A moving blessing ceremony

The Lunar New Year ceremony on Sunday ended with a sumptuous vegetarian meal enjoyed by all. Times photo Farida Master

At a special Lunar New Year Blessing Ceremony on the weekend, volunteers and guests reflected on the relief work that the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation has done in around 19 countries when natural disasters strike.

There have been times when they have reached a disaster zone before emergency services arrive.

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation New Zealand, located in East Tamaki, is known to help victims of natural disasters with food, supplies, much-needed money packets and most of all with love and compassion.

When the earth parts and swallows everything leaving people surrounded by death and destruction or cities are washed away or towns burnt to ashes, volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation all over the world rush to help and support the victims no matter which corner of the world they are located in.

There was not a single dry eye in the house while people watched films that documented the work the foundation does. Stories of human spirit, regardless of race, religion or country, touched everyone’s heart.

The blessing ceremony stressed how important it is to “respect, love and protect mother earth” and that each and every person has the capacity to help make a difference.

Auckland Councillor Sharon Stewart, who has worked closely with the foundation, said the responsibility rests on each one of us to protect our environment and not just rely on Auckland Council.

The blessing ceremony also had a distressed tourist couple who spoke about how grateful they are for all the support they got from the foundation when their son developed a sudden ailment on their visit to Waitomo Caves and couldn’t breathe. And while their son is still hospitalised, they promised to become volunteers of the organisation that has helped them at the worst time of their lives.

  • More recently, the minute Patricia Duke a volunteer at the Tzu Chi Foundation heard about a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Taiwan on February 6. She called her family and asked them to donate $100,000 toward relief work.

    “I was heading home for Chinese New Year but when I heard of the earthquake. I called my parents and asked them to donate some money. How else can we help those who have lost everything,” she told the Times.

    “Five buildings collapsed and 14 died with around 400 people injured. The charity has a hospital and doctors and nurses working to help those injured by natural disasters,” she said.