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《菩提田》

 

Bodhi Field

佛法種族化
Ethnic Buddhadharma

□  易象乾博士 文    By Ronald Epstein, Ph. D.

人雖有南北,佛性本無南北。獦獠身與和尚不同,佛性有何差別?
                                                     六祖惠能大師

我們正處在這樣一個時代:人類已逐漸認識到全世界大眾文化令人甚不滿意的情形。儘管這個世界已縮小成一個「地球村」,在這個「村」中,世界文化有一個共同的趨向,那就是尋求短暫感官上的滿足,並且以這種尋求為推動力,而產生了以「貪婪」為基礎的世界經濟。但是這種經濟文化形態,讓人感覺不到人性的尊嚴,以及生命的意義,因而引起人類廣泛的「種族尋根」運動,他們各自回頭在自己的種族文化歷史中搜索,看看能不能找到一些有意義的東西。當然,在大部分的種族文化中,都可看到一些有價值、有智慧的傳統,只要加以翻新,即可在現代生活中派上用場。不幸的是,這種「種族性」的渴求也帶來了負面的認同。這種「我們才是上天的選民,最優秀的種族,其他民族都是野蠻民族。」的認同,是從長久以來就有的種族文化自我優越感的模子中產生出來的。

這種心理趨向不僅影響了俗世,對現代的佛教也起了很大的作用。現代佛教界,有許多佛教機構,其主要功能就在於滿足教徒們這種對種族認同感的渴望。在現代的社會中,許多這樣的佛教機構,從種族認同感中尋求心理慰藉的同時,往往產生了「把嬰兒連同洗澡水一起倒棄」(玉石俱焚)的現象,結果把佛教弄得充滿種族風味,而真正的佛法卻所存無幾,或甚至蕩然無存。在此情形下,以種族或國家為識別標籤的種族化佛教,便得以蔓延。

近幾年來,有些超現代運動的學者,已再確認了帶有種族色彩的佛教,對於佛教所說的觀念,「佛法是超越社會歷史的環境,依靠心、真理及法的傳承,而代代相傳,國國相傳,由一個文化傳到另一個文化。」他們也明確地否認。換言之,這些學者所教的是一種多元性而互不連貫的佛法,他們混雜各種不同的修持法及對佛教的瞭解,這是一種可因時、因地、因風俗習慣而隨己意活動變化的佛法。這種「佛教」的共同點就是:已淪為一個使用起來方便的標籤。

在這裡我們遇到兩項考驗,第一,在肯定我們與人們及其文化之間有這種法緣的重要性之餘,我們應該小心不要陷入種族優越感的偏見中。第二,在我們生活中要經常警覺自己,佛性確實存在,且是我們行解並進的根源。人的種族容有差異,但是人的佛性不因種族而有差別。我們的佛性都是一樣的,而它才是我們生命意義與充實感唯一最究竟的皈依處。最後,我們要常常提醒自己,就是「將狹隘的種族觀與認同感,誤以為是佛法」的這種偏見,使我們與本具的佛性分了家。

法界佛教總會這個名稱可以經常提醒我們,當我們認同任何一個團體時,如果這個團體不包括法界所有眾生在內的話,那麼這種認同,僅僅是一種狹隘的偏見執著而已,而不是真正的佛法精神。

Although there are people from the north and people from the south, there is ultimately no north or south in the Buddha-nature. The body of the barbarian and that of the High Master are not the same, but what distinction is there in the Buddha-nature?
                                                                        Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng

We live in a time of increasing awareness of the unsatisfactoriness of global mass culture. Although the world has shrunk to become a global village, its culture has embraced the lowest common denominator: the reinforcement of short term sense-gratifications among the masses as the engine of a greed-based world economy. Since there is nothing within that schema to provide a sense of meaning and dignity for people's lives, there has been a widespread movement to reexamine ethnic origins to see whether satisfying meaning can be found there. Certainly in most cultures there is worthwhile traditional wisdom that can be dusted off and retrofitted for use in the modern world. Unfortunately ethnicity can also embrace the quest for negative identity that establishes itself through the age-old paradigms of racial and ethnic superiority: "We are the chosen, the superior ones, and all other ethnic and national groups are simply barbarians."

This important modern trend has not only influenced the secular world but has also become an important factor in modern Buddhism. All too often in the contemporary Buddhist world the main function of many Buddhist organizations has become the satisfaction of the yearnings for ethnic identity of their members. For many of these groups, the quest for psychological comfort in their particular ethnic variation on modern society leads to the phenomenon of "throwing out the baby with the bathwater," so their Buddhism becomes all ethnicity with little or no real Buddhadharma. And so we have a proliferation of ethnic Buddhisms identified primarily by their ethnic or national tags.

In recent years scholars of the post-modern movement have reaffirmed the idea of so-called ethnic Buddhism and categorically denied that there can be any reality to a Buddhadharma that claims to transcend particular social-historical circumstances, that is based upon transmission of Mind, or Truth or Dharma from generation to generation, from nation to nation, from culture to culture. In other words, these scholars teach about a plurality of Buddhisms--devoid of any underlying or unitive thread--that include a heterogeneous mix of practices and understandings, that shift and flow, transforming and adapting themselves to specific times, places and customs. The "Buddhism" that they have in common is nothing more than a convenient label.

There are two challenges here. First, while affirming the importance of our affinities with persons and cultures within the Dharma, we need to guard against falling into one-sided views based on the arrogance of ethnic considerations. Second, we need to try to reaffirm constantly in our own lives the reality of the source of our practice and understanding, the Buddha-nature. Different ethnic groups do not have different ethnic Buddha-natures. We all have the same Buddha-nature and it is the only ultimate refuge of meaning and satisfaction in our lives. Finally we should remind ourselves that it is those one-sided views--limited ethnic visions and identifications taken to be Buddhadharma--that estranges us from the true Buddha-nature source within.

The name of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association can be a constant reminder to us that any group identification less than the group of the living beings of the Dharma Realm is mere limited one-sided attachment and not truly in the spirit of the Buddhadharma.

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法界佛教總會 Dharma Realm Buddhist Association© Vajra Bodhi Sea