Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To Taiwan with Tzu Chi (5 of 7)

This is 5 of 7, i.e. 2 more posts to go. I still have lots to share... so much so that 2 more "normal-length" posts are not enough to contain everything. Anyway, I'm sticking to 7 cuz I like 7. :) So, I'm cramming three 'sub-topics' here:-

1) Education

Holistic education system. The kindergartens, schools & universities nurture students in special ways that our conventional education system does not do.

In a Tzu Chi kindergarten, the kids were taught to make mooncakes! During a special session in the kindergarten, they presented the mooncakes to their parents and gave their parents a big hug, then served them tea. Tears rolled down from the parents eyes. Whose parents won’t be touched by such gestures?

In Tzu Chi University, students are taught to cultivate good habits. For example, it's compulsory for students to wake up by 8am everyday eventhough they do not have morning classes.

2) Silent Mentors

One significant thing which I never knew until I went to Taiwan
is the existence of Silent Mentors. Dead bodies are Silent Mentors. People in Taiwan could pledge to donate their dead bodies for medical research.

Some asked: Why do some people willingly pledge to donate their bodies to medical students? Answer given: They would rather medical students make multiple mistakes on their dead bodies rather than any mistake on a life body. Relatives of Silent Mentors always reassured the medical students not to be afraid because they have the blessings of the Silent Mentors. Moreover, no matter how deep they cut their Silent Mentors, the Silent Mentor will not feel hurt and they are merely helping others.

All Silent Mentors are treated with utmost respect. The life history and researches done on the Silent Mentors are well-documented.

A special memorial service is held at the Gratitude Hall for every Silent Mentor to allow the medical students and the Silent Mentor’s relatives to meet to express mutual gratitude.

Tzu Chi has been getting overwhelming response from potential Silent Mentors. There are approximately 300 donors and 10,000 have pledged to donate their bodies to-date. It goes without saying that bodies of suiciders are never accepted as suicide is frown upon. Unfortunately, Tzu Chi does not accept donation from outside Taiwan
due to logistics reasons.

3) Everyone benefited from the Taiwan trip

The activities were inspiring and definitely impactful. Many touching stories and experiences were shared through videos and life speeches with us. I can confidently say that everyone (including all-time machos!) was moved to tears on many occasions. Those who didn't shed any tears must have had forcefully endured brink of tears.

From the video presentations and sharing sessions, we were reminded that reaching out with unconditional love in times of need does make a difference regardless of how simple or complicated a situation could be. The power of Great Love can reveal possibilities in the impossibilities.

Every person-in-need is a teacher to us. There is so much to learn from everyone and everything. There is so much that we can do for the community; depends on how much we wanna do. There is so much meaning to life if everything is done passionately.

As learnt, let us not wait till we are sick to realise how beautiful the world is.


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