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Speech on

Ven.Dr. Thích Quang Thanh



Respected to the Most Venerables,

Dear Ladies and Gentements,

     Stepping into the threshold of the third millennium, amounts to the millennium of  warm welcome to supreme invention and development of modern science and technology, to modernization of new human attitude and knowledge, and to reformation of Buddhist clergies’ role for skilful adaptation to the new age. Thereby, the image and value of a Buddhist preacher in the third millennium will be introduced and pointed out in a newer and more active view with the two perspectives, that is, the moral and social aspects. The moral and intellectual aspect belongs to the profit for oneself dealing with requirements of individually moral cultivation and development for an ideal Buddhist monk such as: the Threefold Higher Training consisting of Morality (P: Sīla, Skt: Śīla), of Mental Concentration (Samādhi), and of Wisdom (P: Paññā; Skt: Prajñā); the Four Means of Attraction (Skt: Sagraha-vastu) with Generosity (Dāna), Kindly Speech (Piyavācā or Priyavacana), Beneficial Services or Actions (Arthacaryā or Atthacariyā), and Sympathy (Samanatthatā or Samānārthatā); the Fivefold-Learning (Pañcavidyā) embracing knowledge on Medical Science (Cikitsā), on Professional Skillfulness (Śilpakarmasthāna), on Logic (Hetu), on Phonetics and Languages (Sabda), and on Buddhist Studies (Adhyātma); knowledge on Modern Sciences Related to Buddhism like: World Religions, Social Sciences (as Psychology, Sociology, Linguistics, Politics, Education, Philosophy, Science, and Economics), and Modern Media Communications and Internet. The social aspect is very profitable for others concerning the social engaging role of the ideal monk in his skilful means without changing his Buddha-nature such as: preaching the Buddha’s teachings in accordance with the hearer’s temperament, and social engaging without changing one’s Buddha-Nature (on aspects of society, education, economic, etc.). Basing on these two aspects, he is capable of skillfully performing his religious role through practising and preaching Dhamma to the masses, applying Dhamma flexibly and creatively to social engaging for the welfare and happiness of humans. Such an ideal Buddhist monk’s image not only paves the new way for the next young generation of Buddhist monks performing their religious role and obligation suitable to Buddhist and social views today, but also contributes to the development of human morality and education in any social situations in the third millennium.

Today, with warm welcome to the Fourth International Conference on the United Nation Day of Vesak 2007 and His Majesty the King 80th Birthday Celebration, some honest suggestions concerning to dissemination and the Buddhist preacher may be presented with three main issues: (1) traditional inheritance for a Buddhist monk in preaching the Buddha’s teachings; (2) need of utilizing modern and modernized technology in propagating Dhamma and (3) image and role of the Buddhist preacher in the new millennium.


1. Traditional Inheritance for a Buddhist preacher in dissemination

As is widely known Buddhism, during the last twenty-six centuries, has established its existence, registered its development and expansion all over the world; thanks to the traditional inheritance of Buddhist monks from many generations. Therefore, the next young generation is required to play their key role of the traditional inheritance of Buddhism in the future through their maintaining, progressing and preaching the noble message of the Buddha for the profits and happiness of the messes. As Bhikkhu Bodhi asserts that:

The youth are the ones who will have to see that Buddhism survives into the next century and that it will be able to offer its rich insights and spiritual practices to the global community. If we lose the youth to materialism and the cult of self-indulgence, we have lost the future of Buddhism, and all that will survive will be the outer crust of the religion, not its vital essence.”[1]

Unfortunately, most of the young Buddhist preachers today, in fact, seem not only to loose their noble value and religious role; but also to have come into the grave decline of their ideology, conduct and cultivation. The main cause is that they lay much emphasis on their development of knowledge, rather than on inner mind. In other words, they fervently pursue worldly position, power, fame, fortune, etc. from their knowledge so obtained and forget their obligation of cultivating mind. As a result, they do not have enough energy for keeping their internal mind calm and pure in front of the worldly affairs while preaching Dhamma and engaging in social aspects. This is the urgent problem leading to grave decline of Buddhism wherein Buddhist leaders should be made interested. Hence, it is hoped that for the next young generation, especially for a young Buddhist preacher, either Buddhist leaders, or elder Buddhist monks, masters, and preachers need:

     (a) To not only rightly examine and regulate the role and value of the young monk today; but also lucidly select a qualified candidate for future talented Buddhist monk in equality through many serious examinations consisting of degree of qualifications, of knowledge, of awareness, and even consisting of their conduct, etc. And on the contrary, Buddhist Masters themselves need to obtain ten qualities such as: when (1) they were virtuous, restrained with the restraint of the obligation, proficient in following the practice of right conduct…; (2) they took up and trained themselves in the rules of morality; (3) they were the persons heard much,  hoarded up and bore in mind what they have heard; (4) to the teachings of the spirit and the letter and the all-fulfilled, the utterly purified brāhma-life, they have much heard, borne in mind, practised in speech, pondered in the heart, rightly penetrated by view; (5) they thoroughly learnt by heart, well analyzed both of obligations, with thorough knowledge of the meaning in minute detail; (6) they were competent to attend to the sick or to cause such attendance; (7) to calm discontent or cause it to be calm; (8) to restrain bad conduct in accordance with dhamma; (9) to dissuade the adoption of the theories; (10) and to establish one in the higher virtue, thought, and insight.[2]

     (b) To not just establish boarding-schools or institutes of Buddhist study for students, and to give vocational guidance to them for guarantee of economic needs during their training course; but also give a gradually special training of Dhamma and disciplines in accordance with their various levels in both aspects—theory and practice. It is because that if a young Buddhist preacher cultivates his mind without knowledge of Dhamma, his cultivation will becomes blind; on the contrary, his Dhamma study without practice of mind will become a shelf pregnant with books. Hence, a future young Buddhist preacher needs to perform aspects of studying Dhamma and disciplines, cultivating inner mind, and doing business in skilful means for needs of preaching and developing Buddhism.     (c) To communicate worldly knowledge on modern sciences related to Buddhism as the foregoing to the future young preacher for complementing their religious role and social engaging.

