the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Which of the Four Buddhist Moutains of Taiwan resonates the most with you?

Dharma Drum Mountain/ Fa Gu Shan
3
38%
Fo Guang Shan/ Buddha's Light Mountain
2
25%
Tzu Chi/ Great Compassion Relief
1
13%
Chung Tai Chan (Ven. Wei Chueh)
2
25%
 
Total votes : 8

the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:50 am

Which one resonates most with you?

I am also curious about the numbers of lay and monastic disciples of each of the big monasteries in Taiwan.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Astus » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:09 am

I'd say Chung Tai for its Chan approach and DDM for its scholarly approach.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4255
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby plwk » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:21 am

FGS: My homeground: where I first took and renewed again the Refuge and Precepts, Dharma & volunteer work
DDM: Dharma & Ch'an meditation
Tzu Chi: Volunteer and social work
Chung Tai: no chapter in my country, nearest is in Thailand

For all of the above, the only one I have yet to visit the Main Monastery in Taiwan is Chung Tai.
plwk
 
Posts: 2751
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:11 am

Venerable Huifeng: I wanted to reply to your earlier posting but it was deleted for some reason. In any case, I would still like to ask - could you briefly describe how each of these organizations are perceived (with regards to their focus, forte, doctrinal specialties, etc) in Taiwan?
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
User avatar
pueraeternus
 
Posts: 805
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Huifeng » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:07 am

pueraeternus wrote:Venerable Huifeng: I wanted to reply to your earlier posting but it was deleted for some reason. In any case, I would still like to ask - could you briefly describe how each of these organizations are perceived (with regards to their focus, forte, doctrinal specialties, etc) in Taiwan?


Hi,

I deleted it myself. I'll maybe wait a bit before making any comments.

~~ Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1471
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Indrajala » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:39 am

Here's my perception based on what I know and hear. While each have their temples all over the island, they are said to have their corners.

Dharma Drum Mountain -- northern part of Taiwan, associated with scholarship and Chan practice.

Foguang Shan -- southern part of Taiwan, associated with Humanistic Buddhism.

Tzu Chi -- eastern part of Taiwan, associated with volunteering, social work and humanitarian endeavors.

Zhongtai/Chung Tai -- western part of Taiwan. I don't know much about them, but they seem oriented towards Chan practice.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Indrajala » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:44 am

Incidentally, if someone wants to understand these organizations it is best to look at their founding teachers' biographies, ideas and statements. The official stories are fine, but critical examinations that might offend the membership are to be considered as well.

One thing to keep in mind is that within an organization the founder receives deferential respect and is never criticized out in the open. What they say becomes gospel for the organization. This is why the organizations are so heavily attached to their founders at the moment. It might also prove to be their undoing in the long-term.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby icylake » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:34 am

based my "limited" experience, Tsu chi is very different from other 3 sects. it seems like humanitarian association, base on Human- Buddha concept of Lotus Sutra, and very taiwanized. many times their chanting is in Taiwnese dialect. many taiwanese seemed to feel friendly to them.

foguangshan-scholarship. highly hybrid in both practice or sutra srudy, department store of Chinese Buddhist traditions in possitive sense, from stufy of ancient eight schools teaching to Pure land practice, humanistic buddhism, if one wanted to know what Chinese Busshiam is, then Foguangshan would be the best choice. their linage came from Lin ji Chan tradition(Rinzai Japan, lIm je, Korea, lam the, Vietnam), but since Chinese Lin ji sect had evolved to hybrid of pure land and zen practice after Song dynasty, so main practice of Foguangshan is very like that of pure land-Nian Fo-

Dharma drum mountain - specialized in scholarship and Ch'an practice. this sect is very special in modern Chinese chan practice, many practices disappeared or marginalized in China after Ming dynasty, were revived by this sect. like hwa tou chan, Gong an study .

Zhongtai- don't know much about them :smile:
icylake
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Indrajala » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:47 am

icylake wrote:if one wanted to know what Chinese Busshiam is, then Foguangshan would be the best choice. their linage came from Lin ji Chan tradition(Rinzai Japan, lIm je, Korea, lam the, Vietnam), but since Chinese Lin ji sect had evolved to hybrid of pure land and zen practice after Song dynasty, so main practice of Foguangshan is very like that of pure land-Nian Fo-


Foguangshan like most of Taiwanese Buddhism is a highly reformed and modified form of what used to be Buddhism on the mainland. There are vast differences between what you see now and what used to exist. Some examples of this is the improved status of nuns, the emphasis on complete Vinaya ordinations, the lack of wandering monks and the system of having a single master for thousands of disciples.

They also threw out the old pagan gods of old from the temples. You don't even see much of the old Dharma Guardians that are commonly found in more traditional temples and of course Japan where they have preserved a lot of Chinese Buddhism that was otherwise abandoned or destroyed in China and Taiwan. In some ways Japan has better preserved classical Chinese Buddhism than later and modern China did. The true heirs to Tang Dynasty Buddhism are found in Japan ironically.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:41 am

This is why the organizations are so heavily attached to their founders at the moment. It might also prove to be their undoing in the long-term.


You would know better than I Huseng, but according to my limited observations it seems Dharma Drum Mountain has so far weathered the passing of its founder Master Sheng Yen quite well, with the abbotship passing to a senior bhikshu and disciple.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Indrajala » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:28 am

JKhedrup wrote:You would know better than I Huseng, but according to my limited observations it seems Dharma Drum Mountain has so far weathered the passing of its founder Master Sheng Yen quite well, with the abbotship passing to a senior bhikshu and disciple.


Right, but a charismatic leader can build a vibrant organization, but that charisma dies with the founder unless a genuine new leader emerges with the same authority and status. DDM is very much focused on the word and figure of Master Sheng Yen. I was told by one laywoman that a DVD teaching of Master Sheng Yen was sufficient when I said that with his passing there needed to be new masters or "Shifu" figures. In DDM there is only one Shifu. Understandably a lot of people defer to him on matters of doctrine and so on, but a leader who has passed away can no longer invoke vibrant spirit into a living tradition.

If people consider themselves disciples of a figure who has passed away and that they perhaps never met, then I'm afraid a kind of fossilization will set in. Buddhism relies on master-disciple relationships where the disciple eventually becomes a master and takes on new disciples while teaching them what they themselves learnt plus whatever new temporal and cultural specific adaptations that become required. I've heard of this happening with smaller organizations in Taiwan where everything revolves around the founder and nobody else is given equal status. They fall into decay as the oldschool membership cling to a past figure and new people fail to feel the same appreciation for someone they never met.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby icylake » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:35 am

Huseng wrote:
icylake wrote:if one wanted to know what Chinese Busshiam is, then Foguangshan would be the best choice. their linage came from Lin ji Chan tradition(Rinzai Japan, lIm je, Korea, lam the, Vietnam), but since Chinese Lin ji sect had evolved to hybrid of pure land and zen practice after Song dynasty, so main practice of Foguangshan is very like that of pure land-Nian Fo-

Foguangshan like most of Taiwanese Buddhism is a highly reformed and modified form of what used to be Buddhism on the mainland. There are vast differences between what you see now and what used to exist. Some examples of this is the improved status of nuns, the emphasis on complete Vinaya ordinations, the lack of wandering monks and the system of having a single master for thousands of disciples. They also threw out the old pagan gods of old from the temples. You don't even see much of the old Dharma Guardians that are commonly found in more traditional temples and of course Japan where they have preserved a lot of Chinese Buddhism that was otherwise abandoned or destroyed in China and Taiwan. In some ways Japan has better preserved classical Chinese Buddhism than later and modern China did. The true heirs to Tang Dynasty Buddhism are found in Japan ironically.


