Taixu reformative of Chinese Humanistic Buddhism is Early Buddhism

Taixu reformation of Chinese Buddhism emphasized in social and political engagement of Buddhists in the society instead of focus on the dead and ghost. This was the radical efforts that influenced the future of Chinese Buddhism to shift the focus to humanistic aspects like welfare, social volunteers, environmental protection and medical services instead of being misundertand as funeral related functions.

The reformative to Humanistic Buddhism is not a new movement, but a restoration of the Buddha's teachings to its original purposes, or Early Buddhism where Sakyamuni Buddha was actively engaged with the society and politics where he advise the kings and royalties related to the good governance for the welfare and prevention of war. These engagement was very different as the spiritual portions were incorporated. The mental is cultivated with compassion, wisdom, unconditional love and self-less as the root of the suffering are the noxious trio; greed, aversion and delusion. The delusion of ego or self is the strongest factor leads to suffering. Generosity path minimize the delusion of self as the services is with unconditional love and selfless. Thus egoless is cultivated and suffering due to self delusion is replaced with compassion and sympathetic joy.

Taixu ideas influenced the later development of Humanistic Buddhism in the Chinese society. Fo Guang Shan established by Hsin Yun advocates Humanistic Buddhism. Master Chen Yen of Tzu Chi Organisation emphasized on the first paramita of the Boddhisatva path, generosity where the volunteer organisations provide relief and medical, and social services to the disaster area thought out the world.

Karen Tee May Wah's picture

Chinese Humanistic Buddhism Influence

Master Taixu ideas of Humanistic Buddhism bring great significant influence to Chinese society, I personally benefited from it as a Malaysian Chinese. Fo Guang Shan, Tzu-Chi and Dharma Drum Mountain are very well established in Malaysia and propagate Chinese Buddhism in Malaysia. These organizations introduce and teach Buddhist thought that is practical and connecting to the modern society.

Wong Fook Ming's picture

Future of Modern Chinese Buddhism

I would like to share some thought after a small research and observations
related to the future of Chinese Buddhism in the modern society, as the mainland Chinese as
well as overseas Chinese (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Taiwan and SEA) progress into a developed, modern and powerful society.

1. Eliminate the emphasis on the funeral services for the dead and ghost. These were not
being the primary practices, but were the instructions from the Chinese emperors especially the
Qing to summon the monks for these services. Dharma emphasized on the 'here and now' and the
living to alleviate sufferings.

2. Monks, nuns and lay people shall be engaged with the masses. Isolation of the sages to the
mountains were the instruction by the first emperor of Ming dynasty due to political concern.
Thus, from then onward,
public perception on monks and nuns were that they are separated from the masses and not
relevant to their daily lives. These perceptions shall be removed. Early Buddhism is socially
engaged, even Sakyamuni Buddha himself. Prior to Ming dynasty, especially during Sui and Tang
dynasties, Buddhism were actively engaged with the masses in spiritual and welfare works where
it flourished and generated various outstanding scholars and schools.

3. The Taixu reformation were very relevant for the mainland and overseas Chinese to retain back
the beautiful tradition of 2100 years since the first translation and transmission of Agama
Sutras from Sanskrit to Chinese which were the Early Buddhism that was preserved. The Chinese
Buddhism is like the unpolished diamond that was tainted by the non essential and superstitious
due to political conditions at that time. The reformative is to polish these non essentials and
taints and to retain back the Early Buddhism which is the Humanistic Buddhism as advocated by
Taixu and his later disciples in this century. Then the diamond is always shining as it is the
inherent value that need no other external elements.

4. The new Chinese from mainland China is a very pragmatic and progressive in nature. The non
reformative version which were tainted by all those superstitious will not be accepted. The
reformed that the non essentials and taints that were removed will be the one that will be
accepted by the masses which is close to Early Buddhism or Humanistic Buddhism. This is not
a new movement, but return to the original practices that was being accepted during the Sui and
Tang dynasties.

Hope to share my thought and if someone can translate it to Chinese readers will be much appreciated.