In the morning of June 30, people gathered to take the tour bus to Qianshui Bay of New Taipei City and started the “Pure˙Beach Cleanup” event.
I recalled that, starting from Orlando’s one-on-one subconscious consultation, and branching out into Pure Classroom, and then the Association of Pure Buddhist was established under the causes and conditions. Although, there were countless challenges all the way, I just keep an original intention---cultivating the minds through undergoing things, practicing the Dharma in life, and truly benefiting both oneself and others. No matter the number of people, as long as we have the same intentions and fate, let's do it together. That’s how and why there were several outings for land cleansing held during the past years and the beach cleanup event was generated. People who participated in this day, in addition to the students of the classroom and association, there were also relatives and friends of the students and even those who we never met each other before but they learned the event from the PTT and registered proactively. For almost everyone, it was the first time to clean the beach up, and frankly speaking, for me as well, it was my first time to do and to hold such event ....
Throughout the entire activity, I acted as the head, stayed up many nights to think and write the project of activity, schedule plan, work assignments, and detailed processes. And several students acted as my hands and feet to conduct site surveys several times, collect data, take photos, and hold meetings and discussions. We moved forward step by step. All of us were volunteers without getting any pay, I instructed that not to charge the participants (only collecting and paying the travel accident insurance premiums on behalf of the participants). All fare and activity costs were funded by the donations accumulated by the Association. Even though we were a small organization, and we couldn’t be sure that how many people will sign up the event we hold. I only had one faith---as long as it is the right thing to do, just do it. Sometimes when time, resources, and manpower were extremely limited, I felt that I was like a fool. To be honest, there were a few moments, I considered to give up. But several students who would agreed with me requested strongly so I thought that just to bite the bullet to do it. By doing so, after one to two months, starting from choosing the location to the time that I wrote and designed the electronic DM, the students followed by the instructions and assigned respectively to contact the car rental company, restaurant, insurance company, and the public sector. Just only registration form and map, we revised back and forth twenty to thirty times. There were too many details which needed to be considered in order to make it comprehensive and too few people to implement. We just wanted to hold a beach cleanup event with that everything would seem to be naturally relaxed.
This day finally arrived. Our group of people gathered early on the morning of Saturday. We took an hour's drive to Qianshui Bay. On the beach with blue sky and blue sea, everyone was happily and conscientiously held the tongs in one hand and garbage bags in the other hand, headed down, stooped down, sweated, and picked up the small, scattered or buried chips of glass bottles, plastic straws, embrittled plastic, Styrofoam blocks, and a variety of unexpected non-natural objects..
At the opening of the event, I told the participants a real story which was a BBC news. It said that little seabirds were unable to fly for food. After the scientists made them vomit out and the seabird spit out 90 pieces of small plastic. They dissected the dead seabird’s stomach and unexpectedly found that there were 200 to 250 pieces of plastic on average. These plastics pierced the seabird’s organs or made them not able to eat properly which resulted in the weak body and then death. The story of seabirds represented the entire picture of marine ecology and even also represents our, human beings’ own situation. So I said ”I think to clean up the beach is a practical and romantic thing. On the practical side, to pick up one more piece of plastic and chip of glass bottles is to let one less piece of deadly “food” be eaten by marine life. On the romantic side, we will imperceptibly build up a good relationship with these creatures living far in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.”
(Note: There were fragments of glass bottles hidden everywhere in the sand and gravel. Once they are brought into the ocean, it is hard to imagine the consequences.)
41 people spent 90 minutes with sweat and hard work in exchange for preventing 57 KG of garbage from being washed into the sea and harming marine life. This amount was insignificant compared to the amount of garbage we usually made but we still hoped that, it could let all the people’s minds grow out different seeds of goodness through this process.
After having lunch in the seaside restaurant, everyone shared various experiences easily. Some people said, “I realized that the teacher had taught us in the class---Do not think any virtue trivial, and so neglect it; do not think any vice trivial, and so practice it.” Other said that “I used to think that the garbage was small and unworthy to pick up. However, when I think of the seabird’s story that the Teacher taught at the beginning of this event, I was willing to calm down and strained my eyes to pick up the small pieces of plastic and felt very happy." Some participants came to northbound from the Southern Taiwan at four and five clock before dawn. Some rode motorcycle from the most south area of Taipei to the northbound. Although it was hard, it was joyful. It seemed that we gave hard work and sweat but we gained introspection and humility. What we picked up was the trash on the beach, but what we purified were our hearts.
On this day, when I heard that the participants were happy and satisfied and hoped that we could continuously hold this kind of event, I promised everyone on the spot to meet each other again for the beach cleanup and everyone said yes. To compare with the love that the Universe has given to us, what we did were very little. Besides doing, I didn’t know how to repay the love of the Universe. Thus, I encouraged myself to continuously be a practical lunatic and a romantic fool and look forward to do together with students and people. In the end, I sincerely thanked every co-worker and participant in this day, really.
Founder of the Association of Pure Buddhist, Susan Duan
July 1, 2018
**(註)：感謝 Jason Chi Photography東昇攝影紀錄 拍攝、提供攝影器材