Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Forum for discussion of East Asian Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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KiwiNFLFan
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Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:26 am

I have received a job offer in China and am thinking seriously about taking it. I'd love to live in a country that has been influenced by Buddhism for so long. I'm looking forward to having opportunities to visit temples and attend services with the monks and nuns.

However, I don't actually know all that much about Chinese Buddhism. I've heard that Chan and Pure Land have merged. I've been to the Fo Guang Shan in Christchurch, New Zealand, but haven't actually been to a service there. What does a typical Chinese Buddhist temple service look like? What about before one's home altar? Also, what do you do about setting up an altar in you live in a one-room apartment (as it looks like I'll be doing if I go)? Do you have a closeable cabinet like the Japanese Butsudan?

If anyone could point me to a beginner's guide to Chinese Buddhism, that would be good.

smcj
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by smcj » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:37 am

It is my impression that in Chinese culture Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism have all been mixed together like a soup. Buddhism did/does exist as separate tradition(s), but since your inquiry is about the culture, don’t just assume that Buddhism has a monopoly on things there.

Now having said that, I hope you find Buddhism an interesting subject. I sure do.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by 明安 Myoan » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:05 am

As a sidenote, Pure Land practice in China didn't split off into its own school like it did in Japan.

I posted these resources on your Reddit thread, but they're worth sharing here as well:

* Pure Land Zen, Zen Pure Land
* Pure Land Teachings of Master Chu-hung
* Taming the Monkey Mind
* Dialogues with Ancient Masters
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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FromTheEarth
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by FromTheEarth » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:52 am

May I ask which city will you move to? Please forgive me if it's considered sensitive.

KiwiNFLFan
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:40 am

I have a job offer in Changsha, and I have an interview for a position in Guangzhou. I see Guangzhou has some historic temples, including one commissioned by Emperor Wu of Liang.

Tiago Simões
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by Tiago Simões » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:22 am

Be sure to prepare yourself well, possibly for disappointment... A lot of mainland chinese temples today are just tourist traps which you have to pay to get in. At least that is what I have heard.
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

Varis
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by Varis » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:17 pm

Additionally, Chan absorbed the remnants of Chinese Esoteric Buddhism. As a result you have tantric sadhanas still being transmitted by some Chan teachers.

smcj
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by smcj » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:36 pm

Varis wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:17 pm
Additionally, Chan absorbed the remnants of Chinese Esoteric Buddhism. As a result you have tantric sadhanas still being transmitted by some Chan teachers.
I’d not heard that before. But I’m not surprised. It sounds like one of the “soups” I posted about earlier.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

Varis
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by Varis » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:10 am

smcj wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:36 pm
I’d not heard that before. But I’m not surprised. It sounds like one of the “soups” I posted about earlier.
The most famous would probably be the Cundi sadhana, which was at the core of Nan Huai Chin's teachings. Very popular because it doesn't have restrictions on eating meat and the like.

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pueraeternus
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by pueraeternus » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:08 pm

Varis wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:10 am
smcj wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:36 pm
I’d not heard that before. But I’m not surprised. It sounds like one of the “soups” I posted about earlier.
The most famous would probably be the Cundi sadhana, which was at the core of Nan Huai Chin's teachings. Very popular because it doesn't have restrictions on eating meat and the like.
2 other examples are Mahamayuri (peacock wisdom queen) and Ucchusma vidyaraja.
"Men must want to do things out of their own innermost drives. People, not commercial organizations or chains of command, are what make great civilizations work. Every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces. If you over-organize humans, over-legalize them, suppress their urge to greatness - they cannot work and their civilization collapses."
- A letter to CHOAM, attributed to the Preacher

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:49 pm

Tiago Simões wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:22 am
Be sure to prepare yourself well, possibly for disappointment... A lot of mainland chinese temples today are just tourist traps which you have to pay to get in. At least that is what I have heard.
Many so-called 'abbots' of monasteries are just Communist spies in robes. I suppose there some temples that are not shells, but do not know which ones.

