4 years ago, I went to Tzu Chi Foundation to ask assistance for my client who is a 13-year old boy for his eyes. It was explained to me by a friend that Tzu Chi gives free eye check-ups as well as glasses. However, as soon as I went there, I also saw the long line of people who wanted to ask help for their own health conditions and so I decided to withdraw from asking assistance that day and wrote personally to a Redemptorist priest for my client.
Yet, today was different.
I went to their temple near Banawe Avenue and saw the long line of people again. But, as soon as I saw my co-worker, I told him we should get inside immediately by introducing ourselves as staff of DSWD. From that moment that I said I was DSWD staff, it's as if the world changed.
Prytzch and I were introduced to the daughter if the CEO of Tzu Chi Philippines. She toured us inside the Still Thoughts Hall, explained briefly about Buddhism and planted enthusiasm regarding Tzu Chi in our hearts. Yet, I was half-listening to her because I became engrossed with the words written on the walls, the words from the foundation's founder, Master Chen Yeng.
Some of which I still remember are... (though not verbatim)
"Giving is like digging a well. As more land is dug, more water comes out."
"There is no life with a life who just lets the days pass, but there is creation of life from which every moment is spent for a purpose."
I became proud being a DSWD employee today when the CEO of Tzu Chi Philippines welcomed us with a metaphorically very huge embrace. The 20 kilograms of rice to be distributed to each of the 1,200 families was from Taiwan. Through negotiation with Honorable Secretary Dinky Soliman, Tzu Chi was able to send the rice from Taiwan to Philippines tax-free. More so, Tzu Chi was allowed to stock the sacks of rice in NROC (the warehouse of DSWD at NAIA Avenue). Tzu Chi was very proud to say that there was not even 1 sack subtracted from the 25,000 sacks of rice stocked at NROC. They were very grateful and proud to say that DSWD genuinely "serves the people".
"People always thought that when donations are lodged to the government, there is always corruption. But, we have proven it wrong with DSWD." Mr. Alfredo Li (CEO, Tzu Chi Philippines)
But that isn't the only learning I get. The rice to be distributed, a material thing, could be lost from the beneficiaries after a few days of consumption. But, what Tzu Chi wanted to impart more important than rice is the greatest teaching of Master Chen Yeng.
1. To love and serve your parents.
2. To love and serve other people.
To know more about the foundation, here's their website.