May People’s Hearts Be Purified, May Societies Be in Harmony, and May the World Be Free of Disasters

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Time passes by very quickly. The new year has already arrived, and our lives are slipping away, year after year. Around the new year, everyone has new hopes and resolutions, but we should earnestly make plans and form everlasting aspirations that will continue with each passing year. Amitabha Buddha made forty-eight great vows which remained unchanged over the course of many lifetimes; Sakyamuni Buddha also made the great everlasting vow to return on the ship of compassion to save sentient beings. All buddhas and bodhisattvas who come to the world have their own original vow. As the Buddha’s disciples, we also must make our own original vows and put them into action.

Every year, I make three vows:

  1. I seek not for a healthy body but for a clear mind.
  2. I seek not for everything to go my way but for perseverance and courage.
  3. I seek not for less responsibility but only for more strength.

This year, more than ever, I am filled with limitless hope that people’s hearts may be purified, societies may be in harmony, and the world may be free of disasters.

We all must advance diligently and have self-discipline, for with each passing day, we draw closer to death. Time passes like flowing water, and the seconds, minutes, hours, and days ebb away ceaselessly. Life is impermanent and constantly changing, and everyone should earnestly form aspirations and make vows. When we have aspirations, we will not be lax; when we have vows, we will have great strength. Only when we make great vows and at the same time carry them out in our actions can we make the most of our time and the karmic conditions of our limited lifespans to create blessings, merits, and wisdom.

At the end of last year, I made three vows:

My first vow was to bring purity to people’s hearts. My second vow was to bring harmony to society. My third vow was to rid the world of disasters. At the beginning of last year, my heart was beset with sadness; I worried constantly about the many disasters which plague our world, so I vowed to rid the world of disasters. If we wish the world to be free of disasters, we must bring harmony to society; if we wish for society to be in harmony, we must first bring purity to people’s hearts.

First of all, we must learn to love ourselves. Only when we love ourselves can we go out and love others. Although the world is chaotic in this kalpa of decay and suffering, we ourselves should aspire to become sages. We should devote ourselves to going among people; we must not cut ourselves off from society.

My hope for the Da Ai TV Station is that it will not merely represent the perspectives of a single religion, but that it will also give full representation to viewpoints from all kinds of religions with right faith, such as Christianity, Daoism, and Buddhism. I hope that we will work hard to fulfill our goal of bringing purity to people’s hearts, guiding the people of the world toward the light of the great path and making the world a brighter and more peaceful place.

For the past thirty-two years in Tzu Chi, our every thought has been focused on bringing purity to people’s hearts, bringing harmony to society, and ridding the world of disasters. It is my hope that Da Ai TV can realize this ideal by entering every home and every individual’s heart. I believe that “making the world brighter” is more than just a dream. I hope that Tzu Chi volunteers all over the world will continue to employ great love and implement the Tzu Chi spirit wherever they live so that in the near future, great Bodhi trees and pure lotus flowers will be planted throughout the global Tzu Chi community.

How do we stop war from happening? This can be accomplished by resolving the discord in people’s minds. We must bring purity to people’s hearts; only then will there be no more conflicts.

It has been over thirty years, but how many people’s hearts have we helped to purify? With respect to the world, I am truly very insignificant. The world is so large, and there are so many people. I do not know when my call to bring purity to people’s hearts will be heard everywhere, awakening everyone’s intrinsic love. Although we have all done our best, there is still a disproportionate number of people who have not heard our message and have yet to awaken. This is why I say that time is running out.

It is my hope that everyone can start from their own homes, guide all the families in their communities, spread love in the world every day, and express how we cannot bear the destruction of the earth or the suffering endured by sentient beings. We need to accompany and comfort others by first awakening their compassion and then praying for the world to be free of disasters. If this call can spread, then this will bring harmony and blessings. Although our voice may not be loud, as long as we have a lot of people who gently and sincerely seek to awaken others, it will have an effect.

If someone asked me, “Master, what is your resolution for this year?” I would still say, “To bring purity to people’s hearts.” As long as people’s hearts remain impure, many manmade disasters will continue to occur! These past several years, we have seen many refugees with no place to go, taking incredibly difficult journeys to escape calamity. If our wish is to alleviate manmade disasters and enable everyone to find a peaceful home, this can only be accomplished by bringing purity to people’s hearts.

Now, although science and technology are flourishing, education is steadily declining. In the past, schools would have a plaque stating the Confucian values of “propriety, justice, integrity, and honor.” However, these plaques have all been taken down. How are we supposed to educate our children? Now, with teachers asked to conform to their students’ whims and professors required to cater to their students, how are they supposed to educate them?

Now, as science and technology are advancing, young people do as they please. This is very worrisome. If we make use of science and technology correctly, they can benefit the world. However, if used improperly, they will harm society!

Where do disasters come from? They come from human intelligence. But intelligence is not the same as wisdom; in fact, this kind of intelligence triggers our desires. A slight deviation takes us far off course, causing us to destroy the earth, pollute the air, and disrupt the balance of the four elements. Therefore, my three vows are to bring purity to people’s hearts, bring harmony to society, and rid the world of disasters. The power of these three vows is what I most hope to cultivate. The power of thoughts lies in the vows we make. However, one person making these vows is not enough; we need everyone to join in together.

Teachings
January 2, 1995
Wisdom at Dawn Dharma Talk
March 4, 1995
Teaching for Taiwan Northern Region Faith Corps
January 1, 1998
Press Conference at Da Ai TV Station Opening Ceremony
March 23, 2003
Global Children’s Class Staff Retreat
April 30, 2016
Morning Volunteer Assembly
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