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梵华法师

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回 顾 与 展 望 中 国 佛 教  

2008-07-23 00:14:21|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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                                           中 国 佛 学 院       性  朴 (烜 光)   博士

                      

 

2500 多年前, 释迦牟尼佛在古印度创建了佛教. 几百年之后, 终于在公元一世纪 (东汉年间), 佛教来到了当时已三千多年的文明古国——中国. 从此, 她作为一种生命力极强的宗教信仰在神州大地上传播开来. 佛教在中国近两千年的发展中, 并非一帆风顺, 曾经面对着许多问题. 换句话说, 它与中国社会的历史发展同患难, 共荣辱. 印度佛教之所以能够在当时的中国扎根, 不仅表现出中国文化的博大和宽容, 也由于佛教的思想与传统的儒,道及玄学等文化有相通的地方, 最重要的是佛教有其自身的魅力和价值. 这或许也是为什么佛教一直是中国最普遍的民间信仰, 甚至于无形中被看作是土生土长的宗教的答案.

佛教在中国的开始到南北朝期间, 只能算是扎根,发芽阶段. 而在隋,唐两代, 佛教则可谓是进入了开花,结果的最盛时期. 因为在这时, 佛教各大宗派如天台宗, 法相宗, 禅宗等相继产生. 可以说, 迄今为止, 没有哪个朝代的佛教发展超越其在当时的兴盛. 但让人匪夷所思的是历史上 ‘三武一宗’ 灭佛的事件也发生在这前后. 在南北朝期间, 尽管梁武帝笃信佛教, 但北魏武帝和北周武帝却对佛教进行了压制和消灭. 无独有偶, 唐朝的武帝和五代的周世宗竟也表现出他们对佛教的仇视. 幸运的是, 在以后宋,元,明, 清改朝换代的过程中, 佛教基本上是在平稳中发展的. 然而, 自1840 年鸦片烟战争至新中国成立, 中国一直遭受着外强的侵略, 内战和抗日的痛苦, 佛教也是在这些不幸和磨难中度过的. 后来, 在’文革’期间, 佛教又经历了一次重创.  

  自上世纪八十年代以来, 由于国家对宗教政策的开放, 佛教又从萎靡中振作起来.

 

佛教在社会发展中存在的必然性, 重要性. 人是由物质与精神组成的. 我们吃饭是滋补身体营养, 而我们的精神也需要营养. 琴, 棋,书, 画可以给我们带来精神养分, 但还不足以为精神主食. 身体累了, 可以休息; 但心累了,就只能找精神寄托来抚慰和疗养, 此即: 宗教信仰. 因此, 宗教是任何社会发展中必然存在的一种精神信仰产物, 这是任何一种团体和机构都阻止和禁止不了的. 但应该选择什么样的信仰是至关重要的. 其它的宗教都很了不起, 而佛教的博大精深深深地折服了全世界所有的佛教徒. 佛教不仅是一个精神寄托的 “避难所”, 也是引导我们净化身心, 超越自我, 转烦恼为菩提的永恒真理的妙法. 六度的第一项即布施——对治贪心; 第三即忍辱——对治嗔恨心. 世界之所以有战争, 冲突, 就是由于人们的贪心, 嗔恨心.

此外, 人们对佛教有了正确的认识, 正确的信仰, 就不去相信那些断章取义的邪教.

 

迈着传统的步伐与时俱进. 当今中国, 大部分的年轻一代, 都一味地学习欧美潮流而忽视了包括佛教在内的中国传统文化, 这是我们时代的一个悲哀. 其实, 我们应该在学习和借鉴西方文明的同时,也要重视自己的传统文化, 只有这样才能使中国真正走向繁荣富强.

