatest ascetic practice.

Other than the above, many Buddhist masters also dedicated their lives to the continuance of the Buddha’s wisdom and propagation of Dharma. For example, Nagarjuna wrote several sastras and commentaries to propagate Mahayana Buddhism; Aryadeva refuted false views and revealed the righteous Dharma; Asanga changed his brother who like him, transferred from the small vehicle to the greater vehicle; Vasubandhu conquered the heretics with his writings in place of a sword; and Asvagosha voiced the truth with his poems and songs. Their selfless devotion to volunteering to deliver sentient beings also brought a ray of hope into this world, and dispelled its darkness.

The Buddha’s disciples such as Sariputra, Maudgalyayana and Purna volunteered their wisdom, supernatural power and eloquence to help the Buddha expound his teachings. Aniruddha was not afraid of the harsh weathers and traveled to places to resolve disputes and arbitrated between monastics. Bhiksu Tuo-piao received and attended to traveling monastics for decades, and attained an illuminating finger as a result of his volunteer works.

If one takes a look at the Buddhist texts, one will find that many Ch’an Masters had vowed to devote all their lifetimes to serving sentient beings. For example, Ch’an Master Wei-shan Ling-yu vowed to be reborn as a bull so that he can help people pull their carts; Chao-chou vowed to be reborn in hell so that he can save sentient beings from it. Some also dedicated their whole life to labor and ascetic practice without any regret. Ch’an Master Xue-feng served as head of rice cooking under his master Dong-shan; Ch’an Master Xiao-cong served as head of lights and candles under his master Yun-ju; Ch’an Master Ji-shan served as head of firewood under his master Tou-zi; Ch’an Master Yi-huai served as head of latrine cleaning under his master Cui-feng; Master Dao-yuan served in the kitchen of Tian Tong Temple for sixty years, and even laid out mushrooms underneath the scorching sun to dry them. Such spirits of “wishing only for the liberation of sentient beings, not for the comfort and happiness of oneself” is a perfect demonstration of a volunteering bodhisattva.

Throughout the many generations of Buddhists, many monastics widely practiced benevolent actions and made tremendous contributions to social welfare. Be it building bridges and paving roads, planting trees and afforestation, digging wells, setting up pavilions that served tea, protecting and freeing life, providing medical treatment to the poor, emergency relief aids, building temples and offering shelters, establishing orphanages and senior’s homes, setting up hospitals, giving charity, setting up free schools, or teaching the proper and true faith, they have done countless good deeds to benefit their community. They had unshakeable belief in the fact that the significance of working lies in broadening one’s horizons, serving people, and even bringing the value of life to a higher plain. Therefore, what else can be better than volunteering one’s work and labor?

Not only were bodhisattvas and monastics happy to be volunteers for sentient beings, many rulers and kings also did the same throughout the course of Buddhist history.

Magadha’s Asoka III set up medical storages at all four gates of the city for his people and monastics. Everyday, he would make offerings of one thousand units of money to the construction of stupas and statues, one thousand to senior bhiksus, ten thousand to the monastic community, and ten thousand for purchasing medical supplies. He also planted trees on the sides of the roads and dug wells to enable travelers a place to recover from the hot weather. As the ruler of a nation, King Asoka served his people as a volunteer and enabled them a steady and peaceful life, also allowing his nation to prosper.

The Father of Japanese Buddhism, Prince Shotoku encouraged his people to have faith in the Triple Gem. In Osaka’s Shitennoji constructed by him, he included courts such as the Hiden-in, Kyoden-in, Ryobyo-in, and Seyaku-in to provide free medical consultation, shelter and relief aids to the poor and needy.

Emperor Liang from the Chinese Southern and Northern dynasty was a pious Buddhist. Not only did he study Buddhism intensively and observed the Bodhisattva Precepts, he even served at Tong Tai Temple on three separate occasions despite his noble position as an emperor. Thus he was given the title, “a bodhisattva emperor.” From this, we can see that just as long as one possesses the bodhisattva spirit and is willing to serve others, one can be named a bodhisattva king, or even a bodhisattva minister, bodhisattva doctor, or bodhisattva teacher. Volunteer firefighters and police are also manifestations of the bodhisattva.

I used to urge that “everyone be a police,” so that they can help the police to keep order in a society overflowing with chaos and problems. The best way for a nation or society to improve is for everyone to be a police. A police is like a guardian who also shows the bodhisattva spirit. Therefore, not only are compassion and initiative required to practice the bodhisattva path, one also needs to do so with activeness and bravery.

The BLIA is an organization that strives to realize the bodhisattva path and practice the Buddha’s way. Ever since its establishment, not only have our members volunteered their services at the temples by helping out in the kitchen, answering telephone calls, receiving guests, directing traffic, sweeping and cleaning up, doing paperwork, computer editing, poster design, and publicity and liaising, they have also volunteered themselves in social service across different social strata.

Recently, the kind deeds of the BLIA have been regularly reported by the media; for example, the “Loving Mums” who help school children cross the road were much appreciated by the parents; the volunteers at hospitals who help patients register themselves have assisted countless elders; the “Friendship and Love Service Team” went to remote areas to provide free medical consultation and spared many families from pressures of having to pay for medical treatment; and the Humanistic Buddhist Reading Association has spread the fragrance of reading to many families.

Other activities such as tree-planting, the Seven Admonitions Campaign, Carnival for Special Students, Paper Recycling Activities, and visits to prisons and drug rehabilitation centers have all been actively promoted by BLIA members and volunteers.

