感谢Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards Committee的提名人修懿法师与诸位委员,将“佛教杰出女性奖”颁赠给我。我是一介平凡的比丘尼,是佛法的卓越智慧,让我的人生脱胎换骨,因此在此殷重地感恩佛陀、达摩与僧伽对我生命的再造之恩!
Address in Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards Ceremony
Respectable Host(s), Venerables, Honored Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for nominating me, Ven. Shou-Yi (修懿) , for recommending me for this Outstanding Women in Buddhism Award.And thank you very much, respectable committee members, for conferring me this very precious award.I am just a very ordinary bhikkhuni.It is the excellent wisdom of Budhadharma that has transformed my life.Therefore, I would like to dedicate my most sincere and profound gratitude to the blessings that the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha have given me, blessings that have fundamentally re-created my life.
My academic background focused on two areas: education and sinology.However, during the years in the university, I was so deeply touched by the Buddha Dharma that I made up my mind to take refuge in Tri-ratna (the Three Jewels), remain a vegetarian throughout my life, become ordained in 1978.That was the year when I was 21.
When I was 28, with the help and guidance of my Acarya, the most Venerable Yin-Shun(印顺) , I began to teach at Buddhist colleges and started the journey of academic research in Buddhism.In 1994, I stated teaching in the university, and up till now, I have published 26 books about Buddhism.
I once thought that I would complete the journey of as a Buddhist scholar and teacher.However, due to various causes and conditions, I walked out of the ivory tower of the academic world and started participating in different engaged Buddhist movements.When I was 32, I established an organization to protect Buddhism, to change the misled behaviors of the secular people that tend to distort the Dharma and debase monks and nuns whenever they can.In 1994, with “the Hunger Strike to Protect Kuan-yin” movement, I initiated a strong protest against the respect-less act of the non-Buddhists who tried to demolish the Kuanyin statue in a public park.In 1999, I advocated a national movement to have the Buddha’s birthday set as a national holiday so as to change the Christmas-only national holiday system in the political arena, a system that has favored Christianity alone for the past decades in Taiwan.In 2000, I initiated the “Abolishment of the Eight Special Rules for Bhikkhunis,” a movement to promote true gender equality in the Buddhist community.Ever since then, I have also crossed the religious boundary and worked with spiritual leaders of various religious organizations to promote gender equality.
As for my involvement in social movements, since 1989, I began to cross the boundary of traditional Buddhist practice and started to actively participate in various movements with aggressive appeals and concerns for the well-being of the society in general: human rights, environmental protection, liberation of animals, anti-horse racing movement, anti-casino-bill movement, etc.These have been a series of social movements that have challenged the existing legal system as well as the built-in ideas and ideologies that go hand in hand with the system and related practices.All of these efforts have always attracted and formed a “common vow” among people who share the same ideal and have therefore transformed or reduced the weighty and deeply-rooted “common karma” that has been shaped due to prevalent mal-practice.
It is because of my participation in all the activities mentioned above that my Buddhist friends once teased me that I have been “crossing the three realms,” not the three dharma realms, but the realms of the academic, educational, and social movement world.However, here I would like to share with you that although I have been crossing borders and boundaries, the study and practice of the Buddha-dharma has always remained as the source of my spiritual power, the inspiration and guiding principle of all my practices.Whether I am leading or participating in any kind of social movement, I do not float with the trend or follow the crowd.Instead, I base my practice on fundamental Buddhist teachings: I reflect on the circumstances with all my heart, and dedicate my efforts with all I can.Hence, during the process of my actual participation in these activities, I am the one that has learned and benefited the most: for all the wisdom I have acquired from these encounters have no longer remained wisdom in the scriptures, they have permeated into the depth of my life and have turned out to be the wisdom of life and true practice.
Whatever the movements are about (protection of Buddhism, protection of life, promotion of women’s equal rights, etc.), most social movements tend to subvert existing systems, ideas, or ideologies, and sometimes they involve [or threaten] interest groups who have enjoyed massive benefits within the present systems.Consequently, it won’t be surprising that the movements we are trying to promote will get distorted or attacked in return, and one who is involved in these movements will feel intense conflicts all the time.Therefore, it is necessary to prepare ourselves in advance with the wisdom of dependant origination, the wisdom of impermanence and selflessness, or it is not easy to keep our peace of mind.
First, the causes and conditions of the situation and its development during these movements are so complex and inter-connected; hence, even if we have tried our best, we may not get a satisfactory result.With the perception that “all happenings are impermanent,” I have been able to concentrate on decision-making and actions during the process while feeling detached about the outcome.Hence, I will not fall into the traps of worries, sorrows, vexations, or suffering due to obsessive yearning for gains or fear for loss.The deep realization of the Buddhist teaching that “there is no absolute self in all phenomena” has taught me to remain unemotional about all sorts of personal attacks such as sarcasm, ridicules, attacks, criticism, humiliations, or even ungrateful backbiting by the ones I have helped.Because of the wisdom of the Dharma, I have never cared about flattering words or fear mocking criticism, nor have I felt self-pity, self-adoration, or self-complaint.
With all these life experiences, I would like to share with all of you a wisdom that we can verify: that is, the ideal, peaceful, and stable life that we try to acquire does not have to be obtained in the meditation hall or trained in the monasteries.The same effects can be achieved in every single bodhisattva act we practice, in every single altruistic effort we make to benefit others while forgetting our self-interests.In every trial of life, you can charge your life with more substantial compassion that enables you to love and care for all sentient beings more.In every trial of life, you can acquire more wisdom to perceive the world as it really is and learn to live at peace in it.In every trial of life, you will be empowered with more immense and in-exhaustive guts, sense, and courage, and what it takes to benefit all sentient beings.
I share this award with all of you, with all who have joined us on this bodhisattva journey.Thank you very much!