DharmaMasterChengYendeservesTi

  • 作者:
  • 时间:2020-08-13

<>When she was told she made this year's Time 100, Dharma Master Cheng Yen said she was not going to New York to accept the honor. She was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by the New York-based weekly. Among them were artists, activists, reformers, researchers, heads of state, and captains of industry. This marks the second year in a row that the American magazine has so honored a Taiwanese person. Chen Shu-chu, a vegetable vendor in Taitung in eastern Taiwan was last year's honoree for her compassionate help of the needy.

<>

<>Master Cheng Yen heads the private, no-profit Tzu Chi Foundation, headquartered in Hualien, also in eastern Taiwan, which has chapters in 50 countries across the world to extend assistance to victims of natural disasters. When a typhoon hits, like Morakot that triggered floods as well as landslides and mudslides on Aug. 8, 2009, Tzu Chi volunteers are on the scene in no time to dispense food, medicines, blankets and clothing. When northeastern Japan was devastated by an unprecedented magnitude-9 earthquake and the resulting tsunami on March 11, hundreds of her followers volunteered to extend similar assistance with astonishing speed and efficiency. Her compassion knows no bounds. When Sichuan was hit by an earthquake in 2008, Tzu Chi volunteers left Taiwan without a moment of hesitation on a relief mission for mainland China, despite its vow to attack Taiwan if and when it declares independence, be it de facto or de jure. Aid isn't just provided in the short term. In the long term, the volunteers also rebuild homes, clinics and schools in the disaster areas. Countless numbers of people around the world have witnessed her compassion and kindness. Well, that's the reason why she made the Time 100 list this year and she said all the credit belongs to her supporters and volunteers. Tzu Chi, incidentally, means “Compassionate Relief.”

<>

<>The master is compared to Mother Teresa of India, who received a Nobel Peace Prize. In honoring her, Time said “in this life, Cheng Yen is already a saint.” But she isn't a saint who has been declared by the Catholic Church to have won, through her good deeds, a place in Heaven and veneration on earth. She has performed no miracles. She hasn't been canonized, for Buddhism isn't an organized religion like Catholicism. She isn't even a bodhisattva, a person withholding her nirvana in order to help sentient beings. Buddhists, followers of Buddha, believe in eternal transmigration. When an enlightened one, who is a Buddha, attains nirvana, he puts an end to his transmigration. Gautama Siddhartha deferred his nirvana to help people by preaching Dharma, which means the “Law” in Sanskrit but is conveniently translated as Buddhism in English like Mohammedanism which should be called Islam, the religion founded by Prophet Mohammad.

<>

<>Cheng Yen doesn't claim she is a living bodhisattva. There are quite a number of living bodhisattvas, particularly in Tibet. One best known bodhisattva is Avalokitesvara, who is better known in the West as the Goddess of Mercy. However, Cheng Yen is practicing the way of bodhisattva, a modern Chinese humanistic Buddhism. It aims at helping people just as Avalokitesvara or Guan-in in Chinese and Kanon in Japanese did or still do. Humanistic Buddhism makes Buddhism relevant in the world and in people's lives and hearts. Like Christianity, it brings love, albeit not God's love, to people who are living in misery and want.

<>

<>What Master Cheng Yen, who calls herself a modest nun rather than a venerated guru, deserves is a Nobel Peace Prize. She is addressed to by her faithful as Shang-ren, which literally means the superior one, a courteous address reserved for a Buddhist monk or nun. She isn't a priestess. All she does is offer timely advice to the faithful about how to think, act and conduct themselves in life. Her followers are not required to read sutras that are indeed hard to understand. She is a very good teacher of an existentialist religion like Buddhism.

<>

<>People like to compare Master Cheng Yen to Mother Teresa. As a matter of fact, her contributions to world peace are just as great as, if not greater than, Mother Teresa's. But we have every reason to believe if she were awarded the prize, she would turn it down politely by saying again the honor should go to all her supporters and volunteers, by far a great majority of them being honest, hardworking and compassionate people from Taiwan. The nation certainly is very proud of these people and wishes an increasingly large number of others would emulate them.

<>

<>

<>〈本文仅供参考,不代表本会立场〉