In particular, the demeanor, manner, speech, sacrifice and contribution demonstrated by BLIA members during their volunteer activities have won much recognition. For example, members of BLIA, Los Angeles received a special request to be the traffic directing volunteers at a United Nations gathering that was held in Los Angeles; many government organizations also made requests to BLIA, Chunghwa to recommend female members to help out at their events as volunteers.

In my opinion, regardless of the type and importance of the event, just as long as it is of benefit to the public, BLIA has the obligation to volunteer themselves. It is also BLIA members’ mission to be volunteers who act like a thread that links all types of good causes and conditions together, and offer their part in establishing a Humanistic pureland.

In general, to be a volunteer signifies the dedication of one’s life; it is the offering of one’s strength, time and goodwill. Therefore, a volunteer is a bodhisattva practitioner who integrates both understanding and practice of the Dharma. When confronted with a life of suffering, emptiness and impermanence, people normally pray to buddhas and bodhisattvas to bless them in times of hardship and hopelessness. The truth is, Buddhism’s volunteers are like the thousand-hand-and-thousand-eye bodhisattva who serves on behalf of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Therefore, there are surely no words that fully match the praise of a bodhisattva to say “a bodhisattva is a volunteer for sentient beings, while a volunteer is a bodhisattva for the world.”



2) A bodhisattva reverses route to deliver sentient beings, while a volunteer cultivates oneself to achieve bodhi wisdom.

Any Buddhist would be familiar with the fact that we live in a place called the Saha World, an impure land stained by the Five Pollutions[ii]. For this reason, everyone wishes to be reborn in a pureland in which they can enjoy happiness and peace.

There are several types of pureland in Buddhism: Amitabha’s pureland, Maitreya’s pureland, Vimalakirti’s pureland, the Lazurite pureland, Avatamsaka pureland, the Pureland of Eternally Tranquil Light, the Pureland of Innate Nature, and so on. Then, which pureland should we choose to be reborn in? Some feel that it is not required to totally eliminate one’s defilements or reach the state of undisturbed single-mindedness but as long as one sincerely recites Maitreya bodhisattva’s name, then one will be reborn in his pureland. Furthermore, Maitreya’s pureland seems most approachable since it is the closest to the Saha World, either monastic or lay Buddhists can be reborn in it. Thus, many have vowed to be reborn in Maitreya bodhisattva’s Tushita pureland.

Speaking of Maitreya Bodhisattva, many would know that when he practiced alongside Sakyamuni Buddha, long after the latter had attained enlightenment, Maitreya was still practicing the bodhisattva path in his inner court. Such result was caused by the difference between the vows they had made. Maitreya Bodhisattva practiced the Four Boundless States of Mind and was especially caring towards sentient beings in the Saha World. He vowed to establish a majestic and beautiful pureland amidst the impure and filthy world that requires the ability to endure, so that sentient beings from the realm of desire can be reborn in pureland without having to depart from the Saha world. For this reason, he vowed to remain within the cycle of rebirth for as long as his defilements may still exist. Through retaining defilements to help sentient beings, he continues to practice the great bodhisattva path for the purpose of benefiting sentient beings. His world is always filled with kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity that obliges sentient beings.

“To retain defilements to help sentient beings” means those who have reached the seventh stage of bodhisattvahood, although having already eradicated two kinds of illusion[iii] and will never be reborn in the three realms again, they still vow to keep the subtle defilements and habits, remain within the three realms so that they can save and deliver sentient beings.

On the other hand, although some bodhisattvas have already reached nirvana, they advocate that “wisdom does not abide in any kind of existence, nor does compassion abide in nirvana.” Thus they reverse their directions on the path to deliver sentient beings across the ocean of birth and death. According to the sutras, Avalokitesvara bodhisattva had already attained buddhahood countless kalpas ago and was titled the Tathagatha who clearly understands the True Law. His compassionate vow resulted in his retreat from buddhahood and returned to the Saha World to deliver sentient beings who had sufficient connections with him. Manjusri bodhisattva was the Buddha of the race of honorable Dragon Kings from the World of Equality in the past, his great wisdom also inspired him to remain in different worlds to help sentient beings be free from their illusions.

While bodhisattvas are inspired by their compassion to deliver sentient beings, this also proves the theory that “buddhahood can only be sought amongst sentient beings.” Without sentient beings, there will be no buddhahood to attain, thus even accomplished bodhisattvas need to attain buddhahood through their practices of benefiting themselves and other sentient beings in the three realms at the same time.

Bodhisattvas “retain defilements to help sentient beings” and reverse their route on the path to buddhahood all for the purpose of saving sentient beings. Some of the greatest bodhisattvas in particular, vowed to go to the most remote and harsh lands to save sentient beings, because the more sentient beings experience suffering, the greater the need of these bodhisattvas’ rescue and aid.

Bodhisattvas base their spiritual cultivation on “placing every thought on the attainment of buddhahood, and focusing every mind on delivering sentient beings.” Ordinary beings from the Saha World on the other hand, usually use spiritual cultivation as an excuse to retreat into mountain forests and live a secluded life so as to pursue liberation for themselves. However, according to Hui-neng the Sixth Patriarch, “Buddhism’s being in the world is not separate from the awareness of the world. To seek bodhi apart from the world is like searching for the horn of a hare.” How can one speak of spiritual cultivation or attaining buddhahood if one remains distant from the world and its people?

As have been said, “one needs to first develop good personal relations before the attainment of buddhahood is possible.” True spiritual cultivation means to serve and be willing to benefit others. Every phenomenon in this world arises because of causes and conditions; thus every one of us needs to rely on our parents, family, society, and people of all walks of life to survive. Having realized our dependence on others, we also need to give others the conditions they need. “One for all, all for one” is the greatest meaning of existence for volunteers. Therefore, to learn about Buddhism and cultivate oneself means to practice the bodhisattva path, and then progress to buddhahood; but before attaining buddhahood, one must first offer to serve others, and the best way to do so is by being a volunteer for everyone.

