Dharma Talk by Venerable Hui Kuan

Beijing Chinese Cultural Center Minister in Charge, Venerable Hui Kuan, was on his tour around Australia and New Zealand temples to give a talk on ¡°Venerable Master Hsing Yun and Humanistic Buddhism¡± and on the 17th of October, he arrived Fo Guang Shan (FGS) South Island New Zealand (NZ). FGS Oceania Chief Abbess Venerable Manko, FGS NZ Venerable Abbess Manshin, BLIA North Island Senior-Advisor Dolly Tsai, South Island President See ShenLee, directors and BLIA members, totaling up to 140 attended the talk.

Venerable Hui Kuan told the history of Buddhism that spread from India¡¯s Southern part and where in the Northern parts, it went into China. In China, 7 stages of Chinese Buddhism could be divided into 7 periods: 1) Amalgamation of Translated Sutra, 2) Sectarian Buddhism, 3) Ch¡¯an and Pure Land Buddhism, 4) Imperial Palace Tradition Buddhism, 5) Royal Buddhism, 6) Sutra Repentance Buddhism, 7) Humanistic Buddhism period. He clarified the development of Buddhism and the influence Buddhism has had on each subsequent generation. Venerable Hui Kuan said that between people, listening is important, education is important, and so Buddhism is about educating one¡¯s psychology. It also teaches people how to be joyful, happy, at ease, and lets people understand the universal truth of karma, impermanence, selflessness and change.

Why advocate for Humanistic Buddhism? Venerable Hui Kuan states that the Buddha was a human too, and so, all human can become Buddha. Humanistic Buddhism is Buddhism, it is the nature of the Buddha, and it includes all that makes our lives all the happier. In addition, he emphasized that Humanistic Buddhism advocates all that ¡°was said by the Buddha, that which people want, that which is pure, and that which is good". This deviates from traditional Buddhism in that it is more human orientated, and seeks to redefine Mahayana Buddhism in a fresh way. To embrace Humanistic Buddhism is to understand life and embrace it fully, to live a good life that is well grounded in reality, and to be able to confront death and transcend it. The character of Humanistic Buddhism - to be humanised, practical, altruistic, joyful, up to date, and popular ¨C is a guidebook in itself that allows us to influence our surrounding people. Starting from 3G4G5H, and by following the Bodhisattva path, living up to the Buddhist way, whilst not forgetting our roots to help other human beings, be self aware of yourself and others, and help yourself whilst helping others. Through platforms like art galleries and tea houses, we can reach out to many people in the community. Venerable Hui Kuan summarized the stages of learning Buddhism as follows: praying to the Buddha, seeking the Buddha, believing in the Buddha, learning from the Buddha, and following the Buddha¡¯s way. Still, the most important thing on the path of Buddhist learning is to gain wisdom, compassion, joy, freedom and adaptability.

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