Learning of God Loves All Beings

No.       Content
1 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture One
2 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Two
3 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Three
4 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Four
5 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Five
6 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Six
7 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Seven
8 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Eight
9 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Nine
10 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture Ten
11 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 11
12 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 12
13 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 13
14 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 14
15 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 15
16 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 16
17 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 17
18 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 18
19 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 19
20 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 20
21 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 21
22 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 22
23 Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture 23

Learning of God Loves All Beings -Lecture One


Venerables, fellow students, warmest greetings to you all. This is my first speech delivered at the Association of Master Chin Kung’s Friends at UNESCO. I would like to give you a brief introduction. 

Last March, we invited UNESCO ambassadors to experience religious and ethnical cohesion in Toowoomba, Australia. They were all very pleased with what they saw. In the past we reported on religious and ethnical cohesion on quite a few occasions. Although the reports were very detailed, no one quite believed what was reported. Only until the ambassadors returned to UNESCO and delivered a formal report, a gleam of hope of religious and ethnical cohesion was affirmed. What the ambassadors did was remarkable and wonderful. In the report, they suggested UNESCO to offer us an office. We accepted the offer and therefore formally entered UNESCO. With everyone's help and support in the past half a year, the Association of Master Chin Kung’s Friends at UNESCO was established and the recording studio is also in use.    

This lecture is our first today. It is a good start that religious organizations have entered UNESCO. UNESCO confirms that religions around the world are forms of education. Many friends of mine asked, 'Is religion education?' as they find the concept strange. I replied to them, 'You see, similar to Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of every religion in the world devoted themselves in teaching.' At the age of 30, Sakyamuni Buddha attained Enlightenment and thoroughly understood everything about the universe and life. After that, he went to the Deer Park, found his five colleagues and delivered his first report. From then on, Sakyamuni Buddha started his teaching career and the Buddha's teaching has been passed down for 3,000 years. Let us take a close look at other religions. Many religions that emerged later than Buddhism were also spread gradually across the world in the past 1,000 years. Up until now, more than ten religions that we are familiar with have successfully taught generations of people. We must have a proper understanding of the word 'religion'. In Chinese language, Zong-Jiao means religion. So what does the word mean?     Chinese characters are unique in the world and they also manifest the excellent traditional culture of China. They are not alphabetic writing and each character is embedded with profound meanings. The character '宗’ (zong) has three meanings: principal, important and revered. The character '教’ (jiao) means education, teaching and transformation. Religion in fact encompasses all of these meanings. Therefore, when combined, Zong-Jiao , means principal education, important teaching, and revered transformation for humankind. Is it really the case? If you still have doubts, let us take a closer look.   

Buddhism has been taught in China for 2,500 years and, indeed, it has a place in traditional Chinese culture. The Chinese have preserved the richest collection of Buddhist literature called 'The Great Canon', and it has a considerable place in traditional Chinese culture. Throughout Chinese history, Buddhist patriarchs and virtuous Buddhist masters were not different from what Sakyamuni Buddha did and they had all engaged in Buddhist education in their lives. In every dynasty and every century in the history there were outstanding Buddhist masters, either ordained monks and nuns or lay Buddhists. All of these recognized masters were the evidence of religion being education.                

Now, we may ask: 'Since religion is education, what does it teach? And what does its curriculum include?' In every classical Buddhist text there are ethical education, moral education, education of causality and that of wisdom. When a person is fully enlightened, it is the perfect wisdom of their True Nature at work. In Buddhism it is called attaining the fruits of Enlightenment.      

Buddhism was introduced to China in the Eastern Han dynasty which was about 2,000 years ago, and the time frame was closer to when Confucius and Mencius were alive. Buddhism later became an indispensable part of traditional Chinese culture. Having said traditional Chinese culture, we have to mention Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism. All of them impart ethics, morality, causality and the teaching of sages. After attaining enlightenment, the saints and sages of the three teachings devoted themselves in education and left behind much information and wisdom.   

