Professor Li Lee An¡¯s Seminar about Five Mahasattvas
A second seminar called ¡°Looking at the operation of Humanistic Buddhism through examination of the faith system of the 5 Mahasattvas¡± by Professor Li Lee An, Head of the Northwest University¡¯s Faculty of Buddhism Research (Xuan Zang Institute) was held on 19th February. It was attended by an audience of over 250 people.
From initial description of the lineage progression and respective unique characteristics of the Faith practice in Bodhisattvas from original Indian sources and the subsequent propagation to China, Professor Li summarised the main aspects of Chinese Buddhism¡¯s Faith practices on Bodhisattvas as: ¡°Blessing, Protection during rebirth, Enlightenment and Accumulation of Merits¡±. He also extended these aspects to the Main Ideals of the Four Major Maha Bodhisattvas Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and Manjusri Bodhisattva, and their respective renowned mountain abodes.
From the phrase of: ¡°The Faith practice of Bodhisattvas in Chinese Buddhism has changed and developed from Four Maha Bodhisattvas to Five Maha Bodhisattvas¡± Professor Li lucidly explained about the many limitations of having faith toward only Four Mahasattvas, how faith in Maitreya Bodhisattva developed in Chinese Buddhism and it¡¯s unique characteristics. This included concepts of the inclusion of both other worldly Pure Lands and Pure Land in the human realm, waiting for Maitreya Bodhisattva to obtain Buddhahood hood in the future to the Bodhisattva being born in this very moment, and instead of Maitreya Bodhisattva only appear in the future in the Buddha, he has already manifested in the form of a monk. All These traits formed the unique characteristics of Chinese Buddhism¡¯s faith in Maitreya Bodhisattva as basically ¡°Goal to always laugh and be merry, cultivate to be as tolerant as a big belly, and the principles of purifying the 6 roots¡±
The Professor felt that Maitreya Bodhisattva portrayed the virtue of ¡°Loving Kindness¡± as a complementary to the Four Maha-bodhisattva¡¯s virtuous characteristics of ¡°Vow, Action, Compassion and Wisdom¡±. The image and symbolism of Maitreya Bodhisattva soughta to express the attitude of: ¡°What is most valuable is to be used in daily life, open one¡¯s heart to personally witness and obtain the state of mind that is being sought after¡± Professor Li further expressed that Humanistic Buddhism¡¯s ideals of ¡°Three Good Deeds, Four Kinds of Giving and Five Types of Harmonies¡± is in line with the effect of including Maitreya Bodhisattva to form Five Mahasattvas. This can encourage everyone all become humanistic Maitreyas by being always positive and happy.
Finally representatives from YAD present flowers to the Professor to thank him for two days of fantastic lectures. The Abbess expressed that Professor has brought here Maitreya Bodhisattva¡¯s attitude of joyfulness. Hence she believes that Humanistic Buddhism will continue to shine in New Zealand to bring about more kindness and wisdom.