It is priceless to be a volunteer. The purpose of being a volunteer is not for money but dedication. Nor is being a volunteer about getting fame, but for learning to be compassionate, learning to smile, getting along with others peacefully, giving others joy, enabling the spread of merit, and broadly developing virtuous conditions in and outside this world.

Various types of public welfare and charity organizations, and even hospitals and schools are recruiting volunteers to offer their service. Buddhist temples also offer many volunteer opportunities in the areas of culture, education, reception, Dharma services, administration, public relations, paper work, cooking, serving meals, offering tea, traffic directing, plumbing and maintenance, activities, charity and relief aids, free medical services, liaison and mediation, and Dharma propagation. If one can volunteer for a few hours during the week to help others by driving, teaching the Dharma or other arts and crafts, participate in cultural or educational endeavors, join in social welfare and charity works, care for the disabled and old, help the ill and needy, or care for the environment, he or she will surely be blessed with good conditions everywhere.

Nevertheless, the key of Dharma lies in the need for it to be taught in a way suitable to the learner’s aptitude, and that it is applicable to the problem at hand. Therefore, when a volunteer serves others, one needs to take into consideration the recipient’s needs, and that what one is doing is in fact helping to solve the problem. For this reason, a volunteer not only needs to choose a service fit to his or her character, specialty and time; the following four points also need to be kept in mind:

1) Praise: The most beautiful and easiest way of giving is to speak loving words. The first step to being a good volunteer is to learn to speak kind words. For example, praise the goodness of Buddhism, the kindness of other members, and wonderfulness of the temple, and how dedicated the devotees are. A competent volunteer not only needs to show facial expressions and smile, he also needs to express himself through voice and action, and understand how to praise others. Once these are added to the colors of hard work, a volunteer will naturally develop broader and deeper connections.

2) Fellowship: This means to put oneself in other’s shoes, and bear their interests in mind. Their suffering would be our suffering. To show fellowship means to be considerate, and this will inspire us to develop the passion and capacity to help or be tolerant towards others.

3) Beneficial Deeds: This means to make things easier and convenient for other, and help others at any time and place. Be it as easy as lifting a finger or creating a condition for others, anything that helps others overcome their difficulty can be considered a beneficial deed.

4) Joyous Giving: This also means to give. Only when you give your time and strength will you be able to give joy to others. If you are unwilling to give, you cannot allow others to gain anything. Therefore giving or generosity means to give joy and Dharma to others. Giving without the wisdom of Dharma cannot be called generosity. To give with expecting reward will always make one poor, only formless giving[iv] can be considered joyous giving.

The purpose of work may sometimes be living, for one’s career, for one’s interest, to repay others, for one’s religious belief, or sometimes for a sense of honor and justice. When you volunteer for Buddhism, the Buddha will see your initiative, and cause and effect will never turn against your contributions. To be a volunteer for Buddhism, not only are you serving the multitude, you are also nurturing your own fortune, which can be of benefit to you in many lifetimes, thus its value is formless. Therefore, to be a volunteer may look like it is for the benefit of others on the surface, but we are in fact the one who is receiving the most benefits.

What benefits can be gained by being a volunteer? For example, greater confidence, faster personal growth, new acquaintances, broad development of good affinities, discovery of new talents, courage to shoulder responsibilities, equal emphasis on understanding and practice, and benefits for oneself and others. When we aspire to be volunteers who serve others with our work or even treat it as our own spiritual cultivation, volunteer work will enable us to broadly develop good affinities and cultivate our fortune and wisdom. Once our human character is complete, we will also be able to complete our buddhahood. Therefore, on our path to buddhahood, it is important for us to learn from the bodhisattva compassion in reversing their route on this path just to deliver sentient beings, and their vows to retain defilements to help sentient beings. By volunteering our services to others, we are also helping ourselves at the same time, and this shall bring us closer to the attainment of bodhi wisdom.



3) A Bodhisattva is always a ferry in the ocean of suffering, while a volunteer is always an unrequested helper.

The Chapter of Simile and Parable in the Lotus Sutra says, “There is no peace in the three realms, just like the burning house, which is full of various suffering, and which is extremely terrifying.” Buddhists usually refer to the Saha World as an ocean of suffering, or describe the three realms as a burning house; thus creating a horrifying image of the human world. As a result, those who may have some interest in Buddhism to start with would turn away because of fear.

Despite the above, it cannot be denied that suffering is in fact a truth in this world. Life has always been an ocean of suffering, but that’s why the Saha World is in need of bodhisattvas who “respond to a thousand cries from a thousand places, and always be a ferry for those drifting in the ocean of suffering.” Furthermore, since beginningless time, sentient beings have died and been reborn in the cycle of birth and death over and over again. They would be reborn in the realm of heaven in one lifetime, and then suddenly fall into the realm of animals in the next. It is as if they are drifting in the boundless ocean of birth and death, and they are always in need of help and deliverance. For this reason, bodhisattvas have made vows to always be a ferry in the ocean of suffering, and that they will always act as the condition that delivers sentient beings and never become impatient or desert these beings.

How can bodhisattvas persist in acting as the compassion ferry, remain in this world to teach sentient beings without ever feeling tired? The main reason is that they cannot bear to see Buddhism degenerate or see sentient beings suffer. Their great compassion thus arises and drive them towards the Mahayana path. Bodhisattvas do not become satisfied with the attainment of nirvana with a remainder that is usually the goal for the Two Vehicles. Instead, they make a vow to practice diligently and bravely in order to transform from the smaller vehicle into the greater vehicle. They are not fearful of the difficulty faced in delivering sentient beings, nor of the length and farness of buddhahood. Their determination is as strong as a diamond, and their mind abides firmly in their bodhisattva vows.

The so-called bodhisattva vow refers to the willingness to bear the suffering and hardship experienced by sentient beings, and a promise to never desert these beings. This is like a dutiful son’s love and respect for his parents. In order to benefit sentient beings, bodhisattvas do not give rise to any single thought directed solely at their own benefits. A bodhisattva does not desire worldly enjoyments but choose to experience all types of suffering in this world. Since they are pursuing the supreme buddahood and practicing ways to benefit others simultaneously, the time they need to complete their practice becomes a period of endless kalpas.

Since these bodhisattvas have experienced very long periods of cultivation in practicing the most difficult practices, and enduring the harshest hardships, they are able to remain patient and never become angry when confronted with adverse circumstances and humiliations. Take the heavenly being by the name of Patience Under Insult as mentioned in the Diamond Sutra for example; when king of Kalinga cut his flesh from every limb, he had no perception of anger or hatred at all. Sadaparibhuta Bodhisattva (Bodhisattva Never-Disparaging) as mentioned in the Lotus Sutra never got angry when people bullied, hurt, humiliated or insulted him. Instead, he would respond respectfully, “I dare not disparage you, for you will all become buddhas.”

As bodhisattvas deliver sentient beings without ever expecting rewards and without regrets or resentment, repay every kindness bestowed upon them and never held grudges, regard people as buddhas and treat family and foe with equality, and see oneness between themselves and others and help beings selflessly, they are able to remain diligent and persistent and thus enter the stage of non-retrogression.

Non-retrogression is the “sharp weapon” used by bodhisattvas to guide the confused and lost out of illusion and into the ocean of wisdom, and ferry sentient beings across to the opposite shore of enlightenment. It is also an essential source of motivation for beings who are pursuing buddhahood. On this long journey toward buddhahood, vows can be difficult to make, but difficult to persist with. Some may vow to learn the Buddha’s way enthusiastically, but fail to withstand the tests and retreat or become discouraged easily when confronted with setbacks. This is why the following saying has become well-known in Buddhism, “As one starts learning Buddhism for the first year, the Buddha is right in front of your eyes, but three years later, the Buddha becomes far away in the west.” This tells us that on this very long path, the attainment of buddhahood will become impossible without persistence and determination. Therefore, other than the making of great vows, one also needs to be persistent, just like how bodhisattvas vow to ‘always’ be a ferry in the ocean of suffering.

While persistence is important, one must also never forget the initial vows, and be an unrequested helper to people. To be an unrequested helper means to actively offer your help, and never fall behind others in shouldering responsibilities.

People usually wait for others’ requests or invitation before offering their help, but a truly compassionate and generous person will automatically step forward and offer a helping hand when seeing others in need. Just as said in the Vimalakirti Sutra, the bodhisattva “befriended and pacified people without being requested.” To be an unrequested helper to our families, friends, society and country is a demonstration of the best volunteer spirit.

Master Fa-hsien traveled to India in search for the Dharma, Master Hsuan-tsang journeyed westwards to collect sutras, and Master Jian-zhen crossed the ocean to Japan to propagate the Dharma. These great masters had all been unrequested helpers to sentient beings to be able to complete such arduous missions.

Other than the above, Ch’an Masters Tetsugen from the Japanese Shogunate period was aware of the serious shortage of Buddhist Tripitaka in Japan, which made it difficult for the spread of Buddhism. Therefore he made a vow to carve and print a set of the Tripitaka. He spent more than ten years rushing about to raise funds. On two occasions, he did manage to raise sufficient money for the project, but both were in time of famine. Therefore he used the money to help the victims and began raising funds from scratch again. Although the process was very difficult, he finally completed the Tetsugen Edition Tripitaka that consisted of 7,334 scrolls. This is one of the many examples of great masters through out the history of Buddhism.

In fact, all buddhas and bodhisattvas in Buddhism act as unexpected helpers to sentient beings. Since they were not helping sentient beings under any requests but out of their compassion and kind intentions to share the Dharma, they are all regarded as unrequested helpers to all beings.

While buddhas and bodhisattvas served as unrequested helpers to deliver sentient beings, as sentient beings, we should also follow their spirit, actively step into society and volunteer our services to people. The BLIA was established under such ideas and concepts, thus not only does the association emphasize family harmony, it also asks the members to care for society. In order to do so, the association has organized countless relief aid programs every year:

In May 2008, immediately after the China Sichuan earthquake occurred, we made a contribution of ten million RMB. The BLIA then organized a rescue team that consists of professional medical staff and reached the affected areas to start the 4-in-1 rescue mission (rescue, medical treatment, daily supplies, and humanity care).

In 2004, the earthquake in Indonesia caused the Southeast Asia Tsunami which resulted in severe damages. The BLIA rescue team immediately went to affected areas to give relief aids. At the same time, Fo Guang Shan’s Education Council initiated an alms-procession across Taiwan to raise funds for an education and support foundation to help the orphans from the disaster. Another donation of five hundred thousand US dollars was made to India as a second stage relief project to build orphanages.

In 2003, SARS caused great fears across the globe, and Taiwan was of no exemption. I returned to Taiwan from Japan and organized a prayer for Taipei Heping Hospital, hoping to comfort the fearful medical staff, patients, families and general public. The whole BLIA was also in action. They set up check points at airports, stations and other public places to take body temperatures and provide information on SARS prevention. Chanting services were also provided to pray for the medical staff who sacrificed their own lives in line of duty. Other chapters across the world helped donate more than 400,000 N95 masks, 100,000 protective garments, 3,000 thermometers, and $US200,000.

