Q1：What kind of organization is Tzu Chi?
Tzu Chi was established in 1966 in Hualien, Taiwan by Dharma Master Cheng Yen. The Foundation’s Four Major Missions are Charity, Medicine, Education, and Humanistic Culture, which, over the years, have unfolded to include International Relief, Bone Marrow Donation, Environmental Protection, and Community Volunteerism. There are currently 643 Tzu Chi chapters/contact points in 57 countries/regions, with a total of more than 10 million donors and close to 2 million volunteers worldwide. Tzu Chi has provided aid to 97 countries/regions, alleviating the suffering of people in need regardless of of race, nationality or religion.
Q2：As a Buddhist organization, does Tzu Chi require its volunteers and beneficiaries to convert to Buddhism?
Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi, believes that all religions help people to understand life's purpose and principles, and that every righteous religion guides people to live a moral and meaningful life. Despite their apparent differences, all religions stress on human development and advocate a life of service. Sharing a common spirit of Great Love, our volunteers do not differentiate one another based on race or religion, and Tzu Chi does not require the volunteers and beneficiaries to change their religion.
Q3：How does Tzu Chi live out the spirit of Buddhism?
The goal of Tzu Chi is to live out the Buddhist values of loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity while working to relieve the suffering of people. Through their participation in Tzu Chi’s activities, our volunteers are able to gain an understanding of the Dharma and purify their own hearts and minds. They cultivate their character and refine their thoughts, speech and actions by applying the Buddha’s teachings they have learned in their daily lives, which benefit themselves as well as others.