“Our world has many diverse races, cultures, and religions.” Master Chin Kung has advocated the importance of harmonious interaction among these different groups for many years. He has explained that, “Only by broadening our minds, with our every thought for others, and for all beings throughout the universe, and always bearing in mind that we are responsible voluntary social educators, will our viewpoints be expanded, and our every rising thought be truly sincere and proper.
Even with the slightest thought of selfishness or discrimination, we will not be in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching, nor will our aspirations of multiculture, multirace and multireligion be possible.” Furthermore, “A truly awakened person understands that all beings are oneself, that the whole universe is one’s hometown, that the universe and oneself is a perfect entity.” Understanding this, enlightened beings have given rise to the unconditional compassion and kindness. These are the core of the Buddha’s teachings. These are the expectation that Master Chin Kung has for all his students.
True Sincerity is the Starting Point for Interchange
With the development of society, recent advances in technology, and a constant improvement in the standard of living, it is inevitable that we interchange and interact with different people, groups, religions and countries. Confrontation and physical force are not the ways to solve our problems. So how can we best interact with others?
Master has considered this question for many years. It would seem that it is very complicated and requires much consideration. Surprisingly, Master gives a very simple and straightforward answer, “True Sincerity”. We can use true sincerity and equality of mind to successfully interact with all others, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. In this way, all problems can easily be resolved. It would seem to be very simple and easy to do. But as soon as we try, we will discover that it is not as easy as we thought. Master Chin Kung’s solution is “Education”. The use of which can resolve all our differences.
Seeking the Common Ground while Respecting the Differences
In Queensland, Australia, Mr. Uri Themal, the Executive Director of Multicultural Affairs, Queensland, presides over the monthly meetings of the MultiFaith Forum. Leaders from different racial groups, religions and academia meet to exchange ideas on creating a harmonious, prosperous and fulfilling society. Master Chin Kung was invited to address the conference and share his opinions and hopes regarding the current issue. The group discusses the issue, comes up with possible solutions and submits their recommendations to the government.
As Master Chin Kung has expressed every culture, religion and group possesses commendable qualities. And although we come from different backgrounds, we share many similarities. If we use these as a starting point to seek the common ground and lay aside our differences, we will then be able to appreciate each other’s good points. In this way we will sincerely respect each other and no longer wish to interfere with the internal affairs of others or to solve problems by the use of force. In this way, conflicts will naturally dissolve, wars will no longer be fought and our society will be peaceful and prosperous.
With these causes, Master Chin Kung’s heartfelt wish is to establish a multicultural university, or at least a multicultural department in every university to nurture and train professionals to propagate multicultural teachings and thus to promote social stability and world peace.
Respecting and Upholding Traditions
Master Chin Kung has often said that the unique qualities of different cultures, groups and religions, are like the various parts of our body, each with its own character and function. For example, our heads and hands each have their own individual characteristics and functions. We cannot use our hands to think, or our heads to do what our hands are designed to do.
Different religions and cultures have their own unique and valued qualities of truth, virtue and beauty. The truth, virtue and beauty of one do not diminish those of another. We cannot force any one to accept our culture, our way of living or principles. We must not hold the prejudice that our ways are superior to others, that others should abandon their ways for ours. Each group possesses its own qualities of excellence, its own traditions. The unique features and good points of people can only be expressed through their traditional cultures. Therefore, each of us needs to preserve, honor, and pass on to future generations our individual traditions of excellence.
Our goal is to attain the mind of sincerity, purity, equality, compassion and awakening. Only with this mind will we be able to solve all problems. They cannot be solved by physical force, by war. They are solved with gentleness and loving-kindness towards all other beings, animate and inanimate. It is in our best interest to be rid of the desire to control, for it will only result in our committing further transgressions, thus increasing our negative karma.
No one can truly control another. History provides us with many examples of countries that tried to use force to control another. When we observe history, we see many governments who have tried to impose their systems, values, forms of government on others without considering the other country’s history, cultures and traditions, only wanting to control those countries. “The government that follows a just cause gains great support and unjust ones gain little.” If the cause is unjust, even if the people follow, they cannot sustain control of others for a long time. They are doomed to fail. No one can truly control another. Those who try will pay a huge cost for their attempt.
In this world, there are two kinds of people. Those who do not know their traditions, their backgrounds, try to control others, not knowing that they are doomed. The second kind do know their traditions, backgrounds and history, and know the former will fail. They understand that to discard their own system or to have another forced upon them cannot be sustained.
Master Chin Kung tells us that, “The Chinese people have learned from five thousand years of history. Some non-Chinese cannot understand the Chinese culture with its unique features, cannot understand its wisdom that has been passed down from one generation to another. Our traditions and cultures are special, as are those of other countries. We need to value the differences of these cultures. We need to safeguard our culture as well as to respect those of others and to praise the truth, virtues and beauty of all races and cultures. Then we will understand that the diversity of all our cultures is magnificent and beautiful”.
Visiting the Muslim Missionary Society of Singapore
At the end of last year, for the first time, Master Chin Kung, Mr. Lee and over sixty venerables and lay people from the Singapore Buddhist Lodge and the Amitabha Buddhist Society visited the charitable organization of the Muslim Missionary Society of Singapore. Monetary gifts, as well as gift baskets were given to the residents of the society’s home for the aged and children’s home, and grants were presented to fifty Malay students in Singapore.
Local newspapers, the Lian He Zao Bao, the Xin Min Daily and the Straits Times all covered the visit. Several weeks after the news coverage and interviews, the visit was still in the minds of Singaporeans, for they and their government highly value the harmonious interchange between the two different ethnic groups. Consequently, Master Chin Kung and Mr. Lee plan to visit Christians, Hindus and other religious groups, in the hope of strengthening inter-religious interchange, in supporting social stability and harmony, as well as setting an example that others may follow.