     日本是让欧洲人竖大拇指赞叹的亚洲国家, 这主要是由于其经济的强大及产品质量的精巧与耐用. 殊不知其发展是与中国传统文化有很大关系的. 唐朝期间, 日本大批僧人及社会人士来到中国学习佛法及社会文化. 因此,唐文化深深地影响了日本人的思想及生活习性. 比如, 日本的茶道, 插花道, 围棋道是与中国的传统及禅文化分不开的; 寺庙建筑也没有离开唐朝佛教寺庙的风格. 确实, 日本人把静心的禅充分利用到了他们的现实生活中. 另外, 南朝鲜的国旗即中国的阴阳图, 而其思想深受我国宋朝文化的影响. 南朝鲜今天的繁荣经济和社会文明发展也是建立在佛, 儒, 道的思想基础之上的. 在新加坡, 华人对传统文化的推崇和应用更加广泛, 国家也建立的富足而美丽.

由于中国传统文化是几千年来贤哲们的智慧结晶和人生宝贵经验, 我们能够去信仰, 学习, 必然会为我们的社会发展带来很大利益, 所谓 ‘古为今用, 洋为中用’.

 

佛教徒素质的提高与现代化寺庙管理. 随着宗教政策的逐步开放, 佛教在中国变得日益广泛. 因此, 不论是为了佛教的未来发展, 还是为了文明中国的延续, 佛教徒的素质与寺庙管理还有待于提高. 事实上,素质的提高和管理好寺庙是紧密相连的. 素质好归因于管理好, 管理好归因于制度执行好. 只要我们能够严格执行佛教戒规, 自省自律, 我们的高素质就会相应培养起来. 寺庙是佛教的总部, 核心基地, 如果管理不好, 如何宏扬佛法呢?

过去的丛林制度非常好, 即: 选贤任能; 而现代社会管理流行董事会机制. 如果把这两种管理制度结合起来, 加上佛教的六和合如戒和同修,见和同解, 利和同均, 来管理寺庙, 是比较可行的上佳方法. 这种方法可以使领导层互有监督, 因为一个人的思想容易犯错误, 出问题. 此外,寺庙权利不终身制, 终身制容易造成腐化, 放纵.

 

中国佛教对世界佛教的影响. 在世界各地流传的佛教主要有巴利语系的南传上座部, 梵语系的北传汉地大乘, 及藏传佛教. 最奇特的是, 全世界只有在中国这三个分支都全部存在, 如云南省上座部佛教, 西藏藏传佛教, 及汉传佛教. 此外, 中国被誉之为 ‘大乘佛教的故乡’, 因为大乘佛教是在中国得到了其前所未有的发展.  世界上传播的大乘佛教皆来自于中国. 公元二世纪末, 大乘佛教从中国传到越南; 公元四世纪到韩国; 六世纪经朝鲜到日本. 如今, 在欧美及其它国家流行的大乘佛教都是由包括出家人在内的老一代的佛教徒从中国和这些国家传播出去的.

新中国成立以来, 我们与一些佛教国家的关系非常友好, 如缅甸, 斯里兰卡, 泰国, 越南, 尼泊尔等. 每年的中, 韩, 日三国佛教交流会议为三国的友好作出了贡献. 在海外, 常常听到这样的话: 有人的地方就有华人, 有华人的地方就有寺庙. 由此可见, 中国佛教在华人心目中的重要性和地位. 如今, 随着中国经济的腾飞及国运的强大, 中国必将在世界政治舞台上扮演极其重要的角色. 而中国佛教也将随之迈着宽阔的步伐走向世界做狮子吼. 

可喜的是, 近二, 三十年来,佛教在中国发生了很大变化, 如佛学院的不断出现,出家僧人去国外读书的增多, 国内大学把佛学设立为一门专业学科, 等等. 这些变化不仅有力而积极地显示出中国佛教未来的光明前景, 同时也预示着中国佛教将为整个人类社会的和谐发展作出更大贡献.

 

总之, 佛教对中国社会的发展是非常有必要的, 也是不可缺少的. 因为它是我们佛教徒的精神港湾, 是治疗精神疾病的良药, 是操守道德准则的动力, 是净化身心的妙法. 今天的佛教已日益得到世界公民的认可, 所以她在世界的传播即将成为一种趋势. 而我们作为新时代的佛教接班人, 有义务和责任把佛教传播的更广、更远。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Review and the Expectation of Chinese Buddhism

                

Ven.  Xing Pu  (Xuan Guang),  Ph.D.

                     The Buddhist Academy of China

 

2500 years ago, Buddhism was established by the Sakyamuni Buddha in ancient India. Several hundred years later, in the first century (the Eastern Han dynasty), Buddhism arrived in China, which had already enjoyed a three thousand year civilization. Since then, Buddhism, as a belief with strong vitality, has successfully spread in the Chinese land. Over more than 2000 years, Buddhist development in China was not quite smooth, facing many problems. In other words, it shared honor and disgrace with Chinese historical development.

What made Indian Buddhism deeply embedded in China at first? The reason for it was not only that Chinese civilization was so great and magnanimous, but also that there were some similarities between Buddhism and Chinese philosophy such as Confucianism, Daoism Metaphysics, etc. Yet, the greatest importance was the uniqueness of Buddhism and its philosophical value. Perhaps, these facts are also the answer to the question of why Buddhism has been the most popular folk belief and potentially accepted as the native religion in China.

From the beginning of Chinese Buddhism to the South/North dynasty, Buddhism was only regarded as the rooting and sprouting stages. During the Sui and Tang dynasties, Buddhism entered into its most flourishing time, that is, the blooming and fruitful stages. This is because at that time most Buddhist schools came into being such as Tiantai, Faxiang, Zen schools, etc. Probably, the highest development of Tang Buddhism has never been achieved by that of the late dynasties including the present time.

Nevertheless, it is hard to believe that the ‘Three and One Incidents’ of destroying Buddhism in Chinese history took place around that time. During the South/North dynasty, though the emperor Liangwu believed in Buddhism so much, the two northern emperors of Weiwu and Zhouwu tried to suppress and abolish Buddhism. Further, the misfortune did not come alone as the other two emperors named Wudi and Zhoushizong from the Tang and Wudai dynasties each similarly showed how much they hated Buddhism. Fortunately, in the course of the dynastic changes of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing, the Buddhist development was almost stable. But, from the 1840 Opium War to the new Chinese establishment, China suffered from the Western powers’ invasion, civil war and anti-Japanese intrusion. Similarly, Buddhism experienced further difficulties. At a later stage, during the “ten years’ cultural revolution”, Buddhism had another hot time.

Since the 1980s, due to new-enlightened religious policies, Buddhism has gradually recovered from its previous decline.

 

Buddhism is a necessary and essential part of social development. Every human being consists of the body and the spirit. We eat food for physical nourishment; similarly, our spirit—mind needs nutrition, too. Performing on the piano, playing chess, reading a book and drawing a picture may nurture the mind, but none of them can be nutritious enough to be main spiritual food. When the body is tired, it can rest. But when the mind is tired, the best way is to find a spiritual “shelter” to get it pacified and healed, that is, a kind of religion. Therefore, religion is the natural product of a spiritual belief in social development, which exists inevitably. In other words, no community or institution can prevent its occurrence.

However, it is very important for us to choose a religion to believe in. Great as other religions are, Buddhism deeply convinces its worldwide followers through its abstruse philosophy. Buddhism is not only a spiritual ‘shelter’, but also the highest dharma of the eternal truth, which is able to guide us to purify our body and mind, to transcend ourselves, and to turn human suffering into pure enlightenment. In the six perfections, the first is offering—anti-greed; the third, patience—anti-hatred. The human world suffers from wars and conflicts all the time because of human endless desires and resentments.

Furthermore, people would not believe those evil beliefs which are borrowed partially from other traditional religions, if they had a right understanding of Buddhism.

 

We must go forward with traditional steps.  Nowadays, most of the young generation in China simply follow the occidental style, but disregard Chinese tradition including Buddhism, which is a sad thing. In fact, the only way for us to make China prosperous and powerful is that when we study and utilize the Western civilization, we must pay attention to our traditional culture.

