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Daruma in Taiwan



© PHOTO : だるまさん色々


Buddhism in Taiwan

Chan (Zen) Buddhism

Chan focuses on meditation that is able to generate instant enlightenment. Chan Buddhism has no emphasis on a concept of heaven, chanting the name of the Buddha or on moral teaching. Aspects of this type of Buddhism known in the West include the development of physical skills and meditation on paradoxes. Chan has encouraged practitioners to become highly skilled at physical tasks. The idea is that when one masters a physical task to the point that it may be done without thinking, then a deeper awareness of surrounding reality may be achieved.

This is the background to the famous Kung Fu skills of China's Shaolin Monks and the book, “Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. Meditation on paradoxes such as the famous “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” is used to jar the mind loose from the bondage of language and enable deep mystical insights into the meaning of meaning.

Buddhism in Taiwan
Orthodox Buddhism has grown in Taiwan, however, when there is a clash between traditional Chinese values and Buddhism, Taiwanese usually choose to interpret Buddhism in terms of Chinese culture, not the other way around. Taiwanese organizations have built more Buddhist temples per capita than anyone else in the world but Taiwanese have much understanding of core Buddhist beliefs such as the Four Noble Truths and reincarnation only plays a minor part in their thinking of life after death.

Fifty years ago as most people in Taiwan looked to the West as the source of all progress Buddhism had the low image of the poor uneducated monk with nothing to offer a society looking to modernize. Today Buddhist organizations are affluent and are sending priests to gain doctorates at prestigious universities in the west.

Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM)
This organization was founded for the spread of Chan Buddhism. They are in the process of building a Buddhist global education complex which will include a research center, a university, a monastery, a museum and international conference hall. The organization is also known for its emphasis on environmental protection and reduction of waste in daily life.

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