Dharma Master Cheng Yen was born in 1937 in a small town in Taichung County, Taiwan. When she was twenty-three years old, she left home to become a Buddhist nun, and was instructed by her mentor, Venerable Master Yin Shun, to work “for Buddhism and for all living beings.”
In 1966, she founded a charity, which later turned into the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, to “help the poor and educate the rich”—to give material aid to the needy and inspire love and humanity in both givers and recipients.
In recent years, Master Cheng Yen’s contributions have been increasingly recognized by the global community. In 2011, she was recognized with the Roosevelt Institute’s FDR Distinguished Public Service Award and was named to the 2011 TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people.
Master Cheng Yen translates the essence of the Buddha’s teachings into simple and easy- to- understand language to exemplify life lessons. Her exquisite words and caring thoughts inspire wisdom and provide direction amidst delusional thinking. When all of us diligently practice her teachings, cherish ourselves and others, and respect and love Mother Nature, all things can coexist in harmony, the climate will be temperate, and the world will be peaceful and free from disasters.
In the world, there are natural disasters caused by the disequilibrium of the Four Elements (earth, water, fire, and air) as well as man-made conflicts caused by uncontrollable human desires. Actually, the disharmony in people's minds is even more dangerous than the disequilibrium of the climate. With their disquieted minds, people disrupt the order of Nature's laws, throwing the entire environment into disarray.
Filial piety is the foundation of human decency. A filial and respectful person is blessed. We should start with ourselves to revive filial piety, which is the original goodness of human nature. Like waves, our actions will ripple out to influence our family members, our community, and then the world. When all of us diligently practice filial piety, cherish ourselves and others, and respect and love Mother Nature, all things can coexist in harmony, the climate will be temperate, and the world will be peaceful and free from disasters.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen expects everyone to influence a classmate, colleague, friend, or relative to become a bodhisattva. She hopes that each person can even resolve to inspire one bodhisattva every day. If everyone can do this, the energy of love will fill all places and the strength to purify human minds will be enhanced. Only then can we gather enough committed people in this troubled world and this era of declining Dharma to promulgate the Dharma, benefit all beings, and promote Buddhism in the human realm. If we do not act immediately, it will soon be too late.