Dharma Master Cheng Yen was born in 1937 in a small town in Taichung County, Taiwan. When she was twenty-three years old, she left home to become a Buddhist nun, and was instructed by her mentor, Venerable Master Yin Shun, to work “for Buddha’s teachings, for sentient beings.” In 1966, she founded a charity, which later turned into the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, to “help the poor and educate the rich”—to give material aid to the needy and inspire love and humanity in both givers and recipients.
In recent years, Master Cheng Yen’s contributions have been increasingly recognized by the global community. In 2011, she was recognized with the Roosevelt Institute’s FDR Distinguished Public Service Award and was named to the 2011 TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people. In 2014, she was presented with Rotary International’s Award of Honor in recognition of her humanitarian efforts and contributions to world peace.
The Elephant’s Change of Heart is one of the “Master Cheng Yen Tells Stories” series. It contains four short stories, “The Elephant’s Change of Heart”, “The Little Novice Monk and the Old Monk”, “The Return Home”, and “The Gourd”. Featuring diverse characters and cultures, these stories explain the following teachings of Master Cheng Yen in succinct, easy-to-understand language:
• Make great aspirations to do good, seize the present moment and make it everlasting.
• Pay mindful attention to and observe things carefully in order to fully understand the true nature of things.
• Understand what our strengths are and exercise them in the service of others. Only when we truly know ourselves can we live the most meaningful life.
Filled with colorful illustrations that appeal to children, the book aims to teach and pass on wholesome moral values to the younger generation. The bilingual text (Traditional Chinese with Pinyin and English) helps non-Chinese readers to learn Chinese and Chinese readers to learn English.
“The Elephant’s Change of Heart”
There was once a strong and gentle elephant that the king loved very much. He built a comfortable hut for the elephant. A group of robbers often met near the elephant’s hut to discuss plans of their next robbery. As time went on, the elephant’s temperament changed; he became mean and aggressive, as if he was going crazy. What was making the elephant so violent?