How to be a connecting bridge
Good morning everyone, this is Dharma Espresso. Today, we will talk about how to be a connecting Bridge.
Last night, I visited San Jose to give a talk. During the talk, I asked a man his name. He said it was Duc. I asked the audience whether they knew him. No one raised their hands. Then I asked whether they knew Ms. Minh Tam. Many hands shot up as almost everyone know her in San Jose.
It turned out that Mr. Duc was among those supporters, whom we may characterize as fans. They come to listen to Dharma talks, not to engage in other activities, or get to know members of the Compassionate Service Society. Mr. Duc knows me and came to my Dharma talk. Ms. Minh Tam is an active volunteer, contributing her services to the Compassionate Service Society and providing help to many people.
I posed the next question: "If Mr. Duc needed to pray for something, would anyone know about it and pray for him?" No one raised their hands. I then asked: "If Ms. Minh Tam needed something, would it be easy for us to offer prayers for her?" Many hands shot up, because most people know her and would find it easier to pray for her.
At the end of my Dharma talk, Mr. Duc and his wife came up. Theirs is a sad story. Mr. Duc is in his 70s. He said: “Dear Thay, I have a serious kidney problem, and I am getting dialysis treatment for kidney failure. I very much hope that Thay and members of the Compassionate Service Society can help save me by dedicating merits and offering prayers on my behalf.” Only then did I learn about Mr. Duc’s needs, and I was touched.
Often, when we come to Dharma lectures, we are not in search of Dharma teachings, but in fact are looking for some miracles from Kwan Yin Bodhisattva. We go there to look for specific answers for our concerns, difficulties, or sufferings. The fact is, if you are a casual, passive supporter you would not have been able to establish any connection with other people, a connection that inspires them to give you their care and support or keep you in their prayers. If you merely put your name on the plaque for praying, those who pray for you cannot do so with care since they don't know you or have any loving connection with you.
So, to get a more miraculous result, the passive supporters should join a temple or an organization to establish a deeper, more loving connection. Then, when the need arises, it would be easier for other people to care and pray for them and miracles will happen. When many people care and pray for us, the prayers will touch Kwan Yin Bodhisattva. Once we've moved her heart, she will undoubtedly fulfill our wishes. The collective power of a group is always stronger than that of an individual. You may fervently pray by yourself, but it would not be as effective as when a large group prays with you, or on your behalf.
Hence, if you are a volunteer of the Compassionate Service Society, you should make contact and talk to the passive supporters, get to know them more to create opportunities for them to return and further the connection. Perhaps they may become volunteers, so much the better. If we don't help them to form such bonds, it will be difficult to pray for them or dedicate merits to them when the time comes.
So, if you are a Compassionate Service Society's member, you should open your heart and connect with these passive supporters. Be the bridge to ease their way so they can open their hearts and share with you their wishes, troubles, illnesses, or their needs for empathy.
If the collective of CSS members all sit together to pray and dedicate our merits to these people, we will bring about Kwan Yin’s miracles. We will be the bridge between Kwan Yin and those in need so she can perform her power to heal and save all beings.
Thus, if you are caring, you would refer, or attract others to the cultivation, or in Vietnamese we called it “tu hú.” It means that we turn strangers and passive supporters into loving friends of CSS or volunteers who will help us. That is an important concept.
It is also all right to leave the passive supporters alone and not to invade their freedom, but if they ever need our help, our level of connection would not be deep enough for us to respond with love and care.
That is a cultivation method that requires balancing. We cannot quickly get the passive supporters to open their hearts. We need to let them see that our path is the Bodhisattva path, the path of love. We do not resort to manipulation to trick the passive supporters out of their money, other material possessions, or loved ones. We are not thieves, nor do we take advantage of others; we only give love. If the volunteers always radiate love, we will form a morphic field of love. Then those passive supporters or fans, or the general audience at a talk, or anyone who comes in contact with CSS will feel loved. Once they feel that love, then their wishes and prayer to Kwan Yin Bodhisattva will be more effective.
So, you see, we are the bridge for Kwan Yin’s miraculous power to reach others. If we do not form this morphic field of love, do not create a group of loving people, then those who come in contact with us will feel nothing and only see that we are incapable of being the bridge between them and Kwan Yin.
I hope that you understand my message today, and that all of you will open your heart and be the bridge, always connecting with the visitors, the audiences in a dharma talk, to give them an opportunity to become the loving friends of the Compassionate Service Society or volunteers like you.
Thank you for listening today, and hopefully today’s espresso will help you stay more alert and happier.
Thank you, everyone.
Dharma Master Heng Chang
(Translated and transcribed by Compassionate Service Society)