Does the mainland leadership support your work?
I support the leadership. They care for us as well. It is mutual. We Buddhists uphold whomever is in charge. Buddhists don’t get involved in politics. But we respect the leadership, ethics and rule of law.
After the Cultural Revolution, Buddhism in China was severely damaged. The new generation of Buddhists lacks talent, education and role models. I encourage fellow Buddhists to strive for kindness.
Are you satisfied with Fo Guang Shan’s development in the mainland?
The mainland is gradually making progress. There are some restrictions on religion. But I have also felt their kindness. They help us to restore temples in the mainland.
When I give speeches in the mainland, I don’t feel any restrictions. There are always thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of people listening to me speak. They never stop them. I also have many undertakings, and they never say no to me. The People’s Publishing House even publishes my books. I think they know that I acknowledge Chinese culture, especially Buddhism in Chinese culture.
Chinese believe in karma, which contributes to stabilizing society, rebuilding moral ethics and building people’s confidence. We are here to strengthen it to inspire our compatriots.
What do lay Buddhists in the mainland need the most?
Lay Buddhists most need Buddhist doctrine and a relieved mind. Society is rife with superstition and cults. Fewer people believe in real Buddhism. Real Buddhism is about mercy, wisdom and dissolving confrontation.
Is Taiwan part of China?
President Xi said Taiwan and the mainland belong to the same family. I think the entire human race should love, respect and tolerate each other. The government here gives us land without asking for money. They send people to water the plants for us. I hope the government can treat people fairly like this.
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