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华严论坛:禅佛教、全球化、与“心伦理”--释常谂

2010年10月01日 11:21:00 点击:0


釋常諗

 

 

摘要
近来学界和社会已有越来越多人具这样的共识,全球化下所引起的各种危机,并非只是政治、经济、和社会因素所造成,它同时是一种道德和精神的危机。然而,人类的道德伦理标准,因环境、时代、文化背景不同而不同,全球化下地球村的逐渐形成,适应此新时代的全球伦理也急待形成。

 

本文以法鼓山提倡的“心伦理”为例,探讨“心伦理”的伦理观特色,不同于以行为规范为思考出发的伦理观,而是以“心”出发的新时代伦理观。“心伦理”,以大乘佛教利人便是利己的菩萨道精神,结合佛法与中国禅宗的心法的观念和方法,对人的各种烦恼、痛苦,人与人相处的冲突,解决之道直接从心下手。“心伦理”,回到释迦牟尼佛化世的本怀,不是狭隘的宗教信仰,也不是一般以行为为根据的伦理观,而是以佛法的智慧与自己、与他人、与环境互动,禅法在与自己相处、与他人、环境相处的伦理实践。“心伦理”,将个人品质的提升修行与人际社会和谐、自然永续经营结合,是一项精神启蒙运动、一项心灵建设的工程,不与任何其他民族文化和宗教相抵触,不仅为伦理学注入新的血液,也为为全球化下新时代的伦理建构,提供一新的典范。

关键字:当代佛教、全球化、禅法、伦理、法鼓山

1. Introduction

More and more researchers and social activists have come to the realization that the crises associated with globalization are not only brought about by political, economic, and social issues, but also by the erosion of ethical principles.

 

On the other hand, human moral and ethical standards are different according to different cultures, generations, and geographical areas and conditioned by time and space. Therefore, a new ethics that adapt to this new era of globalization is urgent to be formed.  

 

Because religion is often the source of human beings’ value systems, it has the potential to provide useful solutions. Many religious traditions and their manifold variation in the world, however, are still clinging to pre-modern orthodoxies and dogmas instead of responding constructively to the needs of a globalizing world.

 

This paper will explore the concept of “ The Ethics of the Mind,” a movement pioneered by Dharma Drum Mountain, and its potential contributions to Buddhist modernization and the construction of the new ethics in the area of globalization.

 

2. Dharma Drum Mountain’s the “ Ethics of The Mind”

In the past 20 years, Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM) has promoted campaigns such as “ Protecting the Spiritual Environment,” “Four Kinds of Environmentalism”, “Fivefold Spiritual Renaissance Campaign ”, and “ The Six Ethics of the Mind ”  and created  great impact  in Taiwan. These campaigns has also influenced internationally and provides a Chan Buddhist perspective on issues such as world peace, economic development, environmental protection, poverty, global ethics, education, women, etc. Each ofthe campaign is named with the word “mind”, sin in Chinese. Because in Chan’s point of view,  in order to resolve human psycho-physical problems and social crisis,  the external  technical and legal solutions are not enough; It’s also urgent to address   the original cause of these problems, that is the human mind.

 

In 2004, the founder of DDM Master Shen Yen presented Fighting and Preventing Terrorism: Education and Parenting for Peace and Global Ethicsat a global conference in United Nations, New York. Since then, DDM has participated an international project on the construction of global ethics. In 2006, DDM established “ Ethics project”  in consultation  with international scholars, professionals, and leader.s  Later in the same year , DDM started to promote “ The Six Ethics of the Mind ”campaign, which consists of Family Ethics, Living Ethics, School Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Workplace Ethics, and Ethics between Ethnic Groups. This campaign aims to supplement the insufficient Five Ethics of ancient Confucianism and  strengthens the interpersonal relationships of modern-day society.[1] In 2007, DDM formally presents the concept of the “Ethics of the Mind” as the core discourse of the “Ethic Project” from Chan Buddhist prospective, with the hope to create  a new paradigm of ethics in response to the needs not only in Asia but also in the globe.