When the 2001 September 11 attack happened, I led my disciples to ground zero to conduct a purification ceremony, and donated all $US200,000 collected from the tickets sold at Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Hymn Choir’s US tour which took place in the same month. BLIA members also responded immediately and actively participated in the relief aid programs for the Mid-West flood, LA fire, and New Orleans Hurricane disasters in America.

Immediately after the September 21st Taiwan earthquake in 2000, BLIA members across the world set up a relief aid center and participated in the rescue, reconstruction, settling of victims, and spiritual consolation works. These included provision of food, water and housing, sterilization of affected areas, free medical treatment, chanting and prayer services, and psychological counseling. The association also assisted in the reconstruction works, set up mobile houses, and adopted the reconstruction projects of Tungshi Chung Ke Elementary School, Chungliao Shuang Wen Primary School, Nantou Ping Lin Elementary School and Nantou County Fu Kung Primary School. Fourteen Fo Guang Yuan spiritual service centers were also set up to provide continued spiritual care for the affected.

Furthermore, more than twenty million NT dollars were donated to the floods caused by the typhoons in 1994 and 1996 in Taiwan. A donation of five hundred thousand US dollar was also made to the Hua-nang flood in China. BLIA members continued to serve as unrequested helpers and provided relief aids to the disaster-affected places in the world. Other than emergency aids, we are also actively contributing to helping the poor and needy at normal times. For example, BLIA, Paraguay Chapter gathered resources from local Chinese immigrants and established Hospital Los Angeles Paraguay-China to provide free medical services to the poor. This was an unprecedented example of Buddhist and Catholic cooperation in founding a hospital.

Other charity events include our wheelchair donations during the South-East Asia Charity and Dharma Propagation Tour, and Northern Thailand Medical and Relief Aid Team. In particular, we provided continued assistance to Bangladesh, Ladakh, and Nepal. In Taiwan, we also assisted with the rehabilitation projects for prison inmates by establishing the Tainan Drug Rehabilitation Center and Pingtung New Life Center. The BLIA has also showed their care and concern to the Japan Osaka earthquake, flood in Philippines, Stanley Prison in Hong Kong, Vietnamese refugees, and homeless people in America.

In the past, people visited the hut of eminent ones thrice to express their sincerity in recruiting them. In Buddhist Dharma services, a thrice invitation is also performed out of respect for the Dharma. All of these are understandable. However, when it is a life and death crisis, or if it is of help to the general public, we should all be an unrequested helper and offer our hands without any hesitation. Just like how Vimalakirti taught the Dharma inside pubs, and Srimala devoted her effort to children’s education. They are all examples of unrequested helper which today’s volunteers should follow.

Volunteers are the guardians and protectors of the temple; they are also practitioners of the bodhisattva path. Let us become volunteers who serve like an unrequested helper as described in the Vimalakirti Sutra; never forget our initial vows as taught in the Avatamsaka Sutra; let go of old grudges as said in the Sutra of the Eight Realizations of Great Beings; and remain unmoved by society while following the right conditions as mentioned in the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana. Furthermore, to protect and support the Triple Gem, gain an in-depth understanding of the Dharma, cultivate wisdom diligently, benefit and bring joy to sentient beings, we will then surely perfect our characters, improve our moral values, purify our body and mind, and eventually accomplish perfection in life.



4) A bodhisattva encounters different stages of spiritual cultivation, while a volunteer faces different levels of dedication.

There is a phrase that says, “There is no innate Maitreya, nor natural Sakya.” No one is born a bodhisattva. In order to proceed from a bodhisattva’s stage to the result of buddhahood, one is required to spend kalpas of diligent spiritual cultivation, and learn to help and benefit others. A bodhisattva is required to complete the following fifty-one stages: The ten stages of faith, the ten stages of security, the ten stages of practice, the ten stages of transference of merit to others, the ten stages of developing the Buddha-wisdom, and the stage of buddhahood. This is similar to the process of becoming a university professor. One needs to go through elementary school, high school, university, and then acquire a master or doctorate degree in order to qualify as a professor.

In other words, any “newly inspired bodhisattva” who begins to develop the bodhicitta will be required to practice and realize the Four Universal Vows, Four Boundless States of Mind, Four Embracing Virtues and Six Paramitas. Like new students in school, they need to progress level by level, continue to enlighten and deliver both themselves and others. The goal of buddhahood can only be reached until they have progressed through fifty-one stages and allow both themselves and others to be complete with Buddha-wisdom.

From this, we can see that on the bodhisattva path, to progress from an ordinary being to the four pairs of stages of an arhat, then to a bodhisattva who has totally eliminated all klesas, and finally to the perfect state of buddhahood, a set of stages are involved. The conditions and states of a bodhisattva also differ in depth according to the level of their practice. Even accomplished bodhisattvas can be categorized according to the ten stages of developing the Buddha-wisdom[v]. Only those who have entered the first stage – the stage of joy (pramudita) can be regarded as bodhisattvas with the rank of the bodhisattva grounds (bhūmis) and above. Those who have not done so are regarded as bodhisattvas on the stage(s) prior to the grounds, and they will have to realize the thirty-seven conditions favorable to enlightenment in order to transcend the realm of ordinary beings and become sages.

The thirty-seven conditions favorable to enlightenment refer to: the Four Stages of Mindfulness, the Four Right Exertions, the Four Elements of Supernatural Power, the Five Roots, the Five Moral Powers, the Seven Factors of Wisdom, and Eightfold Noble Path. These are the provisions for remedying unwholesome conducts, nurturing virtuous dharmas, eradicating ignorance, and dignifying the dharma body. Even a bodhisattva who has reached the ten stages of developing the Buddha-wisdom is required to continue their diligent practice of these thirty-seven conditions.