At the beginning of the Tang dynasty, Emperor Taizong (599 CE) commissioned five best sinologists in the country to compile the book 'The Governing Principles of Ancient China' for him. What is the book about? It is a collection of the essence of traditional Chinese culture. Emperor Taizong used the book to cultivate himself, manage his family in harmony, govern his country and bring peace to the world. The 300-year history of the Tang dynasty was in fact an experiment in traditional Chinese culture, and it was really effective. It was effective then, and it is also effective today. I believe that any leader who applies the wisdom found in 'The Governing Principles' to govern their country will result in excellent governance and will also become great role model for other political leaders around the world. 

Buddhist culture is deeply rooted in China. After the introduction of Buddhism, emperors of almost every dynasty respectfully followed the Buddha's teaching. Ancient Buddhist monasteries preserved in China are the witnesses of that part of history. So what did Buddhism teach? As mentioned before, Buddhists taught ethics, morality, causality and the wisdom that they had obtained from self-cultivation. What they taught was not only useful for their times, but also applicable for generations to come. 

'The Governing Principles of Ancient China' has been translated into more than ten languages. I believe, if every national leader reads this book, they will not only strengthen their country but also use true wisdom and lessons learned in history to resolve disasters caused by antagonism and wars. The book can help govern a country and bring peace to the world. World peace is what we all pursue. All of us hope for stability, harmony, mutual prosperity and coexistence. The book has its real merits! Religious education and what is taught in the book complement one another. We print and circulate the book in a great number in the hope of promoting and introducing it to people across the world.    

To do that, we should first of all have a healthy mind and body. I have not given Dharma talks for almost two months, and I would like to apologise to fellow practitioners. What did I do in the past two months? I recuperated for a while. It was effective. Chinese ancestors said, 'Time spares no man.' It is true indeed. I am 92 now and aging is taking its course. My vision is not as good as before. In the past I did not need glasses when reading. But now I cannot read without them. I also need to wear a hearing aid. As for writing, I can now truly experience what the ancients said 'forgetting words when about to write'. It is not just me. I have another two old classmates, Professor Xu Xingming and Professor Jiang Yizi. When we gathered together last time, all of us felt deeply that we are getting old! Our energy and strength are worse off than previous couple of years. So I stopped giving Dharma talks for a while and recuperated. Not bad, it has its effects.    

Beyond my expectation, UNESCO assigned us a task of helping the world resolve conflicts and antagonism and bring cohesion to religious and ethnical groups. I hope that everyone can open up their mind, be more accommodating and accommodate different religions and ethnical groups. We are all in fact a big family. Therefore, in the past two months I revisited the sacred texts of different religions. 

The book 'Scriptures 360' is a collection of the most essential teachings found in the sacred texts of different religions. Their core religious thought is the focus of our learning and we aim to grasp it. So what is the core teaching? It is one word, 'love'. In the sacred texts of all religions, there is mentioning of universal love, love of benevolence and love of humility. Therefore, the sentence 'God loves all' encompasses all of them, and this is the core thinking of religious education. 

We should regain our love, which is unbiased and exactly the same as the love of God, and keep it in our hearts. We should throw away deluded minds and erroneous thinking, keep our true minds and love, and love everyone in the world on behalf of God, Buddhas and bodhisattvas. This is religious education. It has four modules, that is, ethical education, moral education, the education of causality and that of sages' wisdom. These teachings are what religious education is all about. We must learn and practise it properly. When we throw away ethics, we must find it and bring it back. If we want social stability and world peace, we must bring such teachings back. 

Chinese ancestors had always attached great importance to education, which also included the four areas mentioned before. Therefore, when Buddhist education was introduced to China, the Chinese easily accepted it. Why? What it teaches is very close to traditional Chinese education. In this era, science and technology are highly developed, but the four areas of education are missing. Science is relatively closer to wisdom, but causality, morality and ethics are missing. It is why in today's world the rich are not happy and those of high social status are not respected. What is considered as the most Important thing? Money. Under this circumstance, how can society stay away from chaos?  

Therefore, we do not want to disappoint UNESCO's affection and friendship for us and for religions in the world. We are most grateful that UNESCO offered us an office. We hope to bring back sacred religious education, and learn and practise it properly. We will first learn and practise our own religion and then learn from other religions in the hope of seeking common grounds and putting aside differences. Our ultimate goal is that there will never be conflicts, antagonism and misunderstanding in the world, and that true love of benevolence and peace will be realised on Earth. 

So in this first lecture I shared with you, the understanding of the true meaning of word religion". This is it for today and thank you. 



學習《神愛世人》- 第一集 


  諸位法師、諸位同學,大家好。今天是我在聯合國教科文組織淨空之友社第一次講演,我們首先簡單地做一個介紹。

  去年三月,我們邀請聯合國的大使到澳洲去參觀,參觀圖文巴的宗教團結、族群團結,大家看了很歡喜。在過去,我們曾經做好幾次的報告,雖然說得很詳細,但是沒有人相信;直到大使們歸來,向大會做出報告,這才肯定宗教團結、族群團結的一線希望。很難得,他們做了一樁好事,在報告裡面建議大會給我們一個辦公室。我們接受了,正式進入聯合國。這半年以來,承蒙大家的努力,同學們護持,淨空之友社成立了,附設這個攝影棚也啟用了。

  今天第一堂課,我們宗教進入聯合國,這是好事,聯合國對全世界宗教,肯定宗教是教育不是迷信。有不少朋友問我,宗教是教育嗎?感到奇怪。我說你看看,世界上每個宗教的教主、創始人,都跟釋迦牟尼佛一樣講經教學。釋迦牟尼佛三十歲為我們示現開悟了,開悟之後,對於宇宙人生徹底明白了,到鹿野苑把五個同伴找回來,跟他們做報告。釋迦牟尼佛講經教學就從這裡開始,傳到今年三千年了。我們再細細的觀察,比佛教晚一點的,有不少宗教在過去一千年前,陸陸續續傳播開來。現在傳教有成就的有十幾個宗教,我們所熟知的。但是一定要有正確的認識,中國傳統的文字,這個名詞,宗教這個名詞是什麼意思。

  中國的漢字,也是世界上獨一無二的、優秀的傳統文化,它不是從事拼音,它所說的每個字的含義很深。從這兩個字,我們把它拆開來看,宗跟教這兩個字,宗有三個意思:第一個「主要的」,第二「重要的」,第三個「尊崇的」;教也有三個意思:教育、教學、教化;宗教完全具備了這些含義。所以宗教兩個字連起來,那就是:人類主要的教育,人類重要的教學,人類尊崇的教化。真的嗎?你不相信,你仔細去看看。

佛教在中國流傳二千五百年了,確確實實,在中國傳統文化,佛教佔有一席之地。中國保存的典籍最豐富,稱之為《大藏經》,在中國傳統文化它佔有相當的分量。歷代這些祖師大德,跟釋迦牟尼佛沒有兩樣,終身從事於佛陀教育這個工作。每一個朝代,外國人講世紀,現在二十一世紀,每一個世紀都有傑出的大師,出家、在家的,在家稱居士,這大師級的人才可以給我們做證明。

  在今天,我們要問,既然宗教是教育,宗教教的是什麼?課程教的是什麼?所有宗教經典裡面,諸位都能看到,它有倫理教育、它有道德教育、它有因果教育、它有智慧的教育。開悟了,大徹大悟,就是自性、真心圓滿智慧起作用、出現了,在佛法裡面稱之為證果。

  這二千五百年,佛教傳到中國兩千年,東漢時候傳過來的,距離孔子、孟子很近,所以它也變成中國不能缺少的傳統文化。談到中國傳統文化,儒釋道代表了。中國儒釋道都講倫理、都講道德、都講因果、都講聖學;這些聖賢們,他們開悟之後也講經教學,留下來不少的資料。  

  唐朝開國,太宗李世民找了五個漢學家,為他編了一部書,《群書治要》。這部書是什麼?是中國傳統文化的精華,唐太宗就靠這部書修身,就靠這部書齊家,再靠這部書治國、平天下。大唐三百年等於說實驗,中國傳統文化做了一次實驗,真管用。那個時候管用,現在還管用,用《群書治要》來治國,我相信一定有非常好的政績可觀,可以給政治領導人做一個好榜樣。

  佛的文化根深,在中國,歷代帝王沒有不尊崇佛陀教誨,這在歷史上看到了;一直到今天,古時候的寺廟還都存在,可以做見證。那麼他教什麼?剛才說過了,他教倫理、教道德、教因果、教他們所修學所得到的智慧。不但當代受用,流傳給後世。

  今天這部書,有十幾種不同的文字翻譯本,我們相信,每個國家領導人如果都讀這部書,不但能強國,能用真實智慧、歷史經驗,來化解現在世界上許許多多的對立、戰爭帶來的災難。這部書可以治國、可以平天下,平天下就是天下太平,也就是我們希望追求的,希望這個地球能走向安定和諧、共存共榮。這部書真有功德!宗教的教育跟這部書相輔相成,現在我們都找到了,大量的翻印、流通,我們來提倡、介紹給世人。

  首先我們要身心健康。這將近兩個月了,沒講經,我感覺得對同修們應該要道歉。這兩個月在做什麼?在調養身體,調養有一點效果。中國古人所謂的歲月不饒人,這句話是真話,不是假話。九十二歲了,身體老化,視力不如過去,過去看書不需要眼鏡,現在看書離不開眼鏡;耳朵要戴上助聽器;寫字,真的體驗到了古人所謂的提筆忘字。不但我有,我還有兩個老同學,徐醒民教授、江逸子教授,我們三個碰到頭,深深都感到,老了!精神、體力不如過去,跟過去一年、二年相比,都有很大的差距。所以我是把講經停了下來,把身體調整一下;還算不錯,有一點效果。

  沒想到聯合國給我們的任務,是要我們幫助這個地球化解衝突、化解對立,希望宗教能團結、族群能團結。大家把心量拓開,能包容別人,包容不同的宗教、不同的族群,我們是一家人。因此這兩個多月,我看了一些不同宗教的經典。

  《宗教36O》將宗教主要、主修的這些經典找出來了,宗教核心的思想,也就是我們學習的中心,我們把它抓到。中心是什麼?就是一個字,「愛」字。所有的宗教經典裡頭,沒有不講博愛、仁愛、謙愛。所以一句話全包了,「神愛世人」,這是宗教教育的中心思想。

  我們要把自己的愛,自己的愛跟上帝的愛完全相同,沒有絲毫分別,把它找回來,放在自己的心上。把自己的妄心、雜念拋棄掉,真心、愛心放在心上,代表上帝、代表神、代表佛菩薩、代表真主去愛世人,這就是宗教教育。它的課程就是四門,這四門我們要認真的修學,倫理的教育、道德的教育、因果的教育、聖賢智慧的教育,這是它教學的四科、它教學的內容。倫理丟掉了,不能不找回來,要想社會安定、世界和平,必須把它找回來。

  中國古聖先賢對於教育非常重視,教的內容也就是這四樣。所以佛陀教育傳到中國來,中國人立刻能夠接受,為什麼?跟中國古聖先賢所說的非常接近,無二無別。現在這個時代,科學技術發達,這四種教育都沒有了。科學這裡面還接近智慧,但是因果、道德、倫理沒有了。所以今天,富貴,富而不樂;貴,地位雖然很高,社會大眾沒有看在眼裡。所以變成什麼第一?金錢第一。社會怎麼會不亂?

  所以我們想不辜負聯合國對我們的一番情義,對整個世界的宗教這番情義,給我們設立了辦公室,我們非常感謝。我們要把神聖的宗教教育找回來,認真學習;先學習自己的宗教,然後再學其他的宗教,求同存異。終極的目標,希望世界永遠不再有衝突、不再有對立、不再有誤會,希望這個地球上真正的仁愛、和平能夠實現。

  所以我們第一堂課跟大家說的,認識宗教的真義。今天時間到了,我們就學習到此地,謝謝大家。