i agree with your opinion in general. but i think we must consider Japanese buddhism itself has very distinctive Japanese characteristics, which must have developed from Hei-an period. in fact from many east Asian's view point, Japanese buddhism is very different from other EA country's traditions from some aspects.
the first is, extra ordinarily hybrid of buddhism and shinto, put the secular taoist temples highly influenced by buddhism aside, in fact formal Chinese, Korean monasteries are not that pantheon-like hybrid like Japanese temples. if you visited to traditional Chinese temples in Wu tai shan, or Korean temples, you might see many guardians, but most of them are devas found in sutras except terrotory deity. since Shin-gon had influenced whole Japanese buddhism with it's avatar concept( 本地垂跡), Japanese version of mutual assimilation was far beyond the standard east Asians shared.
icylake
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby icylake » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:49 am

and as a result of that, i think Japanese buddhism came to have very distinctive features, which not only hard to be found in other EA buddhism traditions, but also hard to be seen in other buddhist traditions:

the heavy relience to other-power, in fact the monastics mainly rely on self-power practice, laities on other-power worship is very general phenomena in most buddhist traditions. but japanese sectarian buddhism after middle age pushed that to its utmost level. the fundamental other power buddhism like shin pure land, nichiren buddhism is very hard to found in other countries. even we Asians are alienated to that.

and the worship toward sectarian ancetary masters is very hardly seen in other traditions also. in Japanese buddhist temple(except ancient temple of Nara buddhism like Toudaiji, the buddha statues are usualy hidden, whereas the memorial hall(shrine) of their ancetary masters(Kukai, togen, shinlan)are far greter than main dharma hall dedicated to Shakamuni, and the memorial day for masters celebrated very wonderfuly, but few know when the vesak day is...

so i think,, Japanese buddhism still has it's VERY distinctive features, and i think, from some aspects, the world buddhism could be devided into Japanese buddhism and other traditions first, then devided into theravada, mahayana ;)
Last edited by icylake on Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
icylake
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:02 pm

Understandably a lot of people defer to him on matters of doctrine and so on, but a leader who has passed away can no longer invoke vibrant spirit into a living tradition.


Yes this is a very good point. I saw some degree of this during my stay at City Of Ten Thousand Buddhas, where Master Hua remains very much the figurehead, "root guru" if you will of the monastery, even though he passed away quite some time ago.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Indrajala » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:44 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Yes this is a very good point. I saw some degree of this during my stay at City Of Ten Thousand Buddhas, where Master Hua remains very much the figurehead, "root guru" if you will of the monastery, even though he passed away quite some time ago.


The thing to keep in mind it wasn't always like that.

I mean Huineng was an eminent and clearly great teacher, but Linji, Mazu and any number of other Chan masters fulfilled the same role as charismatic leaders. They held equal status to Huineng. This contributed to Chan's vitality throughout many many centuries.

I think the concern in Taiwan is keeping organizations together as unified wholes rather than letting branches go their own way. This is an innovation on the part of contemporary Taiwanese Buddhism. Everyone is a disciple of one grand master, all property is owned by a single entity and you are not to take on your own formal disciples. This allows for a lot of stability and great material management, but I can't help but think it won't work well in the long-term.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:19 pm

Everyone is a disciple of one grand master, all property is owned by a single entity and you are not to take on your own formal disciples. This allows for a lot of stability and great material management


I think it is also a big part of the ability of those organizations to set up branches in foreign countries. If you don't have the funds or the human resources to be able to build temples and then staff them with monastics and management people, it is very difficult to get things going.

Then again, Tibetan centres seem to have managed it. The devotion to the master though I think is an important unifying factor. The passing of the master is a profound challenge for the Tibetan groups as well, and FPMT for example is still working out a viable plan of succession, as despite his recent illness, Lama Zopa Rinpoche is still very much the figure who unites the organization.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:18 am

icylake wrote: i agree with your opinion in general. but i think we must consider Japanese buddhism itself has very distinctive Japanese characteristics,


Of course. I'm not saying Japanese Buddhism is a mirror reflection of Tang Dynasty Buddhism, though they did successfully receive, record, transmit and preserve much of it. For example, Tentai, Shingon, Kegon and a number of temples like Todai-ji, Gango-ji, Kofuku-ji and so on can all trace their lineages but also their material culture (scriptures, artwork, architecture, etc...) directly to Tang China. They still preserve the old architectural styles in many cases and have them well documented and studied. Moreover, Japan preserved a number of key texts that were lost in China for any number of reasons.

So, looking at how Buddhism developed in China compared to what the Japanese did with what they got from the Tang Dynasty, the true heirs of Tang Buddhism are found in Japan. I know that's a volatile statement to make, but the Japanese just preserved their ancient Buddhism better than the Chinese did. Moreover, there seems to be little interest in Taiwan when it comes to reviving classical forms in favor of their reformed and quite modernized developments. But then as with much of contemporary Chinese culture there is something of a widespread disdain for China's past culture whether it is admitted or not.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:33 am

JKhedrup wrote:I think it is also a big part of the ability of those organizations to set up branches in foreign countries. If you don't have the funds or the human resources to be able to build temples and then staff them with monastics and management people, it is very difficult to get things going.


With a few exceptions, generally speaking those branch offices cater to Chinese speakers in foreign countries. This isn't the policy, but if you operate in Chinese and do everything in a very Chinese way, the natives of the host community will not feel compelled to take an interest.

The Tibetans succeed because generally they learn the language of the land and have autonomy to do things as they see fit, which means adaptability.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:37 am

Yes I agree with you. Because the Tibetans lost their country I think they had no choice but to adapt- they had to reach out not only to transmit the dharma but also to find some other ways of supporting their institutions.

Because this is not the case with Chinese Buddhism, and because in many cities in the West the Chinese population is large enough and well off enough to support the temple singlhandedly, perhaps there is not so much of an incentive to reach out to Westerners. Part of it of course is that Westerners are not supporting the temple, the Chinese community is. If you focus more resources and programs on Westerners, you might not be able to offer as many that attract the Chinese community, and in this way alienate your biggest supporters. It is a quandary.

Of course, this will become a challenge with the next generation, as the children of the parishioners may be more comfortable in English for example than Mandarin. And if you send bhikshunis trained in Taiwan and not so fluent in English to run the temple, the young people won't be able to connect with them so well. Also, if the Buddhism and ceremonies are presented in the Chinese language and in a Taiwanese cultural context, you might lose those few that are really interested in Buddhism to groups offering things in English. (Certainly with Tibetan Buddhism I see this- many of the students are ethnically chinese but more comfortable learning in the English language).

My two cents (for what it is worth, which isn't much) is that the big Buddhist organizations could offer meaningful monastic training in a way that attracts foreign and 2nd generation Chinese people. Certainly discipline could be maintained but with less rigid forms. Chinese could be used for liturgy and conversation classes given, but philosophy could be taught in English or the language of the land.

I remember in one of the Chinese monasteries where I stayed that the English speakers were marked the same as those fluent in Chinese for exams and things, and this was posted on the board. Now, some might argue that no special consideration should be made, but it makes things very tense and uncomfortable. I also remember spending hours and hours trying to learn how to fold the blanket the way it should be, and always being marked incorrect (which carried with it punishment after a few instances). In those difficult moments I sometimes felt that indeed my blanket had been folded correctly, but as a foreigner now matter how well I did I would always be under scrutiny (whether that was my own projection or the actual situation is another matter).

When one is already dealing with a foreign language and environment, small things like those above can be enough to push sincere Western or Western-born Chinese aspirants away. If some allowances were made there could be some tremendous success. And I am cheering for that because I would love to see the Western dharma scene more diverse and including more Westerners practicing in the Chinese lineages.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: the Four Mountains (Big Monasteries) of Taiwan

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:11 am

JKhedrup wrote:Yes I agree with you. Because the Tibetans lost their country I think they had no choice but to adapt- they had to reach out not only to transmit the dharma but also to find some other ways of supporting their institutions.



I think part of it also has to do with the general Tibetan attitudes towards things. They're not so pedantic. For instance, you walk into the puja hall and seating is kinda chaotic, people prostrate in any which way and men and women all sit together. There is no gender segregation. Quite often monks, nuns and laypeople all sit together, too. As we discussed earlier Tibetan monastics are freer in terms of being able to goof around with kids and be quite down to earth. The Taiwanese-Chinese approach to Buddhism is so overly concerned with prescription, proscription and petty rules so as to make it simply unappealing to anyone but the most dedicated outsiders. In a Tibetan gonpa you just park your rear and listen, whereas in a Chinese temple you need to go through a lot of choreographed motions. This works for them, but not for anyone else.


Because this is not the case with Chinese Buddhism, and because in many cities in the West the Chinese population is large enough and well off enough to support the temple singlhandedly, perhaps there is not so much of an incentive to reach out to Westerners.



But it begs the question why, if they do have the resources, do they not do much? Is it lack of interest, or is that they lack the people to initiate such things successfully?

Part of the problem is cultural differences. Language barriers aside, westerners want transparency and democracy, which are not exactly widespread in Chinese Buddhism. Western Buddhists would want their voice heard and as a lowly layperson would still expect to have a say in the decision making process of a religious organization they belong to and support. In Taiwan I don't think that ever happens.

To really naturalize would mean losing both authority and power. Things would have to be transparent. Open door meetings. The accounting would have to be made public to the membership and subject to review and protest. None of this happens in Taiwan as far as I know.

So, in actuality, there are a lot of cultural incompatibilities. This is a big reason why Chinese Buddhism isn't really viable in the democratic west unless a lot of major changes are made, which can't happen when you have to answer and report to HQ in another cultural sphere.


Of course, this will become a challenge with the next generation, as the children of the parishioners may be more comfortable in English for example than Mandarin.


As I'm sure you know any number of long-standing Japanese temples have ceased being ethnic temples and opened up to the greater population.

One example is the Winnipeg Buddhist Church (I think the name says it all):

http://www.manitobabuddhistchurch.org/

Hopefully the same process will occur with Chinese temples, though who knows. As you say if they send nuns from Taiwan to educate the kids who speak Chinese as a kind of second language at home, then the youth will simply feel alienated. I've already seen this before.

The other thing is that they need monks, but Taiwan has so few and they'll probably get fewer in due time. If a young man wants a male spiritual teacher, he'll have to seek it outside of the Chinese Buddhist community. I generally think that young men need guides who are male for various reasons.


Certainly discipline could be maintained but with less rigid forms. Chinese could be used for liturgy and conversation classes given, but philosophy could be taught in English or the language of the land.



They would need to run it like a college where as a student you had full autonomy and nobody was on your back about your bed sheets. However, that would entail sacrificing a lot of authority and expectations to accommodate a more international environment. I somehow don't sense that will happen.




I also remember spending hours and hours trying to learn how to fold the blanket the way it should be, and always being marked incorrect (which carried with it punishment after a few instances).


So you got treated like a child. Again, this is a characteristic of Taiwanese Buddhism where people are treated like kids in many cases rather than adults. This is again a huge cultural difference.

I mean if someone tried to punish me for not folding my blanket properly I'd tell them off. Either I get the respect and autonomy of an adult or I go my merry way. Forcing people through such childishness is cult-like. You can ask me to make my bed (though if it is a private room that's not your business), but getting out a ruler or attempting to punish me for it not being up to standard is an attempt at undermining someone psychologically. It does not benefit beings.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5966
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Next

Return to East Asian Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

>