The first day of the Year of the Rabbit fell on February 3. The members of the Tzu Chi family were joined together by satellite, including those in Los Angeles, home to the U.S. headquarters. Far as they were from Hualien, they expressed the wishes in their heart across the Pacific Ocean. They put on a performance about Master Jian Zhen, the great Chinese monk who brought Buddhism to Japan in the middle of the eighth century, to wish the best to their brothers and sisters in Taiwan and encourage them to follow the path of the bodhisattva. In another corner of the globe, Australia, a country which does not mark the Spring Festival, many Chinese people took the day off, to send good wishes to Taiwan.
It was a day of great joy for those who lead the different volunteer divisions, to share their happiness with their colleagues and give them encouragement for the year ahead. Master Cheng Yen was very moved to see the selfless devotion of Tzu Chi volunteers during the last year and how they have sowed the seeds of goodness and created a virtuous circle of love. “I give my blessings to you, my disciples who are far from me in distant places but are very close to my heart. I hope that your determination will not waver, just as mine will not, and that everyone will walk together steadily, step by step. I wish all of you to work together, hand in hand, and help each other in the New Year.”
The advances of science enabled the volunteers, via satellite, to express to each other what was in their heart. They reduced their carbon footprint but did not lose the spirit of the New Year festival. For that moment, the hearts of Tzu Chi people around the world overcame the separation of time and place to be close to Master Cheng Yen.
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