A Prayer for Our Volunteers

By Venerable Master Hsing Yun
Founder of Fo Guang Shan

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
We would like to report to you sincerely:
In our society, there is a group of respectable volunteers
Who add honor and vitality to this indifferent times,
Who pour passion and justice into this disillusioned society.

While others feverishly pursue power,
They serve in humble silence;
While others negotiate for fame and position,
They unceasingly offer kindness.

Though they do not aim for rewards,
They earn merit and joy;
Though they do not wish for fame and position,
They become the friends that others welcome the most.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
After work, while others are relaxing at home,
Our admirable volunteers, like never-resting bodhisattvas,
Contribute their time to charitable associations,
Serve others in temples, and places that teach the Dharma,
They support organizations, and provide for disaster relief.

While others are entertaining themselves,
Our wonderful volunteers, like ever-diligent bodhisattvas,
Engage in environmental protection in their communities,
Assist people with disability,
Care for and help the elderly,
And provide free diagnoses and medical treatment.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Our volunteers devote their time and effort to people,
With the only wish that everybody
May live and work in peace and contentment.

I would like to pray for our volunteers,
May their dedication to enlightenment may never change,
May their commitment to others never waver.
May they set an example for this materialistic society;
May they create an ideal for the selfish.

Our volunteers are seen everywhere,
Though they may appear exhausted,
They are actually filled with joy.
Our volunteers work for the sake of others,
Though it may appear that they are benefiting others;
But actually, they gain the greatest reward.

Oh Buddha!
You are the founder of volunteerism,
You are the model for volunteers.
For the benefit and liberation of sentient beings
You progressed diligently over many kalpas,
And practiced the most austere cultivation;
Even right before you entered parinirvana
You still persisted in teaching
In order to help sentient beings attain enlightenment.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Before one attains Buddhahood,
One must first serve all sentient beings.
All bodhisattvas attain enlightenment through volunteer work:
Amitabha Buddha volunteered to protect
The environment of the Western Pure Land ;
Medicine Buddha volunteered to promote
The welfare of the Eastern Pure Land,
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva volunteered to liberate
Those in the vast sea of suffering;
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva volunteered to relieve
Those suffering in hell.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
With your support and blessing, we pray:
That we may acquire the spirit of our volunteers
So that the future increases in reasonableness and righteousness;
We pray that we may promote the virtue of our volunteers
So that the future becomes unified in justice and truth.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha,
Please accept our sincerest prayer!
Oh great, compassionate Buddha,
Please accept our sincerest prayer!

(Excerpted from “A Prayer for Our Volunteers (為義工祈願文)” from Pearls of Wisdom: Prayers for Engaged Living II by Venerable Master Hsing Yun)