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  • 佛教与公益慈善

     

    三、中国佛教公益慈善的历史担当和社会责任

    III. The Historical Undertakings and Social Responsibility of Chinese Buddhist Charity

    1、中国佛教公益慈善在历史上发挥的社会作用

    i. The historical social function of Chinese Buddhist charity

    佛教于两汉之际自印度传入中国,与儒道文化相融合,成为中华三大传统文化之一,对中国历史产生了深远的影响。在历史上,中国佛教发挥着重要的社会功能:中国佛教寺院担负着学说机构、教育场所、图书馆、文化传播中心和慈善服务中心等重要角色;佛教僧侣成为知识与文化的继承者与传播者;当遇到自然灾害时,寺庙为广大民众提供衣食的庇护和信仰的依靠。

    During the East and West Han Dynasties, Buddhism was introduced from India to China. By integrating with Confucianism and Taoism, Buddhism became one of the three Chinese traditional cultures and implemented far-reaching influence on Chinese history. In history, Buddhism played an important social function: The Buddhist temples bear such important roles as academic institution, educating places, library, cultural spreading center, charitable service center, and etc.; Buddhist monks became the inheritor and propagator of knowledge and culture; when natural disasters happened, temples provided food, clothing and faith reliance for people.

    魏晋南北朝时期社会慈善事业最大的一个特点就是佛寺慈善活动的兴起和盛行。据史料记载,这一时期中国佛教寺院的慈善救济活动的范围非常宽广,特别在济贫救灾、施医给药等方面尤为突出:

    In Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, the most prominent feature of social charitable activities was the flourish and popularity of the activities held by Buddhist temples. According to the historical literature in this period, the Chinese Buddhist temples carried out very broad charitable acts, especially in relieving people from poverty, as well as providing medical care and medicine:

    济贫救灾。佛寺经常对贫苦大众进行布施,有时也专施给那些特殊的家庭和个人,帮助他们度过难关。六朝时期,还创设了僧祗粟制度,僧祗粟属于官有物,由出家人担任监督或营运的工作,用做救济贫困及灾荒之用。

    Helping the poverty and relieving the disaster. Buddhist temples often gave material things to the poor, and sometimes they gave families and individuals who had special problems to help them through the difficulties. In the time of Six Dynasties, the system of “Temple Managing Rice” was established. The temple-managed rice belonged to the government, and the monks were responsible for monitoring or operating them, which were for used to relieve the poor and hungry.

    施医给药。魏晋之际,杯度、僧惠、佛图澄等僧人研习医学,医术高明。西域高僧佛图澄更是以医术神妙,取得统治者石勒、石虎的信任,劝其施行“德化”,勿滥杀;并藉医术在民间广为宣教。据《高僧传》卷九《佛图澄传》称:“时有痼疾,世莫能治者,澄为医疗,应时瘳损,阴施默益者不可胜计。”杯度、僧惠在治疗眼疾、脚疾、头风、伤寒、难产等病症方面亦有独到之方。当时民间患病者往往有赖佛寺的医疗救助,而且医治痊愈的也很多。在瘟疫流行的时候,佛教徒们往往走出寺门,到疫区进行救治。同时还兴设“药藏”以供应所需之药品,免收诊资和药费。

    Providing medical care and donating medicine. In the period of Wei and Jin Dynasties, Ven. Master Beidu, Ven. Master Senghui and Ven. Master Fotucheng all studied medical science and achieved great skills in curing people of ailments. The eminent monk from India Fotucheng (Buddhasimha) gained the trust of the rulers Shi Le and Shi Hu because of his wonderful and splendid medical skills. He persuaded the rulers to educate the masses with virtue and not through force or violence. He also spread the Buddha’s teachings when treating people’s illness. According to Vol. 9 of The Biographies of Eminent Monks, The Biographies of Fotucheng, “At that time, there was chronic illness and no one had a cure. But, Fotucheng came up with the remedy and this illness vanished. The people benefited from his medical skills greatly, but Fotucheng didn’t want or accept any praise.” Ven. Master Beidu, Ven. Master Senghui also had their distinctive way of treating the illness of eyes, feet, headache, typhoid, dystocia. At that time, patients usually relied on the medical treatment offered by the Buddhist temples, and many of them were cured. When illness was prevalent, it was common for Buddhists to step out of the temples and save the patients who were sick. Meanwhile, the “Medicine Stock” was set up to offer the medicine in need, free of charge.

    隋唐时期,佛教慈善事业在延续前代已有的慈善活动时,又有新的变化和发展。寺院除了竞相对民众广布施舍,开展慈善救济活动之外,还开始在寺院内建立具有固定场所的慈善机构──悲田养病坊,是一个集赈恤、收养贫困者和废疾老人于一体的慈善机构。

    In Sui and Tang Dynasties, Buddhist charity causes claimed new changes and development on the basis of inheriting the charity activities held in the previous dynasties. Besides holding many charitable activities, the temples also began to establish charitable organization that had fixed location in temples—Mercy Field of Recovery Center. This is a charitable institution that combines relieving disaster, adopting the poor and disabled and the sick elders.

