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20,000 Celebrate 46th Anniversary of Tzu Chi

On 14 April, more than 20,000 people in 22 countries celebrated the 46th birthday of the Tzu Chi Foundation. Connected by videoconferencing technology, Tzu Chi volunteers and members in 150 branches around the world chanted the Medicine Buddha Sutra and prayed together in unison for all living beings.

Master De Tzu leading the Abode’s monastic members and Tzu Chi volunteers in chanting the Medicine Buddha Sutra at the Jing Si Abode in Hualien, Taiwan. (Photo by Hsu Rong-hui)

In her address, Dharma Master Cheng Yen expressed her gratitude to all Tzu Chi volunteers for their contributions over the last 46 years to help those in need. She commended that they had brought peace and harmony wherever they went and encouraged everyone to continue on the bodhisattva path and bring peace and harmony to every corner of the world.

Founded in the rural eastern coast of Taiwan in 1966, the then Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Association began with regular donations from 30 housewives who each saved 50 NT cents (S$0.02) a day in bamboo banks to fund charity work. As more and more people joined in, the scope of the organization expanded and now Tzu Chi has 10 million members and offices in 50 countries, and has carried out relief work in 72 countries.

On the founding day of 24 March on the lunar calendar in 1966, a prayer service on the Medicine Buddha Sutra was held in line with Master Cheng Yen’s wish for her followers to observe the 12 vows of the Medicine Buddha, put them in practice, and live out the Buddhist teaching of benefitting humanity. Since then, it became a custom for the Jing Si Abode to host the prayer service on the 24th of each lunar month together with its monthly relief distribution for the sick and needy to dedicate the merits to all living beings.

Each year on the anniversary of the Foundation, Dharma Master Cheng Yen and her monastic disciples will chant the Medicine Buddha Sutra to thank all Tzu Chi members around the world for their continued support. The 2-hour prayer service on last Saturday began at 9.30am Taiwan time when the Master and her monastic disciples led all the participants in chanting at the Jing Si Abode. The service brought together the positive thoughts of everyone in praying for harmony in the minds of people and the larger society and in wishing happiness to everyone.

A distribution service for nearly 200 Tzu Chi care recipients who came to the Abode was also held that day. The service included a free clinic, a free hair cut and hair-perm, a lunch reception and distribution of goods. The scene was akin to a big family reunion, adding to the joyful vibe of the anniversary celebrations.

Come this May 13, Tzu Chi branches worldwide will be observing Buddha Day, Mother’s Day and Global Tzu Chi Day by holding prayer ceremonies at their local offices. This worldwide event is part of Tzu Chi’s 46th anniversary celebrations. Tzu Chi Singapore will host a world peace interfaith prayer ceremony at Yio Chu Kang Stadium from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and we cordially invite you to join us to pray for the betterment of mankind and world peace.

Thanks to videoconferencing technology, volunteers and members in Singapore get to chant to the Medicine Buddha Sutra along with their worldwide counterparts. (Photo by Yong Keah Pei)

Our new CEO and Vice CEO, Brother Low Swee Seh (second from left) and Brother Chang Cheng Chang (farthest left) leading all volunteers and members in praying for the world at the end of the prayer service. (Photo by Yong Keah Pei)

Many volunteers claimed to have experienced a deep stillness during the chanting. (Photo by Yong Keah Pei)

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