 

In an increasingly chaotic environment of the globalizing world, the awareness  of ethical education and concepts becomes even more vital. Compare to ethics in the modern West and the Five Ethics of traditional Confucianism, Chan advocates an ethics of responsiveness rather than one of responsibility. Tom Kasulis(2006) compares Chan with the ethical system in the west. He states that Chan develops mainly with cultural orientation in East Asian that leans towards intimacy, whereas the modern West has developed mainly with orientation towards integrity. [2]An ethics of integrity presumes that different persons have their autonomous identities all equally subject to ethical rules, and foregrounds responsibility to rules of that relationship. It is the relationship to be universalized as a formal moral principle and abstracted from its concrete context. Although not based on the assumption of integrity of the individual, the ethical relationship in the Five Ethics of ancient Confucianism also refer to formal principles between sovereign and subject, father and son, husband and wife, elder and younger, and between friends.

 

Comparing to the Western integrity model based on a world-view aimed at objective independence, on the other hand, Chan ethics is intimacy model based on a world-view of interdependence.In Early Buddhism, to engage the other morally is also to take care of oneself, which represents one’s own progress toward enlightenment. It is also like in Mahayana, including the Chan Buddhism, the Bodhisattva path toward Buddhahood is practicing compassion that benefits others as a way to cultivate oneself. The ethic of intimacy such as Chan Buddhism foregrounds the responsiveness to situations and its internal relation refers to practicing compassion, that is, what the other feel is also part of me. 

 

Along with Kasulis’ statements on Chan ethic, the founder Master Shen Yen explains the “Ethics of the Mind”:

 

Ethics represent a form of loving-kindness and the compassion of the bodhisattvas. We must benefit others while seeking our own; only by benefiting others will our own benefit be safeguarded.[3]

 

Hence, “Ethics of the Mind”, different from the Five Ethics of ancient Confucianism and general ethic in the west which emphasizes the formal principles, considers ethics from the perspective of mind. Based on the Mahayana bodhisattva path that benefits others at the same time benefits oneself, ” The Ethics of the Mind” is a Chan ethics that emphasizes that the value of ethics lies in serving and giving. While seeking our own benefits we should respect others and care about them. It considers the solution of ethical problems that happened between people and within oneself directly from mind.

 

3. Chan Buddhism and “The Ethics of the Mind”

Borrowing from contemporary discussions of ethics on the one hand, and the traditional philosophy and meditation practices for mental purification derived from Chan Buddhism on the other, “The Ethics of the Mind” is a new concept and practice that is both relevant and applicable in everyday life.

 

Many people view the nature of Chan/Zen meditation practice is subjective and has been understood as an anti-social aspect of Chan Buddhism. The relationship between awakening and altruistic action is ambiguous. By examining and comparing teachings of the Korean masters Chinul from the 12th century and Songchol in the 20th century, Jin Park (2006) argues that awareness of one’s wisdom does not naturally transfer to the activities of compassion. The interrelationship of wisdom and compassion do not come together naturally. Due to the individualistic nature of realization, Chan/Zen practice is subjective. One has constantly make efforts for altruistic behaviors in order to cultivate compassion.[4]  Ruben Habito (1997), on the other hand, states that Zen practitioners will overcome the dichotomy of “inward” and “outward” when they have the experience of enlightenment,, and will naturally deepen the awareness of interconnectedness with all being. Although, on a journey of self-discovery one has taken an ”inward turn” that de-emphasizes the engagement with the “outside world”, one enlightened by the wisdom will naturally blossom into a life of compassion and has altruistic action in one’s daily life.[5]

 

