Both Li Man and I went to the Longquan Temple for the second time. Last year was first time we went there and the Ven. Master Xuecheng, the Abbot of the temple, greeted us, and discussed with us the differences between China and America in science learning. This second time the Ven. Xianqing met with us for a good vegetarian Buddhist lunch and discussion from which I learned a lot about a new style of Buddhism. Then we looked around the San Hui Tang(三慧堂) where we could see virtually the whole Phoenix Mountain as well as the traditional yet also very contemporary design of the temple building. Indeed, we discovered China has here been able to successfully combine tradition with a very modern international design, successfully combining the past, the present and even the future in a truly human landscape in a way that also succeeds in creating a landscape whose geography is at once spiritual, aesthetic and physical, and they did not forget to return to their Chinese Buddhist and Daoist cultural roots.
As a Sinologist and as a Humanistic Geographer, for me the Temple, its leaders and its monks are now truly Humanistic Buddhists (人文佛教). Now Longquan Temple also thoroughly relates to the sciences and the arts. Indeed, the Longquan Temple, cooperating with volunteer experts in digital media design and development, have produced an exceptional collection of cartoons to teach the young and the old about monks, normal citizens, ethics, morality, kindness, and love. They even created a fully operational robot monk who can dialogue with you and answer your questions. They also have a special group to help develop contemporary science, as many of the monks are actually graduates of major universities like Peking University, Tsinghua University and others.
In short, we sincerely thank Ven. Xianqing and all of the staff and volunteers as they spent almost their whole day not only to show us the temple’s campus, but also to discuss their work and goals. So Li Man and I want to offer our blessings and prayers for their continued success, as well as offer our heartfelt help in the future.
Marwyn S. Samuels and Li Man