Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

May 23rd
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Home Education Tzu Chi Academy Meaning of Comprehensive Education

Meaning of Comprehensive Education

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Tzu Chi’s progress of Comprehensive Education
17.9.1989 Tzu Chi Nursing College established
16.10.1994 Tzu Chi College of Medicine established
1.8.1998 Tzu Chi College of Medicine renamed Tzu Chi College of Medicine and Humanities
1.8.1999 Tzu Chi Nursing College renamed Tzu Chi College of Technology 
1.8.2000 Tzu Chi College of Medicine and Humanities renamed Tzu Chi University
30.8.2000 Establishment of Senior High School Affiliated with Tzu Chi University and Experimental Elementary School of Tzu Chi University

▋Comprehensive Humanity Education for stimulation of conscience and conscientious power

Tzu Chi’s 8 fundamental missions cover Charity, Medical, Education, Humanity, Environment Protection, Bone Marrow Donation, International Disaster Relief, and Volunteers for the Community.  The practice of such concepts is collectively known as “One Step Eight Footprints” where Step refers to Tzu Chi’s spirits with Footprints the missions.  Our concept of education is not just confined to schooling.  The practice of One Step Eight Footprints is part of Comprehensive Humanity Education.  Through participation in the 8 missions with Tzu Chi spirits, our volunteers’ awareness of humanity is continuously enhanced.  Comprehensive Humanity Education is not just for professional training.  More importantly, it is to stimulate and develop conscience and conscientious power among us.  Dharma Master Cheng Yen believes that a person’s character is set during the first 30 years.  During that period, apart from accumulating vocational knowledge, it is also important to acquire other virtues like history, culture, moral, human relationships, live education, and care.  Comprehensive Humanity Education emphasises rebuilding of human core spirit.  Besides inspiring the human instinct of natural kindness, it also seeks to mould with honesty and integrity, with aims for all-round characters the guidance.

Self-dependent and Helping Others to do so -  Full education with academia
In addition to development and training for professionals, Tzu Chi’s education also stresses on humanity virtues such as “Respect of Lives”, “All-round Human Education”.  It covers groups from infants to age 30 with facilities including child-care centres for infants and pre-school children, kindergartens, primary-junior high-senior high schools, university, and post-graduate studies awarding master and doctorate degrees.  Dharma Master Cheng Yen said that a person’s education in the first 30 years was most important; a period where virtues developed with characters.  Virtues which require disciplines of orderliness and responsibility, respect for others and abide by laws.  There is an old Chinese saying of “Be established by age 30”.  What should one target after that age?  Be able to support a single family?  Or be able to support a wider family?  Attain self-dependence by helping others to achieve same.  If one can extend help to non-family members, the meaning of “family” will be widened beyond the usual boundary.

▋ Basic spirits of humanity and education of compassionate virtue
Humanity is the spiritual axis that links various aspects of Tzu Chi’s education.  Its humanity programs are integrated with others in its system.  What it emphasizes are the traditional Chinese concepts of moral, etiquette, honesty, shame, co-operation, and mutual assistance which are human’s basic virtues. Humanity-based education includes self-control in daily lives.  It is hoped that we can self-discipline through good manners, and establish a proper image of orderliness and cleanliness.   Through the common people, we learn interaction with others and acquire the necessary etiquettes, develop the arts of living and beautify lives.  It then progresses to growth of spiritual lives and life education, stimulates conscience as guided by conventional wisdom.  Ultimate aim of Tzu Chi’s education is to achieve a live of mutual respect.  Our materialistic world has its limits.  Humanity is the key to unlock doors.  To treat each other sincerely with respect, gratitude, love, and care is the eventual ideal.

▋Love-based Comprehensive Education
In addition to its values apparent from the outside, a less visible virtue of Tzu Chi’s comprehensive education reveals itself upon close analysis.  That is, the inseparable cultivation of belief from character building.  Just as grafting with a small tree, education starts with the young.  Without proper direction, human behaviours could grow aimlessly like tree branches.  Education needs to be disseminated with great care.  The stages from kindergarten to advance education need to be closely linked, with the next level seamlessly relayed from the previous.  Pre-school education is like seed cultivation with love.  Followed by seedlings irrigation with love in the primary; securing the foundation for live and character education.  Secondary education is like trimming branches, to provide proper directions.  Tertiary education enables them to realize their responsibilities in the society and missions.  Tzu Chi’s education allows its students to grow and develop under the guidance of love.  This is its Comprehensive Education and its ideal.