Jing Si Aphorisms in China

Friday, 15 January 2010 17:53 Tzu Chi Foundation
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The foundation has just held its first press conference in China, to launch a new edition of Jing Si Aphorisms (Still Thoughts) in the simplified characters used in the mainland. Senior academics, broadcasters and students attended the event, which was presented by Her Rey-Sheng, the foundation’s spokesperson.

The Jing Si aphorisms are a collection of the sayings of Master Cheng Yen, to guide people in their daily lives. They were first published 20 years ago and have since been printed in 3.45 million volumes, in nearly a dozen languages. They have had a great influence on the millions of people who have read them. To mark the 20th anniversary, the foundation collaborated with the publishing house of Fudan University in Shanghai to produce a collector’s items of all three volumes of the aphorisms. The books are printed in the simplified Chinese characters used in the mainland and designed to suit local tastes. Taiwan and Hong Kong use traditional characters.

Du Ronggen, managing director of Fudan University press, said that they felt the Master’s compassion, love and wisdom would be welcomed by the Chinese people. “I feel that the Jing Si aphorisms embody the modern spirit of Chinese Buddhism,” said Wei Dedong, a professor in the philosophy department of People’s University in Beijing. “They are a contemporary expression of traditional Chinese culture.”

"The Master said something that affected me profoundly,” said Bai Yansong, a presenter of China Central Television. “I have repeated it many times -- she hopes that, when Tzu Chi volunteers have an opportunity to help those that fortunate than themselves or when they face obstacles, they will not feel that they are helping them. Rather, they should thank them.” This is one of the fundamental tenets of Tzu Chi: thank others for giving you an opportunity to do good and appreciate your own good fortune.

Her Rey-Sheng introduced the aphorisms to the Taiwan Research Association of Beijing University. It gave them something important to think about. “We should do something of significance,” said one of the students, Sun Xuejing. “Why should we worry over trifles? After hearing this evening’s presentation, I felt that, when you are helping other people, you are at the same time purifying your own spirit. Tonight Brother He said: ‘changing the world begins with a single person’. That was the most moving thing I heard this evening.”

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