弘誓雙月刊

Compassion and Justice—Meeting Venerable Chao Hwei
慈悲與正義--與昭慧法師晤談

By Rebecca Li
美國紐澤西大學社會學副教授
陳悅萱 中譯
July 2, 2006

     Recently, it was my privilege to participate in the Women Faith Leaders Retreat held at Dharma Drum Mountain, Taiwan, on June 20-22. The theme of the retreat was “Compassionate Mind, Compassionate World.” I was there primarily to translate for Shifu in his closing address, but prior to that I had the good fortune to participate in the discussion and meet some amazing women, one of whom was Venerable Chao Hwei.
     今年6月20日到22日,我非常榮幸參與了法鼓山舉辦的「全球女性慈悲論壇」,論壇的主題是「慈悲的心靈,慈悲的世界」,主要是為惜福會的閉幕致詞翻譯,正好有機會參加論壇的討論會,並且遇到了幾位令人讚歎的女性,其中一位就是昭慧法師。

     Venerable Chao Hwei is professor of Religion and director of the Research Center of Applied Ethics at Hsuan Chuang University, a Buddhist university in Taiwan. She studied under Venerable Master Yin Shun, author of The Way to Buddhahood, and is a prolific scholar and author. She writes for newspapers to share the Buddhist perspective on issues as wide-ranging as animal rights and the legalization of gambling in Taiwan.
     昭慧法師是台灣玄奘大學宗教研究所的教授,並且也是該校應用倫理中心的主任,這是一所由佛教籌辦的大學。法師曾受教於《成佛之道》的作者印順導師,是位著述非常豐富的學者及作家。她時常在報章雜誌上,以佛法的觀點解讀各種具爭議性的社會議題,例如動物權的議題、賭博合法化的議題等等。

     On the first day of the retreat, Venerable Chao Hwei brought up the issue of compassion and justice, arguing that there is no true compassion if we do not face the issue of justice.? I was intrigued by her lucid and forceful argument; this was the first time I had seen a Chinese bhikshuni articulate her moral and intellectual position in such a forthright manner. I was fascinated also because we were discussing compassion, a topic that usually evokes an image of gentle, smiling people helping each other and getting along. This is hardly what comes to mind in debates over issues of injustice, such as the unequal treatment of men and women.
     論壇的第一天,法師就引發了關於「慈悲與正義」這個議題的討論,她認為我們如果迴避正義的課題,就不會有真正的慈悲。這是我第一次看到一位比丘尼,用如此直接的方式,鏗鏘有力的表現她的智慧與道德,見識到她清晰有力的論辯。但是我也覺得疑惑,因為我們討論的主題是「慈悲」,關於慈悲,立刻浮現在腦海的,不應該是面帶微笑、有禮貌的一群人,彼此互相幫助扶持嗎?很難理解為什麼要提出諸如男女不平等之類的「不正義」議題來論辯呢?

     In the open discussion and the subsequent conversations I had with her, Venerable Chao Hwei shared her experience advocating the abolition of the “eight deferential practices,” a set of additional precepts taken by fully ordained bhikshunis prescribing deferential manners to be used by bhikshunis (nuns) when interacting with bhikshus (monks). One such precept requires a bhikshuni, even though she is fully ordained with seniority, to bow deferentially to a novice monk. Within the monastic sangha of Dharma Drum Mountain, I was told, while these eight precepts are included in the full precepts taken by bhikshunis, Master Sheng Yen does not require that bhikshunis follow them in their interactions with bhikshus.
     在開場的討論會及之後的幾次交談中,昭慧法師跟我分享了她推行「廢除八敬法運動」的經驗。「八敬法」是專門為比丘尼制定的戒法,規範了八種比丘尼應禮敬比丘的方式,例如其中一條說:「即使是年長比丘尼,都必須向新受戒比丘頂禮。」據我所知,法鼓山的僧團裡,雖然比丘尼的戒律中涵蓋了「八敬法」,但是聖嚴法師並未要求法鼓山的比丘尼,與比丘互動時必須遵守八敬法。

     However, in many instances, according to Venerable Chao Hwei, the existence of these eight precepts continues to damage the monastic sangha both by instilling a sense of pride, entitlement and superiority in some bhikshus, and a sense of inferiority, shame and a lack of confidence in some bhikshunis. These eight precepts perpetuate the inequality of men and women. In this system, everyone loses. Those in subordinate positions suffer from unfair treatment, while those in dominant positions give rise to pride and arrogance. Venerable Chao Hwei argued that allowing this injustice to continue is uncompassionate as we are not doing anything to help these beings alleviate their suffering.
     但是在昭慧法師舉的幾個例子裡,看到一些比丘因為八敬法,逐漸變得自大與自尊,而比丘尼卻變得自卑與缺乏自信,可知八敬法的存在是如何的傷害僧團,並且使得男女不平等的問題永遠存在。在八敬法的緊箍咒下,大家都是輸家,因為處於受支配地位者,因不平等的對待而受苦,處於控制地位者,卻愈來愈自大與傲慢。昭慧法師強調,讓不正義的繼續存在就是不慈悲,因為我們不曾為減輕他人的苦難盡任何一點的力量。

     Venerable Chao Hwei cautioned against glossing over injustice in the name of maintaining harmony and practicing compassion. She pointed out that in Buddhism, we give such premium to the need to harmonize with everyone that we shy away from speaking out against injustice. Unfortunately, this silence in the face of unjust practices is often interpreted as endorsement of these practices, and we are therefore as guilty as those who defend such injustice. Complicity in injustice is certainly not in accordance with compassion, since we fail to take action to stop a system from inflicting suffering.? In the name of maintaining a community’s harmony, we often fail to speak up against injustice because we do not want to cause open divisions within the community. But Venerable Chao Hwei argues that true compassion prompts us to speak out against injustice. Not only does the effort to end injustice help save the victims from suffering, it also helps the perpetrators, by stopping them from causing suffering, and thus from creating unwholesome karma.
     對於那些假藉維持和諧及實踐慈悲之名,來掩飾不正義的行為,昭慧法師特別提出告誡,因為佛法告訴我們,人與人之間要維持真正的和諧,決不能怯於伸張正義。對於不正義的行為保持緘默,就是為它們背書的意思,對於這種遭致人痛苦的制度沒有任何作為,這與護衛不正義的犯行是一樣的,也是不正義的共犯,不能叫做慈悲。但是在維持團體和諧的大帽子底下,為了不願意承擔製造分裂的罪名,使得我們往往不會為不正義的事情發聲。然而法師卻認為,真正的慈悲,應該是對於不正義的事,勇於立刻表態,因為這不僅能使因不正義而受苦的人遠離痛苦,也是在幫助為惡者,令他們不再造成別人的痛苦及不善的業。

     Venerable Chao Hwei pointed out that the practice of compassion requires constant reflection and courage. One needs to reflect critically on why a certain practice is followed. Is it in accordance with wisdom and compassion, or is it merely in compliance with tradition passed down from a different era that may no longer be relevant? It takes courage, as critical examination challenges those in power and those benefiting from the status quo. Speaking out risks being accused of causing conflict within the Buddhist community, of being egotistical, of being uncompassionate, in other words, of being un-Buddhist. Venerable Chao Hwei contends that it is precisely out of great compassion that she challenges unjust practices, of which gender discrimination is one.
     昭慧法師指出,慈悲的實踐是需要勇氣及持續反省的,我們應該認真去反省,為什麼要持守這些戒律?持戒是為了帶給我們慈悲與智慧,還是僅僅為了遵循一個早已不合時宜的傳統?向傳統戒律下的既得利益者挑戰是極需勇氣的,畢竟他們擁有權威,挑戰者很可能被扣上製造教內衝突、自我主義、不慈悲等等,甚至於非教徒的罪名。但是對於向諸如性別歧視之類的不公義挑戰,法師並不同意這是不慈悲的行為。

     I suggested to Venerable Chao Hwei that tolerating injustice not only prolongs the suffering of the victims, it is also very damaging to Buddhism’s reputation in the West.? Justice is a very important value in the West, and it is difficult for people in the West to accept a religious tradition that condones unjust practices. Venerable Chao Hwei urged everyone to keep in mind that the Buddha taught that the purpose of the precepts was to preserve the proper Dharma, not to be an end in themselves. Since the equality of sentient beings is at the heart of the Buddha’s teachings, keeping silent about unjust practices is complicity, and is equivalent to slandering the Buddha’s teachings. It is thus the responsibility of every Buddhist practitioner, monastic or lay, to speak out and act against injustice?
     我提醒昭慧法師,容忍不正義的情事,除了增長受害者的痛苦之外,對於佛教在西方的聲譽,也會造成相當程度的傷害。公平正義是西方社會很重要的價值觀,對於西方社會的人而言,如果一個宗教的傳統裡,竟然允許不公義的行為,這個宗教是很難讓人接受的。因此昭慧法師籲請大家,應牢牢記住,佛陀制戒的目的是「令正法久住」,眾生平等是佛教的核心教義,對於不正義保持緘默,就是不正義的共犯,也就等同毀謗佛陀的教法,所以每一個佛弟子,不論出家或在家,都有責任以言語的譴責及行動來對抗不正義。

     Some worry about a schism if some in the Buddhist community push hard for changes while others insist on preserving the tradition. I think this is an excellent opportunity for the Buddhist community to put the Dharma into practice collectively. It is easy to be calm and compassionate when everyone is in agreement. The challenge is to engage in a dialogue and to examine the issues critically, stimulating each other’s thinking, learning the other side’s perspective without being dismissive, and working together to find a satisfactory solution without allowing our self-centered attachments to get in the way. This is not easy.
     或許有人會擔心,如果佛教內部有人極力推動改革,又有人堅持維護傳統,就會造成分裂,我反倒認為這是促成教界合宜的實踐佛陀教法的一個契機。當大家意見一致的時候,慈悲祥和是非常容易的,但是要能仔細檢視這些爭議,開啟相互之間的對話,刺激各自的思考,互相學習對方的觀點,過程之中排除自我中心,共同合作找出令彼此滿意的答案,這就是挑戰了。

     But I believe that if we all put the Dharma into practice while engaging in this debate, applying the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion, this dialogue will help the entire Buddhist community move forward into the 21st century. The process will bring hope to the world as it will illustrate that it is possible to engage in a debate over difficult and controversial issues and to find satisfactory solutions by applying compassion and wisdom. Thus everyone, Buddhist and non-Buddhist, may benefit from this compassionate action.
     但是我相信,如果應用佛陀的慈悲與智慧,透過對話與論辯,能夠使佛法真正的實踐,這必將帶領佛教邁向21世紀。對於一個這麼困難的議題,佛教都能夠透過對話,應用慈悲與智慧,找到滿意的解答,這將帶給世人希望,不論佛教徒或非佛教徒,相信都能從這樣慈悲的行為中,得到受益。

     (published in the Autumn 2006 issue of Chan Magazine, page 23 to 25)
 

 

 

 

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