Inspiring Great Love Around the World

Dharma Master Cheng Yen and Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation



Inspiring Great Love Around the World
Dharma Master Cheng Yen and Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

Introduction • 1

Honorary Publisher Dharma Master Cheng Yen Editors Shih De Lin, Shih De Shu, Joseph Chan Reviewed by Department of Religious Culture and Humanitarian Aids, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Layout design by Robin Hsiu Feng Wang Published by Foreign Languages Department Tzu Chi Culture and Communication Foundation No. 2, Lide Road, Taipei 11259, Taiwan T +886-2-2898-9000 F +886-2-2898-9977 Printed in Taiwan First Printing: April 2010

05 Introduction
05 06 Introduction to Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation The Founding of Tzu Chi

12 Charitable Mission
12 Bringing hope to people in need 17 Transforming suffering by inspiring love 21 Aid work in China 23 International relief

30 Medical Mission
30 Relieving the suffering of the ill 37 Free medical care for the needy 40 Bone marrow donation

42 Educational Mission
42 Comprehensive education system 51 Instilling wholesome values in youths 52 Educational efforts overseas

56 Cultural Mission
56 Pursuing goodness, truth, and beauty 62 Community volunteerism 64 Environmental protection

69 Inspiring Great Love Within 70 Directory of Tzu Chi Offices Worldwide
Introduction • 3

Dharma Master Cheng Yen Founder of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

Introduction Introduction


Introduction to Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Introduction to

n the world today, one sees many ills. War, povn the world today, one sees many ills. War, poverty, erty, disease, natural disasters, and environmental disease, natural disasters, and environmental problems problems haveconsiderable human suffering. The sufferhave created created considerable human suffering. The suffering exists on many levels—physical, ing exists on many levels — physical, psychological psychological and spiritual. and spiritual. Reflecting onon this, Dharma Master Cheng Yen Reflecting this, Dharma Master Cheng Yen concluded that toto betterthe world, one has to begin by concluded that better the world, one has to begin bytransforming human hearts and minds. The root of transforming human hearts and minds. The root of many problems lies in human beings’ selfishness. If many problems lies in human beings’ selfishness. If people can expand the love they have for themselves people can expand the love they have for themand and families to the the entire human famiselves their their families toentire human family, many ly,problems will cease to exist. When When Love — many problems will cease to exist. Great Great unselfish love that embraces all humanity — is awakLove—unselfish love that embraces all humanity— is ened in all,in all, people will live differently, and awakened people will live differently, and the world will naturally become a better place. the world will naturally become a better place.
Introduction • 5 1 Introduction

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, founded by the Master, is an international non-profit organization devoted to spreading Great Love through its work in the fields of charity, medicine, education, and culture. These comprise Tzu Chi’s Four Missions, and they have subsequently extended to include Bone Marrow Donation, International Relief, Environmental Protection, and Community Volunteerism. Tzu Chi is a volunteer-based organization headquartered in Hualien, Taiwan, funded by donations from the public. Today, more than 40 years since its founding, Tzu Chi has branches in over 45 countries, with millions of supporters and tens of thousands of certified volunteers carrying out Tzu Chi’s missions around the world. Tzu Chi’s mission is more than just charity, however. More broadly, Tzu Chi’s goal is to spread the spirit of selfless Great Love. Like a seed that produces more seeds, compassionate actions can inspire more love, leading to a more peaceful and harmonious society.

The Founding of Tzu Chi

Tzu Chi was founded in 1966 by Dharma Master Cheng Yen, who was then but a young Buddhist monastic of age 29. At the time, the east coast of Taiwan, where the Master first settled, was undeveloped and impoverished. The Master and her monas-

6 • Introduction

Compassion in action is the underlying spirit of Tzu Chi Foundation.

tic disciples supported themselves by sewing baby shoes, making concrete sacks into smaller animal feed bags, knitting sweaters, and raising their own vegetables. One day in 1966, while the Master was visiting a patient at a small local clinic, she saw a pool of blood on the floor. The Master was told that the blood was from an aboriginal woman suffering from labor complications. Her family had carried her from their mountain village. They had been walking for eight hours, but when they arrived at the hospital, they did not have the NT$8,000 (then US$200) required fee. They could only carry her back untreated. Hearing this, the Master was overwhelmed with
Introduction • 7

sorrow. She thought to herself: As an impoverished monastic barely supporting herself, what could she do to help these poor people? A short time later, three Catholic nuns visited the Master, and they had a discussion on the teachings of their respective religions. When the Master explained that Buddhism teaches love and compassion for all living beings, the nuns commented: Why have we not seen Buddhists doing good works for
8 • Introduction

Jing Si Abode, the Buddhist monastery founded by Master Cheng Yen, is the spiritual home of all Tzu Chi members.

society, such as setting up nursing homes, orphanages, and hospitals? The nuns’ message struck a deep chord with the Master. Buddhism, she responded, teaches people to do good deeds without seeking recognition. However, she knew in her heart that without organization, what could be accomplished was very limited. The
Introduction • 9

Master considered: What if her disciples sold one extra pair of baby shoes per day? What if the thirty housewives that listened to her teachings could donate NT 50 cents (approximately US 1 cent) per day? In one year’s time, she calculated, they would have enough money to have saved that aboriginal woman. A small concerted effort, she realized, over time could make an enormous difference! Thus, the Master founded Tzu Chi. Fashioning coin banks out of bamboo, she asked her lay followers to drop a NT 50 cent coin into the bamboo bank every day before going to the market. “Why not simply donate NT$15 each month?” one follower asked. The amount was the same in dollars, the Master replied, but very different in spirit. The Master wanted each person to think of helping others every day, not just one day each month. As word spread and more people participated, there came to be Tzu Chi commissioners who were responsible for collecting donations. Commissioners traveled to villages to collect the savings in each of the bamboo banks. On one occasion, a commissioner complained that a particular donor lived so far away that the cost of the trip was more than the amount donated. The Master, however, replied that giving people an opportunity to participate was as important as the donation itself. By collecting donations from people, the commissioners were in
10 • Introduction

