The 5th Modern Chinese Buddhism Forum:
Beyond Time and Space -
Transmission of Chinese Buddhism

How Chinese Buddhism was transmitted across regions, time, and cultures especially along with people’s migration?

Sheng Yen Education Foundation has held "The 5th Modern Chinese Buddhism Forum: Beyond Time and Space - Transmission of Chinese Buddhism" in the city branch of Zhaiming Monastery (齋明別苑) from December 21st through 22nd, 2019. Scholars from the European and Asian countries and the USA presented six papers and participated in two round-table discussions.

In his opening remarks, DDM Abbot President Venerable Guo Huei (果暉法師) appreciated all scholars’ contributions to opening up the field of Buddhist studies and nurturing a new generation of Buddhist scholars, which made it possible to carry on DDM’s vision on education.

Some papers shed light on political turmoil during the Ming through Qing dynasty and argued the ways of which people’s migration and “escaping turmoil and taking refuge in meditation” had led even boarder transmission of Chinese Buddhism.

Liao Chao-heng (廖肇亨), Research Fellow of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy (中國文哲研究所) of the Academia Sinica (中央研究院), analyzed the verses of Huangbo ( ?– 850 ) and interpreted how a form of almsgiving such as donating rice was understood and practiced both in Huangbo days and later in Japan.The Huangbo School thus continued its development and earned respect in Japan.

Fan Wen-Jun (范文俊), Research Fellow of the Institute of Sino-Nom Studies of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, delved into the history of the migration from the Minnan regions (Southern Fujian in China) to Vietnam that honored the legacy of Chan Master Zhou Zhou (1590-1644) of Linji School, and emphasized the local transmissions of the Chinese Buddhist culture and practice, including the Buddhist Rite for Water and Land Dharma Services.

Other papers noted that the transmission of the Chinese Buddhism not only have a wide-ranging influence on the East Asian societies. From early 20th century onward, the Chinese Buddhist monks have played a pioneering role in introducing Chinese Buddhism into the European and American societies as well.

American-born Venerable Heng Sure (恆實法師), Dean of the Institute for World Religions Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, recalled the course that his teacher Venerable Master Hsuan Hua (1918-1995) was entrusted with a mission to go the U.S and build up the monastic group; in that he applied the approaches of education to usher American people into dharma teachings; and initiated interfaith communication with other religions and Buddhist schools.

Jizhe (汲喆), Professor of Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales of the Université Sorbonne Paris Cité in France, revisited with macro-sociological viewpoint on how the transmission of Buddhism has been globalized and paid close attention to cross-national transmissions nowadays that the organizations related to the “Humanistic Buddhism” have set in motion.

Later in roundtable sessions, Venerable Guo Jing (果鏡法師), Director of Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies), Venerable Guo Guang (果光法師), Managing Director of Bhikshuni Sangha Education Department, and Chen, Mei-hua (陳美華), Chairwomen of Taiwan Association for Religious Studies, reminisced the course of how late Master Sheng Yen went to Japan to study, disseminated the Dharma teachings in the USA and established branch monasteries in Malaysia.

Venerable Chang Ge (常格法師), Director of Students Affairs in DDM Sangha University, was deeply touched and shared “As Master Sheng Yen once said, transmitting the Dharma should go together with responsibility. Not until we sincerely practice through the Sangha education to carry out altruism, then we would be able to carry on the mission of propagating dharma teachings."

Text: Jiang, Ying-Zhi (江胤芝)
Photos: Lee, Fan (李東陽); Chang, Yao-Chung (張曜鐘)
Translation: Elenda Huang
Editing: DDM Editorial Team; Han, Seokyung

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Beyond Time and Space -
Transmission of Chinese Buddhism