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Home Our Founder The Master Answers Respecting Life, a Discussion with Jane Goodall

Respecting Life, a Discussion with Jane Goodall

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International animal conservation expert Professor Jane Goodall, who has conducted years of research on chimpanzees in Tanzania for more than three decades and has spoken in various countries campaigning for environmental conservation, has visited Taiwan for the third time. This time, she arranged to visit Tzu Chi Foundation and Master Cheng Yen out of her admiration for Tzu Chi's works in saving and respecting lives.

Professor Goodall
: We are starting a youth education project named Roots and Shoots, it includes environmental, animal projects and supporting other nonprofit and less privileged groups. The target audience includes kindergarten to college students. We hope the students can travel to different countries, to experience different cultures and religions so that we may one day break down the barriers between animals and humans. I am really fortunate that I have inherited good health from my parents and great spiritual support from my friends to pursue my passion.

Master Cheng Yen: Tzu Chi volunteers should be your good friends too. You started from researching animals, to devoting yourself in humanitarian works and promoting respect for all lives. This is truly remarkable and very personable.

Out of respect for all life, Tzu Chi has been working for more than three decades on the four main missions.

The Charity mission focuses on relieving the suffering of the poor and victims of disaster. More importantly, through aiding the poor, we can educate the rich and unite all those who are fortunate to help others who are not.

The Medical mission focuses on saving lives and uniting the love of our doctors, nurses, and volunteers to care for the physical and mental health of our patients.

The Education mission strives to provide education to all, by building medical schools and academic institutions. Tzu Chi teachers teach in all grade levels in Taiwan and emphasize the teaching of love and compassion.

The Culture mission aspires to raise the humanitarian level of our society so that we show love and morals in our behaviors and be the clear stream that will improve societal norms and achieve the goal of purifying human hearts.

I also feel that I have many who share my mission and passion. We are all making a good difference for the society, because we both give love in our work in the society. So we are great teammates!

Professor Goodall: We must give thanks for the support from people we know and don't know. Their support keeps us going. I believe as long as all of us work together, the environment will be restored to its original pure state.

Master Cheng Yen: We must keep faith in mankind. Although humans were the ones to destroy the environment, we must have faith that humans also have the ability to save it. We hope that people with the same passion will come together to raise environmental awareness and conserve it together.

Professor Goodall: It is really important to inspire hope in our children; otherwise, there is no future for mankind. In some countries like Tanzania, the children are not able to receive a good education. Their classrooms are only made of walls—there's no blackboard or any stationary. Where is the hope for their future? Seeing all these children from impoverished countries, the children in the United States will learn how blessed they are in comparison.

Master Cheng Yen: From the international disaster relief work that we do, I've seen teachers and children having classes under the trees; it was heartrending to see! Although they live in such a difficult environment, they are very optimistic. Compared to the children in developed countries, these children's hearts are even purer.

Professor Goodall: The children in developed countries have lost touch with Mother Nature. They grew up in the concrete jungle. Without the company of trees and birds, they've slowly lost the most precious part of themselves.

Master Cheng Yen: That is why you have to take good care of yourself and inspire more people to care about life.

Professor Goodall: I have a book about Master. So, I understood you before I came here.

Master Cheng Yen: Actually, I understand you too.

Date of conversation: Nov 5, 1998

Translated by Huiying Chin
Edited by Dennis Lee and Eric Horng


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You are always welcome to join our Tzu Chi’s Great Love missions by becoming a member or volunteer. Please contact the Tzu Chi location near you.

" If we can reduce our desires, there is nothing really worth getting upset about. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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