Same heart, same truth
Good for all, prospering for all

The Republic of China I-Kuan Tao General Association

Elder Lee, Yu-Chu

Chairman of the Board

December 2011

I remember that last year on May 10, 2010, Chinese Lutheran Theological Seminary hosted “Views of Conversion of Belief Community – Seminar on Religious Dialogue.” They invited three religious representatives and scholars in Taiwan to present papers, representing Pure Land Society, I-Kuan Tao, and Taiwan Christian Orthodox Church. I represented The Republic of China I-Kuan Tao

General Association to do a presentation on “The View of Conversion of I-Kuan Tao Belief Community: The Reappearance and Re-establishment of the Truth of I-Kuan Tao.” During the break, a Christian friend asked me with a smile, “Unlike us Christians, it is easier for I-Kuan Tao to convert good people only. It is much harder for us to serve a lot of people with physical and mental disabilities.”  

 

I responded, “Actually we cannot distinguish an easy life from a hard life, because in the eyes of God, every person is good and every life should be helped and encouraged. Having no physical or mental disabilities doesn’t mean that one will always be like this. If one is not well-taken care of, he may change and threaten the society. Having had physical and mental disabilities doesn’t mean that he will always suffer these illnesses. For example, we do have a volunteer group composed of people with physical and mental disabilities serving others. Caring for people with or without physical or mental disabilities cannot be characterized as easy or hard because it takes the same endless love to help people to develop mature characters that are self-aware, self-disciplined, and autonomous. I-Kuan Tao has always promoted the Saints’ spirit of “Virtue is the burden he carried.  Isn't the mission heavy?  Only until death he is willing to end.  Isn't it too long?" and practiced “Sages always save people, thus, there is no one being abandon.  Sages understand and follow the courses of natures, thus, there is all things are being utilized”. While saving ourselves and others, just like what is said on Heavenly Dragon Scroll (龍天表) when we preach “collect all the affinity seeds,” everyone has a conscience, so who doesn’t have an affinity with Tao? It takes more awakened people and their vision, generosity, patience, and compassion to participate in saving everyone. We have to constantly work on it in order to achieve a success.   To be saved, one must relied on understanding on self-realization of cultivation of soul; it is a continuous self-practice which can't be replaced by others.  Of course, our ability is limited while we hope what we can do is more, deeper and broader.   However, more importantly, regardless of religious beliefs and ethic cultures, we should join together and inspire each other to create a harmonious society serving people’s common good and prosperity.

We are living in a world of diversity today and should thank the contributions made by all the people in the past. In the field of religion, we should thank the pioneers of all religions, who passed religions down from generation to generation. Whether it’s been millennia, centuries, or decades, its core values of respect and love are eternal. It’s not important how many things we have done or how much time has elapsed. What is important is that we do everything with our utmost sincerity and love, and spend every day with our utmost sincerity and love.

When editing the articles for A Hundred Years Major Events of I-Kuan Tao, I reflected deeply and felt that more than 2,500 years ago, Confucius' transmission of Tao was a heavenly mandate which can only be comprehend by few individual. He must have been regarded by today’s people as politically incorrect, as he was not favored by the ruling class in his society and even risked his life to promote Tao. However, we found that politics is temporary while the truth of heaven lasts forever and conscience is eternal. Confucius can be said to be the best spokesperson for the truth of heaven and the best witness of conscience. In the course of the last hundred years of the development of I-Kuan Tao, we can see how the truth of heaven and conscience are transmitted and witnessed among common people.  

It can be said that the expansion of modern I-Kuan Tao is directly related to the 15th Patriarch Wang, Jie-yi's (王觉一) enlightenment and being commanded to teach Tao as a true Confucian in 1877. In 1930, the 18th Patriarch Zhang Tien-ran (张天然), and Sun, Hui-ming (孙慧明), took the mission of “rejuvenation of true Confucianism,” connected to the mass without setting up a threshold, taught the truth universally, and thus began the modern era of teaching I-Kuan Tao. As founders of a new generation, they also demonstrated Tao in themselves, 圣凡兼修, converted many people, 將王覺一祖師的「末後三期開普渡,正心誠意合中庸」,演繹為特重儒家型態修持理念的傳道宗旨。且以「恢復本性之自然,啟發良知良能之至善,己立立人,己達達人,挽世界為清平,化人心為良善,冀世界為大同」為重新體現性理真傳的實修功夫,帶動「忘己為人,誠敬奉獻。盡其在我,平心靜氣。任重道遠,盡忠守義。」性理真傳典範的良性循環。

