Vesak Day is a very special day in the Buddhist calendar. It is the day of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, which all occurred on the full moon day of the 4th month of the lunar calendar and in 2011 it falls on May 17..
This year, the members of the Women’s Interfaith Network Foundation had the honour of being invited to the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, to be part of the Vesak Day special commemorations and activities.
The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation is in Box Hill, in Melbourne. The Foundation was begun by Dharma Master, Cheng Yen, when she was only 29. From the first supporters, housewives who saved 2 cents from their grocery money each day to help the poor, the Foundation has grown to nearly 10 million volunteers and supporters in 50 countries.
The Tzu Chi foundation provides support from disasters such as the South East Asian Tsunami, The Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami, the Myanmar cyclone; the Kinglake Bushfires in 2009 wherever people are struggling with disaster and hunger.
At the Tzu Chi Foundation Centre, we were warmly invited to witness or participate in beautiful religious chanting and walking meditations. Following the meditations we watched a film about the Foundations activities at their factory in Taiwan, where empty drink bottles are stripped of labels and caps, washed clean, chopped up, melted down and then spun into synthetic fibre. This fibre is then used to make snuggly warm blankets and clothes for people in need. It is an environmentally friendly and inspired project that turns waste into new, life saving products.
We also had a tour of a display at the centre. We could see the bottles in their various stages of change, and see finished products made from the synthetic fibre. There was also a display prepared by the young people of the centre, about the huge environmental advantages of Vegetarianism.
At lunchtime, all visitors and members of the centre joined together to enjoy a delicious vegetarian lunch.
The Women’s Interfaith Network would like to again thank the Tzu Chi Charitable foundation for sharing their hospitality, spirituality and inspiring work with us.
Website for Tzu Chi Foundation : http://tw.tzuchi.org/en