Residents of the Jing Si Abode support their own livelihood by doing various works. Here beans were put out to dry in preparation for making instant mix bean drink powders.

fact nurturing seeds of kindness in each donor. This kindness, not the donation, was the Master’s true mission. Dharma Master Cheng Yen deeply believes that all people are capable of the same great compassion as the Buddha. True compassion, however, is not just having sympathy for another’s suffering—it is to reach out to relieve that suffering with concrete actions. In founding Tzu Chi, the Master wished to give ordinary citizens the chance to actualize this compassion, which will bring inner peace and happiness to the individual, and pave the way for world peace and harmony.
Introduction • 11

Charitable Mission


Bringing hope to people in need
zu Chi began with charitable work. In the beginning years, the Master would personally visit the poor to learn firsthand of the conditions in which they lived. From this, she would determine the family’s greatest need or the root problems underlying their difficulties. Today, many Tzu Chi volunteers conduct Tzu Chi’s charitable work in the same spirit as the Master on her first visits to the needy. Tzu Chi strives to provide personalized aid, based on each case’s individual needs, but underlying each unique act is the giving of love. The Master believes that every life is equally precious. When the poor are shown genuine love and respect, they can heal their hearts and be empowered.

12 • Charitable Mission

Tzu Chi’s first winter aid distribution in 1969 benefitted over 40 families, more than 200 people in total.

Fundamental to Tzu Chi’s charitable work is the mission to inspire love and goodness within each person—both the receiver and the giver. When people’s hearts are filled with love for others, they will become spiritually rich. Tzu Chi’s mission is to enable everyone to become spiritually rich and enjoy peace and happiness.

Long-term assistance: Regular financial assistance for the poor and ill, after assessment of need. Tzu Chi volunteers regularly visit poor and ill people and their families. Besides financial assistance, volunteers offer personal care, and help with evCharitable Mission • 13

Categories of charitable work

eryday tasks, like spring cleaning for the elderly with restricted mobility. As of December 2009, Tzu Chi has provided long-term assistance to a total of 37,249 households in Taiwan. Regular support and care: Care to those who do not need financial assistance but require encouragement, support, or guidance. These cases include elderly people living alone who have no surviving family, families with a disabled or ill family member, and people mourning the death of a close relative or friend. Tzu Chi volunteers make periodic visits to offer emotional support. If professional counseling is needed, Tzu Chi will help the family find a trained professional. In 2009 alone, Tzu Chi volunteers in Taiwan made a total of 113,598 such home visits. Care for people living in institutions: Periodic visits to institutions serving people with special needs (e.g., nursing homes and schools for the disabled) as well as prisons and juvenile correctional centers. Volunteers offer love and friendship, and organize activities and programs on inspirational topics. Short-term crisis aid: Short-term assistance to people temporarily in hardship due to a natural disaster, accident, or sudden misfortune. Volunteers help these people overcome their immediate difficulties. Depending on the nature of the need, aid may include money for basic needs, tuition assis14 • Charitable Mission

Tzu Chi volunteers helped clean up the disaster area of Typhoon Morakot in 2009.

tance for children, medical care, home repairs, or help with funeral arrangements. Sometimes these cases become candidates for long-term aid, and are transferred to Tzu Chi’s long-term assistance program. As of December 2009, Tzu Chi has handled a total of 175,961 cases of short-term crisis aid in Taiwan, with 13,851 cases in 2009 alone. Large-scale disaster relief: Disaster prevention and relief efforts in times of disaster. Example: When a typhoon warning is issued during Taiwan’s typhoon season, Tzu Chi volunteers go around the community to promote disaster preparedness and visit underprivileged families to help them with preparations including roof repairs. When the tyCharitable Mission • 15

phoon creates a disaster, volunteers go into the affected areas to provide comfort and offer hot meals, emergency cash, material supplies, and medical treatments. In the aftermath of a flood or mudslide, volunteers help with the cleanup efforts. Volunteers also survey those affected by the disaster to determine if there is any need for further mid- or longterm assistance.

Local charitable efforts outside Taiwan

Although Tzu Chi was founded in Taiwan, local volunteers carry out its charitable mission in other countries. Some volunteers emigrated from Taiwan;

Tzu Chi volunteers conducted a winter aid distribution in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, in 2008.

16 • Charitable Mission

South African Tzu Chi volunteers caring for an AIDS patient.

others are locals who learned of Tzu Chi and were inspired to spread its mission. Funds for projects are generally raised locally. Depending on the resources and local needs, volunteers in each country carry out different works, though with the same underlying principle of Great Love for all, regardless of race, religion, or nationality. There are currently Tzu Chi volunteers in over 47 countries across the continents of Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, and Australia.

Transforming suffering by inspiring love
Suffering takes many forms. It is not only the poor who suffer; the rich also have suffering. The

Charitable Mission • 17

Master believes that to truly relieve people’s suffering, one must begin by transforming their hearts. Inspiring the rich to help the poor: Tzu Chi encourages and guides the more fortunate to do good not only through donations, but also by directly helping people in need. Personally visiting the poor can be a transformative experience. It can awaken people’s compassion, allowing them to discover their ability to make a difference in another’s life. Feeling for the suffering of those in need, they will cherish and care for them with a genuine heart. Seeing them
Tzu Chi volunteers on a global fundraising campaign to deliver love to survivors of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

18 • Charitable Mission

relieved of their hardships, a sense of peace and joy will naturally arise. Guiding the poor while offering assistance: While giving aid to people in need, Tzu Chi volunteers not only provide material aid, but also offer their love, care, and guidance. Poverty often leads people to develop a low sense of self-worth. Poor people may even isolate themselves, out of shame. The volunteers’ goal is to gradually help people to open their hearts and change their perspective about life. With love and empathy, volunteers guide the poor to realize that they are not helpless. The Master believes that even the less fortunate can help others and that, by helping others—through even a very small donation or as a volunteer—they too can experience the benefits of seeing others relieved of their hardships. Volunteers also help able-bodied lacking gainful employment to regain their self-confidence, by arranging for them to acquire new skills they can use to support themselves. In summary, Tzu Chi’s charitable mission is about inspiring love and compassion in both the giver and receiver. Through reaching out to others, the spirit of love gets passed on, as every act of giving inspires love in more people. When everyone in society, rich and poor alike, is willing to help and care for others, society will become very peaceful, harmonious, and stable.
Charitable Mission • 19

Though impoverished, residents of the Dreamland Muzon village in the Philippines nevertheless donate three months of savings to help others in need.

