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Yuan
10 Nov 11, 10:29
Hi, I am an American currently living in Taiwan interested in how Westerners practice Buddhism.
I hope to have interesting discussions with everyone.

Aloka
10 Nov 11, 10:33
Welcome Yuan, I hope you enjoy the discussions !

with kind wishes,

Aloka-D

Esho
10 Nov 11, 12:56
Welcome Yuan,

;D

hajurba
10 Nov 11, 14:20
Welcome Yuan,
;)

Karma
10 Nov 11, 16:45
Hello Yuan, welcome to the forum.

Lazy Eye
11 Nov 11, 11:09
Hi Yuan, and welcome to BWB. I'm very interested in Buddhism as it is being practiced in Taiwan (and the Chinese-speaking world in general) so hope you'll be able to share some of your experiences. I understand that 人間佛教 ("Humanistic Buddhism") is popular there.

Moonfeet
11 Nov 11, 12:02
Welcome to the forum Yuan ;D

Yuan
11 Nov 11, 12:14
Hi Lazy Eye, Yes, Humanistic Buddhism is pretty big here. I believe that it was introduced as a concept by Master Yinshun. I just looked at the wiki entry for it and I think it describes it very well. These Humanistic Buddhists are doing some very good work here and around the world. The biggest one I think is the Tzu Chi foundation.

However, I am not a big follower of Humanistic Buddhism, because at some point, you can get too absorbed in charitable works and forgot about the Practice aspect of Buddhism (such as meditation). But I am happy to answer any question that you might have. If I have no answer, I can ask around and get them for you.

Jess1
11 Nov 11, 15:18
Hi Yuan,
I'm new here too.Great to meet you.

Lazy Eye
13 Nov 11, 11:42
Hi Lazy Eye, Yes, Humanistic Buddhism is pretty big here. I believe that it was introduced as a concept by Master Yinshun. I just looked at the wiki entry for it and I think it describes it very well. These Humanistic Buddhists are doing some very good work here and around the world. The biggest one I think is the Tzu Chi foundation.

However, I am not a big follower of Humanistic Buddhism, because at some point, you can get too absorbed in charitable works and forgot about the Practice aspect of Buddhism (such as meditation). But I am happy to answer any question that you might have. If I have no answer, I can ask around and get them for you.

Thanks Yuan! I have started a new thread (http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?1662-Buddhism-in-Taiwan&p=31984#post31984) with some questions about Buddhism in Taiwan.

http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?1662-Buddhism-in-Taiwan&p=31984#post31984

I have spent some time in mainland China where the situation is pretty different, I'd guess...

plwk
13 Nov 11, 15:02
Hi Lazy Eye, Yes, Humanistic Buddhism is pretty big here. I believe that it was introduced as a concept by Master Yinshun...
Let's not forget the humble pioneer, the Great Master Tai Xu...the late Ven Master Dr Yin Shun carried on his torch...


However, I am not a big follower of Humanistic Buddhism, because at some point, you can get too absorbed in charitable works and forgot about the Practice aspect of Buddhism (such as meditation).
Well, this can be looked at from certain angles...
1. Yes, there's a tendency amongst some and I mean some, not all though, to treat this Humanistic Buddhism thingy as a kind of a weekend Rotary/Lions Club adventure and a feel good factor of having done something back for society BUT...but...

2. It's an expedient to hook in those who have no/little/distorted Dharma background and understanding with one aim of drawing them into the Buddha Dharma eventually. Kinda like what some treat with disdain 'coffee table dharma books' without seeing how some have such difficulty in connecting with anything remotely spiritual or wholesome and as such, these expedients are not the end but merely a means for some to make that connection with the Buddha Dharma and hopefully it takes off from there.

3. Let's take an example of Tzu Chi. Yes they are huge when it comes to various charitable efforts both at home in Taiwan and abroad yet if one look at what their signature Dharma book store cum teahouse Jing Si is, small sitting/chanting sessions and the constant Dharma teachings from their Foundress, the Ven Master Cheng Yan, it is quite visible that they have not forgotten their core activity: the Buddha Dharma, only that they chose to express the Buddha Dharma in an outreach way.

And if we look at the other 'Big Three' (plus Tzu Chi, the 'Big Four'), Fo Guang Shan, Dharma Drum Mountain and Chung Tai Ch'an, these are the 'spiritual giants' of Taiwan who have proven that Dharma is better practiced with and for society and not the past isolationist tendencies that the Great Master Tai Xu had sought to reform.

4. I was once told that one explicit facet of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism is that Dharma is part of daily life and there is no daily life outside of Dharma.
Hence, one's cultivation revolves around bodhicitta-sentient beings-Enlightenment. The noble efforts of charitable acts are done not for the sake of merely being a conscious person but rather as expedients in aiding for the ultimate purification of one's mind and transcending of samsara for oneself and others.

So say when I am offering aid to others, is it just my body and speech involved? What about mind?
How do I observe my own mind conditions arising and cessating in those circumstances? Do I get moved easily by the 8 Worldly Conditions in that situation? Do I observe and understand sunyata in action when patching blankets or arranging old clothes for the poor or disaster relief victims? How do the 4 Noble Truths work when I volunteer at hospices, shelter homes, when I face a child/aged person ravaged by poverty, sickness, old age and death?

In short, yeah I may be doing 'Dharma' work, sitting in 'Dharma' practice but the larger question is: Is Dharma in me?

Yes, I do value the time for formal practice and learning but after the glow then what? The laundry? What is the worth of my sitting/learning? Here, 'Humanistic Buddhism' offers us that every moment in life is a chance for practice & realization. That's how the Buddha Dharma is made relevant in the here and now.
I recall reading the late Founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, the Ven Master Dr Sheng Yan opined: "The meaning of life lies in serving; the value of life in giving"

And the Great Master Xing Yun in his booklet, Living the Dharma (http://www.blia.org/english/publications/booklet/pages/23.htm):


Some people believe that to be profound, something has to be incomprehensible. This is not the case at all.
The Dharma is something we all can understand and use. The Dharma is a guiding light which can help us to better evaluate the material, social, and spiritual aspects of life.

Just my worthless opinions...

Yuan
13 Nov 11, 15:54
Just my worthless opinions...

Thank you for explaining this better than I could ever hope to.