posted Feb 18, 2011, 7:09 AM by Site Administrator
by Mark O'Neill

"This book tells the story of the largest NGO in the Chinese-speaking world, the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. It is the first full-length book on this subject in English written from the inside. The author was given unparalleled access to the organization, interviewing fulltime staff and volunteers in Taiwan and other countries.

The story begins in 1937 with the birth of a girl in an ordinary family in a small town in Taiwan, then a colony of Japan. It explains how the experience of the war and the sudden death of her father persuaded her to turn away from the life as a wife and mother which the family planned for her. Instead, she left home and became a Buddhist nun in East Taiwan, the poorest part of the island.

Cheng Yen established the foundation in 1966, to help the poor and the sick. It has since grown to more than 10 million members in nearly 50 countries around the world, providing international relief and medical aid, running schools, hospitals and a university, the biggest marrow bank in Asia and an environmental effort involving more than 100,000 people.

Tzu Chi is run with the efficiency of a multinational company; many of its members are executives of Taiwan’s biggest companies. It is the first Chinese charity to establish a global presence, on the principle that everyone, whatever their color, race or religion, is worthy of help. This is due to the charisma of its founder and the hard work of millions of unpaid volunteers. The book tells their dramatic and moving story."