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Home Our Founder The Mentor of Master Cheng Yen The Story of Dharma Master Yin Shun - Seeing the Buddha

The Story of Dharma Master Yin Shun - Seeing the Buddha

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Article Index
The Story of Dharma Master Yin Shun
Winding road to Buddhism
Decline of Buddhism
Seeing the Buddha
My heart will never change
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Seeing the Buddha
The Agama Sutra sat silently on his desk. A line caught the young monk's eyes: "All buddhas arise in the human world; no one achieves buddhahood in heaven." With that verse, all doubts hanging in his mind evaporated. At last, he found the answer to his  question. Tears of joy rolled uncontrollably down his cheeks.

He finally saw the buddhas--they actually existed in the world!

In 1941, at age thirty-six, Master Yin Shun so described the Buddha in The Buddha in the World:
"His footsteps covered the two shores of the Ganges River. How could one say that he passively renounced the worldly life and abandoned his fellow human beings? In order to find the Truth and attain genuine emancipation, he led an austere and simple life. He had to endure all sorts of slander and even assassination attempts, and still remain composed and compassionate. Why did he do all these things? Did he lead a more pessimistic life than the kings of his era? All in all, he renounced his comfortable worldly life in order to end the suffering in the world, to find liberation for people, and to elevate human beings. Through all this, he had no ego or any selfish aims."

The Buddha lived not in seclusion, but among people. Every day he walked barefooted to villages to beg for food. When he met a farmer, he used examples from farming to talk about the meaning of life. No matter who he met--a butcher, a prostitute, a bandit, a slave, a scholar, or a child--he would talk to them, according to their temperament and intellectual faculty, to inspire them a little and alleviate their suffering.

How did a man named Siddhartha become an Enlightened One? By realizing the truth of life and cultivating himself in the human world, he understood the Principle of Causes and Conditions. All existence and phenomena arise because of the coincidence of causes and conditions. As these causes and conditions change, all things correspondingly cease to exist. With such an understanding, Siddhartha attained the buddhahood.

However, most people are blind to the Truth and hence become entangled in the cycle of reincarnation by creating bad karma for themselves. Yin Shun concluded: "If we can observe with wisdom, we will see the impermanent nature of all things. We can then eradicate our worries and perplexity by eliminating our attachments and the bad habit of making distinctions. Once we can do that, our minds will be as composed and wise as that of the Buddha."

From the verse "All buddhas arise in the human world; no one achieves buddhahood in heaven," the concept of humanized Buddhism sprang up. Master Yin Shun pointed out that buddhahood is attainable if one cultivates the three courses--faith, compassion  and wisdom--practiced by all bodhisattvas. All Buddhists must have faith in the existence of supreme enlightenment and believe that each of us can attain it if we work hard enough. They also need to cultivate compassion by redeeming all living beings from their suffering and giving them joy. Last but not least, they need to cultivate supreme wisdom by helping others without asking for anything in return.

Ever since then, Master Yin Shun has endeavored to promote the idea of humanized Buddhism in China through his lectures, speeches and writings. He has successfully turned the attention of Buddhists from otherworldly affairs to the well-being of living people.