...which her response to that was today's global organisation Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation? I know many quarters have accused them of ending up as a Red Cross branch but so far as I have known and supported them all these long years, they have always been true to the Buddha Dharma and the Elder Master herself has tirelessly produced countless Dharma teachings & publications and they even turned the traditional Chinese Mahayana sadhana of 'The Great Compassion Samadhi Water Repentance' into a major stage play and re-educated society on the true meaning of the Ullambana & Qing Ming celebrations.
All true - BUT - the followers, at least in Washington DC, view Tzu Chi as a "Chinese charity" and have said so. A couple of years ago when I was in bad circumstances but still had my condo I tried to get help from Tzu Chi for two homeless men and it basically went no where. I was surprised by Tsu Chi's response, at least in DC (and they are not the only service organization, Buddhist or Christian or other, that I was surprised at).
Look at Dharma Drum Mountain? They innovated the biggest ritual celebration in the Chinese Mahayana, 'The Water, Land & Air Rite' where they stopped any kind of paper paraphernalia burning and stuff like the traditional burning candles replaced by renewable battery operated ones and stopped the usual mass burning of incense in accord with their environmental pledges and policies? I recall when I was at their mother monastery, even the taps are sensor operated and only sprinkles of water would shoot out, just enough to use as water conservation efforts. So many more examples of others...
So, is social work and being socially engaged in the community really the way to go?
The results show don't they? When I was at places like Bodhgaya, Nalanda & etc, I really felt for the local people who despite the tourist boom, many unfortunate factors still keep them locked in poverty and ignorance. Just near the Sujata's village & near the Neranjana river for instance in Bodhgaya, I can still see images of families without basic amenities as evening looms in the horizon. Yet I do know that some Buddhist organisation there are also helping them like the Japanese temple mission there who are conducting free education for them as I was told.
Are people really going to Christianity because they offer nice clinics and other such facilities, or is it something else?
From my own private survey, perhaps we need to understand what motivates those in rural & urban areas, in the former I would think so although I may conclude that as long as the dough keeps coming, that's as long as Christian they will stay. The urban ones would be more discerning I guess but ya never know with humans, as unpredictable as the weather...
Well, I guess being socially engaged is part of the cultivation, no? What isn't Ch'an?
_________________Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes
"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche