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Thread: Interesting Article: Meeting Taiwan's new-age Buddhists

  1. #1

    Interesting Article: Meeting Taiwan's new-age Buddhists


    Just sharing an article...

    Meeting Taiwan's new-age Buddhists

    And some quotations from it..

    ""According to Buddhism, it's not enough to have benefits for oneself only, you must also have benefits for others. We should try to help as many people as we can to be relieved of suffering," said Head Abbot Hsin Bao of another major Taiwanese Buddhist association, Fo Guang Shan."

    "These organisations are very different from traditional Buddhism," said Kuo Cheng-tian, a professor at National Chengchi University. "They emphasise lay believers running temples and Buddhist organisations, not just monks. And they use ordinary believers to lead charity missions."

    "We see no need for you to be converted; we're not aiming to proselytise," said Chien Tung-yuan, a Tzu Chi spokesman. "From the beginning, Shakyamuni (Buddha) taught people to help those who are suffering, without conditions, and not to want anything in return."

    "They build temples for tourism, for money, but they don't know how to spread Buddhism's ideology," Mr Fu said. "This is regrettable. Society has so many problems, Buddhism should play its role in helping people and giving them spiritual guidance."


    Life is our temple and its all good practice

  2. #2
    Hello Fugen,

    To start with, I am trying to become a volunteer with Tzu Chi in the Washington, DC, area, so I may not be neutral on that issue.

    That being said, I think that the whole "Humanistic Buddhism" movement is a wonderful thing. I believe that it is a good answer to the problem of, "in the whole universe there is not one ounce of surplus or lack, but what about the hungry and those in unfortunate circumstance?"


    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

  3. #3
    Very interesting article. I too, think Humanistic Buddhism is a great movement. It sounds like engaged Buddhism in the west...lovely! Isn't this what we are already trying to do?

    Thank you for sharing Fugen.


  4. #4
    Thanks Fugen.

    I find this to be a great movement. It seems many buddhist do not practice the way we do. Moving away from simply praying for ones own self and moving towards helping the community seems like a good thing, but no mention of a meditation practice. Very good article though, thanks for sharing it.

    Gassho, Shawn

  5. #5
    Thanks Fugen.

    There is a big Fo Guang Shan temple here, and I've attended two times their Vesak celebration.
    Fo Guang Shan is also the temple and one of its masters supporting Buddhism in my scout association.
    I think I will attend their practice some day.

  6. #6
    It seems, as has been discussed earlier in other posts, that Buddhism might be feeling the pressure of the Christian charity movement to also become more engaged in charitable works. As I see it, Buddhism IS engaged practice. For me right action is working to make the world a better place in whatever capacity we can. Even though the world is already perfect/non-perfect. Saving all sentient beings, and humanistic acts, however are not really the same thing. But overall, I am all for engaged, humanistic or any kind of effort to help those in need, regardless of what label we put on it. Perhaps a "good" influence frorm the West.


  7. #7
    Thank you Fugen for this article ... engagement is a wonderful and valuable way to practice. =)


  8. #8
    It's interesting to see Dharma Drum Mountain described this way. I practice for many years at a Dharma Drum monastery, and though they do have a handful of "lay teachers" they still seem to view the superior practice as monastic life. They are very focused on what they call human centered Buddhism though, which is good. Though they tend to stay very clear of anything that may appear political.

    Nice article though, as I learned in a lecture recently, our "western buddhism" seems to be influencing Asian countries now.

    Pretty cool,


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Daijo View Post
    Nice article though, as I learned in a lecture recently, our "western buddhism" seems to be influencing Asian countries now.

    Pretty cool,

    First off I think this new movement is great. Things evolve and change and his is just another example of buddhism evolving to meet the needs of the world. Eventually I truly believe that the number of Buddhists (or any peace peaceful religion) will outweigh the number people who want war. Evolving Into a new type of buddhism helps it reach people it would not before.


  10. #10
    There is a wonderful history book which had a major impact a few years ago ... The Making of Buddhist Modernism ...,d.bGQ

    Many of the modern interpretations of Buddhism so common in the West today are actually the product of Western and Asian moudernizers of the late 19th and 20th century ... such as the equality of women (unusual in traditional, class bound Asian societies), the ability of non-monastic lay folks to engage in Practices such as Zazen, the emphasis on Buddhism as a "scientific" system and the Buddha as a humanist or psychologist who did not emphasize religious aspects, and the emphasis on charity (other than the traditional emphasis on lay donations to monastics). The latter always existed, but has been greatly emphasized in response to competition from Christian missionaries, Judeo-Christian values in the West and such.

    But that does not mean that, just because something is relatively new or a reform, it is a bad thing at all. Further, I believe that all such changes are in total harmony with Traditional Buddhist Values and Teachings.

    I do not recommend the above book to anyone but Buddhist history geeks, but here is a further description and commentary by David Chapman for those interested ...

    I fully support all efforts to meld Buddhist Practice, Charity and Social Concern, and believe we all have much to learn from organizations such as Tzu Chi.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-31-2014 at 05:06 PM.

  11. #11
    There is a wonderful history book which had a major impact a few years ago ... The Making of Buddhist Modernism ...,d.bGQ

  12. #12
    Wonderful. I especially like how reading clubs pop up and lectures are being spread. It's always nice and inspiring to see admirable people help those in need. No one should need any religious or other reason to do so. But it is also important to work inwardly with the practice as well as outward. Both should be there.


    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.


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