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05/03/08 : Fostering Seeds of Spirituality to Remedy Society

NHCO / Story of the Month  / 05/03/08 : Fostering Seeds of Spirituality to Remedy Society

In this chaotic world, countless lives are struggling hard to make ends meet and to satisfy their endless greed only to find that they are trapped in a pool of suffering and in a the state of downtrend.

One can find a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel, a light that can soothe the melancholy hearts with a short message of encouragement or even a small benevolent act pouring directly from the heart.With a vision for mental health among Thai people, the National Health Commission Office organized a special activity, titled Pouring Love to Society, in February at Dhurakijpundit University in an effort to open a forum for volunteers to exchange their experiences for a case study concerning Voluntary Work. The session was kicked off as Dr. Prawes Wasi, a senior citizen and guest speaker, talked about the activity. He reiterated that the Pouring Love to Society activity could start within the health system first. He cited an example of many doctors who pay attention only to the diagnosis of patients diseases but never care for their mental health, inner feelings, or even their personal life and family. He suggested that doctors should give heedful attention to both body and mind of the patient. Furthermore, he mentioned that as each of us are directly connected to society and our society should consist of humanitarian hearts.       Our society today is directly linked to the global trend which revolves around materialism, consumerism, and capitalism. This trend has taken its toll with an increase in selfishness, severe competition, and ceaseless bickering. We have found that when people discover their own happiness stemming from their good heart, they are willing to wholeheartedly share it with others and their consumption of material goods will be automatically reduced. They will resort to genuine happiness in life — spiritual happiness, he said.Dr. Prawes explained how people in society demand and eagerly seek an ideal world enshrouded with sincere human hearts; this means hospitality, loving-kindness, sharing, and caring.The best way to establish a philanthropic society is to go out and see what other good people are doing so we can hearten them to forge ahead and promote their heroic deeds. For example, the current number of schools and universities in our country exceeds 10,000 but we only emphasize academic and traditional knowledge. If we take a different approach and allow students to search for people who have devoted their life to contributing to society, the public will learn more about their praiseworthy deeds and lives. If we have 10,000 students, 10,000 stories of those unsung heroes will be recorded and publicized year after year. The result will be enormous if all schools and universities embrace this idea. The mass media including TV, radio, and newspaper should play an active role in publicizing the stories to inspire society to follow their footsteps, leading to more virtuous power.

After Dr. Prawes gave his lecture, a group of humanitarian volunteers took up the stage and shared their merit-making experiences.Phra Ajarn Panapatchara Jiradhammo, the abbot of Wat Kam Pramong in Pannanikom district of Sakon Nakorn Province who once suffered cancer in a nasal cavity, was the first speaker. The monk established Arokasasal (Health Center) at his temple where patients in the last-stage of cancer can have a peaceful convalescence through meditation and spiritual practice. They are also treated with traditional and modern medicine.The monk said that most patients and their families are in great distress. It is therefore necessary to boost their morale. Patients who arrive can’t even smile on their first day. They refuse to answer any questions. But on the second and the third days they start to smile and show positive signs. On the fourth and fifth days they are healthier more refreshed. Most significantly, there is a simple golden rule to making them happy during their stay at the temple. They must adopt Dharma into their hearts. Apart from listening to the Dharma preached by monks, the patients have to practice Dharma daily. They are also treated with therapeutic music.Each individual patient has different symptoms. The medicine they take, whether modern or traditional, serves as important information for us to follow-up on their condition and prepare their proper treatment with help from modern physicians. All patients prepare their own medicine, which comprises of various herbs, and they drink it everyday. The process of boiling herbal medicine is meaningful to their minds. It is the most important period in which the patients receive power from holy spirits. Every Friday and Tuesday, volunteer doctors and nurses take turns in visiting patients and raising their morale.The monk noted that presently some 700 patients are under his close supervision. Some regain their normal heath and are able to return home. Others in the final-stage of cancer are still healthy.What we are doing is a very good thing. We work together to bring benefits to society. Now a group of Japanese want to promote our project after the visited our temple and learned more about the treatment. More importantly, we are healing the world.

The next speaker was Vivan Wannasiri, a volunteer who willingly dedicates her time to social work and currently director of the learning center at Nong Ta Bong School in Karnchanaburi Province. The school is a pioneer in introducing the Voluntary-Mind Project which aims to inculcate a seed of public mind among children through the Youth with Voluntary Mind process which focuses on learning by doing rather than learning by rote. Vivan said that the target groups in the project include children, youth, and community members. In a bid to cultivate a seed of virtue in their heart, the children are fostered with a sense of sharing and caring. They also have a chance to visit and spend their time with the senile at the Senile Home so they can learn more about truths in life such as loneliness and sickness. They also help take care of patients with partial paralysis by feeding and cleaning them and talking with those who have no relatives.This type of exposure helps nurture the art of giving among children. At the end of the trip, they are required to write a report to share information and express their inner feelings. This allows them to learn more about gratitude and loving compassion through real lessons and with a sincere heart. Furthermore, it inculcates a sense of sacrifice and morality which will hopefully thrive within in their hearts eternally.It took me six years to achieve my ambitious mission. At first I felt disheartened since people ignored what I was trying to do. But now the situation is better.

Other organizations are willing to contribute and money is no longer our main concern. What we desperately need are volunteers with sincere hearts who are eager to develop themselves and contribute to society.The next unsung hero was Boonsong Poonsawasdi, a volunteer at Ruam Duay Chuay Kan Foundation, who is always happy to lend a helping hand to those in need. He first conducted voluntary work several years ago when Phetchaboon Province was hit by inundation. Ever since, he has continued to contribute to society together with the Ruam Duay Chuay Kan Foundation.Presently, my volunteer work is focused on helping commuters whose cars have broken down, we also admit patients to hospital and transport donated goods to effected areas in remote parts to help relieve victims of flash floods, Tsunami, or inclement weather, he recounted.I feel very glad to have an opportunity to help the underprivileged and those in need. When they smile, I smile too. I also want them to know that somebody cares. What we have done for them can also help alleviate their misery. That is what makes me proud of my job. Their happiness is also ours.Although there are still many more unsung heroes all around the country whose stories are unknown to the public, they are aware within their hearts of their own charitable acts. True happiness derives from a sincere heart. When we are happy, we can share our happiness with others. Then, individual happiness will gradually merge and transform into global happiness shared by all members of a world society without envy and fierce competition.


Source: Matichon Newspaper March 5, 2008Author: Dr Prawes Wasi