注册 VIP 会员
会员中心
佛门祈愿 福满人间:
《来自佛门的吉祥祝福》祈福珍藏册 迎请电话:010-51656995、 010-51385788;QQ:179518763;邮箱:qf@fjnet.com    
设为首页 加入收藏 网站地图
middle_nav_logol.gif
您目前的位置:佛教在线>首页 > 学术论文

The Role of Buddhist Preacher: A Modern Perspective

2009年03月29日 16:57:00 佛教在线 点击:0

 

Ven. Dr. Thich Quang Thanh

Secretary, National Department of International Buddhsit Affairs ,

Vietnam Buddhist Sangha

The post modern age is a witness to tremendous progress made in the field of science and technology. But the moral and ethical degeneration has also crept in. Such a view has been expressed very cogently by P.A. Payutto:

With the development of technology, and in particular, the so-called high technology, which deals with information and communications, greed and hatred have acquired much more effective tools to work with. Technology has become hireling of greed and hatred, and technological progress, in the form of industrial development, has been almost exclusively to their ends. Science, technology and the development of information and communications technology have been used to lull humanity into heedless consumption, dullness and intoxication, rather than for the development of the individual or equality of life. They have been used as tools for seeking objects of desire and in so doing have fired hatred through the contention they generate.[1]

P. A. Payutto laid points out that scientific and technological invention as tools for seeking objects of desire rather than the development of innermost human feelings has been given more emphasis and laments that humans in the twentieth century have created many bad deeds influencing humanity of the twenty-first century. It is a legacy of the problems that the citizens of the twenty-first century will have to deal with[2]. In fact, the heritage with which the people deal is the very grave problems of over population, dwindling natural resources, and an environmental crisis that threaten the very foundation of our existence on this planet, H. H. Dalai Lama said.[3] In other words, the human moral crisis is the very essential cause leading to violence, terrorism, HIV/AIDS infection, prostitution, homosexuality, neglect of human and animal rights, and to destruction of ecological environment, etc. All these spring from the human’s Threefold Defilements (desire, hatred and ignorance). Due to demands of fame and wealth, of social position, of mammon, of personal property, of promotion, and of various other desires, etc. in modern life, man has become a hireling of lust, anger and delusion. Even though he has been able to win and subdue nature with all sorts of advanced scientific inventions, he has still failed and is tied down with the sufferings of birth, old-age, sickness and death.

In the face of the social situations today, how to deal with the so-called material civilized waves attacking the humans from a variety of aspects? How to keep the familiar tradition, human dignity, and social order?  The topic “The Role of Buddhist Preacher: A Modern Perspective” will not only opens a new, active and creative visibility of the image of Buddhist monk in the new age, with his skillful means of entering the worldly life without changing one’s Buddha’s nature, but also contributes to development of society and Buddhism in the present and future.

As we know, besides cultivation of the Threefold Higher Training (Morality, Mental Concentration and Wisdom) for one’s spiritual development as well as Dhamma propagation to the masses, the Buddhist monk, with skilful means, needs to engage zealously in construction of a healthy civilization through social aspects for the welfare and happiness of the masses. Such a perspicacious view has been expressed by D.T. Suzuki when he says that:

In those days, the Buddhist temples were schools, hospitals, dispensaries, orphanages, refuges, for old age; and the monks were schoolmasters, nurses, doctors, engineers, keepers of the free lodges, cultivators of land, explorers of the wideness, etc... When the community was still in a primitive stage of evolution, the Buddhists were leaders in every sense, and the government naturally encouraged their activities.[4]

And again, Venerable Ajahn Tiradhammo Thera states very logically in his concise foreword:

A Buddhist, to me, is not someone who merely recites appropriate formulas or wears the right uniform, but one who lives his life as best as he can in the true spirit of Truth. This is the whole purpose of the Buddha’s Teachings, and the ultimate purpose of all spiritual teachings. A Buddhist social activist then is someone who is living Wisdom and Compassion in a social context; learning to share selfless spiritual treasures with all beings.[5]

These two judgments are enough not only to prevail upon other views, but also to affirm the positive and skilful role of Buddhist monks today.

A.  As a Modern Buddhist

Today, a modern Buddhist preacher, while preaching Dhamma in accordance with the hearer’s temperament, needs to master psychology and sociology. As mentioned above, psychology will help him to comprehend the mental characteristics of humans, the psychological nature and behaviour of each individual in society for applying Dhamma suitable to the hearer’s temperament. Sociology will give him the study of the relationships between people living in groups, especially in industrial societies. From there, while preaching Dhamma, he will be able to give any kindly and righteous behaviours to various kinds of people in society. Here one may point out some typical and practical examples that when teaching Dhamma to the hearers with their active, creative and straight temperament, a modern Buddhist preacher should give his active, creative and straight speech to them; with the people whose characters are gentle and open-minded, he will use his polite and open words to them; with the persons prissy and reticent, he gives his concise and reasonable speech to them; with the objects who are romantic and emotive, he should give his soft and kindly behaviour as well as flowery words to them; and with the intellectuals, he use his intellectual and well-educated words; or with various human classes as doctors, engineers, workers, officers, authorities, scientists, philosophers, psychologists, students, scholars, poets, writers, etc., his speech will be corresponding to their knowledge, occupations and positions in society. With such a skillfully preaching style, a modern Buddhist preacher will not only succeed in his religious obligation and role, but also suit to both the hearer’s temperament and the active spirit of spreading Buddhism in skilful means today.

B. As a Buddhist Activist

Just here, a reasonable and factual question is put forth that to alleviate human mental affliction and social crisis, what and how does a Buddhist activist today needs to perform with his role of social engaging?

Firstly, returning back to the Buddha’s time, the Lord himself, with his role as teacher and preacher and with his skilful means in social service during his 45 years, had never abandoned society; on the contrary, he himself had participated in a variety of political, social, and cultural aspects without changing his Buddha-Nature with his sole aim ‘for the profit and happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the profit, gain and happiness of gods and humans.’ He guided not only the kings how to make the country peaceful and prosperous, and how to give a comfortable and happy life to the people; but also encouraged and taught the people how to give their good conducts and attitudes each other in rightly moral behaviours, specially in relationship between parents and children, between husband and wife, servants and employees, friends each other, etc.[6]

To face social issues as mentioned above, a Buddhist activist , while participating in social activities for his religious aim and role, needs not only to thoroughly grasp contemporary social situations and human temperament; but also has to skillfully perform how to alleviate human mental affliction and social crisis. Here, we can investigate and discuss on some typical cases concerning issue by issue, as follows:

- Ecological environment: especially air pollution disasters, a Buddhist activist today, he on the one hand concisely and reasonably explains the practical value and importance of ecological environment to the people, encourages them respecting, protecting and maintaining life of human beings, of all flora and fauna, and of nature; and on the other hand associates with them afforesting, respecting and protecting all flora and fauna, keeping atmosphere and water supply pure and unpolluted, etc. Such a skilful action will alleviate human mental affliction and ecological environment crisis.

- HIV/AIDS epidemic: a Buddhist activist firstly needs to understand clearly the meaning and cause of HIV/AIDS epidemic. That is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causing the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) from transmission of the three main ways : (1) sexual contact with an infected person; (2) exposure to infected blood (mainly needle sharing among intravenous drug users); and (3) mother-to-infant transmission.[7] Next, he co-operates with social communities setting up and participating in the propaganda of the masses for preventing HIV/AIDS epidemic; giving them a good medical care;  looking after the terminally HIV/AIDS effected-patients; supporting the early HIV/AIDS effected-patients by giving them his vocational training, a professional advice, a useful and effective training of Buddhist meditative method, and a healthy entertainment and favorite sports (like football, swimming, tennis, badminton, martial art,  etc.), and so on for increasing their strong resistance; etc.[8] Such an action will alleviate not only HIV/AIDS epidemic but also social afflictions.

- Prostitution and homosexuality: they are really the very complex but gentle issues causing many debates and explanations from eminent scholar’s various views, especially on homosexuality. For prostitution, it is the very key cause leading to HIV/AIDS epidemic from human sexual intercourse, and to social afflictions. To gently untie these complex issues, a Buddhist activist needs to give them his good behaviours in skilful means likely: for the homosexuals, he performs his active role by giving his professional advices and trainings on living psychology, on righteous human values, on harmful effects from their unreasonable and unnatural actions; gradually encouraging them  to create good conditions of heterosexual intercourse step by step; creating healthy sports and entertainments as well as changing their hormone therapy and physical appearance for appropriateness to their real psychology of sex; etc. For the prostitutes, he gives a special course of vocational trainings, finds righteous and suitable occupations, and gives his professional advices on living psychology, on righteous human values, on harmful effects from their unreasonable and unrighteous actions, etc. Such a creative and skilful role will fade these inextricable problems of society today.

- War, violence and terrorism: a Buddhist activist firstly gives them persuasive explanations and typical evidences of gravely social and human damages from the war, violent and terrorist actions; and then skillfully encourages and guides humans practising Buddhist non-violence (ahi?sā) by cultivating compassion and sympathy for true peace, happiness and welfare for oneself and all sentient beings. Truly, the very practice of non-violence will not only heal the wounds of war, conflict and violence as well as relieve all human and social sorrows; but also build up a peaceful and joyful society, and tightly tie with the esteem values of equality, fraternity and liberty.