The cultivation of a bodhisattva takes a very long period of “three great asamkhya kalpas.” The first great asamkhya kalpa focuses on the cultivation of faith, where the ten stages of faith need to be completed and nature of sunyata realized. The second great asamkhya kalpa involves the transformation from the ordinary to sagehood. At this stage, the bodhisattvas on the stage(s) prior to the grounds has completed the seventh stage of developing the Buddha-wisdom and attained the state of purity and formlessness. The third great asamkhya kalpa is when the bodhisattva has entered the eighth stage where there is no longer form or gain, realization or enlightenment, thus the attainment of the patience of non-arising dharmas, and total eradication of defilements within the Three Realms are achieved.

On this long journey of spiritual cultivation, one needs to have self-diligence, self-demand, self-encouragement, self-realization, and a belief that “one shall not retreat upon hearing the length and farness of buddhahood; and one shall not give rise to impatience or weariness upon confronting the level of difficulty involved to deliver sentient beings.” When Sariputra cultivated himself and was transforming from the Hinayana path to the Mahayana, he came close to the seventh stage of security: never retreating. A heavenly being manifested as a dutiful son to test Sariputra’s determination in following the Mahayana path by asking Sariputra to give up his eyeball which would become medicine that cures the son’s parent. After Sariputra gave up his eyeball, he realized how difficult it was to deliver sentient beings let alone practice the bodhisattva path. He began thinking about stopping his progress towards the Mahayana path and cultivate just for himself. From this, we can see that without vowing to progress courageously and diligently, and to have the compassion to persist in delivering sentient beings, it will not be easy to follow the Mahayana path, let alone accomplishing buddhahood.

While there are different stages for a bodhisattva, there are also different levels of dedication for a volunteer. Some people volunteer themselves for the purpose of fame, some for benefit, and some for others’ gratitude and reward. In America, law offenders are punished by doing community service or volunteer works at temples. FGS Hsi Lai Temple happens to have received a large number of such volunteers under the recommendations of the court, schools or police stations. Some of these offences included speeding and shoplifting.

Some schools also base their assessment of student conduct on the volunteer works in community service that they do. The length of service varies from seventy days, twenty days, forty-two hours to twenty hours. Most of the volunteers came to Hsi Lai Temple to clean up the environment, wipe windows, pick vegetables, give guided tours, or cook and serve meals for three to four hours each time. When they complete their service, Hsi Lai Temple then provides proof of service so that their record of offense can be erased for having done something that benefits the public.

To replace punishment with labor, and allow law offenders a chance to mend their wrongdoing with merits does have a positive and educational meaning behind it. However, a true volunteer must not work for fame or benefit. To really reach the state of “giving without clinging to form” and not allow your mind to abide in anything will make your volunteer work truly priceless.

In addition, to serve others as a volunteer means you are making connections and sowing seeds. While bodhisattvas do not distinguish between family and foe, volunteer services also need to go beyond boundaries. The goodness or badness of the result of giving will differ according to the giver’s intentions. Therefore, one should still choose a worthy field of merit to sow your seeds in, so one’s grade of service will get higher, and has greater future potentials.

Buddhism divides generosity into three categories:

1) Material Generosity: This can be further divided into inner material generosity and outer material generosity. Inner material generosity refers to donating one’s body and life, while outer material generosity refers to the giving of one’s house, properties, clothing and wealth.

2) Dharma Generosity: This refers to guiding sentient beings with the Dharma, so that they can also be delivered.

3) Fearlessness Generosity: This refers to giving solace to the distressed and lead them away from fear and horror. The doer of emotional generosity can also choose to practice precepts and patience to refrain from trespassing against others, so that they will not be fearful of you. Take Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva for example, he traces the sounds of cries and relieves beings from suffering and fear, thus he is known as the giver of fearlessness.

According to the Diamond Sutra, “If a person, in an act of generosity, were to give away enough precious jewels to fill an entire great chilicosom…...If someone else were to receive and uphold as few as four verses of this sutra, and if he were to teach them to others, his goodness would be even greater than that.” This shows the preciousness of Dharma generosity. Therefore, the highest level of generosity should be “giving the truth, and demonstrating the Dharma,” followed by “being zealous for the common weal, and sacrifice and contribute to others,” then “helping the poor and aiding the needy,” and at the lowest level, “giving with expectations for reward, or unwilling generosity.”

I used to divide generosity into four grades: 1) giving of money, 2) giving of labor, 3) giving of language, 4) giving of goodwill. Money will be of no use if one does not know how to use it properly. Sometimes there may not be as many works available, but words of kindness will never be too much. If one offers good intentions and continue to wish others well, or even teach the Dharma to others, one will be practicing supreme generosity.

“No form of giving surpasses the giving of Dharma.” For those who volunteer themselves for Buddhism, I hope they can move from helping out with general affairs to participating in Dharma affairs; or from greeting visitors at elevator doors to receiving and guiding guests on behalf of the temple, so that every guest can bring home with them some Dharma joy from being at the temple. I also hope that volunteers can do their work with joy and gain new learnings, so that their religious faith and practice can continue to progress. This will make them first-rate or even high-class volunteers.



× × ×

As implied in the name, “volunteer” means sentiment and commitment; it means a joy that arises naturally from within, a mind that is perfectly willing, full of joy and a mind that holds not grudges or regrets against serving others. A volunteer is also one who spares no effort in completing his duties in serving people and benefiting society. Therefore, even though a volunteer does not get paid, what one does is still priceless. While they may be contributing quietly, they will still acquire endless joy from doing so.

