Translated by Audrey Cheng and Monique Kuo
Photos provided by Mary Keh
Edited by Monique Kuo
At the end of each year, many overseas volunteers travel back to Taiwan for commissioners and Tzu Cheng certifications. No matter their religion, ethnicity or country, these overseas volunteers work hard to practice dharma and advocate charitable acts. The sound wisdom, determination, compassion and care which these volunteers have developed during the path of dharma prepare them to face all the expected and unexpected challenges and difficulties before, during and after they provide services to the poor and needy. To be able to be close to and receive blessings from Dharma Master Cheng Yen on the day of certification is the most honorable and grateful moment in this dharma journey to these overseas volunteers.
In 2019, Tzu Chi Medical Foundation is extremely grateful to recommend eight volunteers to be certified as commissioners or Tzu Cheng. Here is the Hall of Fame:
The tough love of Dr. Chiao-Nien Wang’s father caused Dr. Wang to have some difficulty in communicating with others. The power of art provided a remedy for Dr. Wang to find self-confidence and overcome language barriers. Nevertheless, Dr. Wang’s father also led Dr. Wang to the profoundness of Chinese medicine in the end.
With more than 10 years of medical service in Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, Dr. Wang learned that volunteers are an indispensable part of Tzu Chi’s medical care. That’s why Dr. Wang organized a series of training for volunteers in Chinese medicine to share with volunteers to how to further provide care and comfort to patients together with Chinese doctors. Without the effort and devotion of volunteers, the medical effect would be halved. Great medical treatment requires great medical care; only such a two-pronged approach can achieve the best and lasting results for patients.
There’s a saying in the Jing Si Aphorisms that “to be humble is to shrink our ego until we are small enough to enter other people’s eyes and reside in their heart and mind.” Dr. Wang doesn’t ask what he has done and how much he has done for Tzu Chi; he considers himself very fortunate to be on the Tzu Chi dharma path and be a disciple of Dharma Master Cheng Yen.
Dr. Chang was trained as a resident in the United States in the first three years after he arrived in 1971. He worked as a resident for seven years in a hospital in New Jersey and then established his own practice in Bakersfield, California. Through his brother, Dr. Chang knew about Tzu Chi and became a volunteer starting with medical outreaches in Bakersfield from 1993. It was not until 2008 when Dr. Chang retired, that he was invited to work at the Alhambra clinic to continue helping people in need.
Dr. Chang, serving at the Chinese Medicine Department of Alhambra Clinic, has always tried to volunteer his time and expertise to help promote the care and treatment of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Yet, before he joined Tzu Chi, he didn’t have much luck, with many people and institutions having doubts about Chinese medicine and acupuncture or other interests in mind. Finally, Dr. Chang found Tzu Chi and realized how close Chinese medicine Tzu Chi Medical Foundation’s mission is, with its focus on patients. On top of that, Tzu Chi also cares about and respects its doctors and volunteers.
The first time Dr. Chang learned about Tzu Chi was from his ex-firefighter colleagues in Taiwan, who were talking about many Tzu Chi volunteers rushed to the scene to help right after a big airplane crash and to comfort family members who lost their loved ones.
Dr. Chang was so impressed about how Tzu Chi could work so closely with government officials and the speedy response and care they could provide during such a disaster. This is the type of spirits Dr. Chang likes to represent and pass on to fellow practitioners and patients.
The youngest son in a family of seven children, Leo Yuan Liang Huang is a vegetarian and a devoted Buddhist. Inheriting his father’s hard-working attitude and farming life style, Leo has learned about the wonders of mother earth and lives simply, which assists him with great motivation and determination to study and practice Buddhism.
Leo considers himself extremely blessed to have worked at Tzu Chi Medical Foundation from 2014, driving around its Mobile Clinic to serve underprivileged and underserved communities and people. Also, by working at Tzu Chi, he can remain in touch with the compassion of Dharma of Master Cheng Yen in daily basis from afar. The love of the big family of Tzu Chi has provided a safety net, which enables and empowers volunteers to help those in need, whoever and wherever they are.
Born in Hebei, China, educated first in Hong Kong and then university in the United States, Dr. Ping Tung Cheung got to know Tzu Chi Medical Foundation in 2007 via its Bolivia medical outreach. After that, Dr. Cheung has been volunteering in various activities held by Tzu Chi Medical Foundation.
While volunteering at Tzu Chi’s medical outreaches, Dr. Cheung also runs his own organization. However, he gradually realized how little he could do within his practice. Meanwhile, he saw how Tzu Chi Medical Foundation had real roots in underserved and underprivileged communities to empower their patients with holistic healthcare services. He then decided to take on seed-planting assignment to plan and cultivate Tzu Chi’s work in Central and South America.
Dr. Ray Chen was always sick when he was small. This experience made him understand how uncomfortable and vulnerable a person could be when sick; this experience also made him determined to be a doctor.
Following in his mother’s footsteps, Dr. Chen became a devoted Buddhist and vegetarian and joined Tzu Chi to volunteer at various medical outreaches. Participating in Tzu Chi activities is one of Dr. Chen’s ways to release his stress. Whenever he is at Tzu Chi activities, he feels as relaxed and peaceful as being at home. He felt so grateful at one of his international medical outreaches in Mexico because he witnessed the power of paying it forward: Not only many volunteers with different expertise from different countries joined the medical missions, but also local residents, who have received care and support from Tzu Chi, also became volunteers to help others suffering from the impact of earthquake and illness.
Dr. Chen felt what Tzu Chi Medical Foundation has been doing is more than just saving people’s lives; it is all about how to enrich people’s lives. Like what Master Cheng Yen once said, “a fish without water, how happy could that fish be? Only when altruism is applied, is one’s life fulfilled and completed.”
A difficult, but eventually successful, birth in a family in Beijing, was a joyful 38th birthday gift for Qisheng Liu’s father, who gave his latest daughter a name that means “wonderful life.”
Beginning with using the free tax-filing service provided by Tzu Chi in 2012, Qisheng became a taxation volunteer five years later and volunteered for many Tzu Chi activities to give back to society. Qisheng also went to work at Tzu Chi Medical Foundation as an accountant and brought her husband and son to volunteer at Tzu Chi as well.
The commissioner training in 2018 brought Qisheng closer to the path of dharma. Qisheng never thought she and her family would ever have the chance to know about Tzu Chi and its work and to practice dharma to give back in the United States. The journey of wonderful life amazingly continues.
Before marriage, Wen Chi Chien volunteered at the community free clinic in Pingtung City, Taiwan; after marriage, Wen Chi had to stop the volunteer work because of family obligations. Though Wen Chi didn’t have a chance to join Tzu Chi activities at the time, she was strongly supportive of her husband, Dr. Ray Chen, volunteering at Tzu Chi Medical Foundation’s medical outreaches and community activities. It was not until later that she joined a healthy walk event with her family and met many volunteers. She then decided to follow in her husband’s footsteps to become a Tzu Chi volunteer as well.
The staunch belief which both Dr. Chen and Wen Chi have, via the dharma of Tzu Chi, have allowed them to successfully complete a commissioner training and to continue to cultivate blessings for themselves and others. At the same time, they can also continue to advocate for and practice Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s call “to humanize the Buddhist teachings and cultivate living Bodhisattvas.”