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Buddhism and The Life and Achievements of Master Jinghui
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
The mind is everything.
What we think we become.”
I don’t know much about Buddhism and I already have my own set beliefs about spirituality, the world, and finding a sense of self, but there are times I find myself meditating on the advice distributed by the followers of Buddhism. When I first learned about Buddhism, I thought it involved a group of people or monks that kept to themselves, which couldn’t be more wrong. Recently, I was told about the passing of Buddhist Master Jing Hui and was asked to consider what he aspired to accomplish in his life and how others honored him in his passing. Observing the achievements in Hui’s life led me to take on a new perspective about modern Buddhism and how it blends with modern culture.
Buddha Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, spread his teachings about kindness, peace, and wisdom throughout India. Methods of meditation and pursuing a spiritual path are also encouraged so followers can achieve genuine enlightenment and adopt a perspective of love and compassion universally.
It’s these types of teachings that have led me to have no ill will towards Buddhism. I believe that most of us want what Buddha tried to encourage: love, serenity, compassion, and wisdom. However, experiences within our lives and the environment around us make us feel like those type of virtues are out of our reach. Personally, I think when culture evolves in every area of the world, people, especially those who are in power, find more material means to cope with the distress around them. I always found it discouraging to think that money and power could be a higher priority than the virtues that truly make us feel human. I’m sure for the followers of Buddhism encouraging the teachings of Buddha was a great responsibility. Buddhist Master Jing Hui gladly accepted the responsibilities that came with Buddhism and dared to accomplish even more.
The Life and Achievements Of Master Jinghui
His full title is Chan Master Jinghui. He was born in 1933 and in 1951 he became a Bhikshu who is someone completed dedicated to supporting spiritual practices. Master Jinghui was a boundary pusher, which may not have been taken lightly when the sects of Buddhism have a variety of rules, but he had many admirers.
To honor his passing in 2013, a memorial service was held at the People’s Hall of Shijiazhuang in Hubei, China. German musicians, monks in traditional robes, Buddhist scholars, and even one of Jinghui’s apprentices attended this event and spent time discussing the achievements thanks to the ethical bravery of the man they’re honoring. Scholar Yu Xiaofei considers Master Jinghui “…a significant figure in Buddhist history because he paved the way for a modern Buddhist renaissance in China.” To claim that someone’s actions will lead to a “renaissance” is a big deal as it refers to new beginnings. Feedback like this means the results of Master Jinghui’s actions will extend throughout the years. Master Ming who was close to Master Jinghui remembered Jinghui telling him that “…being a monk is not an escape from worldly toils, but accepting a new set obligations.” Surely, Jinghui was a hard-working Buddhist, but even the obligations he had and the rules he had to respect didn’t stop him from trying to tear down the barriers between Buddhist ideology and modern living.
Master Jinghui is known for his restoration of the Bailin Temple which was very close to Shijiazhuang. Along with this achievement, he pushed to decrease the separation of Buddhism and modern life by creating what he called “Zen for Daily Life”. He also created a summer camp led by his fellow monks to encourage concepts of appreciation, compassion, generosity, and self-discipline even in trying times. From what I can tell, these types of concepts are basic fundamentals of daily living. We don’t know how much we love something until we lose it, on our worst days, a kind word can go a long way, the process of giving is wonderful to receive and fulfilling to do, and striving to move forward during the great and tough moments in life is a must for any person to survive.
I can see how Master Jinghui’s efforts tore down down the barriers and idea of labels, such as being Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim, etc., and teaching others that they don’t need to cling to those labels, but rather embrace that they are just human beings, being human is their true self. One of Jinghui’s German apprentices, Bernd Groschupp, felt inclined to ask Jinghui if he was Buddhist now since he became his disciple. Groschupp said that Jinghui laughed and said, “No. You are just a human being. To be Buddhist or Catholic or Muslim…is just etiquette, but not the truth.” I can’t help but agree with that idea. We are not what people tell us what we are or what labels we choose to adopt. At the end of the day, we are and always will be human.
There are some concepts in Buddhism that I’ve come to agree and disagree with over the years, but I am still learning about it. In fact, I find that taking the time to look into all sorts of beliefs, mythologies, religions, and ideologies inevitably lead me to believe that we’re all connected by our humanity and by that, I mean we are all linked to what makes us feel human: emotion. Emotion is a power that drives us to live every day, which is why apathy is frightening and intensity is intimidating. I’m not surprised at all that Buddhism is founded in the observation of emotional power and how each person’s emotional power allows them to respond naturally to their environment. Ultimately, I think Buddhism encourages serenity with your environment, the actions and perspectives of others, our given destinies. What an enlightening belief.
To end, here’s a beautiful quote from Buddha: "You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection."