The Chinese term for religion is zongjiao. This term in Chinese is inspirational. Zong means “primary, important, and to be revered.” Jiao means “education, teaching, and transformation.” Hence, when the Chinese put these two characters together, it means primary education, important teaching, and a transformation to be revered. When first founded, each religion was a form of multicultural social education. Each founder was a social educator. Religious education contains five categories: morality, virtues, causality, philosophy, and science. Also, there is no religion that does not propagate peace and harmony, mutual caring, loving kindness, and universal love. This is exactly the prescription for integrity and uprightness building in shaping the human mindset, and is what the world needs most urgently today.
Buddhism, or “Fo Jiao” in Chinese, means the Buddha’s (fo) teachings (jiao). Buddhism is a most virtuous and perfect teaching taught by Sakyamuni Buddha for the benefit of all beings in the universe, which covers the Nine Dharma Realms. Buddhism teaches us the reality of all phenomena, and it encompasses infinite wisdom and practices, transcending time and space. The aim of Buddhist education is to help all beings cease delusion, attain enlightenment, end suffering, and achieve lasting happiness.
The founder of Buddhism is Sakyamuni Buddha, who was a prince in ancient India. After observing that humans inevitably suffer from birth, old age, illness, and death, the prince decided to renounce his throne, become a monastic, and pursue the truth that would help everyone end all sufferings and gain real happiness.
At the age of thirty, the prince attained Buddhahood, the state of perfect enlightenment. Since he realized that suffering came from delusion and from ignorance of the truth of the universe, he devoted his life to teaching, so as to impart the truth to every being in the universe. He taught for forty-nine years.
Buddhist teaching is profound and all-inclusive. It contains not only the universal values of morality, ethics, and causality, but also advanced teachings in philosophy and science. The Buddha’s teachings on these five subjects are perfectly comprehensive.
Buddhism is a teaching, a teaching for everyone irrespective of background. For over a few thousand years, everyone in this world who follows the teachings of the Buddha has reaped real benefits, regardless of their religious or cultural background. The role of Sakyamuni Buddha can best be described as “a voluntary multicultural social educator.”
Buddhism refers to the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha, the most virtuous and perfect education for all beings to help them realize the reality of life and the universe. Moreover, the teachings help to achieve harmony and resolve misunderstandings between different ethnicities, so that they can live and prosper together.
Calligraphy by Venerable Master Chin Kung