Dharma Master Cheng Yen

24th Recipient, 2007, Republic of China

Master Cheng Yen was born in 1937 in a small town in central Taiwan. In 1963, the most venerable Master Yin Shun accepted her as his disciple, teaching her to be committed to Buddhism and to all living beings. In 1966, Master Cheng Yen established the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Since then she has been deeply involved in worldly affairs with an otherworldly spirit. With a mission of “humanizing Buddhism and bringing bodhisattvas into this world,” Master Cheng Yen and the Tzu Chi Foundation have worked in four major areas—charity, medicine, education, and culture. Since its establishment, the Tzu Chi Foundation has grown steadily under the Master’s guidance. Starting with just 30 members, Tzu Chi has now recruited millions of volunteers in 231 offices in 40 countries. Every day close to 100,000 volunteers carry out the Master’s teaching to help the poor and spread compassion to every dark corner of the world.