January 15, 2023, Issue 2
Dear Bodhisattvas, greetings!
Recently, taking advantage of the lack of too many routine tasks before the Spring Festival, Azhe and I came to the tranquil retreat of Yaoshan Temple in Changde, Hunan.
This is a place dedicated to Zen practice, free from commercialization. It is also the first temple I have resided in since becoming a Buddhist.
What has Buddhism brought to me? In 2017, after receiving the lay Bodhisattva precepts at Huangmei Sizu Temple, I began to contemplate this question, and now I have some answers.
Buddhism is a system of understanding truth and a system of life education based on faith as its foundation and culture as its carrier.
- With the constraints of faith and precepts, I have greater freedom in self-control and the cultivation of my character.
- With the influence of Buddhist culture, I am able to have a fresh perspective on, learn about, and dialectically analyze our traditional culture, socialist culture, and Western culture.
- The ultimate care, which is the pursuit of truth and the understanding of life and death, has given me a new framework and vision.
I have always believed that in today's society, everyone should have a faith.
The gentlemanly character of Confucianism, the state of the true person in Taoism, the Bodhisattva character in Buddhism, the sentiment of Marxism, and the compassion of Christianity all have their own connotations on the human level. They all help us in the construction of values, thoughts, and character.
During these days of cultivating oneself and nurturing one's nature in the Zen temple, I have had many discussions with my master, Master Mingying, especially on how to have a clear understanding of the current historical stage and how to better grow ourselves. As a result, I have formed this outline-like text to share with all the Bodhisattvas.