Tzu Chi University Celebrates Silent Mentor Program Inauguration Coinciding with Silent Mentor Mom Sheng-Sheng’s Birthday


Tzu Chi University hosted the inauguration of the Silent Mentor Program on October 16, 2023, which coincided with the birthday of one of the Silent Mentors, Sheng-Sheng Lin. Mom Sheng-Sheng, as she was affectionately known, was born on October 16, 1944, and passed away on May 7, 2023. Her family, along with Tzu Chi brothers and sisters, gathered on October 16, 2023, to honor her memory and celebrate inauguration of the Silent Mentor Program. They took a moment to whisper “Happy Birthday” by her side, continuing a tradition of coming together to celebrate her life. Her daughter, Li-Hsun Chen, reflected on the day’s significance, saying, “With such a miraculous coincidence occurring today, it feels as though Mom has experienced another auspicious rebirth on the path of the Bodhisattva.”

Mom Sheng-Sheng became a member of Tzu Chi in 1984. When Tzu Chi Nursing College was established in 1989, she took on the role of an Yi-Te Mom. By 1994, with Tzu Chi University’s inception, she became president of the Tzu-Cheng and Yi-Te Association. Mom Sheng-Sheng was renowned for saying, “All parents are our parents, and all children are our children.” For over three decades, she dedicated her passion and efforts to Tzu Chi University, touching the lives of countless students.

Dharma Master Cheng Yen once advised Mom Sheng-Sheng that by first earning the affection and trust of others, they will naturally come to appreciate our organization and our faith. With this wisdom, Mom Sheng-Sheng cultivated strong bonds with everyone she encountered. Dr. En-Ting Chang, a chest medicine specialist who joined Tzu Chi University in 1994 and later served at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, recalled, “Mom Sheng-Sheng was always there for us. Whether we needed food, clothing, or anything else, she ensured we had it. Not only did she care for our group of students, but she also extended her kindness to students from other groups. Mom Sheng-Sheng decided to leave a legacy of love for medical students, even after her passing.”

Mom Sheng-Sheng was full of witty remarks during her lifetime, skillfully using analogies to make the audience laugh, while opening the window of wisdom to everyone. Once, she shared a story about her trip abroad, where she forgot to bring her room key. She approached the service staff, saying, “Key, inside! Me, outside!” The hotel staff understood what she said right away. Mom Sheng-Sheng encouraged everyone to be courageous and to not be afraid, assuring them that they could always find a way, even in unfamiliar environments.

Tzu Chi University President Ingrid Liu graced the inauguration ceremony, alongside numerous members of Tzu-Cheng Yi-Te Association. President Liu remarked, “Mom Sheng-Sheng’s presence is eternal. She remains ever-present in our hearts. In honor of her boundless contributions to Tzu Chi University, our faculty, staff, and students will express their appreciation by dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to teaching and learning.”

Li-Hsun Chen, Mom Sheng-Sheng’s eldest daughter and a practicing psychiatrist, once took an anatomy course over three decades ago. Only after her mother became a body donor, often called a “Silent Mentor,” did she truly understand the significance and blessing of such a gesture. Li-Hsun recalled her mother’s frequent saying, “My life is not solely mine; I share my love with everyone.” While this sentiment was initially elusive to her, the presence and support of numerous Tzu Chi members and physicians helped her grasp the profound essence of her mother’s words.

During the October Silent Mentor Program, various advanced sessions were provided for physicians affiliated with the Taiwan Rhinology Society, Tzu Chi General Hospital’s Department of Orthopedics, the Taiwan Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, and other groups. Dr. Chih-Hong Lin, President of the Taiwan Society of Plastic Surgery, commented, “The Silent Mentors’ invaluable giving for medical education enables physicians to elevate their expertise and understanding. Before the sessions, physicians paid visits to the eight Silent Mentors’ families. During these visits, they gleaned insights into how the Silent Mentors led their lives and selflessly served others. Their profound dedication has justify an everlasting mark on the hearts of many physicians.”