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Contemporary Mission for Buddhist Youth by Ven. Dr. Shih Lien-Hai

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Chairman, Theros, Venerables, Delegations, all the lay people, the host of this conference, Ladies and Gentlemen:

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Thank you for your coming here with uncountable brightness to shine me. Today I would like to deliver the topic of speech: the contemporary missions for Buddhist youth.

Time is changing, and so is the culture, structure of our society rapidly, too. It seems that people cannot accommodate themselves to the situation. We can learn that from the condition of disordering phenomenon, confusing axiology, ruining morality, destroying environment, lacking the manners of democracy…etc. It looks hard to find out that begin block, not mention to make an organization with fresh power to recover the society. Actually to build a harmony society needs the power from self-consciousness of people. So, here I believe Buddhism can do that. Alternative as the mind of people and the appearance of everything, they are not out of the six kinds of basic vexations, which Buddha said before. It was so before, and now is so, even so will be in the future. Buddhism can be used to overcoming all the bothers from the mind of people, so will serve for them in the future. Because the efficiency of Buddhism is over time and space, we can deal with all the problems of society clearly with that. Only to purify the mind of people with that, we can turn the society to be fresh. So that is the contemporary main and unavoidable mission of us, as a Buddhist youth.

The mission, as my main idea, can be divided into 3 directions, which also need your instructions, as follows. I declare that we should pay more attention to:

  1. Notice the basic Buddhism education for the youth;
  2. Improve the international exchanges of Buddhist youth;
  3. Concern about the affaires of society.

Basic Buddhism Education for the youth

There will be 5 points in my thinking as follows:

Cultivation of 5 Vidyas

The ‘vidya’ means ‘knowledge’ in Sanskrit. In Buddhism tradition, the 5 vidyas refer to 5 doctrines of knowledge as the key skill for a religious preacher. They are ‘language and literature’, ‘art and technology’, ‘medical science’, ‘logic’, and ‘meditation’. It is necessary that those who will devote themselves to preaching Buddhism, like sanghas, should learn the 5 vidyas enthusiastically.

Improving the Practices Following Buddha’s

The teachings from Buddha mainly divided into 3 doctrines: ‘disciplines’, ‘meditation’ and ‘intelligence of prajna’, which every Buddhist should follow. All the eminent sanghas achieved powerful wisdom from their practices, like meditation, so that they can spread Buddhism and influence people widely and profoundly. Those facts teach us a good lesson that to practice can endure the life of Buddhism.

Widely and completely understand all the knowledge and let them help Buddhism

For catching the changing time, we should pay some attention to learn all the knowledge of this world so that we can clear our confusion from other religions and source. We can help other people with science technology. We also learn the bothers, customs, and karmas of people are the best sources that can enlighten themselves. Because the dharma of Buddhism is very profound, we must lead people to start their dharma journey that by general knowledge of the world. It is an old saying in Chinese Buddhism that people shall trust Buddhism before you can give a solution to his problem in advance. Because we, Buddhists help him to solve his problems, they can trust us, and also accept Buddhism. We should digest all the knowledge in the world and Buddhism sutras including of all the sections and schools in Buddhism so that we can find the suitable teachings that can solve peoples' problems. The purpose of Buddhism is to clear the puzzles in our lives.

Attention to the harmony of a monastery


To keep a good ethic and harmony atmosphere is the point of building a successful monastery. About this issue, Buddha delivered 6 principles for building a good monastery. It can be parted in 2 divisions: rationale and attitude. The ‘rationale’ refers to the principle that everybody in the monastery decides for his or her practice together.

Meanwhile, the ‘attitude’ refers 6 points as follows:

  1. Living peacefully to each other;
  2. Talking without vocal argument in monastery;
  3. Manners with cheerful mind to each other;
  4. Keep a good discipline in monastery;
  5. Agreement idea in monastery;
  6. Share the benefits with everybody.

To keep these 6 points can improve the respect of our monastery from society.

Mission and Responsibility of benefiting people by preaching Buddhism

In the Buddhism education, we should raise people the spirit of bodhisattva, benefiting people. We may encourage ourselves to practice by 4 vows and 4 wishes:

  1. Swear to cultivate and save numberless people;
  2. Swear to clean uncountable bothers;
  3. Swear to learn all the dharma;
  4. Swear to achieve the highest achievement, like Buddha;

Also we may encourage ourselves to practice by 4 ‘none mind’, and let them become the energy for our preaching Buddhism:

  1. Would like to give all the happiness to everybody, so it is named ‘mind with uncountable kindness’;
  2. Would like to solve all the painfulness from everybody, so it is named ‘mind with uncountable passion’;
  3. Would like to have cheerful mind for encouraging him to take delight in his kind behaviors, so it is call ‘mind with uncountable delight
  4. Would like to put three above kind of mind down in my mind and without purpose and certain object to practice goodness, so it is call ‘mind with purest virtuous’.

Also we may teach people to learn Buddhism skillfully by ‘4 preaching skills’ as follows: ‘almsgiving him’, ‘encouraging him’, ’helping him’, and ‘benefiting him’. Also we may push the business for spreading Buddhism by ‘6 pramittas’: ‘almsgiving’, ‘discipline’, ‘endure’, ‘diligent’, ‘meditation’, and ‘prajna, perfect wisdom’.

The above description is the mission and responsibility as a Buddhism youngster nowadays. It is also the virtues of a Buddhist.

Now we come to the second direction.

Improve the international exchanges of Buddhist youth

I shall raise 3 points to talk about this issue.

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Improve the learning and imitate among each linage of section in Buddhism

We should improve the international exchange based on variable sections and linage in Buddhism. Let us learn the dharma and culture among all the sections and lineages so that we can make up for the weakness by others goodness. We also build our agreement so that we may have a good friendship. It will improve the cooperation each other for widely spreading Buddhism. 

Develop macroscopic field of view of preaching Buddhism

The progress of science technology shortens the distance among human beings. We should elevate the field of vision from local to international level. So Buddhist youngsters should be encouraged to attend variable international activities. Devoting ourselves to the religion, we also have a communication with other religions with a modest manner so that we can respect those who have different views and thinking. It is important that we should strengthen communication and build the trust between each other. If possible, we come to find the cooperation with each other for higher situation, the welfares of global human beings.

Elevate our higher magnanimity and manner better

Actually, there is no national boundary in Buddhism. We can’t set a limitation for ourselves. Intelligence of prajna can break the bother from the emotion without control. Buddhism will benefit all the people in the world so that passion of Buddhism can break the misunderstanding among human beings. All the people can deal things peacefully. Only higher magnanimity and elegant manner can build a harmony world of human beings. Let us enlighten the world and comfort people to be peaceful.

Now we come to the third direction.

Concern about the affaires of society

I shall propose 4 points to talk about this theme.

Basic Request of the equality of human right

Chinese sutra ‘Liu Zu Tam jin’(Teachings from the six generation leader of Chan section in Chinese Buddhism) has the story that the 6th leader, venerable Hue Nen reply the saying of the 5th leader, venerable Hon Zen: ‘People can be parted from their birthplace, north or south, but can’t be parted from their Buddha nature.’ Although human beings are widely distributed over 5 pieces land, there are many kinds of peoples and different futures in each land. Yet as a Buddhist, we should protect the right of human beings, freedom, fair, justice, and peace. We also pay no less than attention to the minority nationalities, immigrants, refugee, the prejudiced minority group and the victims.

Departure from politics and religions

Due to the combination of the system of politic and the structure of religion, it brings the bad result that the politician may handle and control religion, which will lead to a crisis, not only to let the religion decayed but also drive people to open the war. Therefore, we must remember the teaching about peace and justice from Buddha and avoid to hurting and constraining the other people violently by abusing the teaching of religions. It is important that to push the research the relation between peace and religion so that we should improve the communication and respect in each other between disciple and none disciple of religions, and moreover, defense the freedom of belief, and thinking.

Promote the eminent quality of morality and ethic


The rapid alternation of social culture results the ruin of ethic and morality, much confusion of axiology, and rapid dying of traditional virtuous so that it bring the severer social problems. We may provide the opportunities of learning, the judgment of valuation, and correct belief for the youth by religious education so that they will have the correct knowledge about the meaning and value of life. The culture of Buddhism is a kind of excellent one. If it becomes the main steam of social culture by our efforts, then it will be respected that we have a fresh society with harmony.

Notice the problems of society

Although there are different countries over the world, no matter which country is developing or developed, we should concern their social problems such as these problems from the ecology of human beings: the conflict of politic, persecuting of people, minority group, minority people, the boiled condition of the earth, crime of internet, violence, drag, pregnancy without marriage, problems of youngsters, poorness, abusive sex, younger prostitute, widely broadcasting of AIDS, high aging society, the life, death and aging of chronic sicker. These problems are stretching and we are straggling with them which result the society under a declining situation.

We must know the reason of ruining morality, and find the way to recover that. The education of religion is a good medicine for the solution of those problems. We can’t ignore the power of ours but conduct the practical action to pay more attention to the society by our great wisdom, great passion, and powerful energy to push.


The new age, 21st century, of Buddhism must fulfill the Buddhism basic education for the youth so that we can prolong the life of dharma and also keep a good spirit of Buddhism. We can create a pure land on the earth via the activities of international exchange, improve a wider field of vision, cultivating higher magnanimity and manners, coming to concern social problems enthusiastically, and the mind of benefiting all the people.

Many thanks for the invitation and accommodations by host of this conference. You give me the opportunity to deliver my opinion. Kindly please give me instructions about the above ideas. Here I hope all the Buddhism organizations can cooperate with each other to improve a further happiness of human beings for the Buddha’s dream coming true. Finally, let us encourage each other on the way to bodhi.

Dharma Word from Master Lien-Hai

1.To appreiciate matters surrounding with bright mind.

2.To treat all sentient beings with compassion.

3.To undertake task with responsibility.

4.To take introspection with modesty.

5.To share other’s happiness with cheerfulness.

6.Delightful giving to those who needs help.

7.To advocate the right doxy with unchanging mind.

8.To absolve guilt with forgiveness.

9.To cherish what we have with gratitude.

10.To carry the successful experience on with self-denial.

11.To accept things happened with ordinariness.

12.To turn down the most precious possession, and leave it willingly.


Author: Ven. Dr. Shih Lien-Hai