Venerable Master Cheng-Yen (b. 1937)

Venerable Master Cheng-yen is the founder of the Tzu Chi Foundation, one of the largest Buddhist philanthropic organizations in the world. She was born in 1937 into a middle-class family in the central city of Taizhong, Taiwan. At the age of 16 years, she took an oath to the Compassionate Bodhisattva Guanyin, whereby she vowed to become a lay Buddhist for 12 years if her mother recovered from a serious illness. Her mother did recover, which inspired her desire to become a Buddhist nun and dedicate her life to the Buddhist dharma. Her father died from brain hemorrhage caused by a stroke when she was 24 years. Chengyen's compassion and empathy resulted in her feeling some sense of responsibility for his death. As a result, ...

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