Since the end of 1945 when I-Kuan Tao was introduced to Taiwan from mainland China, it has been developing in Taiwan for 66 years. It has expanded from a humble and rough beginning to today’s presence in 5 continents and 80 countries, from which we can see the practical power of I-Kuan Tao more clearly, that is, “serving others selflessly, devoting oneself respectfully; 盡其在我,平心靜氣。任重道遠,盡忠守義.” It is as determined as Confucius’ determination and sense of responsibility. It is also like the predecessors of I-Kuan Tao ridiculed and banned in the early years in Taiwan remained calm and felt no regret. They kept moving forward from Taiwan to the entire globe, approaching Tao, by taking one practical step at a time in the following five aspects:

 

1. On Tao’s Propagation

I-Kuan Tao holds fast to Confucianism and views it as its core value when teaching truth and Tao in the world. I-Kuan Tao can be said to be a member of a broad Confucius community. I-Kuan Tao has always regarded converting people as its axis, fulfilling the Confucius ideal of “先知覺後知,先覺覺後覺”, practicing the ideal of “在明明德,在親民,在止於至善” in The Great Learning. One understands a wisdom, practices it first, and then shares it with others. When one connects with others, one’s understanding would deepen which in turn will bring about a deeper and broader connection with others. This moves in an endless positive cycle to reach the goal of挽世界為清平,化人心為良善,冀世界為大同, so that one can build an ideal home that is 仁者人之安宅,義者人之正路,天人一貫. We can summarize the teaching of I-Kuan Tao as “awakening as the first goal, original force of life, getting up every morning, to cherish good cause; respect lives, led by conscience, moving up forever, expect global prosperity. Compassion as the first achievement, liveliness of life, love eliminates hatred, understanding and tolerance; joy and encouragement, altruism takes precedence, good and wonderful cycle, expect global well-being. Honesty as the first treasure, value of life, character is priceless, self-aware and self-disciplined; honor moral values, make progress forever, 立命能永好,expect the globe to progress together.”

 

2. On Education

In addition to founding free schools in mainland China in early years, the educational development has now expanded to the establishment of Chinese Schools, Community College in 士林 Taipei, and 尼泊爾光明國際專科學校暨中小學. Now the Education Department of Taiwan has approved the establishment of I-Kuan Tao College, Chong De College and Tian Huang College, all of which will be open for enrollment in 2012.

 

3. On Community Education

We have established culture and education foundations; hosted Chinese Culture Education Camps, Classes of Classics, Anti-Smoking & Drugs Activities, Purification Talks, International Family Year, concerts, Rite of Passage, academic workshops, nursing lectures, 辅育院Starlight Summer Camps; long-term participation in Juvenile Detention Center, inmates and parole counseling; advocated children’s reading classics, adult’s reading classics, and even three generations’ reading classics; praised exemplary parents; organized annual filial piety events at home and abroad; advocated three generations living together and organized respect the elderly activities; produced programs for promoting Tao and purification; and founded internet TV networks.

 

4. On Charity

We have established charitable foundations everywhere, advocated body, mind, and spirit environmental protection for a long time, promoted natural vegetarian lifestyle, established charitable organizations such as daycare, nursing home, severely disabled care centers, medical services, social welfare, caring for the disadvantaged groups, disaster relief (e.g. the 9.21 earthquake in Taiwan, the 8.8 floods, the 9.11 incident in the U.S., the tsunami in South Asia, the Wenchuan earthquake in mainland China, the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and disasters in other countries.) For decades, I-Kuan Tao has been praised by the governments and people in many different countries, received national and local governmental medals, awarded the Presidential Palace Medal, and even received Presidential Praise posthumously such as 陳鴻珍老前人2008、高斌凱老前人2009、邱鸞嬌老前人2010、張培成老前人2010 等。Having so many achievements, members of I-Kuan Tao are not complacent, but continue to do their best based on this solid foundation.