Japan is the only Asian country that is praised so much by the Occident because of its strong economy; sophisticated and durable products. However, its development is strongly related to Chinese tradition. During the Tang dynasty, lots of monks and social people from then Japan came to the Tang Empire to study Buddhism and local culture. Therefore, the Tang culture has deeply influenced Japanese thoughts and life habits. For example, Japanese tea practice, Ikebana, the game of Go are all closely associated with Chinese tradition and Zen culture. Even the construction style of Japanese temples is similar to that of the Tang dynasty. It is certain that Japanese takes full advantage of Zen culture in their practical lives, which is able to make one’s mind calm. Moreover, the national flag’s pattern of South Korea is borrowed from the Chinese “Ying and Yang”, and its thoughts are mainly affected by the Song dynasty’s culture. At present, its booming economy and social civilization’s development have been based on the philosophy of Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism. In Singapore, overseas Chinese keeps and uses the traditional culture much more than us, and the country is well developed and beautiful.

Since Chinese tradition is the core of the truth and a kind of meaningful human experience created by ancient saints, it will benefit our social development if we study and believe it. This is called: “Make the past serve the present, make foreign things serve China”.

 

Enhance our moral qualities and improve Buddhist management in modern society. As religious policies are gradually open, Buddhism in China is going to spread nationwide again. Therefore, no matter what goal we pursue, either the better Buddhist future or the continuation of Chinese civilization, it is inevitable for us to improve our moral qualities and Buddhist management in modern society. As a matter of fact, both of them are tightly correlated to each other. The moral qualities attribute to good management, good management attributes to an excellent system when carried out effectively. As long as we are able to strictly administer Buddhist disciplines, to examine and to discipline ourselves, we will cultivate our virtues accordingly. 

A Buddhist temple is the headquarters, a central base; if it is not well managed, how can we introduce Buddhism to others? The past Buddhist system is still useful in the modern Buddhist community like “Choose the best and appoint an able man to office”.  In the modern world, the directorate system is widely accepted. If we combine these two systems together, plus another Buddhist method named the Six Harmonies like keeping disciplines together, finding ideas in common, sharing in the benefits equally, it will be the best way to run the temple. Meanwhile, such a method can have the Buddhist leaders supervise each other, for one mind is easily cheated by mistakes and wrongs.

In addition, the Buddhist headship is not good for life tenure, since it is possible to make one degenerate and self-indulgent.

 

Chinese Buddhism has a great impact on world Buddhism. As for worldwide Buddhism, there are three sections to expand: the Southern Tradition — Theravada from Pali texts; the Northern Tradition — Chinese Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism from Sanskrit texts. Across the world, China is the only country where all the three sections are available — Theravada in Yunna Province, Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, and Chinese Mahayana. China is also recognized as the “Hometown of Mahayana Buddhism”, for it has been developed in China without parallel. The prevalence of Mahayana Buddhism around the world basically came from China. By the end of the second century, it came to Vietnam; in the fourth century to Korea; in the sixth century to Japan via Korea. To the Occident and other countries, it was transmitted by the old generations including monks from China and the countries mentioned above. 

Since the establishment of New China, we have maintained good relations with some Buddhist countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, and Vietnam. The Buddhist meeting yearly organized by the three countries: China, South Korea and Japan, has made a big contribution to their friendship. In addition, it is often said overseas: “If there are some human residents somewhere, there must be some Chinese among them; if there are some Chinese, there must be one or more Chinese temples”. It is obvious that Chinese Buddhism is so important to Chinese people.

Today, as the Chinese economy develops fast and the nation’s power becomes stronger, China will play an important role on the world political stage. At the same time, Chinese Buddhism will also come with the huge steps towards the world to make the peaceful roar of the lion. Happily enough, in recent decades, Buddhism has experienced great changes in China, such as the appearance of many Buddhist academies, more monks to study abroad, and Buddhism as a subject recognized in some native universities. These changes strongly indicate that Chinese Buddhism will not only have a bright future, but contribute to the harmonious development of mankind as well

 

In conclusion, Buddhism is very important and indispensable to the development of China, as it is a spiritual harbor for the whole Buddhists, a good medicine to heal a wounded spirit, the motivation to keep morality and virtue, a way to purify the human body and mind. Today, Buddhism is increasingly accepted by people around the world, so its worldwide spread will be an unavoidable tendency. We, as the Buddhist successors in modern society, are obliged to disseminate Buddhism farther and wider.         

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