Friday, Jan 22

Treading the Earth with Gratefulness

April 28, 2019 | Katrina Mina

In the morning of April 28, 2019, 905 volunteers, scholars, beneficiaries and guests participated in a solemn pilgrimage at Jing Si Hall. 【Photo by Johann Sy】

Story Highlights

  • A total of 905 volunteers, long term beneficiaries and guests did the Three Steps and One Bow pilgrimage last April 28, 2019.


905 volunteers, scholars, beneficiaries and guests joined the Three Steps and One Bow pilgrimage in the early morning of April 28, 2019 at Jing Si Hall.

Tzu Chi volunteer Molita Chua said that the pilgrimage is dedicated to Dharma Master Cheng Yen and all living beings. The guests offered their sincere prayers, some even proceed in barefoot or with the aid of a guide or a cane.

Riza Joy Talingdingan, whose father is a long-term beneficiary, joined the pilgrimage barefooted. She is thankful for the blessings her family has been receiving from the Tzu Chi Foundation. “I thank [the foundation] because they helped my father and me as well. They shouldered my hospitalization fee when I had dengue.” she added.

The elderly Nicomendes Arguelles also joined the Three Step and One Bow pilgrimage. Although each step was hard for the 72-year-old stroke survivor, since he has to rely on a cane, but he still managed to walked from Agno Street to the front steps of Jing Si Hall.

Nicomendes was thankful to the foundation for the help that was extended to him and his late wife. He said that doing the pilgrimage felt like floating in heaven. “I said [to myself], why is it like that? It felt like being in heaven [with] the chanting that we hear.”

His impaired sight did not damp Carlito Alba’s spirits in joining the pilgrimage. Along with his 14 year old son, John Carlo, who guided his way, Carlito was able to walk and kneel accurately.

“I thought that I would have a hard time because of my eyesight. But with heart and strength, and my son as my guide, I have the power and strength to follow those who are ahead of me.”

Carlito is partially blind due to a genetic disease called retinitis pigmentosa. He dedicates his sacrifice during the pilgrimage not only for the betterment of his own family, but also for the recent earthquakes that hit the country.

“I also thought about the earthquake. I hope that it would be the last earthquake, I was in the house alone when it happened, and it left me pondering. I told myself that this is the Philippines now, we cannot prevent calamities from happening, we really need to be ready and have faith.”

As a gift to Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s birthday, long-term beneficiary Mark Levy Madolid drew a portrait of the Dharma Master. Mark Levy suffers from hemangioma which protrudes from his face. But with the help of the foundation, the once large lump was reduced through therapy and medicine.

Mark Levy took an interest in drawing when he his sickness prevented him from going out. When he heard about the upcoming birthday of the Dharma Master, he decided to do a drawing of the Dharma Master in charcoal.

“This is my way of saying thanks, because if not for her, I wouldn’t be here. I have been in the house for years, lying down [and] couldn’t go out. If not for her, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be able to draw this gift for her.”

Mark Levy said that he was happy to draw Master Cheng Yen, his inspiration and the one who helped him recover from his helpless state. For the pilgrimage, Mark Levy wished for Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s good health.

“[I prayed] that I would get better. And for Master Cheng Yen, that she would be healthy as she grows old. Because there are a lot of people who are relying on her.” he added.

Volunteer Molita Chua said that it was a great feeling to see everyone come and celebrate Master Cheng Yen’s birthday, especially those who are in great need.

“I think all the participants have very sincere heart. We cannot offer anything to Master, only our prayers. We hope Master can have a long life and can live with us. Actually, Master [has] done so many things for us. Not only in the Philippines, [but] all over the world.”

  • Carlito Alba (second from the left) together with his son John Carlo (third from the left) joined the pilgrimage. Carlito is partially blind because of a genetic disease called retinitis pigmentosa. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Nicomendes Arguelles has to rely on his walking stick for mobility. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Riza Talingdingan (rightmost) did the Three Steps and One Bow pilgrimage barefoot. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers explained to the participants the meanings behind the pilgrimage. 【Photo by Johann Sy】

  • Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez spoke with the participants. 【Photo by Johann Sy】

  • The participants attended the Return of Merits at Jing Si Hall. 【Photo by Jenielyn Lao】

  • Mark Levy Madolid did a charcoal drawing of Dharma Master Cheng Yen as a gift for her birthday. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • The volunteers helped prepare the longevity buns. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • After the pilgrimage, the volunteers chanted the medicine sutra. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】