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“Amazing Changes Occurring in Chinese Buddhism”

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“Amazing Changes Occurring in Chinese Buddhism”

Chinese Buddhist Forum and Pilgrimage throughout China’s Kwangtung Province

“Following the Footsteps of the China’s Sixth Patriarch Huineong”
 
The Sixth Patriarch Huineong (638-713 CE) entered the Mahaparanirvana approximately 1300 years ago. The most Ven. Jaseung (President of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism) and the Buddhist Forum of Buddhist Leaders Network members (Representative Kim Donggeon) followed the footsteps of Ven. Huineong around the Kwantung Province. Beginning on January 18th to 22nd, 2013, the members of the Buddhist Forum paid respect in various temples in connection with the Ven. Huineong, such as the Kwangchowan (廣州灣) and Xiǎoguān (韶關), in order to personally encounter the remarkable change occurring in Chinese Buddhism.
 
 
<Pic. Commemorative photo at Namhwaseon-sa Temple (南華禪寺) >
 
The Korean pilgrims began to recognize the development of Chinese Buddhism in Namwhaseon-sa Temple of Xiaoguan. Many Buddhist pilgrims come to pay respect in the temple because Ven. Huineong’s Jinsinsang (holy relics or replica of his physical form) is enshrined. The temple has a very special connection with the Korean Buddhism, given that the lineage of Jogye Order originates from this very location.
 
In particular, the designation of the name, Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, derived from this temple, thus the connection is considered especially strong compare to any other. The stream which passes in front of the temple also has the name Jogye (曹溪), and the mountain where the temple stands was once called Mt. Jogyesan (currently called Mt. Borim). Even the plaque hanging on the entrance of the Namwhaseon-sa Temple has a two letter words, “Jo- Gye” inscribed on top.
 
The traces of the sixth patriarch can still be seen in Namwhaseon-sa Temple. First of all, the Jinsinsang of Ven. Huineong is enshrined at the “Jodang,” a hall where the records of the patriarchs are enshrined. The soft facial lines reveal the signs of age and the faint smile on his lips brings forth the gentle and peaceful appearance the patriarch must have displayed before he had finally left his body.
 

 
<Pic. Praying at the Main Buddha Hall>
 
Approximately 300 monastic reside in Namwhaseon-sa today. Since Kwangtung Jogye Buddhist University, representing the Kwantung Province, was established on May, 2000 more than hundred students have been studying at the University. Many monks are continuing with the practice of Chan Meditation, while Seon Centers designated for laity help assist their Buddhist practices.
 
An excited expression can clearly be seen by the pilgrims at this historic site, where the Ven. Huineong taught the <Sutra of Hui Neong>. Ven. Jaseung stated, “I feel deeply moved to reflect on how the Ven. Huineong has taught the Buddhist assembly here,” and added, “I hope his great teachings will be propagated throughout the world.”
 
<The Sutra of Huineong> is the only teaching taught by a patriarch, not by the Sakyamuni Buddha. Despite the fact that it is not taught by the Buddha, it was still designated as Buddhist scripture. This demonstrates the fact that the teaching taught by the Ven. Huineong is exceptionally profound.
 
 
<Under the Bodhi Tree at the Kwanghyo-sa Temple>
 

Kwanghyo-sa Temple, the first pilgrimage site, is best known as a temple where Ven. Huineong took his ordination precepts. After the fifth Patriarch Hongin accepted him as the next in line of the successor, Ven. Huineong vanished for nearly sixteen years. After long years of seclusion, Ven. Huineong first came back to Kwangho-sa Temple. Ven. Huineong then proved his identity by showing the gifts received by his master and shaved his head and received the ordination precepts.
 
The famous anecdote, “Questions and Answers of the Wind” also originates from this temple. When an intense debate was occurring on whether the wind stirs or the flag sways, Ven. Huineong answered, “It is neither the wind nor the flag which sways, but your own mind.”
 
Ven. Jaseung thanked the great welcome received from the organizers of the Buddhist Forum and remarked, “Korean and Chinese Buddhism must put our strength together and enable further Buddhist Cultural Exchanges to develop.”
 

 

 
<The Sixth Patriarch Huineong’s Jinsinsang enshrined in Namwhaseon-sa Temple>
 
 
<Discussion occurring at the Unmun-sa Temple>

<Buddhist devotees from Gukeun-sa Temple welcome Korean pilgrims>

<Paying respect at the Kukeun-sa Temple>
 
The Korean pilgrims from the Jogye Order expressed their surprise on how much Chinese Buddhism has developed. Most temples they have visited were extending and improving their temples, and it was easy to find Buddhist devotees praying sincerely at most temples. Moreover, much development is taking place not only by the temples but at a national level. The Namwhaseon-sa Temple and Kukeun-sa temple is also preparing for the Memorial Ceremony on the Anniversary of Ven. Huineong’s Mahaparinirvana.
 
Ven. Jaseung exclaimed, “China has gone through rapid development since the time Korean and Chinese Buddhism began to make cultural exchanges.“ and added, “We hope the Jogye Order will also progress further on our reformation efforts.” Kim Heeok, the President of the Dongguk University and a Co-representative of Buddhist Forum, also stated, “I have visited China many times before, but each time I am amazed to discover how much transformation has taken place.” Kim Donggeon said, “It is clear that Buddhist Forum plays a great role in the development of Buddhism,” and added, “I would like to say thank you to the President of Jogye Order for this opportunity to organize the Buddhist Forum and this amazing pilgrimage.”   
 
 
< Pic. Ven. Jaseung presentsHeart Sutra Printing Blocks to the Ven. Mingsheong >



The original article and pictures can be accessed at http://www.ibulgyo.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=123819
 
 

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