Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Do you know The Tzu Chi Foundation?

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It is perhaps the largest Buddhist charitable and relief organization in the world -- and yet, it is not so well known in the West, even among many Buddhists.

The Tzu Chi Foundation was founded in 1966 in Taiwan by Master Cheng Yen (left), a nun, together with a group of thirty housewives who saved a small amount of money each day, and has now grown to approximately 10 million members worldwide. It runs international emergency relief operations all over the world, longer term aid programs, has built and operates many hospitals and universities, organ and bone marrow registries, recycling centers, nursing homes and hospices, and has offices in countries world-wide. It does this with few paid staff but with the help of around 100,000 full and part-time volunteers. [Click through for more, and to "sit-a-long" with today's video.]

Tzu Chi volunteers work all over the world -- from providing free medical care to the poor in the US, distributing emergency supplies in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and New York after 9-11, to work in Afghanistan, Haiti, Myanmar, mainland China and many other locations. You can read more here.

Is it time for a greater emphasis on charity, relief efforts and social reform among Buddhists in all Western countries?

Today's Sit-A-Long video follows. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.

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