Face-to-face with faith: an exclusive interview with Ven. Master Xuecheng by Phoenix Satellite TV

From:Phoenix Satellite Television     Author:Phoenix Satellite Television     Time:2016-05-13 20:10:07
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Answers from the Master to the situation that Buddhism is being continually "forced to commercialize".

In recent years, there have been repeated damaging phenomena to Buddhism such as outsourcing and going public of sacred Buddhist Mountains, people making money by disguising themselves as monks or nuns, and conducting religious activities in unauthorized places. In as early as 2013, the then vice president of the Buddhist Association of China, Ven. Master Xuecheng once said that “Due to the profit motive of commercial capital, all kinds of non-religious bodies have used religion as disguise. This has significantly challenged peoples’ belief in religion.” Now three years has passed, what kind of challenges still persist in the fight against religious scandals? Bearing the question in mind, this week we will continue our dialogue with the president of the Buddhist Association of China, Master Xuecheng. 

Answers from the Master to the situation that Buddhism is being continually “forced to commercialize”

Wu Xiaoli: After opening a micro-blog, have you experienced any irrational verbal abuse? How do you cope with it?

Ven. Master Xuecheng: Various voices exist on the internet. There are misconceptions, distortion, criticisms and abuses and all kinds of rhetoric. I think it’s a normal phenomenon.

Wu Xiaoli: Do you respond to it?

Ven. Master Xuecheng: I will respond selectively. For instance, issues of commercialization of temples is a concern of netizens and also our media. In fact, Buddhism is being passively commercialized, or is “forced to commercialize.” The Buddhist Association of China, including our temples, don’t advocate commercialization. The relationship between the temple and its believers isn’t a commercial one. Since commercialization doesn’t comply with some fundamental doctrines of Buddhism as a religion, it cannot be measured by commercial and economic interests. Circumstances may occur to our netizens that some of our temples in the Chinese mainland, especially those in scenic areas, may have or be surrounded by business compounds, but the reality is that situations vary greatly. Some businesses may be run by temples, and some by locals, and others by commodity networks run by subsidiary institutions from tourism, gardening and others, but they are all attributed to temples. People may also have the misunderstanding that Buddhism is encouraging commercialization. A few years ago, there are phenomena such as ringing the first bell, lighting the first or tallest incense at the Spring Festival. During recent years, under the guidance of the Buddhist Association of China, you can see that such trends have cooled off and aren't as widespread as before.

Quick responses

Wu Xiaoli: What does the power of faith mean to you?

Master Xuecheng: You have an goal, an aspiration and you work hard towards that goal.

Wu Xiaoli: What kind of power does your faith give you?

Master Xuecheng: It changed me, and has also affected others. It even changed others, and people are increasingly elevated.

Wu Xiaoli: What can religion bring to modern people?

Master Xuecheng: When modern people believe in Buddhism, it stabilizes their character. I think this is crucially important. And also it sets a moral standard so that people can handle their relationships. I think Buddhism as a religion can provide help.

Wu Xiaoli: There is a verse in the Avatamsaka Sutra “Not forgetting the initial intention makes beginning and end meet.” What’s your initial intention, and what’s your biggest wish?

Master Xuecheng: In Buddhist terms, my wish is to become Buddha. Or in more ordinary language, we can bring everything we do to perfection.

Tags:interview,Ven. Master Xuecheng,Wu Xiaoli,Buddhism
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