A Second Chance at Life

Compiled by Syharn Shen (沈思含)

A Second Chance at Life

Compiled by Syharn Shen (沈思含)

One evening, as Li Jia-lin (李嘉霖) was watching a Da Ai Drama on TV after taking drugs, he broke down in tears and decided to change for good.

Having taken drugs, swindled money, beaten people up, and served time in prison, Li Jia-lin has fully reformed himself and is now a Tzu Chi volunteer leading a life of giving and service. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

A drug addict for over 20 years, Li started taking drugs at the age of 18 and had been in and out of prison many times. Doted upon by his parents since little, Li was an arrogant, unruly and spoiled kid. After being admitted to a technical school with good grades, his parents gave him a scooter, little knowing that this present would lead their son onto a stray path.

At school, an older student picked on Li for owning a scooter. To take revenge, Li got a friend to beat up the bully and ended up being suspended from school. Afterwards, he started working in a factory and every night, Li would street race with his friends on scooters and spend time in karaoke bars and billiards bars. His friends introduced him to recreational drugs, and soon Li got addicted to them.

The Da Ai Drama about Dr. Chiu Chao-jong's story of selfless giving first aired in 2011. (Photo provided by Da Ai Drama)

As his income could no longer feed his addiction, Li started lying, cheating, and swindling for money. He was eventually caught by the police and put in jail. After he got out, he continued with his old ways. Time and again, Li had promised his parents to quit drugs and stay clean, but after endless broken promises, his parents have given up on him and simply took everything he said as lies.

One evening at around 10 PM, Li was wide awake after taking drugs and was watching a Da Ai Drama on TV about the real-life story of Chiu Chao-jong (丘昭蓉), a doctor who devoted herself to safeguard people's lives. Li had been watching the drama for some time and was touched by the selfless giving of the doctor. As he followed Dr. Chiu's story, he was shocked to learn that she had passed away and donated her body for medical education.

Li simply broke down bawling. "I was so shaken by the doctor's selfless giving. My tears simply couldn't stop rolling down, and it was like an expression of repentance," recalled Li. "When I learned that she became a body donor, I knelt down before the TV with a drug inhaler still in my hands, and cried my heart out." He vowed to become a Tzu Chi volunteer and lead a life of giving.

"During the Chinese New Year when all the family gathered, my son was still in prison. Those were very sad and hard times," recalled Li's father. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

"I'm going to join Tzu Chi," he told his parents. But, having lost all trust and confidence in their son, his parents simply told him not to cheat money out of them.

With the help of his mother, Li started recycling with Tzu Chi volunteers, who told him that volunteers don't drink nor smoke, as stipulated in Tzu Chi's Ten Precepts. At the time, Li was still taking drugs. To remind himself, Li pasted the precepts on a wall in his room, but the road of self-reform was not an easy path.

At the event celebrating his father's 70th birthday, Li was absent. He was at home, taking drugs with his friends. One of them saw the precepts pasted on his wall and asked him what they were about. As Li explained that one had to abide by these precepts to become a Tzu Chi volunteer, he experienced an awakening and stopped taking drugs ever since. Whenever he felt the urge to take drugs again, he would think of Tzu Chi and be reminded of his determination to stay on the path of self-renewal.

Li has shared his story of transformation to prison inmates, parents and children, and the general public, hoping to inspire goodness and reflection in people's hearts and minds. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

When Li was training to becoming a Tzu Chi volunteer, he still often went out to drink with his friends. Once, after drinking too much, he started a fight, and in the middle of all the chaos, he heard a voice. "I don't believe this kind of person can become a Tzu Chi volunteer." It was his mother speaking. Again, awakened from his wrongful ways, Li repented to his mother and expressed his resolution to become a Tzu Chi volunteer. "I've heard too many empty promises," was all that his mother said. From that moment, Li strived and persevered till he completely quit alcohol. And later, having served as a cleaning volunteer at the Jing Si Abode in Hualien, Taiwan, he also gave up smoking altogether.

"I want to be a useful person!" exclaimed Li, who not only enjoys doing recycling work, but is more than happy to serve and help. He has visited prisons to share his own story and inspire people with similar experiences to break free from the terrible suffering brought by drug addiction. Having trained for two years and become a Tzu Chi volunteer certified by Dharma Master Cheng Yen (證嚴上人), Li feels proud to be serving with Tzu Chi. Wearing his suit that only certified volunteers own, Li spoke with pride in his voice. "This suit represents honor and goodness."

Li's relationship with his family has also transformed. He has expressed his regrets to his daughter and even hugged her, something he has never done in the past. "Even though he doesn't say it, he now tries very hard to show and express his love for me," said Li's daughter, who is deeply grateful for his father's change. "I have a dad now!" Li's mother is also full of joy, and having witnessed her son's complete transformation, she said with a smile, "My son is finally back!"

Li hugs his daughter as he expresses his regrets to her. Li was never present when she was growing up and has even hit her before. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

Li's mother is happy and relieved to see her son turn over a new leaf in life. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

One evening, as Li Jia-lin (李嘉霖) was watching a Da Ai Drama on TV after taking drugs, he broke down in tears and decided to change for good.

Having taken drugs, swindled money, beaten people up, and served time in prison, Li Jia-lin has fully reformed himself and is now a Tzu Chi volunteer leading a life of giving and service. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

A drug addict for over 20 years, Li started taking drugs at the age of 18 and had been in and out of prison many times. Doted upon by his parents since little, Li was an arrogant, unruly and spoiled kid. After being admitted to a technical school with good grades, his parents gave him a scooter, little knowing that this present would lead their son onto a stray path.

At school, an older student picked on Li for owning a scooter. To take revenge, Li got a friend to beat up the bully and ended up being suspended from school. Afterwards, he started working in a factory and every night, Li would street race with his friends on scooters and spend time in karaoke bars and billiards bars. His friends introduced him to recreational drugs, and soon Li got addicted to them.

The Da Ai Drama about Dr. Chiu Chao-jong's story of selfless giving first aired in 2011. (Photo provided by Da Ai Drama)

As his income could no longer feed his addiction, Li started lying, cheating, and swindling for money. He was eventually caught by the police and put in jail. After he got out, he continued with his old ways. Time and again, Li had promised his parents to quit drugs and stay clean, but after endless broken promises, his parents have given up on him and simply took everything he said as lies.

One evening at around 10 PM, Li was wide awake after taking drugs and was watching a Da Ai Drama on TV about the real-life story of Chiu Chao-jong (丘昭蓉), a doctor who devoted herself to safeguard people's lives. Li had been watching the drama for some time and was touched by the selfless giving of the doctor. As he followed Dr. Chiu's story, he was shocked to learn that she had passed away and donated her body for medical education.

Li simply broke down bawling. "I was so shaken by the doctor's selfless giving. My tears simply couldn't stop rolling down, and it was like an expression of repentance," recalled Li. "When I learned that she became a body donor, I knelt down before the TV with a drug inhaler still in my hands, and cried my heart out." He vowed to become a Tzu Chi volunteer and lead a life of giving.

"During the Chinese New Year when all the family gathered, my son was still in prison. Those were very sad and hard times," recalled Li's father. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

"I'm going to join Tzu Chi," he told his parents. But, having lost all trust and confidence in their son, his parents simply told him not to cheat money out of them.

With the help of his mother, Li started recycling with Tzu Chi volunteers, who told him that volunteers don't drink nor smoke, as stipulated in Tzu Chi's Ten Precepts. At the time, Li was still taking drugs. To remind himself, Li pasted the precepts on a wall in his room, but the road of self-reform was not an easy path.

At the event celebrating his father's 70th birthday, Li was absent. He was at home, taking drugs with his friends. One of them saw the precepts pasted on his wall and asked him what they were about. As Li explained that one had to abide by these precepts to become a Tzu Chi volunteer, he experienced an awakening and stopped taking drugs ever since. Whenever he felt the urge to take drugs again, he would think of Tzu Chi and be reminded of his determination to stay on the path of self-renewal.

Li has shared his story of transformation to prison inmates, parents and children, and the general public, hoping to inspire goodness and reflection in people's hearts and minds. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

When Li was training to becoming a Tzu Chi volunteer, he still often went out to drink with his friends. Once, after drinking too much, he started a fight, and in the middle of all the chaos, he heard a voice. "I don't believe this kind of person can become a Tzu Chi volunteer." It was his mother speaking. Again, awakened from his wrongful ways, Li repented to his mother and expressed his resolution to become a Tzu Chi volunteer. "I've heard too many empty promises," was all that his mother said. From that moment, Li strived and persevered till he completely quit alcohol. And later, having served as a cleaning volunteer at the Jing Si Abode in Hualien, Taiwan, he also gave up smoking altogether.

Li hugs his daughter as he expresses his regrets to her. Li was never present when she was growing up and has even hit her before. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

"I want to be a useful person!" exclaimed Li, who not only enjoys doing recycling work, but is more than happy to serve and help. He has visited prisons to share his own story and inspire people with similar experiences to break free from the terrible suffering brought by drug addiction. Having trained for two years and become a Tzu Chi volunteer certified by Dharma Master Cheng Yen (證嚴上人), Li feels proud to be serving with Tzu Chi. Wearing his suit that only certified volunteers own, Li spoke with pride in his voice. "This suit represents honor and goodness."

Li's relationship with his family has also transformed. He has expressed his regrets to his daughter and even hugged her, something he has never done in the past. "Even though he doesn't say it, he now tries very hard to show and express his love for me," said Li's daughter, who is deeply grateful for his father's change. "I have a dad now!" Li's mother is also full of joy, and having witnessed her son's complete transformation, she said with a smile, "My son is finally back!"

Li's mother is happy and relieved to see her son turn over a new leaf in life. (Photo from Da Ai TV program Care in Action)

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