     If traditional inheritance for a future Buddhist preacher is modernized and respected as the foregoing requirements by the Buddhist clergies and authorities, each young Buddhist preacher will become a virtuous and talented flower pervading its admirable scent all over the flower-garden of Buddhism in particular and of the world in general. And Buddhism always comes into an ever unshakeable existence in space and time.


2.    Need of Utilizing Modern and Modernized Technology in Propagating Dhamma

     Today, with the invention and development of modern technology and science, a future Buddhist preacher needs to master and utilize modern and modernized technology in propagating Dhamma by recording CD, VCD, DVD or video; directly talking and teaching through television, radio, video capture camera (i.e. a kind of camera is capable of recording data or information in the form of computerized images), voice mail, voice chat, voice over ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode), or voice over the internet; or opening special Buddhist websites for spreading Dhamma to the masses; etc. If these modern equipments of communications satisfy his religious needs, he will surely not only reasonably economize his time and effort, but also greatly succeed in his role and obligation of broad preaching Dhamma to the people all over the world.


3. Image and Role of Buddhist Preacher in the New Millennium

     The image and role of a Buddhist preacher today will be surely constituted with a skilful synthesis of the best specific characteristics from three views of Theravāda, of Mahāyāna and of the Western Buddhism. In other words, a future Buddhist monk needs to closely and harmoniously co-ordinate specific views and practices of Theravāda, Mahāyāna and the Western Buddhism while actively preaching Dhamma and skillfully engaging in social activities. It means, he not only uses Theravāda’s teachings as his solid foundation of cultivation with honest and serious but opened-heart views, but also bases on Mahāyāna’s teachings as his main aim of Dhamma preaching and on the western spirit as his key motto of social engaging with skilful and creative means but in righteous thoughts; thereby, he should neither extremely cling in his traditional practice, nor arbitrarily create and expand in his social activities. On the contrary, he should judiciously select the best effective and suitable practice for applying in social life today. K. Sri Dhammananda’s views in this regard may be quoted:

We are living in an ever changing world. We should not cling blindly to the traditions, customs, manners, rites and rituals practised by our forefathers or ancestors who adopted these practices according to their beliefs and understanding capacity prevalent at that time. Some customs or traditions handed down by our ancestors may be good, while others are less useful. We should consider with an open mind whether these practices are congenial and significant to the modern world.[3]

     Especially in monastic life, he needs to live and work with his colleagues in concord [4] basing on six things of harmony for prosperity of the Sangha as the Buddha taught:

Monks, these six things are to be remembered; making for affection, making for respect, they conduce to concord, to lack of contention, to harmony and unity. What six? Herein, monks, a monk should offer his fellow Brahma-farers a friendly act of body, … an act of speech, …an act of thought, …lawful acquisitions, …moral habits, …and ariya views (i.e. views of the Way of stream-attainment) both in public and in private.”[5]

     It is the most important that Buddhism needs to found the World Buddhist Sangha Council, with active participation of pre-eminent Buddhist leaders from all countries on the world, for uniting and unifying Buddhist relations between worldly countries, and for unifying systems of practice and organization; and simultaneously to select one of them as a supreme Dhamma patriarch of the Buddhist community, whose role is the same role of the Pop Benedicto XVI today, for supremely spiritual fulcrum of world Buddhism in both aspects of social activities and Dhamma preaching. 

     It thinks that such an image and role of the future young Buddhist preacher will lead not only to the perpetual prosperity of the country, Buddhism and Sangha; but also the great welfare and happiness of humans. In last summary word, the writer hopes the above three suggestions will be able to be considered as his honest and humble contribution to the career of Dhamma dissemination as well as of young Buddhist preacher in particular and to the development of society, Buddhism and Sangha in general in the present and future.

Thanks you for your attention and listening!




[1]               Bhikkhu Bodhi, ‘A Buddhist Social Ethic for the Next Century’, in Sulak Sivaraksa (Hon.ed.), Socially Engaged Buddhism for the New Millennium, Bangkok: Sathirakoses–Nagapradipa Foundation & Foundation For Children, 1999: 53.

[2]               F. L. Woodward (tr.), The Book of the Gradual Sayings, Vol. V (X.4.33 & 34), Oxford: PTS, 1996: 52f.

[3]               K. Sri Dhammananda, How to Live without Fear and Worry, Taiwan: The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, 2001: 236f.

[4]               T. W. & C. A. F Rhys Davids (trans.), T. W. Rhys Davids (ed), Dialogues of the Buddha, Vol. II (XVI.6), Oxford: PTS, 1995: 81f.

[5]               I. B. Horner (trans.), The Middle Length Sayings, Vol. I, (48.322), Oxford: PTS, 2000: 384f; Vol. III (104.250), 1996: 36f.



Cập nhật: 01-09-2007

Trở về Thư Mục PG & Xã Hội

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