    唐代的佛教慈善事业还表现在济贫活动方面。如开元年间,五台山清凉寺开设粥院,在灾年周济贫民;由僧人和民间佛教信徒自愿结合而设的社邑济贫活动,也是唐代慈善事业的重要组成部分,社邑除了供奉佛事外,主要是从事民间经济活动和生活互助。每逢丧葬、婚嫁等大事,其他成员纷纷解囊资助。

    The Buddhist charity cause of Tang Dynasty was also embodied in relieving the poor. For example, in the Period of Kaiyuan, the Qingliang Temple of Wutai Mountain set up a porridge yard, and helped the poor in the years of famine. In addition, the community poor relieving activities run by the monks and the Buddhist followers were also an important component part of charity causes in the Tang Dynasty. It covered not only Buddhist rituals but also economic activities and mutual-help in daily life. Whenever one family had a funeral or wedding, other members of the community would help generously with material support.

    自六朝直至隋唐时期,中国佛教界逐渐形成了“无尽藏”机构,成为世界上最古老的慈善基金会。直至延续为宋代的长生库、元代的解典库、日本的无尽会社等等,都凸显出慈善基金会的形式和功能。

    From the Six Dynasties to Sui and Tang Dynasties, the Chinese Buddhist circle gradually forms the institution called “Endless Treasure Store”, becoming the most ancient charity foundation in the world. This tradition was inherited by the later “Longevity Store” of Song Dynasty, “Jiedian Store” of Yuan Dynasty and the “Endless Organization” of Japan. All these have embodied the form and function of charity foundation. 

    除上述所说,与佛教义理直接相关的慈善之举,在中国历朝历代也绵延流长,如涉及百姓社会日常生活的修桥铺路、开挖沟渠、植树造林、放生护生等各种民间公益事业,往往藉助寺院来发起或有僧人参与、主持。在灾荒或战乱年代,各寺院普遍施粥、施衣、施药、施棺等,为无依无靠的人提供避难之处。

    Besides what is mentioned above, the charity activities directly related to the Buddhist doctrine also boast a long history. For example, the fold public welfare causes that were related to the social daily life of the masses, such as mending bridges, paving roads, digging channels, planting trees, and relieving animals of suffering, were often initiated by temples or organized by monks. In times of famine or war, the temples often offered porridge, clothing, medicine and shelter for the helpless people. 

    2、中国佛教公益慈善在当今社会的责任担当

    ii. The Responsibility of Chinese Buddhist Charity in Modern Society

    太虚大师在民国时期提出“人间佛教”的发展方向,为汉传佛教的发展奠定了思想基础。这种基于人间的佛教发展模式,并不是要引导世间的人都要信佛学佛,而是将佛陀慈悲济世的精神带到人间,从而促进社会的和谐与民众的和睦。而要实现这样的目标,就没有比从事公益慈善事业更好的方式了。

    Great Master Taixu extended the developing direction of “Engaged Buddhism” in the period of the Republic of China and laid a thought foundation for the development of Han Buddhism. The developing model of “Engaged Buddhism” did not mean to guide all people who believe and study Buddhism, but to bring the Buddha’s spirit of benefiting the world with compassion and mercy to the human world, so as to promote the harmony of society and the concord of people. To realize this goal, no way is better than carrying out the charitable causes.

    20世纪80年代,随着国家宗教信仰自由政策的落实,中国佛教呈现出崭新的风貌。以前会长赵朴初居士为首的中国佛教协会率先垂范,响应党和政府关于加强发展慈善事业的号召,将慈善事业作为佛教与社会沟通的最直接的桥梁与方式。如中国佛教协会为中国残疾人福利基金会捐款;向修复长城、抢救大熊猫等公益事业资助;为大兴安岭林区遭受特大火灾的人民捐助;向云南省临沧、耿马遭受地震的上座部佛教界捐助等等。

    In the 1980s, with the implementation of the policy of free religious belief, Chinese Buddhism showed a brand new style. Under the leadership of the previous president Rev. Zhao Puchu, the Buddhist Association of China took the lead in treating the charity cause as the most direct bridge and way for Buddhism to communicate with society, in response to the appeal of the Party and Government on strengthening the development of charity. For example, the Buddhist Association of China donated to The Disabled Welfare Foundation of China; assisted such public welfare causes as repairing the Great Wall and rescuing the pandas, it also donated to people suffering from the forest fire disaster in Da Xing’an Ridge; and donated to the Theravada Buddhist circle in the earthquake-stricken areas of Lin Cang and Geng Ma in Yunnan Province.