Michael Tophoff (2007), in contrast, sees awakening and altruistic action as compatible along with each other. The Chan meditation practice, such as sitting or walking meditation, could be extended and be generalized into meditation-in-action, and even to meditation-on-the-marketplace, or meditation in work place. Through practicing mindfulness, one’s moment-to-moment awareness will allow the intuitive of the innate knowledge and one’s action to be connected. Right action will ensue   as Chan practice deepens and a more integral ethical relationship with human and nature will be then established.[6]

 

The Ethics of the Mind, alongside with Tophoff argument of meditation-in-action, transcends the dichotomy between quiet mediation and action. For it extends the traditional Chan practice of infusing everyday activities with mindfulness to the realm of ethical thinking and behavior, and at the same time advocates the application of Chan in interaction with human society and the natural world. As Master Shen Yen said:

 

The philosophy of Chan, as well as the practice of Chinese Buddhism, the main point is that in daily life, one can modulate his/her thoughts and emotion when facing all kinds of phenomenon. No matter what happens, one can keep his/her mind and emotion stable and peaceful, not influenced by the situation outside. If we can practice that, we are practicing Chinese Chan Buddhism.[7] 

 

Starting from the philosophy of ” Ordinary Mind is the Way” and the Mahayana bodhisattva path that benefits others at the same time benefits oneself, The Ethics of the Mind utilize Chan practice in the realm of ethical thinking and behavior. Therefore, greed and fighting for gain are not in line with ethics. Through The Ethics of the Mind, purification, peace, happiness and health throughout society is possible to be achieved.

 

4. “The Ethics of the Mind” and Globalization

 

Following the tide of globalization, today’s world has become an integral entity and interconnected between different regions and cultures. While economic development, information explosion and advancement in communications technology have shortened the distance between people and contributed to the advent of the global village, the process of globalization also produces problems such as poverty, conflicts, environmental pollution, corruption, and injustice etc. In order to address these problems, it is important to think critically about the possibility and desirability of formulating a global ethic. In recent years, Master Shen Yen or delegates of the DDM monastic community have attend numerous international conferences, including meetings organized by the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the World Council for Religious Leadership, the Global Peace Initiative for Women, the Earth Carter, as well as the World Youth Peace Summit.

 

Sallie King(2009) states that  Humanistic Buddhism such as Tzu Chi, Fo Guan Shan and Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan are committed to the task of modernizing, reforming and popularizing Buddhism by turning  away from other-worldly and supernatural tendencies in Buddhism. Instead, Humanistic Buddhism emphasizes principles in Buddhism such as rationality, morality, self-transformation through practice and the betterment of the world. [8] Within the social ethics in Humanistic Buddhism, Richard Madsen(2007) compares Tzu Chi, Fo Guan Shan and Dharma Drum Mountain and states that Dharma Drum Mountain, because its prime focus is on Chan Practice, has less Confucianism characteristic and pushes beyond its cultural environment. In Chan, one practices selflessness and it pushes the practitioners beyond conscious thought, beyond distinctions between self and other, and practice the egalitarianism. It separates one from traditional attachment to bounded social institutions such as family, ethnic group, or even nation, and reintegrates one self with others on the basis of universalistic principles toward transcendence.[9]

 

Hence, combined the transformative personal quality, interpersonal social harmony, and naturally sustainable development, “ The Ethics of the Mind”, is a spiritual enlightenment campaign and not conflicted with other cultures and religions. It emphasizes the humanistic, worldly, and practical sides of Buddhism as a response to the need of modernity and is different from traditional Buddhism with tendencies of other-worldliness, superstition, scholastic buddhadharma. Besides, rather than seeking technical and legal solutions in the external world, the “Ethics of the Mind” seeks solutions from within, starting with raising the quality of individual awareness and moving on to interpersonal relations and sustainable development. “The Ethics of the Mind,” although is based on Chinese Chan Buddhism, is not a religious belief, for it is concerned with the pragmatic goal of alleviating the suffering that are common to all sentiment beings . As such it has the potential of transcending religious boundaries and offers a new way of thinking about global ethics. Therefore, Master Shen Yen advocates the ethics in the modern society should be:

