Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Sep 20th
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Home Our Volunteers Stories See You at the Same Old Place Again

See You at the Same Old Place Again

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"I was very moved and felt very ashamed after seeing the dedications of the silent mentors in the Medical School in the Tzu Chi University. I came to realized that life could be so highly respected. Master Cheng Yen has been creating opportunities for our bodies to be re-used after we passed away."

More than 10 years ago, a ceremony in Hualien -- made Dr. Tsai Tsung-Shien resolutely joined North Branch of TIMA Taiwan after the 921 earthquake in mid Taiwan. Though he has to rely on crutches because of polio, he has volunteered to travel with TIMA to available rural area in the mountain in Taiwan to provide free clinics. And he is nearly indispensable in global TIMA missions. In the morning of September 19th, 2012, Dr. Tsai Tsung-Shien waived goodbye to his brave life on this land to fulfill his wish to be a silent mentor, just as the praise by Master Cheng Yen “what a brave life!” What a pity that we can no longer hear his generous and jolly laughter with radiant smiles!

"If everybody can keep trying to be a white knight of somebody else, I believe, this is what I have dreamed of!" With radiant smile, Dr. Tsai Tsung-Shien has been trying to be to a white knight to others as his lifetime goal. We still seem to be able to see him shuttling in Tzu Chi General Hospital, looking after patients. From eight years, he has been travelling to work for the outpatients in Hualien and Yuli Tzu Chi Hospital every Friday. Whenever he is not working for the patients, he would help deliver medical records or push the bed, never letting a split second slip by. But just a few days ago, he died of cirrhosis at the age of 55-year-old. His body was sent right away back to the Giving Hall at Hualien Tzu Chi University, near the spiritual hometown he has dreamed of.

Master Cheng Yen said that Dr. Tsai was awakened by the event of the 921 earthquake, and joined Tzu Chi and has been indispensable TIMA missions in international relief. Master Cheng Yen recounted several years ago, while watching video showing the TIMA team going to the off-shore island of Peng Hu by ship, he asked how could Dr. Tsai, who needs clutches to move around, join in the mission? To which, Master Cheng Yen was replied that Dr. Tsai had already joined nearly every TIMA mission to rural areas and island. “How diligent!” praised Master Cheng Yen.

Being the youngest son of the four children in his family and he suffered from polio when he was one-year-old, so extra love was showered onto him by his family since he was young. He had been so conceited that he had led a permissive life. Though he had learned that he has hepatitis B when was twenty years old, he still drank relentlessly, in addition to smoking and eating seafood. He was also very disappointed with the society of Taiwan and wanted to migrate to Singapore.

In 1999, the 921 earthquake though devastated Taiwan, also resonated the love deep inside Dr. Tsai’s heart. He felt the changes in his mentality. The unselfish dedications of the silent mentors at Tzu Chi University cast a sharp contrast to his anatomy courses when his attention was only about the bones, blood vessels, muscles, nerves. In Tzu Chi, he saw the due respect paid in medical duties. Afterwards he has worked with TIMA with determination, dedication and devotion.

Many volunteers jokes that Dr. Tsai as having taken helicopter to show up in every TIMA mission. Though physically disabled, he had been carrying with him a James Bond style suitcase filled with dental equipment around Taiwan. He joined free clinics after the tsunami in South Asia, earthquake in Sichuan, and helped to build houses in the Philippines. Dr. Tsai said: "I have to take a nap after taking about 10 patients in my own clinics, due to the fatigue from cirrhosis. I never feel tired even after taking dozens of patients in TIMA missions"

He will usually leave a note at the door of his clinic whenever he was urgently called out for a mission. The regular medical tour plan has been going on since 2004. He will join them even on the day before a typhoon comes as long as the train is available. He has never been paid by the hospital. Instead he had paid to offer "energy soup" to his colleagues. "From free clinics, I learned gradually the meaning of being rich. I found that real rich people are those who are willing to give out helping hands and blessings to others anywhere, anytime"

"I often feel very lucky." Since his father had been a silent mentor, MD. Tsai made a wish that he could be silent mentor, too. He had made an appointment with his wife, Wang Wei-Hua, that Tzu Chi will be the same old place for their rendezvous in their next life. Dr. Tsai Tsung- Shien regarded his handicapped feet as a white knight showing him rare sceneries that are not available to others.

Master Cheng Yen encourages everybody: "We can not predict how long we can live, but we can go as wide as we can. For Dr. Tsai, his life is wide enough for him to shuttle freely between Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and Mainland China. Having seen human suffered, so he is ready to give out his love without being hindered. He walked all the way and climbed all these mountains and sailed across the seas to reach the spot where free clinics were needed. These were not sightseeing tours. These are the TIMA missions to the relief of the impoverished nations, the disasters and the back countries. What a brave life! "

Brief Profile of Tsai Tsung-Shien, MD. (1958 ~ 2012/09)

Opened his own dental clinic in 1986
Joined Tzu Chi International Medical Association in 1999
Certified as a Tzu Chi commissioner in 2003

References: Tzu Chi Monthly & Da Ai TV
Article by Wu Wan-Lin & Chen Shi-Yuan
Translated by Jeff Lu
Edited by Suen Yee Chui


" To be humble is to shrink our ego until we are small enough to enter other people's eyes and reside in their hearts and minds. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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