What is all about Silent Mentor Program

Philosophy of Body Donation

Silent Mentor Program

 University of Malaya

affiliated with

 Tzu-Chi University


 • As life is unpredictable, no one knows how long he or she will live. But, though we cannot decide the length of our life, we can make meaning and value out of our live. 

• Donating one’s body is one way to do this. Everyone can do this, as long as they have the heart to help others.

• We should utilize our body to do good deeds and help others while healthy and alive; when we pass away, we can likewise do good by donating our body for medical education. 

• We call these body donors the “silent mentors”, because they willingly donate their body for surgical dissection and “teach” medical students about the human body.

• Students get firsthand lesson from experienced doctors by observing the procedures and listening to the doctors’ explanations. By doing this, the students are able to acquire a lot of valuable knowledge about these illnesses before they encounter them in real medical practice. 

• Besides, simulation surgery provides an opportunity for medical students to get actual experience in surgical procedures as they operate on the bodies.  This enables them to accumulate surgical experience before they graduate and begin performing operations on real patients.

• If we truly understand what good can be done with our body, we can use it to do many things for our fellow human beings.

• When we are healthy, we can use our body to help people in suffering. When we pass away, we can still benefit others by donating our body. 

• By donating our body, we can help educate future doctors by enabling them to learn more about the human anatomy or specific illnesses.

• Doing this, we also leave a legacy of love. Isn’t that very meaningful?

• For the body donors, it was not easy to make the decision to donate their body. They must be able to see past traditional beliefs, need to have the spirit of great love and the aspiration to help nurture good doctors. They must truly understand the meaning and purpose behind the body donation and have no fear or regret. 

• They truly possess wisdom and know how to create blessings for our society. As for donors’ relatives, they are truly admirable for helping to fulfil the last wish of their loved ones and allowing his or her body to be operated, despite their own pain and grief.

• The contribution of these body donors – silent mentors – is truly a tremendous one. They add to medical knowledge as well as help nurture doctors with humanity. These body donors show us what wisdom is and have given their own lives everlasting meaning and value.

Features of Silent Mentor Program

This cut, the final of a student’s, marks the beginning of a medical doctor

A program that weaves professional training 

with humanistic appreciation

1. Home Visit: Interacting with family members prior to commencement of workshop.

By visiting and interacting with the family members, students learn the life story and the wills of their silent mentor. With this, students know their silent mentor as a person rather than a cold cadaver for practice and look upon their silent mentor as a role model that practice altruism.

2. Brief introduction of Silent Mentor: One day before the workshop

Students use words to depict their silent mentor. Narrative words that summarize the life of their silent mentor are always touching and express the deepest impression in their heart. Family members of silent mentor are invited for the brief introduction.

3. Initiation Ceremony: Before start of Day 1 Workshop

The first of the blessing of life’s final rites by Christian Priest, the initiation ceremony blesses and launches the four day program with participants greeting this with all their gratefulness.

Another final rites and blesses by Buddhist Nun to Silent Mentor with their family members. 

Another final rites and blesses by Roman Catholic Priest to Silent Mentor with their family members. 

4. Hands-on Professional Training: Day 1-4 of Workshop

Silent mentors use their body to teach. Participants gain not only medical knowledge, the secrets of human body, practice complicated surgical procedures but also the philosophy of life.

5. Suturing, dressing and coffining: End of Day 4 Workshop

As part of the blessing of life’s final rites, at the end of the professional training program, the students carefully examine again to make sure all the wounds are appropriately closed/sutured, dress their silent mentor properly in dignity and with their deepest gratitude, place their silent mentor in a gracefully designed coffin.

6. Gratitude ceremony cum funeral service: Day 5

Students and trainers express their gratitude to their silent mentor. This reinforces the students and trainers to develop a life-long philosophy of gratitude, respect and love. 

As part of the blessing of life’s final rites that prepares the silent mentor for cremation. Led by faculty members, trainers, students, family members and Tzu-Chi volunteers (if related) accompanied silent mentors for their final part of journey before cremation at crematorium centre of Nilai Memorial Park.

7. The return of ashes of Silent Mentor to family member: Day 6

The family member will collect the ashes of silent mentor at Nilai Memorial Park for further arrangement by family member. The program is finished and the wishes of silent mentors are fulfilled.

Process Flow of Body Donation

Step 1:  Silent Mentor Centre (SMC) received notification from family member on terminally ill donor. Infectious diseases blood screen report (HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphillis & COVID-19) & latest medical history report of donor are to be furnished by family member to SMC for assessment of eligibility.

Step 2:  Upon the death of eligible donor, SMC will only arrange logistic to deliver the body upon issuance of burial permit from local hospital/police officer to next of kin. (For detail of specific processes of issuance of relevant documents, please refer to FAQ section - Question 6

Step 3:  Body should be arrived at SMC within 8 hours of death for deep freezing process, to be ready for surgical simulation workshop in the near future.