Tzu Chi Medical Education has modified its courses to honor the wishes of the “Silent Mentors,” or those who have donated their
 bodies for the purpose of medical education.
The Great Body education has been extended from basic anatomy in the third year of medical school to clinical surgery training in the sixth year. The target audience has been expanded from resident physicians to surgical assistants to give students and doctors a valuable learning opportunity. The goal is to train the students and even senior doctors to provide the best medical cures for the patients.

“Great Body Donation” is a new term that has been created within the last ten years. Master Cheng Yen started advocating Great Body Donation in 1995. She said, “Life is unpredictable. Life turns from helpless to useless, and we should make good of it and add value to the meaning of life.” Many people agree with the idea and consent to donate their bodies to medical schools for studies after they pass away.

“Master says, when you become a doctor, doctors are Medical Bodhisattvas. I will give you my body to experiment; you can make as many mistakes on me, but never make a mistake on the patient. ” These were the words of Great Body donor Li He Zhen to a group of medical students. These words should be deeply embedded in all medicine students’ hearts. Medical students and nurses call these Great Body donors “Silent Mentors”; they pay their respects before and after each class.

With the joint efforts of Tzu Chi Hospital and Tzu Chi University, the students and the doctors now have more resources for their studies and work. There are three stages for this program to assist different needs. First stage called “The last cutting for students” in the program, is designed for graduating students to experience real-life surgery; the next one is “The first cutting for doctors” designed to assist the newly graduated or the doctors who still need to enhance their surgery skills to provide a continuing education experience. The last stage is designed to provide in-depth study for new medical, special surgery, and recovery study. This stage was first opened to Tzu Chi Hospital network participants (Hualien headquarters, Taipei branch, Dalin branch, Yuli branch, Kuanshan branch), and prepared by every member to design the class to their best fit.

Since Tzu Chi started Great Body donation in 1995, over 16,000 people have signed up to donate their bodies post-mortem. Donations go to five medical schools including University of Taiwan, Cheng Da, Zhong Guo, Zhong Shan and Gao Yi. Tzu Chi Great Body Donation Unit will perform a memorial service to pay the utmost respect for these Silent Mentors.

Copyright@2007 Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital.