Building a New Bond to Further Develop the Mind Culture

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Ven. Master Xuecheng     Time:2017-08-12 10:52:52
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More and more insightful people in the West have come to realize that the tradition of Buddhism can be indeed regarded as the second ‘Renaissance’ of Western culture, and these all have provided a broad vista for Chinese Buddhism to spread and develop in the West.

Building a New Bond to Further Develop the Mind Culture

-- Speech at the 2017 China-Canada-US Buddhist Forum and Grand Dharma Ceremony for World Peace

Cham Shan Temple, Toronto, Canada

June 16, 2017

President of the Buddhist Association of China (BAC)

Venerable Master Xuecheng

Honorable Mr JiangJianyong, Deputy Director of State Administration for Religious Affairs of P.R.C,

Venerable Master Dayi, President of the Buddhist Association of Canada, 

Venerable Master Pindao, President of the American Buddhist Confederation,

Venerable Elders, Masters, Guests, and Lay Buddhists, 

Thanks to the joint efforts of many people, the first China-Canada-US Buddhist Forum, with the theme of “Perfecting the Middle Way & Enduring Peace”,is opening tomorrow. This three-day forum has been initiated by the Buddhist Association of Canada and joined by the Buddhist communities from China and U.S. It aims to improve the mutual understanding and dharma friendship for the Buddhist community of these three countries, and to dedicate to the promotion of Chinese Buddhism and international communications. This is an auspicious event as a milestone for the Buddhist communities of China, Canada and U.S.. It will also have far-reaching influence on the spread of Chinese Buddhism to the West in the future. 

We gather here today to celebrate this grand event and to pray for world peace and for the happiness of all beings. On behalf of the BAC and fourfold assembly of disciples in China, I would like to give my most cordial wishes to you, venerable elders, guests, and lay Buddhists! I would also like to express my highest respect to the Buddhist Association of Canada and Cham Shan Temple, the organizer of this forum, for their arduous efforts to make this event possible!

As early as 1993, while attending an event hosted by the Japanese Buddhist community to mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the BAC, Reverend Zhao Puchu, then-president of BAC, mentioned in his speech that a "Golden Bond" had been formed  from ancient times to the present day for friendly exchanges between Buddhists from China, South Korea and Japan. He proposed that the "Golden Bond" be rebuilt. Inspired and driven by this vision, the Conference on Friendly Exchanges of Buddhism between China, South Korea and Japan has been held every year since 1995. And last year was the 19th time. These meetings have strengthened the friendly relationships between Buddhist communities of China, South Korea and Japan, enhanced the friendship between the people of these three countries, and played a positive role in maintaining the social stability of East Asia and world peace. 

In the past two decades, great and earthshaking historical changes have been taken place in the world. The concept of "Global Village," predicted by Marshall McLuhan, a renowned Canadian figure in Media Theory, in his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, is becoming a reality. This has greatly influenced the mutual integration among different civilizations. Meanwhile, China's economy has boomed in the past two dozen years, and jumped from a global ranking of No. 7 to No. 2. With the rise of the economy of China, the world has begun to pay closer attention to Chinese society and the spirit of Chinese culture. This provides a good opportunity for the dissemination of Chinese Buddhism into the West. 

In the mid-19th century, Chinese laborers came to the North America to pan for gold and brought with them their Buddhist tradition. A century later many eminent monk representatives such as venerable Master Lok To, Master Shing Cheung and Master Sing Hung travelled a long distance and all the way against all kinds of hardships to spread Buddhist teachings here in this continent. With their arduous and brilliant efforts of nearly half a century, we have now witnessed a glorious development for Chinese Buddhism in North America, which gradually forming another “Golden Bond” for Chinese Buddhism to go westward. The importance of this Golden Bond equals the other Bond between China, South Korea and Japan which has enabled Chinese Buddhism to spread eastward. It is foreseeable that this Bond will play the similar or even a more important role in the near future.

The great geographical barriers brought limited cultural exchanges between Chinese and Western cultures at ancient times, so these two cultures have formed relatively independent and distinctive characteristics. The Chinese culture mentioned today is fundamentally characterized by “harmony.” A “harmonious” culture puts emphasis on the co-existence and symbiosis of different cultural elements. The characteristics of “harmony” will inevitably lead to a value orientation that pursues and appreciates pluralism, which Chinese ancients termed as “harmony in diversity.” Though it originatedin India, Buddhism was able to integrate with Chinese culture after being introduced into China. These two cultures learned from and promoted each other in the course of communication and integration. On one hand, it evolved into the complete and unimpeded Chinese Buddhism by absorbing the Chinese culture which is featured by “harmony”; on the other hand, the Chinese culture developed the “Mind Culture” by applying the Buddhist idea of regarding mind as the origin of the universe.

Arnold Joseph Toynbee, a British historian, believes that “one of the most significant events of the 20th century might be the introduction of Buddhism to the western world.” (The Complete Works of Venerable Taixu, Vol. 21) Francisco Varela, a French neurobiologist, further pointed out and said, “It is our belief that the rediscovery of Asian philosophy, in particular its tradition of Buddhism, can be indeed regarded as the second ‘Renaissance’ of Western culture, the impact of which will be as significant as the rediscovery of Greek thoughts in the course of European renaissance.” More and more insightful people in the West have come to realize this. These all have provided a broad vista for Chinese Buddhism to spread and develop in the West. We have every reason to believe that Buddhism, especially Chinese Buddhism integrated with Chinese culture and the spirit of harmony, will make its due contribution to the better future of human beings. Now the best place to start,is the new “Golden Bond” in which to dedicate our efforts to establish for Buddhist communities in China, Canada and U.S., following the steps of the ancient patriarchs and eminent monks.

May the Forum be blessed with perfect merits and virtues! 

Thank you!


Editor:Bella Liu
Tags:Master Xuecheng, China-Canada-US Buddhist Forum

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