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Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Brings Aid after Earthquake Rocks Eastern Taiwan

After the earthquake struck the taiwanese city of Hualien, Master Cheng Yen visited hospitals and schools to learn about the situation and offer care. From

The Taiwan-headquartered global charity and humanitarian organization Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation reported that its disaster relief response to the major earthquake that hit Taiwan’s eastern coast last week was activated within minutes of the disaster, with volunteers coordinating their activities with frontline responders and rolling out compassionate aid across affected areas.

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck at 7:58 a.m. Taiwan time on 3 April, the epicenter some 18 kilometers from the east coast city of Hualien. Although it has been described as the strongest earthquake to his Taiwan since 1999’s deadly Jiji earthquake, reported casualties have been limited, with at least 16 people killed and 1,145 injured. At least 870 buildings and 75 roads and tunnels were reported to have been damaged by the quake.

“The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, with its global headquarters in the city [of Hualien], immediately activated its disaster relief response at 8:22 a.m.,” the foundation noted. “Concurrently, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital activated its [own] emergency response protocol.” (Tzu Chi USA)

The foundation observed that Tzu Chi had collaborated with various disaster relief efforts in bringing relief to people in affected areas. Volunteers quickly readied relief supplies, including eco-blankets, temporary beds and partitions for shelters, tents, drinking water, energy drinks, hot meals, and emergency financial assistance.

Although the Jing Si Abode campus of the Tzu Chi headquarters was affected by the quake, with some damage, staff and residents were unhurt.

“As everyone works together to help, Master Cheng Yen also calls us to pray for those impacted as they begin on the long path to full recovery after this catastrophe,” Tzu Chi added. (Tzu Chi USA)

Volunteers set up privacy partitions and temporary beds at an emergency shelter. From
Tzu Chi’s Earthquake Disaster Response Center outside the main hall of Tzu Chi’s global headquarters. From

Tzu Chi rapidly set up an Earthquake Disaster Response Center outside the main hall of the Jing Si Abode, noting that Dharma Master Cheng Yen, Tzu Chi’s founder, took charge of the relief mission, aiming to assess the situation and instruct volunteers on disaster relief efforts.

“Master Cheng Yen personally oversaw the setting up of the Earthquake Disaster Response Center,” Tzi Chi remarked. “In addition, she made a special visit to earthquake-damaged areas in the city that afternoon to convey her gratitude and concern to those on the relief frontlines, such as the police, firefighters, rescue workers, Tzu Chi volunteers, members of Fo Guang Shan (a fellow Taiwanese Buddhist organization), and other NGO groups. She also blessed the firefighters who mobilized with urgency after the earthquake and the frontline search and rescue teams who were working so hard and urged everyone to pay attention to safety.” (Tzu Chi USA)

Concurrently, Tzu Chi USA has announced a fundraiser, which includes a US$500,000 matching fund. Full details here.

In the days since the quake, Tzu Chi volunteers have continued their work, preparing and delivering hot meals, beds, partitions, and blankets to survivors, as well as ensuring that rescue workers also receive hot food while they work.


“Tzu Chi volunteers have continued to actively engage in post-disaster relief efforts, the foundation reported. “Besides addressing the immediate needs of survivors in the city area of Hualien, Tzu Chi volunteers from northern Taiwan have also mobilized to aid other severely affected communities. Collaborating with police and fire departments, they have supplied materials for airdrops, enabling rescue teams to distribute essential items to people still trapped in the mountainous areas, alleviating food shortages.” (Tzu Chi Foundation)

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Republic of China, more widely known as the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, was founded in Taiwan in 1966 by the Buddhist nun and Dharma teacher Master Cheng Yen. With a focus on “putting compassion into action,” the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is a UN-accredited NGO with some 10 million supporters and 432 offices worldwide across 51 countries, undertaking regular activities in the fields of humanitarian aid, medical care, education, and environmental sustainability.

As a global icon of socially engaged Buddhism, Master Cheng Yen has expressed a deeply held belief that all people are capable of manifesting the same great compassion as the Buddha. She has noted that true compassion is not simply feeling sympathy for the suffering of others, but is found in reaching out to relieve suffering with concrete action.

Master Cheng Yen is popularly known in Taiwan as one of the “Four Heavenly Kings” of Buddhism, the others being: Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain; Master Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan; and Master Wei Chueh, founder of Chung Tai Shan. These four global Buddhist orders, correspondingly known as the “Four Great Mountains,” have grown to become among the most influential Chinese Buddhist organizations in the world.

Master Cheng Yen. From

See more

Distributing Emergency Funds and Assisting Mountainous Airdrops (Tzu Chi Foundation)
Finding Calm and Comfort After the Quake (Tzu Chi Foundation)
Tzu Chi Activates its Taiwan Earthquake Disaster Relief Response (Tzu Chi USA)
How the Response to Taiwan’s Earthquake Puts Tzu Chi’s Disaster Relief Expertise at Center Stage (Tzu Chi USA)
Tzu Chi Foundation
Tzu Chi USA

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