Jiaxing (Chris) Li
For my capstone project, I explored what cultural and societal influences Buddhism has as it spreads all over the world. I want to identify those impacts by researching the historical circumstances and cultural traditions of Buddhism. I’m interested in this topic because modern Buddhism has integrated into a part of the globalized world. With its philosophy of the way of life, it takes a special place in human and cultural identity.
Dabao Temple, Wutai Mountain, China
Potala Palace, Tibet, China
My mini-documentary, The Development of Humanistic Buddhism, explores the experiences of two monk leaders, Taixu and Hsing Yun, and how that relates to Humanistic Buddhism in China. In this mini-documentary, I researched the historical circumstances and cultural traditions of Buddhism back in early twentieth-century China and how those factors connect with Humanistic Buddhism in China.
At the beginning of the mini-documentary, I introduced the life experience of Master Taixu and his advocacy for Humanistic Buddhism in order to save Chinese Buddhism because it allows people to directly learn about where Humanistic Buddhism comes from and why it has influenced Chinese Buddhism. Later on, I introduced the life experience of Master Hsing Yun who is another prominent proponent of Humanistic Buddhism. I listed his massive contributions to promote Humanistic Buddhism, such as his foundation of Fo Guang Shan which has over two hundred Buddhist monasteries across the world. Combining two important figures in Humanistic Buddhism, I can show the growth of Humanistic Buddhism in the past one hundred years and help people who are not familiar with this topic to have a brief view and understanding of the topic.
I wanted to examine this topic not only because it has such a huge impact on Chinese Buddhism, but also because I am passionate about Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism in particular. I chose to create a mini-documentary about this topic because it is an idea that has been around for more than a century. It is hard to have full disclosure of how Humanistic Buddhism has developed since its birth in the early twentieth century by PowerPoint Presentation. Therefore, I decided to explain how Chinese Humanistic Buddhism has gone so far by producing a mini-documentary, which is more visual and engaging for the audience.
This mini-documentary is also another version of the demonstration of my capstone paper (see below).
Excerpts from my capstone paper
“As the promotion of Humanistic Buddhism’s internationalization received recognition, he proposed “localization” in 2001. The localization of Buddhism is to make Buddhism integrate into different local cultural norms, geographical location, and social customs. He mentioned once: ‘It will be a magnificent scene to see if the abbot of Hsi Lai Temple is an American, the abbot of Nan Hua temple is an African, and other temples’ abbots are local residents.’ ”
“Hsing Yun said: ‘I also told my disciples that everything should be done under the spirit of ‘Honor belongs to Buddha, achievements belong to the public, benefits belong to abbots, merits belong to Buddhists.’”
“In the global system of belief, Buddhism has been in a weak position. As a result, Buddhism’s impact on the entire human society is less than that of Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Especially in the developed regions, Buddhism, to a certain extent, is considered as a new-developing religion. Because of that, it has become a crucial challenge for modern Buddhist development to promote the globalization of Buddhism and make more people know about and understand Buddhism.”
My podcast on the Evolution of Humanistic Buddhism
What I am going to talk about in this podcast is a bit different from what I have made in my mini-documentary. In this podcast, I discussed the brief history of Chinese Buddhism and how Humanistic Buddhism was created.
I chose to do it differently is because I didn't have enough time and space to discuss the general history of Humanistic Buddhism and its evolution in an eighteen-minute documentary. Therefore, I decided to fill up some of the missing information in this podcast so that the audience can better understand how Humanistic Buddhism has developed since the twentieth century.