I have also dedicated my whole life to works with no pay. I served as advisor for the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, commissioner of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, and an instructor for prison inmates as appointed by the Ministry of Justice in Taiwan. None of these were paid jobs, but I served with joy and matter-of-factly, because I am happy to serve society as a volunteer. I regard myself as a volunteer, but I never boast about it. As I remind myself that my clothing, food, everyday life needs, and the knowledge acquired depends on conditions created by others, therefore my parents, teachers, devotees and benefactors from all directions have all helped me complete my endeavors in Dharma propagation. In a way, they have all been volunteers to me.

Volunteers do not necessarily have to ask for rewards. Only those who have a heart of gratitude can be good volunteers. If one keeps a mind of giving, and think that he is giving to others, then it will be difficult to persist as a volunteer. When I donated ambulances and wheelchairs to the affected areas of this year’s Sichuan earthquake in July, I reminded myself that I was not here to give, but to come with a grateful heart. I feel I have been enriched and nourished by many Sichuan-born poets such as Tu Fu, Li Bai, and Su Dong-po. It is them who have enabled my literary qualities to grow and improve. When I read Romance of the Three Kingdoms at a young age, I was deeply inspired by “Oath of the Peach Garden” between Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei; Zhu Ge-liang’s “Three expeditions to Qishan”; founding of the Shu Kingdom, and the splendid “Long Zhong Dialogue” in Sichuan. These have helped me grow as a person. Therefore, I had made this trip out of gratitude.

This concept of repaying others’ kindness has made my life very rich. It has also inspired me to work even harder in repaying society and people’s kindness. The Waterdrop Tea House was established for this very exact idea. The working mottoes for Fo Guang Buddhists, “give others confidence, give others joy, give others hope, and give others convenience,” has also been established based on the concepts of volunteer work and repaying people’s kindness.

I have also served as a volunteer through out the sixty years that I have been a monastic. Although I never had any Sunday breaks, new years or holidays, I still gained happiness and Dharma joy from my work of Dharma propagation, and such happiness and joy can never be bought with money.

I remember when I first arrived in Taiwan fifty years ago; I settled in Chungli and woke up at dawn every morning to pull the kart for 7.5 kilometers along the dirt road to the market. I would wake up the vegetable seller, buy food ingredients for eighty people and then rush back to the temple. After breakfast, I would quickly clean up and draw six hundred buckets of water from the well to provide water for the whole temple’s residents. I also had to clean up the toilets during the day, and since there was a shortage of cleaning equipments, I usually scraped the toilets with my bare hands. When someone in the temple passed away, I would help place the corpse inside a wooden box and bring it out for cremation. During harvest seasons, I would help the temple collect rents from tenants in different places in clogs while carrying a shoulder pole. I was twenty-three years old back then. Although my days were filled with hard labor, I was always grateful to the temple for keeping me and giving me job opportunities, and that I was able to nurture my capacity to shoulder responsibilities.

In 1964, I established a Buddhist College and never charged students with tuition fees through out the past forty years and more. Students were also provided with food, accommodation and uniform. I served as a teacher and headmaster without pay. I was happy to be a volunteer for young adults. When I published Buddhism Today, Human Life Magazine, Pumen Magazine, and Awakening the World Periodicals, I not only wrote articles voluntarily, I also paid for stamps, tickets, manuscript papers and letter papers with my own money. When I established the Buddhist Cultural Service Center forty years ago, I often made time to volunteer at the center. All I needed was one afternoon to reply dozens of letters, which indeed gave me a sense of achievement.

I am happy to be a volunteer in education, culture and charity. I even established the Water and Cloud Mobile Clinic and served the distressed as a volunteer. Other than being a volunteer, I also acted as a volunteer for volunteers. When I was headmaster of the Buddhist College, I always gathered students and explained the meaning of their labor before they start with their chores. I also provided tips and contents of their work to enable them experience the Dharma while working, so that they can achieve both understanding and practice of Buddhism.

For the past decades, no matter where I went, there were always a lot of people who were willing to work with me. Someone once asked my why. It is really nothing much. I just knew how to be a volunteer for the volunteer. For example, when I needed volunteers to write something for me, I would make sure the pen, paper and table was prepared, so that it would be convenient for the volunteer to sit down and write. When I needed a volunteer to sweep the floor, I would prepare the mop and bucket for him beforehand. If I needed someone to water the plants, I would make sure that the bucket and water hose were in place, and even notify them of the taps and toolbox’s whereabouts. When it was time to eat, I would invite them to eat, and prepare refreshments for them when required. When it was time to go home, I would thank them for their work, praise them for their achievements, and even see them off at the door until the sight of their back disappear around the corner.

I feel that no one should take volunteers for granted; thus we should repay them for their contribution. Even volunteers need virtuous companies to guide them, encourage them and motivate them, because they too would also feel exhausted from guiding people into Buddhism at times. Therefore we need to be understanding, caring, encouraging, respectful and commending towards volunteers. We also need to make things convenient for them, especially in leading them, guiding them, and helping them to get into what they are doing.

Through out my whole life, I have regarded serving the public as my duty; and this vow is not only limited to the present life. When I attended the press conference for Cardinal Paul Shan’s new book this September, I even made a promise with him, that in the many future lifetimes to come, one of us will always be a priest, while the other a Buddhist monk, so that the two of us will always be serving this world as volunteers.

