Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the International Seminar on the Patriarchal Court Culture of Chinese Buddhism

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Ven. Master Xuecheng     Time:2016-11-24 11:39:27
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In the light of the great value and significance of the Patriarchal Court Culture, this International Seminar initiated by the BAC and the CRCCA (China Religious Culture and Communication Association) hopes to unite the fraternal Chinese Buddhists and insightful academic intellectuals from both home and abroad to jointly promote the compilation, inheritance and dissemination of the Patriarchal Court Culture and boost exchange and cooperation among international Chinese Buddhist communities.


Honorable leaders, venerables, scholars, experts and guests,

Today, representatives of the Buddhist circles and relevant experts and scholars from 17 countries and regions have gathered in the ancient capital city Xi’an for the International Seminar on the Patriarchal Court Culture of Chinese Buddhism. We meet here to share the ideological achievements of this culture, carry forward the patriarchal spirit and strengthen our Dharma affinity and Buddhist brotherhood. This is a great opportunity to gather and exchange Buddhist, academic and cultural perspectives. On behalf of the Buddhist Association of China (BAC) and the Chinese Buddhist circles, I hereby extend my warmest welcome and sincere greetings to all the elders, eminent monks, young monastics, experts and scholars present at the seminar.

Chinese Buddhism is blessed with outstanding and brilliant features. The Eight Schools, born of the same origin, developed in differing directions but converged at the same destination. They thrived together, adding to each other’s splendor. After Buddhism was introduced to China, it spread across the country following a principle of being true to the Dharma and being suitable to the actual conditions and situations of the times. The Eight Schools — the Vinaya, Three Sastras, Pure Land, Chan, Tiantai, Hua Yan, Consciousness-only and Tantra — were born in the Sui and Tang dynasties following the inheritance and development of the previous 500 to 600 years. The flourishing of the Eight Schools demonstrated the peak of the development of Chinese Buddhism, and was an all-round succession to and creative development of Indian Mahayana Buddhism. It indicated that the Chinese Buddhists not only fathomed out the thoughts of Indian Buddhism holistically but also reached new heights in the study and practice of the scriptural theories. The localization level of Buddhism has reached a consummate state. 


The Patriarchal Courts bear witness to the brilliant history of the Eight Schools contending with each other for splendor. As the cradle of each school, Patriarchal Courts are the primary temples where the patriarchs cultivated and attained enlightenment, translated scriptures, transmitted teachings, established traditions and schools, promoted the Dharma and benefited all beings, and carried on the light of wisdom. Patriarchal Court is the spiritual home and holy land cherished by the patriarch’s disciples and large following across the world. The Patriarchal Court Culture, with a focus on the vows, deeds, compassion and wisdom of the founding patriarchs from different schools as well as their distinctive doctrines and techniques, reflects the temple-based Buddhist cultural tradition and legacy and their development in the modern era. The Patriarchal Court Culture is an important component of Buddhist culture and is of great religious, cultural and research values.

The Patriarchal Court Culture manifests Chinese Buddhism’s spirit that worships the patriarchs and value the lineage. Patriarchs are our connection to inherit and extend the Buddha’s teachings. Their compassion and grand vows, as well as their supreme virtues have allowed us to embrace and experience the Buddha’s teachings and blessings. They deserve our constant devotion, remembrance, eulogy and emulation. Chinese Buddhism, throughout its growth and development, has fully recognized the vital significance of the patriarchs and their lineage to individual liberation and enlightenment as well as to the spread of Buddha’s teachings, thus it has formed the spiritual tradition of “worshipping the patriarchs and valuing the lineage.” The Patriarchal Court Culture that highlights patriarchs and their lineage is a manifestation of this spirit. 

Patriarchal Court Culture serves as a bond for mind connection and cultural communication. It is also the home of faith and spiritual hometown for domestic and foreign disciples of the same school and same lineage. It can shorten the distance between hearts, overcome barriers, build common consensus and strengthen friendship. It is the cultural bond and spiritual bridge in the exchange and cooperation among the international Chinese Buddhist community.  

In the light of the great value and significance of the Patriarchal Court Culture, this International Seminar initiated by the BAC and the CRCCA (China Religious Culture and Communication Association) hopes to unite the fraternal Chinese Buddhists and insightful academic intellectuals from both home and abroad to jointly promote the compilation, inheritance and dissemination of the Patriarchal Court Culture and boost exchange and cooperation among international Chinese Buddhist communities. On this occasion, I’d like to put forth three points of expectation on behalf the BAC and the Chinese Buddhist circles. 


First, we hope to facilitate the international studies of Chinese Buddhism. In modern times, studies in this field in the East and West have witnessed fruitful results. This has helped the Chinese Buddhist circles to revalue its tradition and to promote its global transmission. At present the studies of Chinese Buddhism are facing various challenges such as material collection, research method, theoretical framework and communication. We hope that the Patriarchal Court Culture can act as a starting point to strengthen communication and exchange among Chinese Buddhism communities and academic circles in the East and West, deepen and innovate its studies in the aspects of theoretical framework and research approaches, thereby allowing the world to gain a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of Chinese Buddhism.

Second, we hope to further the spread and inheritance of the patriarchal spirit that constitutes the essence and backbone of Patriarchal Court Culture and is the focus for its research and spread. We hope to take this Seminar as an opportunity to further in-depth research on the life story, ideology and contribution and influence of the patriarchs of different schools among international Chinese Buddhist communities and academic circles, so that the supreme virtues of the patriarchs would be manifested and their vows, deeds, compassion, and wisdom be emulated. In addition we will promote the various schools of Chinese Buddhism in different countries and regions to seek for new development and open up new prospects in spreading the Buddha’s teachings and benefitting all beings while remaining committed to the original aspiration and inheriting the tradition.

Third, we hope to promote exchange and cooperation among international Chinese Buddhist communities. Passing on the virtues of patriarchs and extending excellent conditions constitute the theme of this Seminar. The patriarchal spirit and the Patriarchal Court Culture are the spiritual wealth for the international Chinese Buddhist communities, the spiritual bridge for Dharma brothers at home and abroad, and the common theme for dialogue and exchange between Buddhist communities and academic circles. Taking the opportunity of the Seminar, we hope to make use of the Patriarchal Court Culture as the bond and the Patriarchal Court as the platform to conduct activities such as visiting monasteries, experiencing cultivation, and having dialogue, exchange, and cooperation. We will also attach importance to the exchange among young Buddhists. We hope to boost the development of Chinese Buddhist communities of different schools in different countries and regions and let them blossom in their unique splendor in an atmosphere of mutual respect, exchange and cooperation. We will contribute our inexhaustible source of wisdom and power to the spread of the Buddha’s teachings, enhancing the welfare of all beings, building a community of shared destiny for all mankind, and to the liberation and enlightenment of all beings.

Thank you all.


Editor:Summer
Tags: Patriarchal Court Culture of Chinese Buddhism, International Seminar

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