Abbot Yong Xin of the Shaolin Temple Discusses Master Xu Yun

Wall Running

Wall Running

Translator’s Note: The following is a short extract from a much longer interview with Abbot Yong Xin (永信法师), carried-out by Global People Magazine in October, 2011, at the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, China. The interview explores the then recent media storm that had grown over the internet allegation that monks at the prestigious Shaolin Temple (founded in 450 CE) had been engaged in all types of worldly behaviour – including intimate relationships with women, etc. The government of China thoroughly investigated these claims and without exception, found everyone to be false. In this interview, Abbot Yong Xin explains his indifference to the media storm, and explains that the Chinese Buddhist Sangha follow the Vinaya Discipline by law, and are not able to pick and choose what they might follow and what they might not follow. One specific paragraph is of particular interest as in it, Yong Xin adds more information to the already known details surrounding Xu Yun’s involvement in the 1953 re-constitution of the China Buddhism Association. If is this paragraph that I have translated. ACW 19.2.15

Global People Magazine: From an ordained Buddhist perspective, how would you interpret the seven emotions and six sensory desires?

Abbot Yong Xin: It is simple; ordained Buddhist monastics in China are not permitted to enter into any amorous relationship whatsoever. Strict celibacy is part of the great (or ‘full’) ordination ceremony, and anyone who breaks this moral requirement will have to leave the ordained Sangha and return to lay-life. Such behaviour is part of the world of burning desire, and so we are protected from it by our precepts. After the founding of the New China (in 1949), there was a great gathering of Buddhists from every corner of the country, representing every type of school. At that time there were a group of so-called ‘Buddhist monks’ in China who had trained in Japan and had subsequently got married and had children. They could do this because this is considered normal behaviour in Japan. They attended this great meeting of Buddhists in China and requested that the government of China abolish the requirement of the Chinese Buddhist Sangha to follow the Vinaya Discipline, and bring China in-line with Japanese practice. The venerable Xu Yun (who lived to 120 years old) was in attendance of this meeting when these monks arrived and made their case. He listened quietly to these monks and then hit his palm on the table in an angry manner. He stated that a Buddhist monk and his robe cannot be separated, and that in China, a Buddhist robe signifies the practice of both strict celibacy and vegetarianism – without the Vinaya Discipline – Chinese Buddhism simply would not make sense. Li Ji Shen referred this dispute to Zhou Enlai (who discussed it with Mao Zedong), and it was agreed that Xu Yun was correct. This decision was taken because at the time certain members of the international community were attacking China with regards to human rights issues. From that day onwards, traditional Chinese religion has been protected under law.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Extracted from the Original Chinese Language Source Article:

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6463f0300102dsj1.html

环球人物杂志:您怎么看待出家人的七情六欲?

释永信:和尚不准有婚姻恋爱关系,否则就犯根本大戒,要离开僧团,没有一点含煳,这是我们的戒律。新中国成立后在佛教界有过一次大讨论,有青年和尚提出可以学日本和尚娶妻生子。一位将近120岁的虚云老和尚气得拍桌子,说僧衣不能脱,必须保持僧衣素食独身,否则佛教就没有意义了。争议通过李济深,请示到周总理、毛主席那里。周总理说,外国在攻击中国没有宗教人权,我们保留这么一个传统宗教,这样在国际上也有交代。所以从上世纪50年代延续至今都是如此。

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: