Good Luck to Myself

Monday, December 18, 2006

Literature review

The most important belief in Buddhism is mercy (Tzu Chi Monthly, Oct. 2006). Everything in the world, human, animals, and environment, is equal. All human are one part of the world much more help each other. We live in the same globe, breathing the same air and standing on the same earth. The lives of us are related with others.The same idea from the following sentence is from the book of NGO (non-government organization). Michael P. Todaro,
The world is like the human body; if one part aches,
the rest will feel it; if many parts hurt, the whole will
Therefore, the thought, all creatures living in the same boat and tightly connected each other, are the same idea by coincidence between the western society and the eastern society nowadays.
Master Cheng Yen is the major leader of Buddhism Tzu Chi Foundation. She not only built up Buddhism Tzu Chi Foundation to practice the Buddhist teaching in the daily life, but also enlightenment many people to contribute their own power to the society. As we know that Tzu Chi Foundation consists of various volunteers, they dedicate their leisure time to serve people (Feng, 1993).
In the society, most common people consider that worship is in order to earn more money and have a long life-span; nevertheless the spirit of Buddhism is to learn the good behavior of Buddhist as well as practice it in the daily life. As many of the Tzu Chi commissioners shared, they saw a suffering person like they were suffering at the same time. Commissioners would commiserate poor people and console victims (Chang, 2001).
Take the 921 Earthquake as an example, Tzu Chi volunteers arrived at the scene spontaneously and immediately. After that, Tzu Chi Foundation adopts fifty-two schools to rebuild. In each catastrophe, Tzu Chi Foundation carries out the short-term, mid-term, and long-term plans (Pon, 2006).
Otherwise, because of the teaching from Master Cheng Yen, many commissioners mention that after joining Tzu Chi, they change lots of bad habits being re-born people. Master Cheng Yen also tells commissioners that they are seeds of hope. They have responsibility and mission to spread Tzu Chi spirit to society, achieving the world peace (Wu, 1995).Tzu Chi spirit includes inside and outside: the sincerity, integrity, trust and honesty interiorly; the kindness, compassion, joy and unselfish giving exteriorly. The core of Tzu Chi spirit is based on Great Love and gratitude (Tzu Chi website).
In other words, participating in Tzu Chi Foundation, volunteers are learning to be a living Buddhist, not just be a person who studies Buddhism (Chang, 2001). Religion is a kind of invisible spirit which provides people love and power. Tzu Chi members in oversea also obey to the same rule of service. Ho is one of the members doing service in Tzu Chi’s Canada beachhead. Ho contributes his power and promotes other newcomers to help the poor as well as educate the rich through social service. He said that the charity principle of Tzu Chi is that the donated money is only used in the poor. All the disbursement of administration is paid by volunteers, without applying (Wood, 1996).
According to Su’s article, (1984), she cited the theory from histology that people, organization and environment affect each other. After she did the survey, she concluded that not only personal characters are highly related to serving but also volunteer organization influences on volunteers in emotion and behavior, and closely on whole working condition as well as outcome. In connection with personal characters, members are more pious to the religion; the identification toward organizational culture is higher than those without religion (Wong, 1999).
Religious sentiment is one of the power motivations to do social service through eight missions in Tzu Chi Foundation. Even though Tzu Chi does not emphasize on the religious belief or does not preach religion painstakingly, the belief and behavior of Master Cheng Yen, for many Tzu Chi members, especially certificated volunteers, this invisible and stable power from Master Cheng Yen is a sign to face social critics (Lee, 2002).
That is matching with Yon’s research (Yon, 2003). She mentions about the charisma leadership in her research paper. According to her paper, the religious enthusiasm which means the leaders in religious NGO or non-religious NGO belong to charisma. Most of the followers in religious groups are not only identified the leader’s instruction, but also live up to their daily life.
In Wu’s article, publishing in 1995, he compared with three NGO in Taiwan, including Tzu Chi, World Vision, and United Way, finding that they use the common strategy “emblem” in order to attract more people to involving the groups. One of the symbols of Tzu Chi Foundation is Master Cheng Yen. That accounts for some people becoming volunteers out of Master Cheng Yen.
Differentiating from Wu’s research, Pong (1994) stated that whole Tzu Chi members construct the common, meaningful symbol to make their lives lightly. Symbol in this part could be object, action, thought, or language form, arousing human’s emotion then doing actions.
One strategy about volunteer management is brought up by Lu (2001), including organization mission, internal organization culture, external volunteer marketing, strategy of volunteer management and working. Through his research, we know that volunteers in Tzu Chi Foundation are followed above all mentioned rules in order to promote Tzu Chi’s eight missions. Tzu Chi Hospital is one of the places to deliver people’s suffering from poorness and sickness. Volunteers take care of patients with love, console patients with mercy. Not only serve the needed poor people but also enlighten rich people (Ho, 1992).
Anyway, Tzu Chi Foundation blooming nowadays attributes to non-corporate organizations from group values and charisma of Master Cheng Yen herself (Feng, 1993).


There are many NGOs (non-government organizations) that do humanitarian aid in the world. The largest religious NGO in Taiwan is Buddhism Tzu Chi Foundation which has been established for forty years since 1966 (Douglas, 2003). Dharma Master Cheng Yen is the founder of Tzu Chi Foundation. Tzu Chi members observe the Master’s teachings, follow her steps, and diligently carry out the eight Tzu Chi missions of charity, medicine, education, culture, bone marrow donation, international relief, environmental protection, and community volunteers. The number of Tzu Chi member has grown to over millions compared to only thirty members in the beginning (Tzu Chi, 2006). It is generally believed that Master Cheng Yen influences numerous people to contribute their lives to help poor people in the society (Tu, 2006).
Germen sociologist Max Weber (Chung, 2004) coined the term charisma leadership, which he defined as pilgrims who look up to the leader as perfect as god. This theory is used by scholars to explain the blooming phenomenon in Tzu Chi Foundation, too. However, Master Cheng Yen is seventy years old now. In the future, all members in Tzu Chi have to face this issue that Master Cheng Yen would pass away. Would Tzu Chi Foundation exist in the future? Would these volunteers continually dedicate their lives to promote the eight missions in order to deliver all creatures from suffering if Master Cheng Yen would pass away? The purpose of this paper is to find out the loyalty of certificated volunteers, including Tzu Chi commissioners, and Tzu Cheng Faith Corps members. The questionnaires are spread to certificated volunteers in north (Taipei), middle (Taichung), and south (Kaohsiung) of Taiwan during the winter vacation of 2007. These members’ age ranges from 25 to 70 years old. After that, I did data analysis, and discussed what I found. The result proved whether the hypothesis of this paper is correct or not.