- Sex, love and marriage: they are the three important and necessary issues for life of sentient beings in general and of humans in particular, specially for married life; on the contrary, the three marks will also be able to make human sufferings and unhappiness in various aspects unless they thoroughly comprehend and righteously perform the issues with their kindly and gentle attitude. Before performing his religious role and obligation, a Buddhist activist needs not only to thoroughly understand these foregoing but to maintain his open-minded view for communicating and guiding knowledge of these issues to humans. For sex, it plays an important and key role in long maintenance and development of human love and married life. Nevertheless, sex can be either a good servant or a bad master. If the humans use sex in moderation with their righteous reason, sex becomes a good servant; conversely it is a bad master. Hence, he not only gives them righteous education and professional knowledge of sexual techniques and practice with an effective and standard method suitable to human morality and social life; but also guides them how to moderate their sexual intercourse for sound bodies and minds. Likewise are love and marriage. Love can be either the best restorative medicine or becomes the best dangerous poison and addicted drug when their mental illness is in bud, and is either the best source of pure and fresh water or becomes the best polluted and harmful water supply when they are in thirst. All depends on human reason, comprehension, action and attitude of righteously conscious or unconscious deeds. Hence, a Buddhist activist should give them a proper guidance of love in accordance with their ages, temperaments, manners, comprehension, etc. only guides them how to create a long loving relationship with their best kindly and gentle behaviours, mutual understanding, respect and sympathy; sharing mutual in difficulties and happiness; making mutual suggestions in mistakes; etc. Such a Buddhist activist’s skilful guidance of love will make humans satisfy and succeed in significant love. In summary, sex and love are the two important and indispensable needs for the mundane life of people. If sex is in action without love, it is only empty experiences; on the contrary, love without sex becomes a tasteless love. It can be seriously said that sex and love look like as a man with his two legs, arms, eyes, etc. in his natural figure. If one of two lacks, it is not good looking to see and contemplate in his good appearance. Marriage is the very final result of right love humans are willing to gain. Its meaning and behaviour are similar to the adult’s love; but adding their responsible role for couple life and happiness, for parents-in-law, for kindly behaviour towards husband and wife. In this situation, a Buddhist activist needs to give his sincere advices to the newly married couples by guiding them how to give a mutual best behaviour, respect, sympathy, and responsibility with five ways the Buddha taught[9] in the Dialogues of the Buddha how to reasonably moderate in sexual behaviour for good body and mind, or for best health and spirit, etc.; how to share and making mutual suggestions in mistakes for perfect person; etc. Such a significant marriage is called the happy one.

By and large, through the new and active foregoing, a modern Buddhist preacher, with his religious obligation, manifests his skilful and creative role of social engaging without changing his Buddha-Nature in many aspects likely ecological environment; HIV/AIDS epidemic; homosexuality; prostitution; war, violence and terrorism; love, sex and marriage; etc. If his role is unshakably maintained and strictly adhered by people, it is surely not only to make the country and society develop and prosper more and more, but also to bring humans the peaceful life with the great welfare, profit, and happiness forever. And such a modern Buddhist preacher’s image not only paves the new way for the next young generation of Buddhist monks in their religious role and obligation suiting to Buddhist view today, but also contributes to the development of human morality and education in any social situations in the third millennium.

References

T. W. & C. A. F Rhys Davids (trans.);

T. W. Rhys Davids (ed), The Dialogues of the Buddha, Vol. III, Oxford: PTS, 1995.

Suzuki, D.T.; & Christmas Humphreys (ed.)   Essay in Zen Buddhism, Third Series, Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 2000. 

Jones, K.,   The Social Face of Buddhism: A Approach to Political and Social Activism, London: Wisdom Publications, 1989.

Nārada, M.,  The Buddha and His Teachings, Kandy, Sri-Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1997.

Roscoe, G., The Triple Gem: An Introduction to Buddhism, Chiang Mai, Thailand: Silkworm Books, 1994.

Harvey, P.,  An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices, Delhi: Munshiram Manohalal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1990.

Warder, A. K., Indian Buddhism, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2000.

Sivaraksa, S. & et.al (ed.)Buddhist Perception for Desirable Societies in the Future, Bangkok: Thai Inter-Religious Commissionfor Development Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation, 1993.

Saddhatissa, H., Buddhist Ethics, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1997.

Silva, de L.,Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices in Sri Lanka, Delhi: Indian Books Centre, 1980.

Rahula, W., What the Buddha Taught, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Cultural Centre, 1996.