 

 Neither the diverse Buddhist traditions, nor fields of scholastic discipline, nor any religion can assert that only its faith or tradition is superior. It is essential that in the process of mutual acceptance and learning, we work toward the vision of ‘ Building a pure Land on Earth.’[10]

 

In establishing global ethics, the “Ethics of the Mind” fosters mutual understanding and tolerance, respect the differences between peoples, religions, and cultures, and seeks common ground while preserving individual identities. It is a respect for all lives. It is the recognition that everyone has the right to live, and everyone has the responsibility to love and protect others. Its vision of establishing global ethics is to realize heaven on earth and reform this world into a pure land. In light of the concern that religious issues have always been one of the major causes of international conflict, DDM has proposed the formation of shared global ethics and values through inter-faith dialogues. In the World Economic Forumin 2002, Master Shen Yen proposed that the definition of the sacred should vary according to time, place, and individual, and the word “ Sacred” should be redefined in pursuing global ethics. He stated:

 

I believe the highest Truth revered by each religion is necessarily completely perfect and absolutely sacred. However, once human factors come in and interpretations and outside agendas are imposed on this Truth, it becomes subjective and individual differences arise…

We can accept that every wholesome religion has room for continued development and the right to proclaim itself the world's best religion. Likewise, I myself would say that Buddhism is the best religion.. For this reason, to manifest the tolerance expected in a pluralistic society, the definition of the sacred must be reinterpreted.[11]

 

Not only emphasizing the concept of the sacred should be open to changes Master Shen Yen also proposes a concrete agenda to achieve global ethics and world peace. In the keynote speech presented at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders in 2000 and in 2004 at United Nations, he made a sincere proposal:

 

If, in the sacred text or ancients teaching of any peoples there are tenets that go against the principle of peaceful coexistence for all humanity, then these texts should be reinterpreted in the light of global ethics. [12]

 

Besides the definition of the word “Sacred” and its text that might go against peace should be reinterpreted, the methodology of implementing global ethics should be done through educational institutions at different levels such as schools, community education organizations, religious institutions and families. It is through education across the globe and the emphasis that we share this duty, that  the establishment of global ethics could be possible.

 

5. Conclusion

 

Returning to the Shakyamuni Buddha’s spirit of delivering sentient being, “The Ethics of the Mind” is not a narrow religious belief, nor an ethics judged by norms of behaviors, but rather a wisdom from Buddhadharma and a Chan practice in ethics to interact with oneself, with others, and with natural environment.

 

Combined the transformative personal quality, interpersonal social harmony, and naturally sustainable development, “ The Ethics of the Mind”,  is not in conflict with other cultures and religions. Rather, it is a spiritual enlightenment campaign and a spiritual building project. It not only provides a new perspective to Buddhism modernity but also offers a new ethical paradigm for the construction of global ethics in the new era of globalization.

 

References

1.Tom P. Kasulis, “Zen as a Social Ethics of Responsiveness”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics(online), Date of SubmissionMay 2, 2006.

2. Master Shen Yen, “The Six Ethics of the Mind Campaign.” http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/about/about.aspx?sn=113

3.Jin Y. Park, Wisdom, Compassion, and Zen Social Ethics: the Case of Chinul, S?ngch’?l, and Minjung Buddhism in Korea”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Volume 13, 1-30, 2006.

4.Ruben L. F. Habito, “Mountains and Rivers and the Great Earth: Zen and Ecology” in Mary Evelyn

Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams ed., Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds , p. 165-176,Harvard University Press, 1997.

5.Michael M. Tophoff, “The Ethics of Knowledge and Action in Postmodern Organizations”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Volume 14, 182-200, 2007.

6.“How Great of the Dharma Drum”, film made by Dharma Drum Mountain Cultural Center.

