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Book 9

Charisma and Compassion: Cheng Yen and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Movement


Unlike the other works on this list, this is not a general, introductory work. It is instead, one example of a growing body of ethnography on contemporary Buddhism in Asia, namely a dynamic Buddhist organization known as Tzu-Chi (Compassion Relief) and its founder, the Taiwanese Buddhist nun Cheng-yen.

  • examines the movement of the Buddhist organization, Tzu-Chi, in Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, and the United States
  • discusses Tzu-Chi's relationship with NGOs and humanitarian organizations
  • explores the nature of Tzu-Chi's Buddhist transnationalism, which is global in scope and local in practice
  • explains how Tzu-Chi's identity is intimately tied to its founder and leader, Cheng-yen


Huang, Julia C. Charisma and Compassion : Cheng Yen and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Movement (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).


Charisma and Compassion