Chapter nine: The dawn of the new century, illuminating the minds of all

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Shi Huikong     Time:2015-03-15 20:59:35
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In view of current situations, Master Xuecheng, with his wisdom and insight, advocates that Buddhist sects should be moderated and that operation should be enhanced to create a harmonious Sangha.

Master Xuecheng has always attended to the future and destiny of Chinese Buddhism, Chinese religion and Chinese culture. In Master's view, the birth of religion is an important indication that human society has advanced from ignorance to civilization. He believes that religion is the nucleus and soul of human civilization and a spiritual resource for constructing a harmonious society. If religion should play a significant role, exert its influence and make contributions in a harmonious society, it must keep up with the times and trace the theme of development; it must approach the realities of contemporary China; it must find concern for the various problems arising from social development; it must respond to the major issues that emerge from social progress. In the 21st century where economy is highly developed and people's material lives have greatly improved, cultural and ethical progress will certainly become more and more valued. People have a growing need for religion and Buddhism to solve various problems in their spiritual world and achieve mental balance. If a culture or a value system wants to be recognized, understood and appreciated by other nations, civilizations or people of other countries, it must possess universal values, which transcend political systems or ideologies. It must have a global vision, which stretches beyond a nation, a civilization, a country and one's own interests. It should be said that Chinese Buddhism with its three language families as well as Chinese culture as a whole have both such values and vision. It is only with such values and vision that they can be favored in the 21st century and play a greater role in society, in the reconstruction of Chinese culture and even in the reconstruction of the cultures of all humanity.

Master has given elaborate consideration to the following issues: What kind of role will Chinese Buddhism play in the 21st century; how it can be compatible with a socialist society; how can religion make positive contributions to facilitating social harmony; how to fully implement the fundamental religious policies of the Party and enable religious figures and believers to play a positive role in promoting economic development and social harmony; how to enable religious figures and believers to play a positive role in promoting cultural development; how to inherit and enhance the excellent traditions of Buddhism and absorb the new knowledge of modern times, while building a quality Buddhist Sangha; how to uphold the Dharma, dignify our country, and create bliss, benefits and harmony for sentient beings; how to make virtues encouraged by Buddhism naturally accepted by the public; how to carry out communications and dialogues among various sects of Buddhism, between Buddhism and other religions, between the religious society and the significant fields beyond religion such as politics, economics, culture, education, etc. 

It is stated in his article "A Brief Talk on the Cultural Construction of Chinese Buddhism" that "Buddhism is a religion with faith as its root, liberation from cyclic existence as its goal, education as its core and culture as its linking tie." In view of current situations, Master, with his wisdom and insight, advocates that Buddhist sects should be moderated and that operation should be enhanced to create a harmonious Sangha. He said, "Buddhist societies, especially the Sangha which is the major body to promote Dharma and uphold Buddhism, always play a decisive role in shaping the destiny of Buddhism." In addition, he stated, "The Sangha should uphold Dharma and the laity should protect and support Dharma. This is the responsibility and obligation of all Buddhists. With the orderly cooperation system of the Sangha and laity, we need to adjust our ideas, keep up with the times and rely on monasteries to face and develop favorable relationships with living beings. We also need to promote Dharma with multiple means that meet the needs of society. We need to manifest the compassion and wisdom of Buddhism, allow society to accept Buddhism, solve practical problems and deliver sentient beings through skillful means. Only when such practical matters have been truly attended for the sake of Buddhism and sentient beings, can new hopes be brought to society of this era."

Concerning society, Master wrote in his article "Religion's Concern over Globalization Issues" that "The expansion and deepening of the world market and the formation and development of transportation and information networks have accelerated the process of globalization, especially economic globalization. This is an inevitable result of the development of modern productivity. Globalization is not an option but a reality and an objective trend. 'The Golden Rules' shared by major religions as their common features: mercy, love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness and mutual assistance, are the source and foundation of global ethics." Master said, "How can we efficiently transform the sources of Chinese Buddhist culture to a realistic soft power? How can we bring into play Chinese Buddhist culture's unique influence, persuasiveness and attractiveness? Buddhists often say, 'Promoting Dharma is our household task and benefiting sentient beings is our mission.' Promoting Dharma requires skills and intelligence as well as expedient methods, while for benefiting sentient beings we must consider the needs of people. Both promoting Dharma and benefiting sentient beings will only be achieved through excellent organization and thorough planning." 

Master Xuecheng often says, "The future of Buddhism lies in everyone's effort. Start with oneself, start from now on and start from this moment, as benefiting others is the real meaning of life." This young "elder" has been working hard day and night, sparing no effort in establishing a learning and practice system for Han Buddhism. He strives to establish the Buddhist system of faith, ethos, human resources, organization and education as well as to build up a pure, harmonious and progressive team consisting of teachers, teachings and companions. "I offer my deep resolve to serve all beings in the world; this is the way to return Buddha's benevolence." As stated in Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds, "For as long as space endures and for as long as the world lasts, may I live to dispel the miseries of the world." Master is making unremitting endeavors with his profound and vast compassionate vows and wisdom, leading the Sangha and lay Buddhists to carry forward the great cause of spreading the Dharma and benefiting all sentient beings.

Tags:social harmony, communications and dialogues

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