20 • Charitable Mission

Aid work in China

The impetus for Tzu Chi’s aid work in China was a series of devastating floods in 1991 that caused massive destruction in the eastern part of the country. Feeling the suffering of the disaster survivors deeply, the Master made the decision to initiate a major relief effort. While the political tension between Taiwan and China brought many challenges to the relief work, by adhering to political neutrality, Tzu Chi was eventually able to distribute aid to survivors and build houses and schools. Since then, Tzu Chi has continued to carry out aid work in China, constructing new villages and relocating people living in the mountains of Guizhou

Tzu Chi’s winter aid distribution in Guizhou Province.

Charitable Mission • 21

Province where land and climate conditions have confined generations to poverty. Tzu Chi volunteers have built water cisterns in drought-stricken Gansu Province, provided tuition aid to poor children, and conducted yearly winter aid distributions to help the rural poor survive harsh winter conditions. Tzu Chi has continued to provide disaster relief in China, including major relief efforts following the Sichuan Earthquake of May 2008, where Tzu Chi engaged in short-, mid-, and long-term relief work. As of December 2009, Tzu Chi has provided aid in 27 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China.

Tzu Chi volunteers providing hot meals to survivors of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.

22 • Charitable Mission

International relief

The Master believes that as part of the human family, we should feel others’ suffering as our own. This spirit has led Tzu Chi to conduct disaster relief in over 68 countries, including Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, North Korea, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Turkey, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and El Salvador. On relief missions, Tzu Chi volunteers pay for all expenses for the trip personally, and they go there not only to provide aid but to bring their love to the people. It is Tzu Chi’s hope that the survivors can feel the genuine love, warmth, and care from their fellow human beings. Such care can go a long way in helping people heal and find the strength to begin their lives anew. Tzu Chi volunteers hope that these sincere interactions will inspire disaster survivors’ love and goodness so that one day, they too will help others in need. In 2003, Tzu Chi became a non-governmental organization associated with the United Nation’s Department of Public Information.

Tzu Chi’s disaster relief principles

Timeliness: to deliver relief supplies in the shortest time possible in order to meet urgent needs.
Charitable Mission • 23

Directness: to personally deliver supplies into the hands of those affected by disaster. Tzu Chi’s aid team first visits a disaster site to determine survivors’ specific needs and establish a roster for distribution. Distributing aid according to the roster is an important method to ensure that people in need of aid do receive it. Priority: to focus aid on the hardest-hit areas and on those in greatest need. Given limited resources, concentrating aid enables Tzu Chi to provide more substantial and effective support. Respect: to respect the local customs, lifestyle, religions, and cultural traditions. Tzu Chi members regard disaster survivors as a family member in need and are mindful of distributing aid in a way that respects their dignity. Practicality: to offer aid that is truly useful to disaster survivors. Tzu Chi’s aid team assesses and determines the most dire needs of a disaster area, so that every cent of public donation is put into good use by providing aid that is truly helpful.

From short-term to long-term aid

Following a disaster, Tzu Chi considers the need for short-, mid-, and long-term aid. In the immediate aftermath, Tzu Chi volunteers assess the survivors’ situations and depending on the needs and feasibility, help them settle into temporary homes, such as

24 • Charitable Mission

tents or prefabricated houses, and construct permanent housing and schools to fulfill long-term needs. Throughout these phases of aid, Tzu Chi volunteers strive to enable survivors to start life anew with a stable livelihood. This type of relief work was employed following the 2004 Asian Tsunami. This disaster brought devastation of unprecedented magnitude to the region. Tzu Chi promptly was prepared to provide disaster relief in the hardest hit areas of Aceh, Indonesia, and Hambantota, Sri Lanka. In the aftermath, Tzu Chi’s medical and aid teams inspected the damage, carried out relief aid distributions, and provided free medical treatments. For mid-term needs, Tzu Chi constructed a tent community. As part of the long-term relief, Tzu Chi built Great Love Villages in Indonesia (2,700 housing units) and Sri Lanka (649 housing units), including a school and community activity center. When Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar in 2008, Tzu Chi volunteers from Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand went there to provide medical treatment and distribute material aid to disaster survivors. They also delivered rice seeds and fertilizers to rice farmers. Tzu Chi is currently building schools for local children. Inspired by Tzu Chi’s humble origins and the selfless spirit of Tzu Chi volunteers, the locals have started a tradition of setting aside a
Charitable Mission • 25

26 • Charitable Mission

When Sri Lanka was devastated by the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Tzu Chi built a Great Love Village in Sri Lanka.

Charitable Mission • 27

Following the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake, Tzu Chi sent medical teams to Pakistan to provide medical care to quake survivors.

handful of rice daily to help the poorer families in their communities.


To facilitate and effectively carry out disaster relief work, in 2003, Tzu Chi formed the Tzu Chi International Humanitarian Aid Association (TIHAA), composed of entrepreneurs from various industries. TIHAA’s role is to provide logistical support in times of disaster and to research and develop goods specifically designed for use in disaster situations. For example, as disaster areas often lack electricity, TIHAA has developed instant rice and noodles that

28 • Charitable Mission

can be prepared just by adding water. It has also developed ways to convert recycled PET bottles into blankets and clothing which can be distributed to disaster survivors.

Blankets made out of recycled PET bottles, and bowls for use in disaster areas are some of the goods developed by TIHAA.

Charitable Mission • 29

Medical Mission


Relieving the suffering of the ill

n the early years of Tzu Chi’s charitable work, as the Master personally visited families in need, she discovered a link between poverty and illness. Illness often causes families to fall into poverty. At the same time, the poor tend to develop serious illnesses because they cannot afford regular medical treatment for common diseases. Seeing this, the Master set up a free clinic in Hualien City in 1972. Twice a week, doctors and nurses came and offered free medical services to the poor. Through the free clinic services, the Master discovered the need for a modern, well-equipped hospital in the remote eastern Taiwan. Local hospitals were unable to treat the more serious conditions, and patients often suffered from delayed treat-

30 • Medical Mission

ment as they had to be transferred to other areas. Although building a hospital was an enormous endeavor, the Master was resolved upon doing this, for she believed that every life should be safeguarded, no matter rich or poor.

Establishing a medical network

Today, Tzu Chi has built a total of six hospitals in different parts of Taiwan: Hualien, Yuli, Guanshan, Dalin, Xindian, and Tanzi. Hualien Tzu Chi General Hospital is now a tertiary medical center serving as a referral hospital for eastern Taiwan and a teaching center in partnership with Tzu Chi University. To better relieve patients’ suffering and save more lives, the hospitals maintain state-of-the-art facilities while the medical personnel provide cutting edge treatments with the latest medical research and technology. The hospitals are run on a “not-for-profit” model. With love as their underlying principle, Tzu Chi’s hospitals provide medical treatments to all people in need of medical care, but especially to the poor who cannot pay for treatment. Moreover, Tzu Chi hospitals emphasize humane, patient-centered care. In addition to building and running hospitals, Tzu Chi strives to make medical care widely accessible through medical outreach programs conducted by the staff of Tzu Chi’s hospitals as well as othMedical Mission • 31

32 • Medical Mission

Tzu Chi opened its fifth hospital in Xindian, Taipei County, in 2005, a milestone in Tzu Chi’s medical mission.

Medical Mission • 33

er medical volunteers in the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA).

Creating a medical culture of love and humanity

It is the Master’s belief that to truly relieve the suffering of the ill, what is needed is not only physical treatment, but also healing on the emotional and spiritual level. That is why Tzu Chi’s hospitals emphasize both quality medical services and warm care and love toward patients. To create a medical culture that emphasizes humanity and reverence for life, Tzu Chi’s hospitals

Tzu Chi volunteers’ care helps create a warm atmosphere of love and humanity within the hospital.

34 • Medical Mission

Medical staff and volunteers work together to offer holistic care to patients and family.

give their employees opportunities to do charitable work with Tzu Chi volunteers or participate in international disaster relief missions. New staff members attend training camps where they learn about Tzu Chi’s origins, the humanitarian work of Tzu Chi around the world, and its founding principles. Staff members are encouraged to view patients also as their teachers and to care for patients as they would their family. In addition, there are Tzu Chi volunteers serving in the hospital all year round. Besides assisting the staff with various tasks, volunteers visit with patients and their families and serve as a bridge between the doctors and patients. Their goal is to enMedical Mission • 35

able patients and their families to feel at home in the hospital and to provide them someone they can turn to for care and support. Volunteers are an integral part of Tzu Chi’s hospitals, and together with the medical staff, they form a united team providing comprehensive whole-person care to patients.

A hospital for the community

Besides providing direct medical care, Tzu Chi hospitals also serve their surrounding communities by holding preventative health classes. Tzu Chi hospitals strive to accommodate the needs of the community. In rural Yuli where most of the residents are farmers, Yuli Tzu Chi Hospital’s outpatient clin-

Tzu Chi Hospital in Tanzi, Taichung County, holding health talks for local community residents.

36 • Medical Mission

ic opens its doors at 6 a.m. This way, early-rising farmers can come see a doctor and still get home in time to carry out their day’s work. In Guanshan, the staff at Guanshan Tzu Chi Hospital regularly make house calls to the aboriginal tribes living in the nearby mountains. Another unique feature of Tzu Chi hospitals is the follow-up care provided to impoverished patients. When low-income or special-case patients are discharged from the hospital, Tzu Chi volunteers continue to visit them at home, to offer encouragement and even financial assistance as needed.

Free medical care for the needy
Tzu Chi has also organized a medical association, the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA), comprised of volunteering doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and pharmacists from other hospitals, clinics, and in private practice. TIMA members conduct medical outreaches with Tzu Chi volunteers, providing free medical services in remote areas, off-islands, and villages in the mountains, while paying for all transportation expenses themselves. As the medical care provided is free, it gives the poor a chance for treatment they otherwise
Medical Mission • 37

could not afford—treatment that often changes their lives, from the removal of tumors that have plagued them for years to cataract surgeries that give them back their eyesight. Besides serving in a medical capacity, these doctors and nurses are also involved in the non-medical activities of Tzu Chi, such as helping senior citizens clean up their houses, renovating rundown houses of the underprivileged, and distributing aid to disaster survivors. Through these activities, the medical professionals experience the genuine joy of helping people in need. Some have remarked that the volunteering returns them to their original motivation for going into the medical profession. Volunteers have

TIMA doctors provided dental care at a learning center in the Philippines in 2009.

38 • Medical Mission

TIMA members from Singapore and Malaysia held a free clinic for the poor in Sri Lanka in 2009.

said that seeing firsthand how other, less fortunate people struggle in life expands their horizons and opens their hearts. Today, there are TIMA members in over a dozen countries around the world. As of 2009, more than 7,000 medical professionals worldwide have joined TIMA, with chapters in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, the United States, Brazil and Paraguay. The services TIMA members provide vary by country and local needs.

Medical facilities around the world

Overseas Tzu Chi chapters have also set up medical facilities to serve the underprivileged. Free clinMedical Mission • 39

ic centers have been established in the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. In Malaysia, three dialysis centers have been established to provide free treatment to the poor.

Bone marrow donation
Tzu Chi Bone Marrow Registry
In 1992, the case of a Taiwanese student with leukemia highlighted the need for a marrow donor registry in Taiwan. Because bone marrow donation does not harm the donor and can turn around an entire family’s fate by saving the patient’s life, the Master resolved to establish a marrow donor registry. As the Taiwanese public had many misconceptions about marrow donation, Tzu Chi volunteers first had to make a tremendous effort to educate the public and promote this cause. Volunteers went to marketplaces, stood on street corners, and even rode on public buses to spread the word. Today, Tzu Chi’s bone marrow registry has over 319,000 potential donors registered with its marrow donor registry. It also participates in the international database BMDW (Bone Marrow Donor Worldwide). Since its establishment in 1993, Tzu Chi’s bone marrow registry has helped patients in 27 countries

40 • Medical Mission

receive life-saving bone marrow or stem cell transplants. In 2002, Tzu Chi’s registry developed into the Tzu Chi Stem Cell Center which operates a marrow donor registry, an umbilical cord blood bank, a recruitment group, and an immunogenetic research laboratory.

Care for the donors

For Tzu Chi’s marrow registry, there is a care team of volunteers in Taiwan who offer the donor support from the time of the match to the completion of the donation process. Once a match has been found, the care team begins assisting the potential donor. Should the potential donor have concerns about donating or face family opposition, the care team is there to provide information, support, or assistance with communicating to family members. The care team also accompanies the donor throughout the process, giving whatever help is needed, such as bringing one donor’s children to and from school and helping him move boxes at his bookstore after the marrow extraction procedure so he would not need to overexert himself. To Tzu Chi, both the lives of the donor and recipient are equally precious.

Medical Mission • 41

Educational Mission


Comprehensive education system

s the Master believes a society without sound moral values is one in danger of disorder and instability, she began efforts to emphasize morality in education. While the first school Tzu Chi established was the Tzu Chi Junior College of Nursing (later upgraded to the Tzu Chi College of Technology), which opened in 1989, the Master’s goal was to establish a comprehensive education system that would provide sound education from kindergarten to graduate studies. Nurturing good values and character must begin when children are still young, the Master believed. In 2000, the Master’s goal was realized. Today, Tzu Chi’s comprehensive education system in Taiwan includes several preschools and kindergartens,

42 • Educational Mission

two primary and secondary schools, the Tzu Chi College of Technology, and Tzu Chi University offering undergraduate and graduate studies with four colleges of medicine, life science, humanities and social sciences, and education and communication. The mission of these schools is to nurture the next generation into compassionate and responsible people who will contribute their talents and skills for the greater good of society.

Nurturing people of character and compassion

The Master believes that every person has basic goodness, but as children’s minds are easily influ-

At Tzu Chi’s elementary schools, students learn to respect their teachers.

Educational Mission • 43

enced, they need to be carefully nurtured and guided. When still young, children need to learn fundamental values; when they reach secondary school, they need guidance to develop their sense of conscience and be steered toward the right direction in life. Then, when they acquire professional knowl44 • Educational Mission

The Tzu Chi College of Technology in a spectacular setting, between the mountains and the sea.

edge and skills at vocational school or university, they can use their talents to benefit people instead of being motivated by personal gain, self-interest, or profit.
Educational Mission • 45

Daily life and experiential learning

Correct values begin with right conduct in daily life. Students at Tzu Chi’s schools are taught good habits from a young age, such as eating etiquette, proper attire and respectful behavior. In addition, they also learn life skills by taking part in serving food, washing dishes, tidying the classroom, taking out the garbage, and weeding the campus. These activities instill in students the sense of being responsible for and taking good care of their living environment. Students also participate in recycling work through which they learn the need to cherish resources and not be wasteful.

Students at Tzu Chi’s elementary school learn to develop good living habits.

46 • Educational Mission

Educational Mission • 47

At Tzu Chi’s schools, students learn about life through experiential learning. For example, starting from the kindergarten level, students visit orphanages, hospitals, and homes of the less fortunate. During these visits, students are guided to understand the hardships and difficulties of others, learn empathy and respect for others, appreciate the preciousness of life, and develop a sense of gratitude. Such activities are a part of the education at every level. The spirit of service is also an important component of Tzu Chi’s education. Students regularly participate in volunteer work in the community, such as street or beach cleanups. Students also volunteer at Tzu Chi’s hospitals. Besides expanding the students’ horizons, these opportunities nurture in the students a sense of contributing for the good of others.

A physical environment for learning

The learning at Tzu Chi’s schools is not only in the classroom or through activities, but through the impact of the physical environment as well. The campus is designed with open space and greenery, and classrooms are built in a way that allows children to see outside the building and feel integrated with their surroundings. The color of the buildings was specially chosen to produce a tranquil atmosphere that helps settle children’s minds, allowing them to learn more effectively.

48 • Educational Mission

Tzu Chi moms and dads

As role models are important in children’s growth and development, Tzu Chi’s secondary schools, college of technology, and university have a special mentorship program where Tzu Chi volunteers “adopt” students and care for them as if they were their own children. From them, the students learn important life values, from how to take care of themselves in daily life to how to get along with others and conduct themselves in various situations. Serving as counselors and friends, these Tzu Chi moms and dads help students develop good character and grow as a person.

Tzu Chi moms and dads provide care and guidance to students of Tzu Chi’s schools, playing the roles of mentor, counselor, and friend.

