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'Be a teacher after death': The message strategies of the body donation campaign in Taiwan
Unformatted Document Text:  19 way of Bodhisattva.” The sense of empowerment can be generated from external recognition, however, the decision to donate one’s body for dissection cannot be accomplished without an internal drive. Therefore, Tzu-Chi’s campaign message constantly emphasized on individual beliefs in one’s will and power. As Master Cheng-Yen put it, “the belief in one’s will and power to accomplish good deeds is what makes a body donor’s meta-conscious being rest in peace at death” 3 (p. 10, Chang, 1999a). Such an emphasis on self-efficacy that transcends life and death gives Tzu-Chi’s campaign for body donation a special touch in terms of its message appeal. Humanizing the treatment of cadavers. Body donation involves eventually a process of having one’s private physical self exposed, cut open and studied. Such a process though occurs after one’s death could cause anxiety when one is trying to make a decision while alive. To minimize the anxiety factor, Tzu-Chi’s campaign included many rituals and features to humanize the process of dissection. These rituals and features can be categorized under two general frames— personalization and dignification. In terms of personalization, Tzu-Chi Medical School made special efforts in acknowledging each body donor as an individual human being instead of a cadaver for dissection. The biographies of body donors were posted on the walls of the hallways and a brief bio was attached to the dissection table 3 Author’s semantic translation from Chinese.

Authors: Chang, Hao-Chieh. and Leung, Kenneth W. Y..
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19
way of Bodhisattva.” The sense of empowerment can be generated from external
recognition, however, the decision to donate one’s body for dissection cannot be
accomplished without an internal drive. Therefore, Tzu-Chi’s campaign message
constantly emphasized on individual beliefs in one’s will and power. As Master
Cheng-Yen put it, “the belief in one’s will and power to accomplish good deeds is
what makes a body donor’s meta-conscious being rest in peace at death”
3
(p. 10,
Chang, 1999a). Such an emphasis on self-efficacy that transcends life and death gives
Tzu-Chi’s campaign for body donation a special touch in terms of its message appeal.
Humanizing the treatment of cadavers. Body donation involves eventually a
process of having one’s private physical self exposed, cut open and studied. Such a
process though occurs after one’s death could cause anxiety when one is trying to
make a decision while alive. To minimize the anxiety factor, Tzu-Chi’s campaign
included many rituals and features to humanize the process of dissection. These
rituals and features can be categorized under two general frames—
personalization and dignification. In terms of personalization, Tzu-Chi Medical
School made special efforts in acknowledging each body donor as an individual
human being instead of a cadaver for dissection. The biographies of body donors were
posted on the walls of the hallways and a brief bio was attached to the dissection table
3
Author’s semantic translation from Chinese.


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