Q&A | Longquan Monastery, where the cute Xian’er originated and geeks gather

From:Phoenix Satellite Television     Author:Phoenix Satellite Television     Time:2016-05-06 20:05:27
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Some say the dissemination of Buddhist Dharma through animation is the modern manifestation of the idea of Engaged Buddhism, a concept proposed by Ven. Master Taixu in the era of the Republic of China. Longquan Monastery appears to be truly transforming traditional Buddhism into modern Buddhism.

Recently, the Q&A China Programme Team of Phoenix Satellite Television came to Beijing Longquan Monastery, the “birthplace” of Xian’er. Guided by Ven. Master Xuecheng, President of the Buddhist Association of China, they explored the Monastery.

Some say the dissemination of Buddhist Dharma through animation is the modern manifestation of the idea of Engaged Buddhism, a concept proposed by Ven. Master Taixu in the era of the Republic of China. Longquan Monastery appears to be truly transforming traditional Buddhism into modern Buddhism. As Ven. Master Xuecheng puts it, “Buddhism is old, but Buddhists are modern.”

Uncovering the veil of Xian’er


Wu Xiaoli: You were born in the 1960s, and you think comics and animations are very important?

Master Xuecheng: I once asked a foreign friend, "In those prestigious colleges and universities in the United States, which department is the most popular?" He answered, "The animation department." I said, "How come animation is so popular?" He said, "A lot of scientific discoveries originate from animations. It starts with imagination, which then fosters creativity, and eventually scientists study, invent, and create based on such innovative ideas. In this way something that started out as imaginary can actually become real." 


I think this is also applicable to Buddhism. Modern people are troubled by reading fatigue and information explosion, as they read books every day and this tires them out. These cartoons are much easier to absorb. How can we hold on to and preserve the essence of our Chinese Buddhist cultures, while reinterpreting this in the modern linguistic context and global environment? I think this is the responsibility of our current monastic generation.

Walking in the Monastery


Wu Xiaoli: There is a saying on the Internet: All martial arts come out of Shaolin (Monastery), while talented geeks go into Longquan (Monastery).

Master Xuecheng: This is a jest on the Internet. We may think of the monastics as people who are not well-educated, or only elderly people, or people who have encountered some difficulties in life. Actually these situations were common only in the past. Nowadays, people are generally better educated, their beliefs are more diverse and their life choices have become much more varied.


Wu Xiaoli: High-level intellectuals are entering Buddhism. What impact do you think will this have?

Master Xuecheng: First, to some extent it can change people's perceptions of Buddhism. Some people think of Buddhism as outdated, negative, or even superstitious. These perceptions may be changed accordingly. Second, it will meet the spiritual Buddhist needs of the more educated people. Third, the intellectuals are relatively good at daily monastery management. They can use modern management methods and ideas to complement the traditions in our Monastery. It makes the management of Buddhist monasteries more modern, and more in line with the needs and habits of modern people.

Dialogue in the Meditation Hall

Master Xuecheng: We monastics practice sitting meditation here at noon during weekends and every day in the evening, and also at other times. Sometimes some devotees, "successful people" from outside the Monastery and international friends also experience meditation here.

It is said in Chan Buddhism that “The self-mind is Buddha, and the self-nature is what makes Buddha." Everyone is pure, is Buddha (by nature). If our mind is pure, compassionate and wise, then no matter if we sit, walk, sleep, lose consciousness, work or live, we are pure and compassionate. If we stay like this in our next life, keeping our pure mind, our meditative capabilities will continue to improve in our next life, and we will be closer to Buddhahood.

Editor:Summer
Tags:Master Xuecheng, Xian’er, Animation, Modern

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