    进入21世纪,佛教界在延续传统中,找到更多为社会民众服务的契入点。在融入社会、服务社会方面,佛教界人士具有更加开阔的视野,佛教在公益慈善方面也有了多方位发展。

    This practice continues in the 21st century, but while inheriting this tradition, Buddhist circle has found more ways to serve the public. In the aspects of serving society, Buddhist personage possesses a broader vision, and Buddhism also gains many developments in charity.

    2012年由国家宗教事务局、中共中央统战部、国家发展和改革委员会、民政部、财政部、国家税务总局等六个部委联合下发的《关于鼓励和规范宗教界从事公益慈善活动的意见》,为宗教界人士从事公益慈善活动提供了良好的发展契机,不但明确了鼓励和规范宗教界从事公益慈善活动的积极意义、指导思想、工作原则、目标任务,还列举了从事公益慈善的主要范围、基本形式,以及可以享受的扶持和优惠政策等重要内容,具有很强的指导性与可操作性。

    In 2012, the “Suggestions on Encouraging and Standardizing the Religious Circles to Implementing Charity Activities” was issued by six administrations jointly, including the State Administration of Religious Affairs, United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Finance and State Taxation Administration. This provides a fairly good developing chance for the religious personage to carry out charity activities. The Suggestion not only encourages and standardizes the active significance, guiding thoughts, working principle, and goals and tasks for the religious circle to implement charitable activities, but it also lists the important contents as the main category, basic forms and the supporting and favorable policies, boasting a very strong power of guidance.

    中国佛教界近年来在救急救难、扶贫助弱、心灵关怀、环境保护、促进和平等公益慈善方面,都进行着深入实践与不断探索,中国佛教协会也在其间发挥着引领和导向的作用。比如:2008年四川5.12汶川特大地震,严重的灾情牵动了全国人民的心,中国佛教协会闻讯立即号召全国佛教徒行动起来,全面配合党和政府做好抗震救灾工作,各尽所能,积极参与到灾害的紧急救助当中,向灾区人民伸出慈悲、关爱、援助之手。5月29日,“中国佛教界为汶川等地震灾区祈福追荐赈灾大法会”在四川省成都市的千年古刹宝光寺隆重举行,来自两岸的千余高僧大德共同为地震遇难同胞诵经祈福。据不完全统计,海内外佛教界为四川地震灾区捐款超过两亿元。包括2003年非典疫情、2004年印尼大海啸、2008年南方冰冻雪灾、2010年玉树地震、2011年日本海啸、2013年四川雅安地震、2014年云南鲁甸地震等灾害发生时,中国佛教协会都在第一时间发动、号召全国佛教四众弟子伸出援助之手,协助灾区渡过难关,不仅祈福回向、捐赠钱物,僧人、信众、志愿者还亲临灾区,发放物资、陪伴灾民、心灵辅导等,真正发挥佛教慈悲济世精神。

    Chinese Buddhist circle has been working hard to explore public welfare and charitable affairs such as saving those in danger, aiding the poor and weak, psychological care, environmental protection and the promotion of peace, where the Buddhist Association of China played a leading role. For example, the severe earthquake, which happened in Wenchuan of Sichuan on May 12th, 2008, aroused the great concern of people across China. After hearing the news, the Buddhist Association of China immediately appealed to Buddhists all over China to take action, trying all means possible to participate in the rescue effort, and give a compassionate, caring and aiding hand to the people in the disaster-stricken area, as well as supporting the Party and Government in their rescue efforts. On May 29th, “The Dharma Assembly of the Chinese Buddhist Circle to Pray for Bliss and Relief for the Earthquake-stricken Area” was held in the 1,000-year Baoguang Monastery in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. More than 1,000 eminent monks and virtuous people from both sides of the Strait chanted sutras and prayed for bliss for their fellow countrymen who lost their lives in the earthquake. According to incomplete statistics, the Buddhist circles both home and abroad donated over 200 million RMB for the earthquake-stricken area of Sichuan. Furthermore, for other disasters like SARS in 2003, Indonesia Tsunami in 2004, Snowstorm in Southern China in 2008, Yushu earthquake in 2010, Tsunami of Japan in 2011, Yaan earthquake of Sichuan in 2013, Ludian Earthquake in Yunnan in 2014, the Buddhist Association of China initiated and appealed promptly the Buddhist disciples of the four groups to offer help and assist the disaster-stricken area to pull through. Besides praying, and donating money and material, the monks, devotees and volunteers went to the disaster-stricken area themselves to distribute relief supplies, accompany victims, and carry out psychological consultation. It practices the Buddhist spirit of benefiting the world with compassion and mercy.

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