For a good introduction to Chinese Buddhism as found outside Red China, read Ven. Yin Shun's Way to Buddhahood.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

Sentient Light
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by Sentient Light » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:25 pm

Nicholas Weeks wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:49 pm
Many so-called 'abbots' of monasteries are just Communist spies in robes.
Specifically, these are spies/informations for the Chinese Communist Party, not to be confused with actual communists, whom the Chinese government is arresting and targeting in spades:

https://www.breitbart.com/national-secu ... ommunists/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... ers-rights
https://newbloommag.net/2017/12/28/maoi ... detention/
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

Tiago Simões
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by Tiago Simões » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:06 pm

If people want and authentic Chinese Buddhist experience, go to Taiwan.
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakīrti spoke to the elder Śāriputra and the great disciples: “Reverends, eat of the food of the Tathāgata! It is ambrosia perfumed by the great compassion. But do not fix your minds in narrow-minded attitudes, lest you be unable to receive its gift.”

- Chapter 9, The Feast Brought by the Emanated Incarnation
The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Vimalakīrti”

ItsRaining
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by ItsRaining » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:09 am

Tiago Simões wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:06 pm
If people want and authentic Chinese Buddhist experience, go to Taiwan.
Taiwanese Buddhism in the big mountains and the ones influenced by Yinsbun is different to traditional Chinese Buddhism so maybe not always the best place for an authentic Chinese Buddhist experience.

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well wisher
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by well wisher » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:15 am

From my own experiences, most Taiwanese Buddhism schools are hybrid-mix between Chan tradition and Pureland worship.
So in the temples mostly your will see lay folks worshiping Buddhas/Bodhisattva/arahant statues with incense, meditation class sessions, and library with Buddhism books, sutra studies, dharma discussion groups, .... etc. There are even action-chan components in the form of direct volunteer activities to the community, or even health fitness and sports and martial arts classes.

Of course the Sangha plays a very important role, monks as spiritual healer and teachers / advisors to the common lay foiks, in exchange for financial and direct community support.
And lay folks usually begin their path by receiving the "5 precept" and the taking refuge in the triple gems (buddha,dharma,sangha), with a monk recognized as the master in a temple formal ceremony, and receive the 5 precept booklet as proof receipt afterwards.

So I think the core essence of the Chinese Buddhism is very similar to the ones you find in Japanese schools, or in fact any Buddhist schools in the world.

-----
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_in_Taiwan
"Four Heavenly Kings of Taiwanese Buddhism":
North (Jinshan): Master Sheng-yen (聖嚴, d. 2009) of Dharma Drum Mountain (法鼓山)
South (Dashu): Master Hsing Yun (星雲) of Fo Guang Shan (佛光山)
East (Hualien): Master Cheng Yen (證嚴) of the Tzu Chi Foundation (慈濟基金會)
West (Nantou): Master Wei Chueh (惟覺, d. 2016) of Chung Tai Shan (中台山)

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well wisher
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by well wisher » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:42 pm

If you are really curious about Chinese Buddhism, here are some pretty pictures of part of a 5 precept booklet, for reference.
Keep in mind it only represent one such temple/school, and might not represent whats present in other Chinese Buddhist temple /schools.
It will be more useful if you can understand Chinese / Mandarin word language, but maybe OCR "Optical character recognition" technology can be advanced as such to understand words too?
5preceptbooket_p1.jpg
5preceptbooket_p1.jpg (40.32 KiB) Viewed 596 times
The words on top of the picture buddhas are "Namo root guru Shakamuni Buddha" and "Namo Amitabah Buddha".
Several classical Chinese buddhism schools takes Shakamuni himself as the root guru.
5preceptbooket_p2.jpg
5preceptbooket_p2.jpg (138 KiB) Viewed 596 times
5preceptbooket_p3.jpg
5preceptbooket_p3.jpg (140.99 KiB) Viewed 596 times

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well wisher
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Re: Introduction to Chinese Buddhism

Post by well wisher » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:44 pm

More pretty pictures with words to share.
This precept mini-booklet has personal information intentionally omitted for info-privacy concerns.
Reference year: 1987
5preceptbooket_p4.jpg
5preceptbooket_p4.jpg (118.13 KiB) Viewed 596 times
5preceptbooket_p5.jpg
5preceptbooket_p5.jpg (117.22 KiB) Viewed 596 times
5preceptbooket_p6.jpg
5preceptbooket_p6.jpg (80.11 KiB) Viewed 596 times

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