7.Sallie B. King, “Engaged Buddhism and Humanistic Buddhism: A Comparison of Principles and Practices” in in Renjian Fojiao Ji Canyu Fojiao De Moshi Yu ZhanwanHumanistic Buddhism and Engaged Buddhism: the Models of Participation and Future Prospect, Foguanshan Foundation, 2009.

8. Richard Madsen, Democracy’s Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Development in Taiwan. University of California Press, 2007, p.89.

9. Shih, Sheng-Yen, “A Pure Land on Earth” in David W. Chappell ed., Buddhist Peace Work: Creating Cultures of Peace, Wisdom Publications, 1999, p.181.

10. Master Shen Yen, “ The ‘Sacred’ in a Pluralistic World: Seeking Common Ground while Preserving Differences” in Establishing Global Ethics, Dharma Drum Mountain, 2008.

11. Master Shen Yen,, “Fighting and Preventing Terrorism: Education and Parenting for Peace and Global Ethics” in Establishing Global Ethics, Dharma Drum Mountain, 2008.



[1]The Five Ethics of ancient Confucianism refers to the ethical relationships between sovereign and subject, father and son, husband and wife, elder and younger, and between friends.

[2]Tom P. Kasulis, “Zen as a Social Ethics of Responsiveness”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics(online), Date of SubmissionMay 2, 2006.

 

[3]Master Shen Yen, “The Six Ethics of the Mind.” http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/about/about.aspx?sn=113

[4]Jin Y. Park, Wisdom, Compassion, and Zen Social Ethics: the Case of Chinul, S?ngch’?l, and Minjung Buddhism in Korea”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics(online), Date of SubmissionMay 2, 2006.

[5]Ruben L. F. Habito, “Mountains and Rivers and the Great Earth: Zen and Ecology” in Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams ed., Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds , p. 165-176,Harvard University Press, 1997.

[6]Michael M. Tophoff, “The Ethics of Knowledge and Action in Postmodern Organizations”, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Volume 14, 182-200, 2007.

[7]“How Great of the Dharma Drum”, film made by Dharma Drum Mountain Cultural Center.

[8]Sallie B. King, “Engaged Buddhism and Humanistic Buddhism: A Comparison of Principles and Practices” in in Renjian Fojiao Ji Canyu Fojiao De Moshi Yu ZhanwanHumanistic Buddhism and Engaged Buddhism: the Models of Participation and Future Prospect, Foguanshan Foundation, 2009.

[9]Richard Madsen, Democracy’s Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Development in Taiwan. University of California Press, 2007, p.89.

[10]Shih, Sheng-Yen, “A Pure Land on Earth” in David W. Chappell ed., Buddhist Peace Work: Creating Cultures of Peace, Wisdom Publications, 1999, p.181.

 

[11]Master Shen Yen, “ The ‘Sacred’ in a Pluralistic World: Seeking Common Ground while Preserving Differences”( speech presented in World Economic Forum, New York, Feb. 1, 2002), in Establishing Global Ethics, Dharma Drum Mountain, 2008.

[12]Master Shen Yen,, Fighting and Preventing Terrorism: Education and Parenting for Peace and Global EthicsGlobal Conference, (presented on January 28, 2004, United Nations Dag Hammerskjold Library Auditorium, New York).

This proposal also stated as :’ If you find that the doctrines of your faith contain something that is intolerant of other groups, or in contradiction with the promotion of world peace, then you should make new interpretations of these relevant doctrines. Why? Because every wholesome religion should get along peacefully with other groups so that it can, step by step, influence humankind on earth to stay far away from the causes of war.‘Master Shen Yen, “Eliminating Barriers, Enhancing Mutual Respect and Love”(keynote speech presented on August 29, 2000 at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at World Peace Summit, United Nations, New York),in Establishing Global Ethics, Dharma Drum Mountain, 2008.

 

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