Carrying on Chan Self-Cultivation versus Involving in Secular Activities

发布日期:2017-08-25   字体大小:   
It was in the course of cultural exchange between India and China that Chinese Buddhism was born. In recent decades the population of Shaolin Monastery has been enthusiastically taking part in the initiative of associating a Buddhist votary's execution of his self-cultivation program with his preaching activities. The initiative entails his stay in frequent contacts with the multitudes and his involvement, to some extent, in their social life. Consequently more and more secular people are attracted by and drawn to religious activities hosted by the monastery. This has induced more and more lay people to become interested in and know more about Buddhism. Likewise our monastic population is thus led to know more about the laity, to whom the monastery has been preaching the gospel of universal salvation. As a result, to adapt himself to the requirements of the preaching duty he has to fulfill, a Buddhist votary of our monastery has to modify more or less his original way for executing his self-cultivation program. But this is merely a modest change in the way for executing his self-cultivation program, rather than a change in the program itself. Therefore the tradition of Shaolin Monastery has been kept intact since it has not been subjected to any change. And the monastery is clearly aware that science and technology can be and must be used to promote the development of traditional Chinese culture. What we abide by unswervingly is this: Neither the tradition of Shaolin Monastery nor the quintessence of a Buddhist votary's self-cultivation program is allowed to undergo any modification.

To practice self-cultivation in seclusion is not at all a right path to follow for a Buddhist votary. In his Platform Sutra, Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Buddhist Chan Order, points out: "The supreme truth shines in the world of sentient beings. Apart from the world of sentient beings you can nowhere else attain the knowledge of the supreme truth." It is obligatory for us, Buddhist votaries, to frequent the world of sentient beings and pass part of our time in the midst of the multitudes. So long as we are always keenly conscientious about our pledge to faithfully carry on our self-cultivation and sincerely abide by the pledge, and so long as we can well adapt our self-cultivation practice to the specific circumstances of the secular life which the multitudes are leading, we can deliberately turn the said circumstances into a touchstone for testing our probity and fortitude in pushing ahead with our self-cultivation in the context of social life of the laity. I sincerely pray that all Buddhist votaries across our country can have the insight into the truth of the motto that "Buddhism never evades the world of sentient beings". Had Buddhism ever sought to evade the world of sentient beings, it would have vanished from the surface of the earth long ago. (From My Heart My Buddha)