20080829 – Tzu Ching Camp in San Dimas, CA

USA Tzu Ching Camp 10th Anniversary at Tzu Chi USA Headquarters, San Dimas, CA (8/29- 9/1/2008)

Written by You Ning Lee (UMTC Historian 08-09)
Edited by Szu Ling Yeap (UMTC Vice President 08-09)

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I went to this camp with not much expectation in the beginning. However, it did widen my horizon and increase my wisdom once again. The lesson I took away from this camp was invaluable and it would benefit me for life.

The first and foremost thing I learnt at the camp was to accept the fact that we have to follow certain etiquettes in Tzu Chi. Honestly, before this camp, I felt that the rules were imposed to restrict our daily lives and I was uncomfortable with them. Some of them included to fold my blanket neatly, eat mindfully, talk softly and walk mindfully. I did not care so much about those petty things before that, doing what that made me happy. But after the camp, not only did the lecture about etiquette helped me to understand more, by seeing other fellow Tzu Ching members following the rules, I felt out of place. That was then when I felt that the rules were intended to discipline ourselves and for the purpose of making a whole group of people look unified and well-mannered. It is something like in Western restaurants, where we have to dine according to certain etiquettes; it is not a rule, but it will make yourself look sophisticated and elegant. Also, it made me realize that if I am not able to adhere to these basic etiquettes, how am I going to take on even tougher life challenges ahead in my life?

The next thing I learned was we must stay away from 10 bad habits in life. I used to think highly of myself, thinking that I don’t have much bad habits, but after Shr Bo’s talk, I realized that quite a number of the bad habits listed were applicable to me. These 10 bad habits include: killing, stealing, having sexual misconduct, greed, ignorance, anger, slander, lying, idle chattering and saying bad words. Of all 10 bad habits, 4 were relevant to conversation. It hit me hard in the face that I have been talking too much about useless things in my life, and Shr Bo’s talk has given me a new kind of urge, asking me to be more careful next time I talk.

The third thing I learnt of was that life is just a mentality game. Every adversity is a key. Throughout the life journey, notches and thorns are everywhere; therefore it is important to turn our suffering and frustration into positive things. Everyone will face problems every now and then, the determinant factor is how we handle them, whether we choose to handle them courageously, positively or we choose to grumble that life is never fair to us. It is all up to us to decide. It is in our hand. We can certainly determine our own destiny. When we have fought the best we can, then comes luck. “Luck” is when preparation meets opportunity, quoted from Dr Randy Pausch.

Apart from that, I also got my question answered in camp. My passion is in business field. However, I had often being discouraged by the saying that in order to survive in the field of business, you have to be cunning, you have to cheat and use all those tricky methods.  Else, you will never succeed and will be wounded. I certainly wish to succeed but I will never wish to compromise my values. It saddened me at times to have a dream contradicting with true values in my heart.  From the speakers’ presentation, I realized that I can and have to do this my own ethical way. Peer pressure always causes people to follow the trend. People around using tricks and other unlawful ways to succeed, does not mean that we have to do the same. We decide our own lives, and no matter how we pursue for success, good heart has to be guarded, and that we have to make sure that our actions do no harm, hurt no one and hopefully do good to others. Dr Randy Pausch has once said, “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams; it’s all about leading your life. If you lead your life in a right way, karma will take care of itself. And dreams will come to you.”

After I was back from the camp, I felt that I have been recharged, mentally and spiritually. My mind was as clear as the morning dew. Sometimes when I was too busy and being away from Master’s teachings, I tend to be forgetful of the real purpose I am here in this world. Am I leading my life the right way?  Did I compromise my values that true to my heart? 10 years from now if I look back, will I be proud of myself as a good person?

I am very grateful that I am growing up with Tzu Ching, with all the good companions, and lots of Master’s teachings, and also with Shr Gu, Shr Bo’s love, guidance and care. It makes my life more meaningful and fulfilling by learning how to be humble, how to treat others as equal, how to render help and care for others as well as how to count my blessings and be grateful everyday. Thank you, TC! Gan en!

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