Written by: Julia Tseng
Translated by: Mindy Chen
“The oath made 2,500 years ago means to love living beings and donate heads, eyes, marrow and brain to beings in need. After 2,500 years, physicians make a solemn promise to the Buddha to give self away, to be people-oriented, and to eliminate poverty as well as sickness. We do solemnly swear that we will serve people for life; we will respect ant thank all the contributions and teachings made and given by past compassionate physicians; we will give priority to patients with dignity and rationality; we will do our best to maintain the traditional honors and dignity. In the evil time of five turbidities, we pray that we will follow noble examples; we won’t forget the vow and we will purify the mundane world,” CEO Chin-Lon Lin and Superintendent Sou-Hsin Chien led TIMA members to make the oath in the Concert held at Moon Festival; the sincere pray reached the Heavens.
“The full moon is singing, …, merely look forward to Tzu Chi’s living Bodhisattvas to visit Miaoshan…,” Professor Meng-Yong Guo sang the song “Tzu Chi’s Love in Miaoshan” in a loud and clear voice to welcome TIMA members and functional teams. It was a cloudy raining night; the Moon hid behind clouds. However, in the Lecture Hall, the bright Moon emerged in everyone’s heart and the moonlight illuminated the Hall.
The bell-drum sound awakes Tzu Chi members to carry out immeasurable practice of compassion and wisdom.
The buffet held before the mid-Autumn Concert was colorful, aromatic, and tasty. All TIMA attendees were full.
The seed bell-drum teacher led the audience to portray one eighth of the song—not only experience but also do exercise.
With music played in different languages, Host Zhu-Qi Chen called the audience, TIMA members, from different countries to stand up to greet. Taiwanese TIMA members and Tzu Chi functional teams was the last to be called; they led the audience to sing the song “Green Mountains” and dance to the music.
Waving the nation flags, TIMA members from different countries stood up to greet .
First, in the film, Venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen stated that everyone should promote environmental protection to protect the land. Next, the DaAi Tech’s dynamic show demonstrated how eco-products benefit people in daily life; when every Head of medical departments wore a hat and a backpack with flashing LED light, the audience gave a big round of applause. What’s more, Lecturer Mei-Yun Tang, together with Brother Bing-Kun Cai (CEO of Tzu Chi Education Mission), CEO Chin-Lon Lin and six Superintendents, gave a fashion show; they, acting as models, walked on the central path while singing the Tzu Chi song “Love in the Mundane World” to leave the Hall so that the audience could clearly see the eco-products in a short distance.
The DaAi Tech’s dynamic show demonstrated how eco-products benefit people in daily life.
The oath made by CEO Chin-Lon Lin, Superintendent and the audience (TIMA members) implies the Buddha’s compassion—free living beings from suffering. “The twelve Great Vows of the Medicine Buddha” expounds the wonderful causes and conditions of treating patients. CEO Chin-Lon Lin and Superintendent Sou-Hsin Chien each led physicians to hold a piece of white silk cloth; the performance not only symbolized the impermanence of birth, decay, sickness and death but also manifested Tzu Chi’s human-oriented medical spirit and the difficult process of relieving suffering and giving joy.
“In the East does undefiled crystal emerge; the crystal light illuminates the mundane world full of sadness and joy,…, the Buddha has never left the world; He comes and goes without being defiled; He is as clean and bright as the crystal,” Teacher Shou-Quan Li sang out the lyrics, which express both how compassionate physicians take care of living beings and their vows to accompany and comfort living beings for life.
The film brought everyone back to the year of 1945 in Taiwan. Taiwan received aids from America after it was free from Japanese rule. In 1966, Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Association was established; in 1972, the first Tzu Chi free clinic was setup on Ren-Ai St., Hualien, and provided free medical services for 15 years to benefit over 150,000 poor patients. Love and good deeds are treasures in Taiwan. Compassionate physicians light up poor patients in every dark corner of Taiwan and bring warmth to them. Till today, Tzu Chi’s free clinic services have been held in five Contents and won recognition. Compassionate physicians give without asking anything in return; they possess the true fortune in life, which is a life with blessings.
