Buddhism is growing in influence in China today. It has enjoyed a surge in followers, especially among white-collar workers in urban areas. As our reporter Han finds out, that as material wealth and life pressures increase, many people are seeking a different path, one of spiritual happiness, through Buddhist learning. He met some lay Buddhists and masters in East China’s Wuxi and filled this report on their quest.
Seeking enlightenment for themselves and others. Each in his or her own way.
Gu Qin seemed to have the world in her hands when she worked in real estate. She was a top salesperson. But she wasntt happy, feeling something was missing.
Five years ago, she became a lay Buddhist. She now knows better what kind of life she wants to live.
"I used to be quite frustrated and it hurt when I couldn't get something I wanted. Now, I've become greatly at ease about how life goes and started to look
inward," Gu said.
Gu Qin says happiness is not something given, but something to give.
As Chinese people gain material wealth, they also have a greater desire for spiritual satisfaction. Many, just like Gu Qin, have found that Buddhist wisdom
can help them cope better with all kinds of relationships, as well as improve their quality of life.
Seeking answers for happiness. That’s a common wish when followers pray.
Here at Wuxi’s Xiangfu Temple, they believe that by touching the hands of the Buddha, their worries will disappear, and they will be blessed with luck and
Yet, most admit they don’t have a direction in life.
Master Zong Xing, Vice President of the Buddhist Association of China says the vacuum of faith amid the rapid economic boom, and growing spiritual needs, has
to a certain degree, caused great uncertainties and intense pressures for people today.
He says Buddhism’s wisdom and scriptures can provide a kind of help.
"Chinese Buddhism, after 30 years of recovery, has changed from rebuilding temples to re-establishing their influence, focusing on promotion of Buddhist
thinking in serving society. At the same time, religious leaders are better communicating with the general public, with different means when facing different groups, to spread Buddhism outside the temples," Master Zong Xing said.
Zong Xing attributes the increase in followers to the transformation of society, and the government’s policy to promote Buddhism as a renaissance in
As more people take up Buddhism, this will have an impact on the development of the religion in China as well.
Gu Qin is a part-time volunteer at Xiangfu Temple.
Life here stands in sharp contrast to her former life [her life outside/her life in society/her life in the material world/her life in the outside world].
She says happiness can only be achieved through reaching out to others.
She also shares her experience with others who are suffering the same doubts she once did.
Xiangfu Temple has several hundred lay Buddhists and volunteers coming fom time to time.
"Happiness is that you don’t have worries, and don’t ask for more," Gu said.
Buddhism believes enlightenment is within reach for believers through self-cultivation.
Gu Qin says coming to the temple is a constant reminder she needs further learning.
This experience is a source of inner power, that she trusts to keeps her happy, for the rest of her life.