Educational Mission • 49

Silent Mentor program

Tzu Chi’s emphasis on instilling humanity is highlighted by Tzu Chi University’s Silent Mentor program. “Silent mentors” are body donors—people who have donated their bodies to Tzu Chi University’s medical college for use in medical training, such as anatomy class or advanced surgical simulation training. The program arranges for students to meet the donors’ families and learn about the donors’ lives. Because of this, the bodies the students study on are no longer just bodies. They become real people to the students, and these donors’ spirit of selfless love inspires the students to become better, more humane doctors.

At Tzu Chi University, medical students have the opportunity to hone their medical skills through hands-on simulation surgery.

50 • Educational Mission

Nurturing good teachers

Tzu Chi’s education is founded upon the principle of love. The Master therefore guides teachers to regard students as their own children, loving them while exercising wisdom and firmness in steering them to develop good character. Teachers also lead students by setting good examples in their daily life.

Instilling wholesome values in youths
Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association
Recognizing the importance of instilling good values and strong character in youths, Tzu Chi has established a Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association. Through learning to help others and interacting with people from different backgrounds, these youths, known as “Tzu Chings,” learn about life’s value and meaning. As of 2009, Tzu Ching chapters have been established in 81 colleges and universities in Taiwan. There are also Tzu Chings in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Educational Mission • 51

Caring for elderly people in a home visit, Tzu Chings not only provide warmth to others, but also nurture compassion in themselves.

Tzu Chi Teachers’ Association

Tzu Chi Teachers’ Association is comprised of teachers and others in the field of education who wish to learn Tzu Chi’s values and incorporate them into their teaching. Through the association’s activities, members learn to teach in a compassionate and patient way, never giving up on any student. The goal is not only to help students learn but also to nurture their good character.

Educational efforts overseas

Formal schools based on Tzu Chi’s educational values have also been established abroad. As of December 2009, there are nine Tzu Chi preschools

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and kindergartens (in the United States, Malaysia, and Indonesia), two Tzu Chi primary and secondary schools (in Indonesia and Thailand), and one Tzu Chi vocational school (in Indonesia). Tzu Chi chapters in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Malaysia also conduct weekend schools, called Tzu Chi Academy in some countries. These schools teach the Chinese language and instill the spirit of humanity through programs on Jing Si Aphorisms (aphorisms by the Master), flower arrangement, tea ceremony, recycling, and community service activities.

In the U.S., children from Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool and Kindergarten visit a senior home to give care to senior citizens.

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Projects of hope

Given the important role of education, Tzu Chi dedicates considerable resources to building and rebuilding schools. After the September 21, 1999 earthquake in Taiwan, Tzu Chi launched Project Hope and rebuilt 51 schools so students would not be deprived of a good education after the disaster. In the Iranian city of Bam, Tzu Chi rebuilt five schools for local children after they were destroyed by an earthquake in 2003. Tzu Chi has also built schools in impoverished areas in South Africa and China. As of December 2009, Tzu Chi has constructed 173 schools in 14 countries.

Tzu Chi volunteers with students of Fatemieh Girls High School, one of the five schools that Tzu Chi helped build in Iran following the 2003 Bam Earthquake.

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Cultural Mission


Pursuing goodness, truth and beauty
he Master founded Tzu Chi upon the deep conviction that every human being has inherent goodness and purity—and that this is human beings’ true nature. The noble and good qualities of this true nature are represented by the Chinese term, renwen 人文, which the Master describes as the core value of Tzu Chi’s culture. The aim of Tzu Chi’s cultural mission is to promote these wholesome values in society through cultural activities. When such wholesome values prevail in a society, there will be peace, harmony, and stability. Tzu Chi’s cultural mission encompasses different forms of media and mass communication, all dedicated to spreading the ideals of goodness, truth,

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At Jing Si Books and Café, one can find a variety of products from Jing Si Publications.

and beauty. In addition, the cultural mission includes local activities which strive to foster a healthy, cohesive community.

Working in the field of mass communication

Tzu Chi’s first venture in the field of culture was a biweekly newsletter in 1967 that reported Tzu Chi’s charitable works so donors could know how their donations were being used. The biweekly newsletter later evolved into the Tzu Chi Monthly magazine, providing in-depth coverage of Tzu Chi’s works along with inspiring real-life stories. In addition, Tzu Chi publishes Rhythms Monthly magazine and periodicals in English and Japanese. Branching out into the field of broadcasting, Tzu Chi began producing its own radio program in 1985. In 1998, Tzu
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Tzu Chi Humanitarian Center is the hub for Tzu Chi’s cultural mission.

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Chi launched its own cable television station, Da Ai TV (Da Ai means “Great Love” in Chinese), which can be accessed in most countries worldwide. Given the power of the media to reach a large audience, Tzu Chi is using this vehicle to inspire change for the good of the world. While there are many problems in the world, Tzu Chi strives to offer a different perspective and solution by delivering stories that highlight the good that can and are being done in society. In its news programs, Tzu Chi’s Da Ai TV educates the public and guides them to a more informed perspective on important issues. Tzu Chi also publishes books and produces CDs, DVDs, and other multimedia materials through its affiliated publishing divisions, as well as through the Jing Si Abode’s publication company, Jing Si Publications. Jing Si Books and Café have also been established in Taiwan and around the world. In 2005, Tzu Chi Humanitarian Center was opened in Taipei, bringing all of Tzu Chi’s media divisions together in one building—Da Ai TV, Da Ai Radio, Chinese and foreign language publications, Rhythms Monthly, and Jing Si Publications. Outside of Taiwan, Tzu Chi branches worldwide publish their own local Tzu Chi periodicals. In 2007, Tzu Chi Indonesia established DAAI TV Indonesia, which now airs in Jakarta, Medan, and Surabaya.

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Jing Si Halls

The Jing Si Hall is a place where the general public can come and learn about Tzu Chi’s spirit and ideals. The first Jing Si Hall was built in Hualien, Taiwan, to serve as a spiritual base for Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide. The hall consists of exhibition rooms displaying works carried out by Tzu Chi’s Four Missions, an international conference hall, sutra lecture hall and other facilities.

