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第四屆中華國際佛學會議英文論文集

第四屆中華國際佛學會議英文論文集
The Role of Buddhism in the 21st Century

作者:聖嚴法師等

出版社:法鼓文化

出版日期:2005年11月01日

語言:英文

系列別:佛學會議論文彙編

商品編號:1121290041

ISBN:9789575983260

定價:NT$600

會員價:NT$468 (78折)

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Founder’s Preface

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The aim of Buddhism is centered around improving the quality of human experience and easing human suffering; it is not to satisfy the human desire for knowledge Nonetheless, Buddhism does possess a longstanding intellectual history, and Buddhist culture contains a high level of diversity Much has been learned regarding the Buddhist canons compiled in India; yet there remain numerous texts in Chinese, Tibetan, and other languages that will yield further discoveries under the application of modern research methods
During the period from the Wei and Jin dynasties until the Tang, Chinese Buddhism gave rise to what was later called the “Ten Schools,” comprised of H299;nay257;na and Mah257;y257;na teachings In the Song and Yuan dynasties, Chinese Buddhism gradually began to lose its vitality, to the extent that in the not-too-distant past, it was as though there remained only an ossified shell with little Buddhist spiritual content I myself am a monk who was born under those very circumstances In my youth, Buddhist scriptures were to be chanted—I did not know that they could be explained, much less that one could rely on their teachings and precepts in leading a life of faith, learning, devotion and practice When I was a little bit older, I did discover that scriptures could be explained, but faced with the Tripitaka’s vastness, I did not know where to begin What was most unfortunate, however, was encountering China’s political upheaval and social dislocation As a result, I was not able to complete even six years of primary education, nor was I able to receive a basic monastic education After age twenty-five, I came across some scholarly works translated from Japanese, and at thirty, I began to study Japanese on my own Once I was able to read works written by Japanese scholars in Japanese, my horizons began to expand My understanding went from one that was traditionally dominant among Chinese Buddhists, to one encompassing a modern global Buddhism In turn, I came to understand that familiarity with global Buddhism was a prerequisite to the revival of Buddhism in China If this new knowledge was not adopted, it would be difficult to steer Chinese Buddhism away from its course of decline For these reasons, I entered cloistered retreat in the mountains of southern Taiwan After six years of intensive practice, I emerged, adamant in my decision to further my studies in Japan I was thirty-nine years old when I traveled east to enroll at Rissho University in Tokyo I studied Huayan under Sakamoto Yukio, Indology under Kanakura Ensh333;, and Chinese Buddhist history under Nomura Y333;sh333; Within six years, I had completed my master’s and doctor of literature degrees
After I had completed my studies in Japan, it occurred to me that in the 79-year period between 1888 and 1967, a total of 271 doctoral degrees in Buddhist Studies were awarded in Japan, for an average of three or four per year But I wondered, beginning in the year I earned my degree, 1965, how many Buddhist scholars would be trained in China This was during the Cultural Revolution in mainland China, and in reality, people like me would not have been welcome to return Even in Taiwan, I did not find encouragement from Buddhist circles Therefore, in 1975 I left for America, temporarily stopping my own research activities I divided my time between learning English and giving instruction in meditation, and founded the Chan Meditation Center in New York In 1987, I accepted a teaching position in the Graduate School of Philosophy at the Chinese Culture College in Taipei I also served as director of the China Academy’s Institute of Buddhist Studies, which published an annual journal entitled Hwa-kang Buddhist Journal All in all, I was able to make some contributions in the areas of Chinese Buddhist education and scholarship
Traditional Buddhist scholars, regardless of whether their specialty is Sanskrit, P257;li, Chinese, or Tibetan, study Buddhism not for the sake of scholarship itself, but for the sake of fulfilling their goals in Buddhist practice The goals of modern Indology, Sinology, and Buddhist Studies, however, are not to understand Buddhist faith and practice, but to seek veracity and knowledge For traditional Buddhists, their first contact with the views of modern Buddhist scholars is often discomforting There is no doubt, however, that the efforts of those scholars to seek veracity and knowledge are indeed valuable Although their conclusions may not be permanently viable, their thorough research generally ensures reliability in the information they provide If Buddhists could take the new perspectives offered by Buddhist scholars into consideration, overcome the challenges presented therein, and remain firmly grounded in Buddhist faith and practice, Buddhism will gain in viability and potential It was based on these beliefs that I planned and held the Chung-Hwa International Conferences on Buddhism
In the introduction to the first Chung-Hwa International Conference on Buddhism, I stated, “We are eager to gain exposure to international scholarship in Buddhist Studies We also hope that international scholars in the field of Buddhist Studies know that we are working hard to provide opportunities for them to share their experience and research with us At the same time, we also hope that Buddhists and non-Buddhists will recognize the importance and necessity of the academic study of Buddhism” In discussions afterwards, we found that having invested much hard work and resources in the conference, many benefits were gained in return This was the greatest encouragement for everyone involved in that conference As a result, in the closing ceremony I announced, with the support of participating scholars, that we will try to hold a conference every two or three years
This conference is entitled the “Chung-Hwa International Conference on Buddhism” due to its affiliation with the hosting institution, the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies Moreover, as the conference is founded in Chinese Buddhism with a view to a global Buddhism, it aims to increase Chinese Buddhism’s receptivity to international research and offer traditional virtues of Chinese Buddhism to modern societies As for the best ways of accomplishing these goals, this is why we have invited specialists and scholars
In every conference session, scholars from around the world presented excellent papers in Chinese, English, and Japanese In conjunction with a professional publishing house, the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies is publishing the proceedings in two separate volumes, one each for Chinese and English papers Thus we hope to make available the fruits of the conference to people who participated in the conference and to anyone who is interested in Buddhist Studies
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who made the conference a success, as well as those who have assisted in the publication of these proceedings for their dedication and hard work




Ven Sheng Yen
New York
April 14, 1990

Nung Chan Monastery, Taipei
Revised October 2, 1998
(Translated by Eric Goodell and Yi-hsun Huang)