Modern Buddhism and Stupas

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
User avatar
Indrajala
Posts: 6312
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Indrajala » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:18 pm

Last month I was in Taiwan and I visited Foguangshan 佛光山 just outside of Gaoxiong in the south and I got to see the passive stupa project under construction in the neighbouring valley. It will house a Buddha relic. Behind it there will also be a massive Buddha statue that will be stuffed with countless heart sutras (I think one of mine I did the calligraphy call will be placed in it too!).

It is a modern Buddhist monument. I think it also reveals the economic success of the Buddhist movement in Taiwan. Chinese Buddhism in general was in a state of rapid decay until around the 1950s. The communists certainly did a lot of damage in the following decades, but Buddhist venerables like Zhenhua, Xingyun and Sheng Yen amongst others successfully transplanted Chinese Buddhism to Taiwan and within a few decades several major organizations were thriving and active on the island. Not only that, but in recent years they've gone overseas as well.

From a scholarly point of view this is also interesting to monitor as right now in the western world the popular schools are Tibetan, Theravadan and Zen. Chinese Buddhism, despite its evident ability to successfully harness resources, seems largely reserved for immigrants or the already existent Chinese communities in western countries.

Anyway, here are some photos of the stupa and eight pagodas under construction:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image








Incidentally, Dharma Drum Mountain up on the north coast is also quite active and prosperous.

Image

Image

Image


It is interesting to see how these organizations could start from basically nothing and work their way up to what they are now in a few decades. Perhaps much of this has to do with the existing customs already in place within Chinese culture -- most notably where the laity give quite generously.

I wonder if western Buddhist organizations couldn't learn from the model. How many little dharma centers struggle just to pay the rent? It goes without saying money isn't the purpose of Buddhism, but it takes capital to build Buddhist universities and publish books.


Image

Sorry for the lengthy post. I felt like writing and posting photos. :coffee:
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

Devotee
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:22 am

Re: Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Devotee » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:20 pm

Speaking from experience, Chinese monastics are very willing to teach Dharma. They do so with zeal and vigour.

What prevents them from teaching to non-Chinese is their lack of linguistic variety; it's only now that Chinese monastics are learning non-Chinese languages, but even then, they are very few. But, if you talk to monastics of older generations through the help of an interpreter, you'd be surprised at how generous they are with their time and effort.

A lot of older Chinese immigrants are culturally cut-off, preferring to keep to themselves. It's slowly changing, though.

BTW, who is the group responsible for the building of stupas? Is it Dharma Drum? Looks very massive. :tongue:

User avatar
Indrajala
Posts: 6312
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Indrajala » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:41 am

Devotee

The stupa project is being done by Foguangshan. It is actually within walking distance of the main temple complex. You just go out the back, through the garden, past the zoo, down the gravel road and around the corner and you're in the neighbouring valley where the project is under construction.

Or just follow the highway from the main gate. :smile:
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

User avatar
Huifeng
Posts: 1476
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Huifeng » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:48 am

Thanks Huseng for posting these pics. Thanks too for your comments, and Devotee's too, on the situation of Chinese Buddhism in it's present vibrant form in Taiwan.

As for the language issue, the first batch of monastic graduates from the Masters in Buddhist Studies program at Foguang Uni have already started to be assigned places overseas. A few recent appointments in North American centers now also has English fluent teachers leading the monastery / center in a couple of places.

Like the economy, and some other issues, certain "centers of gravity" are shifting. Welcome to the 21st century everyone.


User avatar
Indrajala
Posts: 6312
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Indrajala » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:55 am

BTW, about Chinese teachers being generous with teachings -- I've had similar experiences.

When I was going to visit the monkeys in the nature preserve in Gaoxiong (see photo below), I passed by this little tent sandwiched between two shops where a bhikusuni was sitting with a mountain of sutra booklets and sutras being sung from a stereo. She looked at me and I said, "Amituofo!" as is the common greeting. She chatted with me a bit (I speak a bit of Mandarin) and handed me a sutra booklet. She instructed me on the benefits of reciting the Heart Sutra along with other scriptures contained in the booklet.

At my university I know another Venerable who has spent many many hours helping me with my Mandarin and discussing various things about Buddhism (particularly the ups and downs of Taiwanese Buddhism). Whenever I get the chance I buy some pastries and give them to her as an offering.

Image
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

User avatar
Indrajala
Posts: 6312
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Indrajala » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:01 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

User avatar
Huifeng
Posts: 1476
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Huifeng » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:33 am



User avatar
Huifeng
Posts: 1476
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Huifeng » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:48 am



User avatar
Indrajala
Posts: 6312
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Modern Buddhism and Stupas

Postby Indrajala » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:16 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |


Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 24 guests