Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

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JKhedrup
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Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:56 am


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Indrajala
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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Indrajala » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:39 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:44 am

Many of the Viet Namese sangha seem a little bit more relaxed, especially the ones in the West.

I know that Thich Nhat Hanh has formulated regulations that are aimed at being friendlier and more accessible, though I have to admit I find the conduct of some of his sangha feels a bit more rehearsed than natural to me. His revised Vinaya is fascinating reading but a source of huge contention in the Viet Namese Buddhist community.

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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Indrajala » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:15 pm

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

JKhedrup
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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:32 pm

Fascinating Huseng. Due to my lack of Chinese language I was only able to observe things on the surface so it is always interesting to hear your views, and more about the history behind how things developed. There is a sore lack of research on the modern development of Buddhism in Taiwan, I wish there was more available to read.
At least, though, to a certain degree the Sangha in Taiwan seems to be respected. I understand that many in Hong Kong view it was inauspicious to cross the path of a monk. Two noted Buddhist masters- Ven. Hsuan Hua and Lama Yeshe - made the same remark about HK "There is no dharma in this place".
Although these days there seems to be a broad choice of options there.

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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby BuddhaSoup » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:50 pm

I'm way off topic here, but I wanted to comment. I have studied and practiced in a few different traditions over many years, and spent time in Thailand as a samanera. I did observe what you have observed, temple life dominated by the female laity, along with some children brought to temple by their families or as part of the school functions from next door. The sense is that devoted Buddhist practice isn't on a top ten bullet list for most Thai young people.

Having said that, I do spend time with youtubes of Dhamma/Dharma talks of Ajahn Brahm of Perth. Aside from enjoying and appreciating his talks and the way he presents and packages his talks to the many lay people that gather, he also is a strong scholar and a serious monk. He seems to grasp the ability to be very traditional, technical and scholarly, while delivering his message in a way that cannot help but be attractive to young people seeking 'medicine' for the sickness of modern society.

In other words, he's got a good thing going, and seems to be building a large sangha with a wide demographic. Maybe he's on to something, that others from the various schools and traditions could emulate?

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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Indrajala » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:10 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby plwk » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:04 am


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Huifeng
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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Huifeng » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:57 am

Chinese Buddhism covers a huge amount of area and people, and there is huge variation within that. While many of the above posts are fairly on the mark, keep variation in mind, because there is a lot of it. Also, the very idea of "weiyi" that you describe above could also be broken down into different aspects, eg. weiyi proper (ie. iryapatha), dharma rite style weiyi, vinaya, chan hall style cultivation, and so there is a variation of various things. One group may emphasize one, but not the others, etc.

~~ Huifeng


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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:52 am

Yes this is good to keep in mind. Some of the weiyi must come from the Vinaya. I noticed that many of the rules about eating seem to be slight developments based on the Vinaya Sekhiya (Rules of Deportment)- not chewing loudly, not taking huge bites etc. This evolved into the monastic style of eating that you see today. I think it is a lovely practice and Trungpa Rinpoche took aspects of this (perhaps more the Japanese style) in the training forms he developed for Westerners.

I have to say that there were certain aspects of the formality of Chinese ritual that I enjoyed. The Fa Hui (sic?) or dharma functions for example were beautiful, especially the chanting. But how we were supposed to carry ourselves as monastics and interact with laypeople seemed very regimented. More so than in Thai Buddhism- where even though physical contact with women was even more of a taboo, they way that we could speak to and interact with people seemed more open.

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Huifeng
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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Huifeng » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:56 am

Originally, and strictly speaking, weiyi 威儀 Skt. īrya-patha: Tib. spyod lam, just refers to actions within the four postures of walking, standing, sitting and lying down.

You can check the semantic extension via DDB http://www.buddhism-dict.net/cgi-bin/xp ... 1%E5%84%80

~~ Huifeng


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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:53 pm


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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby viniketa » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:42 pm

. ~

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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Indrajala » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:45 pm

