Translated Titles

The Transformation in Use of Chinese-Language Buddhist Texts in Modern Times: A Discussion Originating from Tzu Chi's Interpretation and Sutra Adaptation of Buddhist Texts




釋德傅(Der-Fu Shih)

Key Words

慈濟 ; 詮釋 ; 演繹 ; 法會 ; Tzu Chi Foundation ; interpretation ; Sutra Adaptation ; Dharma-assemblies



Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

14期(2012 / 12 / 01)

Page #

45 - 65

Content Language


Chinese Abstract


English Abstract

Most Buddhist texts originated in India. When they were transmitted to China, an abundance of translations and commentaries were produced. The path to realization, as revealed in Buddhist texts, can be followed through the recitation and duplication of the texts, through devotion, and through mindfulness of the interaction of body, speech, and mind. When we physically and mentally absorb the meaning of the Buddha-Dharma, incorporate the teachings into our minds, and physically put them into practice, we can return to our intrinsic goodness and the value of our lives can be elevated.Looking at the Chinese translations of Buddhist texts, we discover that they contain and reveal not just religious beliefs and principles, but also everything from philosophy and literature to the many forms of aesthetic arts, all with the requirement of being applicable to daily living. In the well-known Buddhist traditions of Taiwan, some spiritual centers focus on cultural education, using music, artistic creation, and cultural activities to promote the teachings. Others have an emphasis on academic research, meditation practices, etc.The research in this dissertation focuses on Tzu Chi Foundation's musical presentation of the Compassionate Samadhi-water Repentance in northern, central, and southern Taiwan starting in August 2011. The author observed Tzu Chi volunteers and staff, who numbered over 10,000 for each performance. Music, visual images, and body language were used to interpret the Water Repentance. The participants almost universally expressed how greatly moved they were to practice together with so many people in this new format of presenting Buddhist texts through musical performances. After these Dharma-assemblies were concluded, some participants transformed their attitudes towards daily living while some reshaped their values. For example, some became vegetarian to protect life. Their participation in the event inspired them to do good deeds. It is worth noticing that the format of this sutra adaptation was a breakthrough in that take place at a monastery and was led by monastic practitioners. Instead, lay practitioners took on the responsibility for this entire performance from beginning to end. This is completely different from the past, when services promoting the Buddha-Dharma were always led by the Sangha. The transformative benefits produced through this format can be taken a fresh look at how to promote Dharma in the modern era.

Topic Category 人文學 > 人文學綜合
社會科學 > 社會科學綜合
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