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Actuality of Buddhism on the Chinese Mainland (中国大陆佛教现状及改良之策) December 2, 2011


The Significant role played by Buddhism in assisting goverance of country

            - Part IV The actuality of Buddhism on the Chinese Mainland and Ways to Improve It


Nowadays, Buddhism has not played a proper and positive role on the Chinese mainland because of the fact that some Buddhists themselves there lack self-discipline and have not accepted or pondered over the idea of going into the secular world to practice Buddhism. This has resulted in an outdated system with improper positioning of its social role and an excess of Governmental intervention and control.


To harmonize disputes among different Buddhist sects

Recently, Buddhism on the Chinese mainland has been in a state of disunity, where disputes arise between the Exoteric Buddhism (Sutrayana) and Esoteric Buddhism, even between different sects and temples. Each individual entity does things its own way. The monks can’t reach a common view of integrated harmonization in terms of the theories (Pariyatti) of different sects and practicing a common direction. Because the parts have become separated from the whole, Buddhists’ practice has become superficial and formalized, being called “bubble/foamy Buddhism.” Because of this, Buddhism is losing its value to serve society, and the populace can’t get any moral support from the contemporary Buddhist dharma. On the Chinese mainland, more and more people are dissatisfied with Buddhism, especially Chinese Buddhism. A rough idea of this comes from the fact that, recently, Tibetan Buddhism and Southern Buddhism have rapidly developed independently. Master Yin Shun most sorrowfully said that “Zen (Chan) is the essential Traditional Buddhism, but it has lost its original features.” Some Buddhist orders have been abolished for quite a while. The confession ceremony, chanting the name of Buddha and chanting incantations are the only things still being practiced as Buddhist dharma; in the past, only the ways of Confucianism and Taoism competed with them. Today western religions and philosophy have joined in the competition, resulting in the fact that Buddhism is in need of great changes.


In view of this, it is necessary for Exoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism to have adequate communication and internal readjustment. In fact, historically, the two forms of Buddhism arose from the same source, so the only way to solve the dispute is to use Chinese Mahayana to lead all the different Buddhist sects to change the present situation of disunity and tackle the problem at its root. On this basis, a strong consensus of actively going into the secular world and helping the country get over its present difficulties as well as bringing benefits to its people can be reached. We can then probe into how to go into the secular world in order to assist the society in solving its problems, such as “the lack of morality in the common people,” “increasing serious psychological problems” and making contributions to China’s internal harmony and prosperity in the form of NGO.


To reform Buddhist monastic system

The Buddhist temples should be secluded places for those who want to cultivate their original nature and improve themselves. Nowadays, however, the temples have become places for some people to make money. The intervention and control of religious affairs from the local government to which the temples belong have nourished some monks’ utilitarianism in nearly every aspect. Recently the demoralization of monks has been frequently exposed by the media, raising the suspicion of the common people about Buddhist benevolence and credibility. On the other hand, as a Buddhist, a monk should have made a great effort to practice the basic tenets of Buddhism after accepting the offerings from the people to pay them back with his wisdom and benevolence instead of wearing cassocks in disguise under the name of Buddhism to demand money and other things. It is absolutely insane.


It is like the old saying that nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards being set. How can an integrated Buddhist system be formed if there is no normative system or scientific management? How can we be good examples for the world? Therefore, the improvement of the Buddhist internal system should be done through the following aspects:


First, disciplinary actions should be taken against the monks who have violated Brahmacari through corruption, law-breaking, etc. In the meantime, they should be given relevant education and training.


Second, economically, in the light of the principle, “what is taken from the people is to be used in the interests of the people,” temples should be guided to join in the secular world to do good deeds for society and to solve problems for the common people. Charity funds, student support funds (education support funding), supporting the poor funds, funds of “ready to help others for a just cause,” etc., should be set up on an extensive basis. Original Buddhist dharma and justice should be praised and propagated. Meanwhile, educational institutes should be run systematically and scientifically to educate more ambitious young people who love their country and its people.


Third, they should devote themselves to all the activities of rescue and disaster relief to inspire and lead the common people with Buddhist wisdom and benevolence.


In a word, the Buddhist culture which has been passed on for over 2000 years has become an indelible part of human civilization after it has gone through its glory and hardships. History shows that from time immemorial, any ruler can use, blend, praise, refer to, apply and change Buddhism, but by no means can it be abandoned or abolished. In the past, present or in the future, Buddhism, as an NGO has and will continuously show its irreplaceable fountain of wisdom and benevolence in assisting the governing of a country.



                               佛教对政治的辅佐意义 - 第四部分: 中国大陆佛教现状及改良之策