King, M. Bruce, Human Sexuality Today, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1]  A lecture delivered by P. A. Payutto, Buddhist Solutions for the 21st Century, at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, 1994, available at www.buddhismtoday.com/index/ sociology.htm.

[2]  Ibid., available at www.buddhismtoday.com/index/sociology.htm

[3]  A lecture delivered by His Holiness The XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet, Human Rights and Universal Responsibility, June 15, 1993, at the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna-Austria,  available at www.buddhismtoday.com/index/ sociology.htm

[4]  D. T. Suzuki; Christmas Humphreys (ed.), Essay in Zen Buddhism, the Third Series, 2000, p.369.

[5]  Quoted from ‘Foreword by Venerable Ajahn Tiradhammo Thera’, in Ken Jones, The Social Face of Buddhism: A Approach to Political and Social Activism, London: Wisdom Publications, 1898, p.16.

[6]  T. W. & C. A. F Rhys Davids (trans.), T. W. Rhys Davids (ed), The Dialogues of the Buddha, Vol. III, Oxford: PTS, 1995, p.180ff; M. Nārada, The Buddha and His Teachings, Kandy, Sri-Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1997, p. 348ff; G. Roscoe, The Triple Gem: An Introduction to Buddhism, Chiang Mai, Thailand: Silkworm Books, 1994, p. 159ff; P. Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices, Delhi: Munshiram Manohalal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1990, p. 213f; A. K. Warder, Indian Buddhism, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2000, p.178f; Hema Goonatilake, ‘Women and Family in Buddhism’, in S. Sivaraksa & et.al (ed.) Buddhist Perception for Desirable Societies in the Future, Bangkok: Thai Inter-Religious Commissionfor Development Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation, 1993, p. 227f; H. Saddhatissa, Buddhist Ethics, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1997, p. 97ff; L. de Silva, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices in Sri Lanka, Delhi: Indian Books Centre, 1980, p. 132f; W. Rahula, What the Buddha Taught, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Cultural Centre, 1996, p. 78ff-119ff.

[7]  See more ‘HIV Infection and AIDS’ in Bruce M. King, Human Sexuality Today, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002, p.116ff.

[8]  See more ‘HIV/AIDS’, Ibid.: 120ff-123ff.

[9]  The Dialogues of the Buddha, Vol. III, Opcit., p.181f. See more in M. Nārada, The Buddha and His Teachings, Opcit., p. 349; G. Roscoe, The Triple Gem: An Introduction to Buddhism, Opcit., p. 161f; P. Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices, Opcit., p. 214; A. K. Warder, Indian Buddhism, Opcit., p. 179f; Hema Goonatilake, ‘Women and Family in Buddhism’, in S. Sivaraksa & et.al (ed.) Buddhist Perception for Desirable Societies in the Future, Opcit., p. 228; H. Saddhatissa, Buddhist Ethics, Opcit., p. 99ff; L. de Silva, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices in Sri Lanka, Opcit., p. 132; W. Rahula, What the Buddha Taught, Opcit., p. 79-123.

 

欢迎投稿:

Email: news@fjnet.com(国内)  fo84000@gmail.com(国际)     在线提交
QQ:983700265    电话:010-51662115转8005      论坛投稿

免责声明:

1.来源未注明“佛教在线”的文章,均仅代表作者本人观点,不代表佛教在线立场,其观点供读者参考。

2.文章来源注明“佛教在线”的文章,为本站写作整理的文章,其版权归佛教在线所有。未经我站授权,任何印刷性书籍刊物及营利性性电子刊物不得转载。欢迎非营利性电子刊物、网站转载,但须清楚注明出处及链接(URL)。

3.除本站写作和整理的文章外,其他文章来自网上收集,均已注明来源,其版权归作者本人所有,如果有任何侵犯您权益的地方,请联系我们,我们将马上进行处理,谢谢。

收藏本页】【打印】【关闭

要 闻

更多>>

投稿:010-85285027   信箱:(国内)  (国际)   QQ:2326936829

传真:010-51662115转8013    客服信箱:   客服电话:400-706-8559   客服QQ:847698935   在线留言   

吉祥宝塔迎请:15117935615   010-51662115转8026  010-51656995

祈福   佛教在线(www.fjnet.com)网络联系人:子桑   联系电话:010-85285027

办公地址:北京朝阳区外馆斜街甲1号泰利明苑  邮编:100011  乘车路线及地图

网站地图  义工报名  QQ:847698935  QQ群:21264446  招聘   技术支持:010-51662115转8023

京ICP证020416号-14 京公网安备 11010502034359号 Copyright ©1996-2012 佛教在线版权所有