"This acknowledges the love of Tzu Chi people around the world," said Master Cheng Yen. "It also shows that love is Taiwan's most precious gift to the world. With a heart full of deep repentance, we face the disasters of the world and awaken the love of everyone so that they share it with mankind."
Now in its eighth year, the list recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world's most influential individuals. As TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel has said: "The TIME 100 is not a list of the most powerful people in the world, it's not a list of the smartest people in the world, it's a list of the most influential people in the world. They're scientists, they're thinkers, they're philosophers, they're leaders, they're icons, they're artists, they're visionaries. People who are using their ideas, their visions, their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people." The full list will appear in the magazine's May 2 issue, which will be on newsstands on April 22. It is already available on time.com.
The magazine paid particular attention to the foundation's work in Japan after it was struck by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11. While everyone was wavering as to what to do, only the volunteers of Tzu Chi went to the front line of the affected area and distributed relief goods and comforted those who had lost their loved ones and their homes. The magazine saw that Tzu Chi has done charity work in more than 70 countries, a sign of the love of Taiwan. It mentioned in particular the thanks given to Master Cheng Yen by Chen Yunlin, chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits; he is the most senior official of the Chinese government responsible for relations with Taiwan. This mention recognizes the contribution of Tzu Chi, in its selfless work for the people of the mainland that has helped to ease the tensions and conflicts between the two sides.
Rey Her, spokesman for the foundation, said that their communications with TIME had shown a joint recognition of the selfless love and altruistic spirit of Master Cheng Yen. "This is the most important universal value in the world and the most important significance of the inclusion of Master Cheng Yen among TIME's 100 most influential people," he said.
Master Cheng Yen founded the foundation in 1966, at the age of 29. From the first 30 supporters, housewives who saved two U.S. cents from their grocery money each day to help the poor, it has grown to nearly 10 million volunteers and supporters in 50 countries and provided disaster relief in 70 countries to people suffering from disasters such as the Southeast Asia tsunami, the Myanmar cyclone, floods in the United States and Australia, and earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Sichuan China, Haiti, Chile and Japan.
Master Cheng Yen deeply believes that all people are capable of the same great compassion as the Buddha. True compassion is not just having sympathy for another's suffering -- it is to relieve that suffering with concrete actions. In founding Tzu Chi, she wished to give ordinary citizens the chance to actualize this compassion, which will bring inner peace and happiness to the individual and pave the way for world peace and harmony.
Newer news items:
- Volunteers in Brazil hold free clinic for 324 patients
- Tzu Chi's Love Flourishing in Palencia
- Relieved and Reassured
- Volunteers in Boston Plant 188 Trees to Celebrate Earth Day
Older news items:
- Tzu Chi Opens Vegetarian Food Pantry in New Jersey
- Volunteers Deliver Aid to 5,000 in Guatemala
- More Than 100 Volunteers Attend Training Course in Haiti
- Volunteers Join Week-Long Free Clinic in Los Angeles