May 16, 2023
Tzu Chi celebrates 2023 Buddha Day, Mother’s Day, Tzu Chi Day
By Ben Baquilod
Tzu Chi volunteers, staff, scholars, Dharma Masters, and guests joined together for the 3-in-1 celebration of Buddha Day, Mother’s Day, and Tzu Chi Day on May 14 at the Buddhist Tzu Chi Campus (BTCC) in Sta. Mesa, Manila.
“I want to thank Master Cheng Yen who has been guiding us like a mother for the past 57 years,” said Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez. “And I want to thank all the mothers out there for your sacrifices. Because of you, this world is a better place for us.”
A grander setup at the BTCC plaza impressed this year’s attendees. Shimmering crystal Buddhas laid out in circular and long tables were embellished with fresh flowers and lush greens, and an eye-catching holographic image of Buddha was displayed in front of the Jing Si Hall.
The ambitious setup was made possible through the cooperation of volunteers and the leadership of the event head, Wilson Hung. “When we visited Master Cheng Yen in Hualien for Chinese New Year, we felt recharged to do more, and I was inspired to make this year’s Buddha Day bigger and better than last year,” he said. “I sincerely thank all the volunteers for their help and tireless efforts.”
Kinlon Fan, who was tapped to create the layout, took on the painstaking task of measuring and marking points on the ground for a perfect circular formation for the Buddha Bathing Ceremony. “Back when I was a Tzu Chi youth, I was just sketching my own layout at home. But now, it’s like a dream come true being able to see my own layout implemented.”
At the program’s opening, volunteers offered candles and flowers to symbolize light in one’s heart and gratitude to the Buddha, their loved ones, and all sentient beings.
Volunteers dedicated numerous hours to practice the formation and actions for the Buddha Bathing Ceremony, the highlight of the event. During the ceremony, participants took turns to bow before a crystal Buddha and pick up a red blessing charm.
Lizbeth Marie Lim, Tzu Chi youth volunteer who recently moved to Zamboanga excitedly joined Manila volunteers in the celebration. “I felt the calmest in a long time because it’s my first time back in Tzu Chi after three years,” she said. “From this day forward, hopefully I will be able to contribute more to my home province.”
Just before dusk, participants mindfully took steps in a walking meditation, a reminder to allow the Dharma to flourish in one’s hearts and walk the righteous path.
The ceremony culminated solemnly as participants raised their lotus candles, singing their prayer for purity in people’s hearts, harmony in society, and a disaster-free world.