Chinese Ch’an Monks Clean-Up the Fengpu Area of Shanghai

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Original Chinese Language Article By: Er Yan Temple (二严寺)

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Within the lay-Buddhist communities in China, the preferred method for social action has been to give money to charities so that these charities can help with various issues throughout society.  As a consequence, examples of ‘direct’ Buddhist social action have been small by comparison.  In the early days following ‘Liberation’, the slogan throughout the country was that ‘Labour is the Glorious Essence of the People’, whilst the Ch’an School has always maintained the principle that ‘A day without work, is a day without food.’  This excellent tradition means that actual, physical labour is very profound indeed, and possesses far-reaching implications.

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On May 16th, 2012, the Ch’an Buddhist monks of Er Yan Temple gathered with volunteers, and other workers, to form the Fengpu Community Project Team.  Their objective was to unblock and clean the drains and sewer-covers along the sides of Han Yi Road.  As this area is quite ‘green’ in design, by cleaning these important parts of the city’s drainage system, everyone benefits from the drains working properly, and the area looks more beautiful as a consequence.  The key to this activity was that everyone co-operated with each other, and helped one another.  This meant all the tasks were swiftly dealt with in an efficient manner, as everyone performed their allotted tasks with a clear and non-discriminating mind. 

When the temple organises monastics and lay-people to go out into the community, there is a positive interaction between those who are religiously minded, and those who are not.  This is a very good opportunity for everyone in a community to co-operate in helping and supporting the local area in a selfless manner.  This allows for a distinct manifestation of the non-discriminating Enlightened Mind of the Buddha.  Furthermore, it allows for Buddhist monastics to purposely interact with lay-society, and this allows for the development of a greater compassion.  This experience of society allows for a better Self-cultivation experience for the monastics, who are selflessly serving the community.  This is the optimum exercising of ‘Loving Kindness’ (慈 – Ci), ‘Compassion’ (善 – Shan), and ‘Equality’ (美 – Mei).  Loving Kindness and benevolence are more to do with Buddhism, whilst equality is directly to do with New China and its egalitarian society.  These three attributes are integrated today so that the beauty of social service integrates with the beauty of the natural environment.

Society must develop in such a manner that there is both progression and unity.  If there is no unity or stability within society, then there is no guarantee that Buddhism will survive, and even though monks live in temples, they are still part of society and will need to interact from time to time.  Just as society supports Buddhism, then it logically follows that Buddhism should support society.  Therefore physical labour (or ‘work’) is the foundation of any progressive society.  Therefore, as Buddhists believe in ‘Compassion’ and ‘Loving Kindness’, then out of ‘love’ for one’s country and fellow citizens, physical labour should be an important Buddhist practice.  In New China it is important for Buddhists to set an example and lead the way in volunteering for any social work that needs doing.  Concern for society can be spread everywhere through selfless endeavour, the mentality and action of which can only serve to maintain peace and harmony throughout the country.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:

http://www.eryansi.com/news/fo/2014/1548.html

本寺僧众参加奉浦社区群众活动团队

近些年佛教服务社会大多数都以慈善捐款为首选,真正以实际劳动参加社会活动或服务社会的确很少。在解放初期有着“劳动是光荣人民本质”的口号,佛教至今也仍保持着“一日不作,一日不食”的优良传统。可见实际劳动确实蕴藏着深刻的含义。

2014年5月16日上午,本寺就组织出家僧人、职工、义工参加了奉浦社区群众活动团队,对奉浦韩谊路绿化景观跑道的窨井、下水道、绿化带等进行打扫清理,使环境更加清洁优美。在打扫过程中大家相互合作、积极配合,充分体现活动团队的作用和意义。

让信教群众与不信教群众融为一体去服务社会,体现着佛教无分别的菩提之心。让出家僧侣参与社会、体验社会,以致才能更好的修持。“慈、善、美”都是崇高之上的境界,“慈、善”多用于佛教,“美”常见于社会,将三者放在一起,也就如今天我们所说的“融为一体、美化环境、服务社会”。

社会上大家的,没有安定团结的社会,佛教的发展也就得不到保证,佛教是社会的团体、僧侣也是社会的一份子,因而佛教应该多多为社会作出贡献。劳动是贡献的基层,愿广大佛教徒能将“慈、善、爱”“志、愿、行”带到服务社会的行列当中。从而“弘扬志愿精神、播撒爱心火种、共建和谐社会”

 

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