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Jing Si Hall symbolizes Tzu Chi’s spirit and values.

Since then, Jing Si Halls have also been built in other parts of Taiwan and in other countries. Like a contemporary temple, Jing Si Halls are spiritual centers where Tzu Chi volunteers gather for spiritual cultivation and hold activities for the local community. As such, Jing Si Halls are important anchors for Tzu Chi volunteers to promote Tzu Chi ideals at the community level.
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Community volunteerism
Building healthy communities
Working at the community level is core to Tzu Chi’s efforts to build a peaceful and harmonious society. The Master believes that the family and local community are the building blocks of society. When they are healthy, society will be peaceful and stable. To this end, Tzu Chi volunteers coordinate activities in the community that promote family values and wholesome principles. Activities include inspirational talks, parent-child activities, book clubs, neighborhood or beach cleanups, recycling programs, health checkups for the elderly, and bone marrow drives. These activities provide a chance for family members and neighbors to bond and offer

Community volunteers organize prayer sessions to bring local communities closer together.

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Tzu Chi’s parent-child camps help foster family bonding.

them means to contribute to their communities. In so doing, it fosters a greater sense of community.

Ordinary citizens with a sense of mission

It is through Tzu Chi’s community works that many people have been motivated to serve as volunteers. With Tzu Chi members themselves organized by neighborhood, the network of Tzu Chi members in each community makes it possible for Tzu Chi to mobilize quickly when disaster strikes. For example, when a major earthquake struck Taiwan on September 21, 1999, at 1:47 a.m., local Tzu Chi volunteers were on the scene within an hour to support the rescue workers and care for the disaster survivors. Within two hours, Tzu Chi had established a disaster relief center for coordinating Tzu Chi’s relief efforts, and by 5:30 a.m., Tzu Chi volunteers
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were already mobilized to provide breakfast for rescue workers and survivors. Very often, Tzu Chi volunteers are disaster victims themselves. Nevertheless, having built up a sense of mission toward helping the community, these volunteers readily set aside their own personal affairs to plunge into disaster relief efforts. Feeling the pain of others as their own, Tzu Chi volunteers are essentially on 24-hour standby, always ready to serve. Serving others has become a part of their life mission. It is these Tzu Chi volunteers who are the main force behind all of Tzu Chi’s missions. While professionals run the institutions, such as the hospitals or schools, the volunteers provide the foundation. In disaster sites, they are seen distributing aid to the needy. In the hospitals, they dedicate themselves to providing comfort for the patients. In schools, they serve as mentors to students. In their neighborhoods, they design and implement community activities to promote spirituality. They highlight the unique grassroots, volunteer-based nature of Tzu Chi—seeking to transform society from its base.

Environmental protection

Today, our planet faces climate change which is threatening the welfare of all living on Earth. Scientists have confirmed that human activities are the

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Kids from Tzu Chi Kindergarten have a share in protecting the Earth too!

root cause of global warming. What is required, the Master emphasizes, is a major shift in thinking and change in the modern consumerist lifestyle. In an effort to address this problem, Tzu Chi has initiated community-based recycling programs. The aim, however, is not only to reduce garbage and recover resources, but to enable people to develop environmental consciousness. In doing recycling work, people see with their own eyes the conseCultural Mission • 65

quences of a consumerist lifestyle. The experience makes them reflect, and they start living differently. Conserving resources and cherishing Mother Earth gradually become a way of life. Tzu Chi also organizes other community activities to engage people in environmental protection work and promote environmental awareness.

One person can make a difference

Tzu Chi’s recycling efforts started in 1990, when in a public speech, the Master encouraged the audience to sort out recyclables with the hands they were applauding her with. Hearing this, a young woman

Community residents joyfully sort out recyclables at a Tzu Chi recycling station.

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began asking her neighbors to sort out recyclables from their garbage, which she would collect from them. Her example inspired others to follow suit. Individuals across Taiwan started to collect and sort out recyclables, and encourage their neighbors to do the same. Today, there are over 79,000 Tzu Chi recycling volunteers worldwide, with over 4,500 Tzu Chi recycling stations in Taiwan alone. Getting the entire community involved in recycling and aware of environmental issues is the goal of these volunteers. In 16 countries, local Tzu Chi volunteers are spearheading similar efforts. Meanwhile, earnings from recycling go toward good causes. In Taiwan, recycling earnings fund Tzu Chi’s Da Ai TV. In Malaysia, they provide free dialysis treatment for the poor at Tzu Chi’s dialysis centers. In China, they enable poor students to receive an education through tuition aid.

Green living

To promote environmental consciousness, Tzu Chi organizes beach cleanups, tree-planting, and talks on simple living, recycling, and other environmental issues. Because a meat diet has negative impact on the environment, Tzu Chi volunteers also promote vegetarianism and hold vegetarian culinary classes.
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Using reusable bowls, chopsticks and cups is one way to promote environmentalism.

Besides promoting environmentalism, Tzu Chi volunteers practice it themselves. For group events, Tzu Chi volunteers strive to reduce carbon emissions by arranging for public transportation, renting coach buses, carpooling, and group cycling or walking when the venue is close by. In addition, disposables are not used at activities. Tzu Chi volunteers instead use reusable bowls, chopsticks, and cups which they always carry with them when eating out. Tzu Chi also incorporates green concepts into its construction projects, such as rainwater catchment systems and solar panels. Buildings are designed to
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maximize natural air ventilation and lighting to reduce electricity use. Instead of nonpermeable concrete pavements, the ground is paved with interlocking bricks laid on gravel so rainwater can be returned to the earth.

Inspiring Great Love Within

Tzu Chi is an organization that strives to transform society through its Four Missions by transforming people and inspiring Great Love. What Tzu Chi has accomplished in a little over four decades highlights the human capacity for Great Love. Tzu Chi has shown that remarkable things can be accomplished when people’s inner Great Love is awakened and put into action. It all begins with a seed—one person with Great Love. The Master reminds us that each of us can be that seed.

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Directory of Tzu Chi Offices Worldwide
TAIWAN Main Office Tel: 886-3-8266779/80 Fax: 886-3-8267776 Tzu Chi Humanitarian Center Tel: 886-2-28989000 Fax: 886-2-28989977 ARGENTINA Tel/Fax: 54-11-48661440 AUSTRALIA Brisbane Tel: 61-7-32727938 Fax: 61-7-32727283 Gold Coast Tel: 61-7-55717706 Fax: 61-7-55717703 Melbourne Tel: 61-3-98971667 Fax: 61-3-98974288 Perth Tel/Fax: 61-8-92278228 Sydney Tel: 61-2-98747666 Fax: 61-2-98747611 BRAZIL Tel: 55-11-55394091 Fax: 55-11-55391683 BRUNEI Tel/Fax: 673-3340850 CANADA Edmonton Tel/Fax: 1-780-4639788 Montreal Fax: 1-514-8442079 Toronto Tel: 1-905-9471182 Fax: 1-905-9474655 Vancouver Tel: 1-604-2667699 Fax: 1-604-2667659 DOMINICAN REP. Tel: 1-809-5300972 EL SALVADOR Tel: 1-503-22757616 Fax: 1-503-22757615 FRANCE Tel: 33-1-64663356 Fax: 33-1-64772690






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GERMANY Tel: 49-40-56195828 Fax: 49-40-4112673 GREAT BRITAIN Tel: 44-208-5568111 Fax: 44-208-5569333 GUATEMALA Tel: 502-22327648 Fax: 502-23675872 HONG KONG Tel: 852-28937166 Fax: 852-28937478 INDONESIA Tel: 62-21-6016332 Fax: 62-21-6016334 JAPAN Tel: 81-3-32035651 Fax: 81-3-32035674 JORDAN Tel/Fax: 962-6-5817305 LESOTHO Tel: 266-22327025 Fax: 266-22321877 MALAYSIA Ipoh Tel: 60-5-2551013 Fax: 60-5-2421013 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 60-3-78809048 Fax: 60-3-78808158

Melaka Tel: 60-6-2810818 Fax: 60-2-2812796 Penang Tel: 60-4-2281013 Fax: 60-4-2261013 Kedah Tel/Fax: 60-4-7339620 MEXICO Tijuana Tel/Fax: 1-619-4263228 Mexicali Tel: 1-760-7688998 Fax: 1-760-7686631 NETHERLANDS Tel: 31-629-577511 NEW ZEALAND Tel: 64-9-2716976 Fax: 64-9-2724639 PARAGUAY Tel: 595-21-221621 Fax: 595-21-310588 PHILIPPINES Tel: 63-2-7142288 Fax: 63-2-7141188 SINGAPORE Tel: 65-65829958 Fax: 65-65829952

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SOUTH AFRICA Cape Town Tel: 27-21-9137082 Fax: 27-21-9137507 Durban Tel: 27-31-7009476 Fax: 27-31-7009477 Johannesburg Tel: 27-11-7826830 Fax: 27-11-7821261 Ladysmith Tel: 27-36-6310750 Fax: 27-36-6312831 THAILAND Tel: 66-2-6421888 Fax: 66-2-6421890 TURKEY Tel: 90-212-6609825 Fax: 90-212-6609683 UNITED STATES Headquarters: San Dimas Tel: 1-909-4477799 Fax: 1-909-4477948 Arlington Tel: 1-817-2612029 Fax: 1-817-2771592 Atlanta Tel: 1-770-9868669 Fax: 1-770-9867466

Austin Tel: 1-512-4910358 Fax: 1-512-9261373 Boston Tel: 1-617-7620569 Fax: 1-617-7620568 Cerritos Tel: 1-562-9266609 Fax: 1-562-9267669 Chicago Tel: 1-630-9636601 Fax: 1-630-9609360 Cleveland Tel/Fax: 1-216-4311212 Columbus Tel: 1-614-457-9215 Fax: 1-614-457-9217 Dallas Tel: 1-972-6808869 Fax: 1-972-6807732 Detroit Tel/Fax: 1-248-6892019 Hawaii Tel: 1-808-7378885 Fax: 1-808-7378889 Indianapolis Tel: 1-317-6633244 Fax: 1-317-6633261






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Kansas Tel: 1-913-6311069 Fax: 1-913-7584225 Long Island Tel: 1-516-8736888 Fax: 1-516-7460626 Madison Tel: 1-608-2687692 Miami Tel: 1-954-8304370 Fax: 1-317-6459907 New Jersey Tel: 1-973-8578666 Fax: 1-973-8579555 New York Tel: 1-718-4604590 Fax: 1-718-4602068 San Jose Tel: 1-408-4576969 Fax: 1-408-9438420 Northwest L.A. Tel: 1-818-7277689 Fax: 1-818-7279272 Orlando Tel/Fax: 1-407-2921146 Phoenix Tel: 1-480-8386556 Fax: 1-480-7777665

Pittsburgh Tel: 1-412-5318343 Fax: 1-412-5318341 San Diego Tel: 1-858-5460578 Fax: 1-858-5460573 San Francisco Tel: 1-415-6820566 Fax: 1-415-6820567 Savannah, Georgia Tel: 1-912-5988006 Fax: 1-912-5988002 West L.A. Tel: 1-310-4735188 Fax: 1-310-4779518 Seattle Tel: 1-425-8227678 Fax: 1-425-8226169 St. Louis Tel: 1-636-2965522 Fax: 1-314-5763669 Houston Tel: 1-713-9818966 Fax: 1-713-9819008 Washington DC Tel: 1-703-7078606 Fax: 1-703-7078607 VIETNAM Tel: 84-8-8475061 Fax: 84-8-8452585

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To better the world, we must begin by transforming the hearts and minds of humanity. When the goodness in every human being is awakened, world peace shall be possible. - Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation