From Risk-taker to Care-giver

By Zhang Ying-fen (張瑛芬)
Abridged and translated by Shawn Chang (張牧軒)
                                                Rosalind Chang (張薰云)

From Risk-taker to Care-giver

By Zhang Ying-fen (張瑛芬)
Abridged and translated by
Shawn Chang (張牧軒)
Rosalind Chang (張薰云)

Chen Cong-lie talks about the joy of helping others in a study group. (Photo by Lin Jun-ting)

Chen Cong-lie (陳聰烈) joined his father in doing scallion wholesale business in his teens. This opened his eyes to the reality of life, yet also led his to development of a bad habit: gambling. Back then, whenever produce prices were high, he could easily earn large sums of money, which he would lavish on gambling wastefully.

Even after Chen got married, his gambling addiction continued, and he often racked up heavy debts that his wife had to pay for, which became a continuous source of disagreement between the couple. Chen repeatedly attempted to quit gambling, but he always failed. Once, he even sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night by climbing down a plumbing pipe to go gambling so that no one would know. Because of these instances, over time, his wife gave up on him and took it upon herself to raise their children on her own.

Chen first joined in Tzu Chi's work by doing recycling. Nowadays, he takes part in many of Tzu Chi's activities. (Photo by Lin Jun-ting)

However, things began to change when Chen's father fell ill and was hospitalized in Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital. During that period, Chen frequently visited his father in the hospital and was impressed by the dignified demeanor and kindness of the Tzu Chi volunteers there. He thought, "How wonderful it would be if I could be like them!" Also, when Chen spent time with his father in his ward, he watched a Da Ai drama series based on the life story of a Tzu Chi volunteer who had gone through unimaginable hardship and was even severely disfigured after a stranger threw sulfuric acid over her, but still chose to be a forgiving and kindhearted person. This touched Chen deeply, and he began to believe that one should use one's life to do meaningful things.

Therefore, Chen began to make donations to Tzu Chi. Seeing this, his wife thought that taking part in Tzu Chi's activities might help him quit gambling, so she asked Tzu Chi volunteers to sign Chen up as a volunteer. When Chen was receiving training to be a volunteer, he learned Tzu Chi's Ten Precepts, of which the seventh precept happened to be, "Do not gamble or speculate." Giving rise to deep remorse, he decided to quit gambling once and for all.

Chen and his wife saved up one million NT dollars (roughly US$33,333) within two and a half years by selling vegetables, and they donated the money to Tzu Chi. (Photo by Huang Wu-tian)

Initially, his wife was skeptical of his decision as Chen had tried to quit gambling so many times before, but had always failed. However, she was pleasantly surprised to see that Chen had finally managed to walk the talk this time, and he had since happily participated in various Tzu Chi activities. In fact, Chen's wife would sometimes even complain about how much time Chen had spent on doing Tzu Chi's work while secretly being approving and supportive of him. Therefore, when Chen mentioned his idea to save up one million NT dollars (roughly US$33,333) together to donate to Tzu Chi, his wife agreed instantly, and they achieved this in just two and a half years with their unpredictable income as vegetable vendors. Chen decided to donate that money in his wife's name to show his gratitude and repentance toward her for what she had gone through because of his past misdeeds.

Nowadays, Chen enjoys a fulfilling life serving with Tzu Chi, and his family members are all pleased to see how he has become a different person. He wishes that his wife can join him in his volunteering endeavors. "If my wife can also become a Tzu Chi volunteer, that will be truly perfect," Chen said.

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