Superintendent You-Chen Chao shared a story that Rejean, a 21-year-old Philippine girl, was transferred to Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital through Philippine Tzu Chi TIMA volunteers’ help. She has been suffered from 140-degree scoliosis since childhood; because of the disease, she was weak and short; compressed lungs also caused difficult breathing. She couldn’t have a normal life and felt sad every day. Dr. Xiao-Zu Zeng, Director of Orthopedics Department, performed surgery twice for over 10 hours each. After surgery, she grew 15 centimeters; besides, she could stand up straight and finally smiles. She made a vow to study and serve the society as a volunteer after graduation.
The six Superintendents of Tzu Chi Hospitals performed the song “Hymn of the White Coat”—the performance was first broadcasted globally—to present compassionate physicians’ common wish: treating hopeless patients and helping them find a spiritual home.
The first overseas free clinic services began in Philippine 20 years ago. The first overseas Tzu Chi medical institution is the hemodialysis center that was set up in Malaysia; the center provides poor patients free hemodialysis to save them from a hopeless life. Malaysian TIMA members sang out the song “Fly over the Horizon” to express their feelings from the bottom of their hearts: they’ve returned to their spiritual country, and are grateful to Venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen, like the Moon, for directing them.
The audience watched the films: Indonesian compassionate doctors were invited to a remote island to perform cataract surgery by taking a warship; the American Tzu Chi medical-service mobile car made the best use of itself during the flood caused by Hurricane Katrina in Texas; Burman compassionate physicians not only treated poor patients but also taught the patients to express their gratitude through donating piggy banks to help others in need. Besides, Teacher Mei-Yun Tang, together with all physicians, portrayed “the Vows of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra;” the performance truly expressed Tzu Chi medical teams’ vows as the verse “They hold these vows unwaveringly for countless eons of time.” The films and the portraying “the Vows of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra” encourage TIMA members to participate in free clinic services.
Witnessing the recovery of patients who had acute medical diseases and transferred to Tzu Chi Hospitals for treatment, everyone thought about those deceased physicians devoting themselves to free clinic services for a long period of time. The music “The Last Chapter of the Twelve Vows of the Medicine Buddha” expressed that the Medicine Buddha vowed to illuminate the mundane world full of sickness and suffering with its undefiled crystal-like light. Dr. Xiu-Qua Lu, Vice Superintendent of Wei-Gong Memorial Hospital and one of Philippine TIMA initiators, made a promise to Venerable Master at Moon Festival in 1966 to set up TIMA. Although he passed away, his vow will continue through TIMA he established.
Dr. Sen-Jia Li, a surgeon of Yuli Tzu Chi Hospital and a seed TIMA physician in Kaohsiung, just passed away and became a Silent Mentor; Dr. Zhao-Rong Qiu, nicknamed as “Mom Qiu” by aborigines in Hualien, served in Family Medicine Department, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital; Dr. Zong-Xian Cai, one of three dental musketeers of TIMA in the northern district, also long-term support Yuli Tzu Chi Hospital. Their firm attitude towards practicing medicine also moved the audience, whose tears roll down their face.
When the music “Love and Care” started to sound, the lotus lamps were turned on. The light of hearts will never be turned off. Love is the only common language used by doctors and patients to communicate with each other no matter what faith they have and where they are from. Tzu Chi comforts living beings. Venerable Master said, “We’ve devoted ourselves to suffering living beings for 40 years; the quality remains the same but the areas where we go serve have been expanded. It is all the efforts made by living Bodhisattvas—volunteers and physicians—in concert. Such a mundane world is a pure land filled with Bodhisattvas. We look forward to keeping the Great Compassionate Physicians’ pure land life after life.
When the chorus “Great Love Sails to New Age” sounded, over 430 TIMA members holding lotus lamps, stepped to the stage to take the group picture. The Great Compassionate Physicians’ pure land will be keeping for another 2,500 years.