 

5. On Public Relations

It has been 66 years since I-Kuan Tao was introduced to Taiwan. In early years, I-Kuan Tao was banned both in Mainland China and Taiwan. Some members in mainland China even had to sacrifice their lives. The authorities in Taiwan were relatively tolerant, so the worst punishment for practicing I-Kuan Tao was to be jailed for a few years without a legal trial. But I-Kuan Tao was still banned for as long as three to four decades in Taiwan. The relevant units of the government smeared I-Kuan Tao to curb its development. However, the predecessors were still trying to convert people with the spirit of “do my best, calm and peaceful,” because 自覺斯文在茲,justice is in the hearts of people. In order to protect the converted members and pass on Tao from generation to generation, our predecessors continued to use the best possible channels to communicate with the government and all sectors of the community. Regardless of how effective they might be, they continued their work. The ban of I-Kuan Tao was not lifted until early 1987. The Republic of China I-Kuan Tao General Association was established on March 5, 1988.

Actually, during the 66 years of I-Kuan Tao’s development in Taiwan and all over the world, the propagation attitude commonly adopted could be described by the last two sentences in Tao Te Ching, “Tao of Heaven, profit without harm; Tao of saints, success without competition.” As for some countries such as Mainland China and Vietnam, there are still many policies designed for prohibition. I-Kuan Tao needs to do its best and continues to communicate. We all know that the birthplace of I-Kuan Tao is mainland China. Due to complex political and historical reasons, it was designated as “reactionary religion” in the early years of the founding of the new China. But after a lapse of more than 60 years, one should not look at the modern I-Kuan Tao from a perspective that belongs to the 50s of the 20th century. We sincerely believe that the consistent efforts made by I-Kuan Tao in the last 66 years to promote Chinese culture are worthy of an in-depth study conducted by the relevant authorities in mainland China, and that it should become a reference point for the relevant authorities in mainland China to assess folk beliefs, folk religions, and new religions besides the five major religions. Moreover, in order to achieve the “peaceful development of cross-Straits relations”, efforts must be made to unite and support the individuals and organizations concerned with the “peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.” We also sincerely believe that only mutual respect and mutual support is the best guarantee for permanent peace and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait. The removal of the name of "reactionary religion" and cease to vilify I-Kuan Tao in newspapers, magazines, radio and television networks, and even the exchange of cultural and educational charitable activities in mainland China under the name of I-Kuan Tao are the first step in emphasizing goodwill. In order to truly carry forward the Chinese culture, build a harmonious society and a common spiritual home of the Chinese descendants, it is an indispensable step to actively study, evaluate and legalize I-Kuan Tao and recognize folk beliefs, folk religions and new religions besides the five major religions.

We are convinced that the law of heaven cannot always be violated, and the conscience cannot always be hidden. A hundred years of the development of I-Kuan Tao has done the best testimony. We also believe that this is only a good start. We are not afraid of doing too much, we are only afraid of not doing enough. In a human society, it is not good when only one person’s life is good, because only when everyone’s life is good, can we say it is good. As the Master Buddha said, compassion is my essence, giving is my duty, I am an indomitable spirit although not known. Giving without recognition is a real giving and a selfless contribution is a real contribution. I respectfully invite everyone to fulfill your wish with joy and walk towards the ideal path.

Last but not least, I would like to sincerely thank the Ministry of the Interior “Love in Taiwan” a 100 years of religion series activities team for its guidance. In particular, I would like to extend my thanks to the leaders of various line-field temples for their compassion and providing valuable information and photos. I would like to thank the sincere devotion of the Lecture 连 and Lecture 陈team of 芝兰Communication Company as well as the editorial team of the General Association newsletter. They have enriched the special issue of the 100th anniversary event, the production of DVD and commemorative photo files, and helped with the timely publication and public exhibition. Due to the limited space, we cannot numerate every group’s development or its current status, but can only show the main figures and major events and use the “I-Kuan Tao Summary,”   together with the general development of the Association, as main references to list the draft of the 300 items of major events. Mistakes are inevitable. Hope friends from all sectors of the community would not hesitate to correct them so our reprint would be more enriched and complete.