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby icylake » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:44 pm

i think the situation in east asian country is very different from that of south-east asian countries. (i myself am a korean liveing in Taiwan, so my english... :shrug: ) east asia never have been "Buddhist countries', or never have been buddhism dominating countries. in China, Korea the main political religion(philosophy) had been always counfucism, not Buddhism. for hundred years, Buddhism was women's religion, except some scholors and literaties like Zen practitioners and huayan sutra study, the literaties always kept their buddhism in the private area, especially Ming-QIng dynasty in China and Josen dynasty in Korea, so..frankly speaking we east asiasn have no concept like "born into Christian"like most of westerners or "Born into Buddhists"like south east asian countries. take my fammily for example, those who go to temple pray regualry are always my grand mother and mother. whereas my grand father and father don't, but after retirement, they started hwadu Zen practition and reading diamond sutra along with many counfucism canons like "Lun yu", "Da Xue" i don't know if their attitude for buddhism is "faith" or not. and sometimes they would go to temple to meet monk to chat over calligraphy and ink painting...but they never prayed like pious lay women..in east asia, "excessive concern to religion"is regarded as some what like "losing middle path". and the dual standard ; buddhism, for women/inner relationship, confucism for men/outer. social relationship, is quite distinctive. reading sutra and understanding zen atmosphere are quite admirable. but lf you take it too seriously,that may seemed to be "uneasonable", don't forget over thousand years, east asia has been the most secular area in the world..

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Huifeng
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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Huifeng » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:49 am

Hi Icylake,

While I can appreciate that you have your own point of view from Korea and now living in Taiwan, my own experiences of Taiwan differ a fair bit. I know quite a lot of young people who really were born and raised Buddhist, from their whole families, being part of Buddhist programs as kids, and then Buddhist youth groups later, and continuing that as they reach maturity.

However, I'm not exactly regular down-town Taibei or back street Hualian, as I myself am full time in such organizations and activities. So, the young people I meet are that whole side of things. While 50+ years ago, there was a tendency to see Buddhism as for grandma and grandpa, that is definitely not the case in Taiwan now. The whole "humanistic Buddhism" movement has changed that quite powerfully. Likewise, the changes in women's status in the community, less imperative to marry (Taiwan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world), etc. mean that young women can choose this option quite early in life. But the changes of humanistic Buddhism mean that such Buddhist involvement is not just "internal" to the home / family, but can be very active in society / community. Men often take power roles in Buddhism without it being effeminizing (sp?). eg. the president of the Guomin Dang political party is a well known supporter of Buddhism. Compulsory military obligations for young men takes it toll, though. But, this is ever decreasing in length, and will soon not even exist. I suspect that the involvement of young Taiwanese men in Buddhism will then show a slight increase.

I'd also argue that at many - not all - points of Chinese history Buddhism has been the default religion. Chinese often joke that the Korean's are better Confucians than the Chinese! And the influence from Buddhism on the neo-Confucians (lixue) and neo-Daoists, is much stronger than the other way around. In Taiwan, the originally Daoist cult of Mazu has now almost been co-opted by the Buddhists, she has become a form of Guanyin. The traditions of Yiguan Dao and the like often take Maitreya as their main object of worship. Haven't seen any Buddhist worshiping the Jade Emporer yet, and old Kong Fu Zi has not even been deified by Chinese Buddhists that I see.

Just my take on Taiwanese Buddhism, for what it's worth. We're obviously seeing different sides of Buddhism here. :namaste:

~~ Huifeng


icylake
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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby icylake » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:21 pm

hi. Huifeng.

thank you for your kind reply.
i appreciate the vivid atmosphere of taiwanese human buddhism also. really valuable. :twothumbsup:
and i found that there are many dimmensions in taiwanese buddhism as you indicated. especially more taiwanese(本土化) buddhist temples would have more syncretistic, taoist atmosphere, they chant sutras in Fukien dialect(min nan yu)along with many taoist script. and there followers are almost middle aged women speaking fukianese(taiwanese) .whereas the four devas have more mainland, orthodox buddhist atmosphere, and at the same time heve more modernized organization. they are the main power of the Human buddhism, and the true succesors of venerable Yin Shun fa shi.
:namaste: - i

Devotionary
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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Devotionary » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:30 pm

From my own experience as a third-generation descendant of Chinese immigrants, Chinese Buddhism may just be an avenue for cultural awareness; like a previous poster said, a meeting place for overseas Chinese youth, and not really a place for practice.

On the other hand--at least for South-east Asian Chinese communities (yes, they are still part of the overseas diaspora)--a lot of young people get into Buddhist practice PRECISELY because temples are a meeting place for Chinese culture enthusiasts; getting back to your roots is used as an expedient means to attract students who seek to find out more about the profundity of Chinese culture, which leads to a more in-depth understanding of Buddhism, which forms an integral part of their identity. (The strong presence of overseas branches for Taiwan's main Buddhist organizations in SE Asia seem to indicate this.)

I think the challenge is more of a Western thing....

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Huifeng
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Re: Challenges to Chinese Buddhism in the diaspora

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:01 am




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