Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Jun 17th
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Home Environment Care Tree Planting Who Would Have Known That Life Can Be So Wonderful

Who Would Have Known That Life Can Be So Wonderful

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We have been staying in Australia for over a month when we came across the Buddhist Compassionate Relief Tzu Chi Foundation in Sydney. We were welcomed by Brother Liu as we walked in, curious to find out what this organisation was about. Instantly, we felt certain affinity as if fate has brought us here.

When told that there was going to be a tree-planting event on Saturday organized by Sister Kim, we expressed our interest to participate right away. As a newcomer in Australia and Tzu Chi, we wanted to experience first-hand the laid-back Aussie lifestyle and know more about Tzu Chi.

We arrived at Tzu Chi in Eastwood at 8.30 am on Saturday and were met by Kim and other Tzu Chi volunteers. We wasted no time and left in two cars. It was a sunny morning; the air was crisp, with little traffic on the roads. The trip went smoothly and we quickly reached Lane Cove National Park.

We arrived at the planting site, admiring the beautiful scenery, and then were met by Mark, a ranger of the Lane Cove National Park. Kim mentioned that Mark was supposed to be on his day off work but he decided to come just to accommodate the tree-planting activity. It was a noble gesture, considering how much Aussies value their holidays.

This tree-planting activity was different from what I have experienced before. Previously, it was more like transplanting 1 to 2 year-old trees into holes already dug up by farmers. Here, we were planting saplings 20 - 30cm tall together with grass. We couldn't distinguish between the newly-planted grass and the existing ones. Mark assured us that these were different and that there is a symbiotic relationship between the plants and grass which protect each other. For me, this was a new experience compared to before in which only a
monoculture of trees were planted.

The Tzu Chi volunteers worked diligently and efficiently. The process went like clockwork: some dug holes, another would plant, and another would put up a protective barrier around the sapling. The barren-looking land was slowly transformed into a luxuriant field teeming with life.

There was an amusing incident when a family of four came by. Seeing the jovial flurry of activities, the lady asked Mark and was told of what we were doing. She was quite impressed that she decided to join in; even her toddler was lending a helping hand. Seeing everyone happily doing their tasks, I thought to myself - isn't life wonderful!

Before we knew it, it was already 12.30 pm, and the tree-planting activities had come to an end. As we left, I glanced back at our handiwork, seeing the leaves of the newly-watered saplings glistening in the sun. I could only imagine how this place would look like a forest years from now. Recalling when the two park visitors thanked us for our efforts, I felt a warm sense of satisfaction, that during my visit, I have contributed not only to my country, but also to a foreign country and (also) to the Earth at large. No matter how miniscule our contribution may be, it would still make a difference, and we will be recognised for it.

Could these acts of benevolence have started Tzu Chi?

Translated by Yingnee Yap and Roger Yu