Volunteers are a very important part of public life. To volunteer one’s work without any monetary reward is a type of moral duty, which not only benefits the public but also promotes the spirit of oneness and coexistence. Through voluntary hard work and dedication, one will bring out the compassion and love in people, and inspire righteousness and virtue in society. Furthermore, voluntary work can contribute tremendously to public welfare and charity campaigns, relief aids, and the bettering of society. Therefore, if everyone can be a volunteer, then society will naturally be filled with peace and goodness.

“Everyone be a volunteer” means that the buddha and bodhisattva spirits are being realized. For BLIA members who regard the building of a Humanistic pureland as their duty, I hope everyone can vow to be a volunteer who follows the buddha and bodhisattva spirits to serve people with the truth. Furthermore, may they become exemplary volunteers who grow from serving and contributing to society, and then exert their influence onto their family, friends and society, so that all can become better from learning the Dharma.


Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
User avatar
retrofuturist
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1263
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:14 am

Thanks a lot :)
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:43 pm

LauraJ wrote:Thanks a lot :)


Some Chinese sites carry spyware. Today Google said it will pull out of China if people (the government I assume) don't stop trying to hack into the googlemail of human rights activists.
The web has huge potential for subterfuge of this kind and Huifeng sites may be compromised in this way.
Left
Blue Garuda
 
Posts: 2000
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:47 pm

Yeshe wrote:
LauraJ wrote:Thanks a lot :)


Some Chinese sites carry spyware. Today Google said it will pull out of China if people (the government I assume) don't stop trying to hack into the googlemail of human rights activists.
The web has huge potential for subterfuge of this kind and Huifeng sites may be compromised in this way.


Gosh, I hadn't thought of that. He's a member here and at Dhammawheel. Maybe someone should tell him about the warning message?

:namaste:
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:32 pm

As a aside...every time I use this site I have a lag in response time after leaving. I must delete all history and add ons to return the computer to normal response time on quaries and such. Minor problem and easily rectified but I'd suggest something may be going on. The Chinese attacks were generated on identifying specific peoples they considered activitists and also apparently infecting their computers in negative manners.

I don't know about such things but is perhaps some spywhere present on this site?

Apparently deleting history and addons cookies and such, by deleting history and all those things.. has this effect.

Not to complain but pehaps to bring it to attention.
My appologies for deviating from point.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
User avatar
ronnewmexico
 
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:30 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:As a aside...every time I use this site I have a lag in response time after leaving. I must delete all history and add ons to return the computer to normal response time on quaries and such. Minor problem and easily rectified but I'd suggest something may be going on. The Chinese attacks were generated on identifying specific peoples they considered activitists and also apparently infecting their computers in negative manners.

I don't know about such things but is perhaps some spywhere present on this site?

Apparently deleting history and addons cookies and such, by deleting history and all those things.. has this effect.

Not to complain but pehaps to bring it to attention.
My appologies for deviating from point.


Well that's good to know too. I'll give the site another shot after tidying up the laptop a bit :)
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:22 am

Hard to say, because the original link has been removed, so I don't know what it is.
If it was to www.fgs.org.tw then it shouldn't be much of a problem viz China.
It is in Taiwan (.tw), and although a few Buddhist sites in Taiwan are blocked in the PRoC, Foguang Shan has a very good standing in the PRoC as well as Taiwan.
However, it may be that the system, which is quite old, and is being transferred to a newer one (last time I recall) is having the problems.
Still, almost anything about Foguang Shan in English can be found at other sites, so just don't click into the .tw site if you are unsure.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:32 am

Huifeng wrote:Hard to say, because the original link has been removed, so I don't know what it is.
If it was to http://www.fgs.org.tw then it shouldn't be much of a problem viz China.
It is in Taiwan (.tw), and although a few Buddhist sites in Taiwan are blocked in the PRoC, Foguang Shan has a very good standing in the PRoC as well as Taiwan.
However, it may be that the system, which is quite old, and is being transferred to a newer one (last time I recall) is having the problems.
Still, almost anything about Foguang Shan in English can be found at other sites, so just don't click into the .tw site if you are unsure.


That site doesn't give me errors. Perhaps Retro could post the link again with a warning?

Kindly,
Laura
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:53 am

Greetings,

This was where I sourced it from...

http://www.fgs.org.tw/english/dharma/ev ... a/2008.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
User avatar
retrofuturist
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1263
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Bodhisattva and Volunteer

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:01 am

Despite all these, some still have incorrect attitudes towards volunteer work, and have only caused more obstructions to the establishment of good causes and conditions. Take Buddhists for example, some go to help out at the temples, but when mealtime comes, they would refuse to stay to eat, because they would feel that they are taking advantage of the temple, which will cause their merits to decrease. However, Buddhism advocates equality between the giver and receiver. If one makes an offering of food, he or she is even required to pay respect to those who accept the offering, because the giver also needs to be grateful to the receivers for giving him a chance to sow the seeds of merit. Thus, every bit of your dedication deserves a share of the offerings made by the devotees.

Furthermore, some also believe that it is wrong to get a paid job at Buddhist temples or organization, because once they accept money from the temple, their merits will also disappear. Due to this idea, many people have been unable to contribute to Buddhism. Even bodhisattvas need to accept people’s offerings, and even oxen and horses need to be given water and food for pulling carts. Therefore, even if one is doing paid work for Buddhism, they are still considered volunteers. As long as one cares not for the reward or payment, but for serving and helping people, their merits will not be forgotten.


This is so interesting to me. It really is.

When I had monks living with me for about 10 days, they were so generous. At first I felt bad, taking anything from them at all. But they were insistent so I complied. I wound up feeling like the relationship was so mutual rather than me being any lower-than or feeling any guilt about receiving.

Wonderful post all around, thanks Retro.

Best,
Laura
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm


Return to Engaged Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

>