The aim of this book is simple: invite readers to consider what it means to lead a good life, and to offer practical advice, based on the Buddhist teachings, as to how this can be accomplished. In each of more than thirty brief essays, Venerable Master Hsing Yun treats a specific moral of ethical issue, using quotations from the rich treasury of the Buddhist scriptures as a point of departure for his discussion. Among the topics he considers are controlling the body and speech, overcoming greed, ending anger, having patience under insult, managing wealth, getting along with others, what it means to practice Buddhism, and the blessings and joys of the practice. The Buddhist precepts are introduced as guideposts along this path of liberation, and friendship, gratitude, and service to other are presented as essential elements of a common quest to discover and to embody our innate goodness and humanity.
I am delighted to have been asked to write this brief introduction to Master Hsing Yun’s newest publication, Being Good. This masterful presentation of the most pragmatic aspects of Buddhist Ethics in action is the culmination of many years of scholarship and deep reflection. The erudition of the author is established most convincingly by the citations he has chosen and by his explanations of them.
No aspect of life is omitted. Master Hsing Yun has demonstrated that the deep-rooted pragmatism of Buddhism makes it a religion valid for today and for all time. In addition to this, he shows us how to apply the teachings of the Buddha to our daily lives.
In Being Good, Master Hsing Yun displays his unwavering faith in the universality of Buddhism. Neither in the teachings recounted nor in the texts cited does he show any partiality to a particular tradition of Buddhism. It is only natural that he should cite many Mahayana sources, especially when they comprise the bulk of the Chines tradition, but his desire for comprehensiveness makes him delve into the Dhammapada, the Sigalovada Sutta and several other sources which are often associated with the Theravada tradition.
Master Hsing Yun frequently uses quotes from the historical Buddha, whatever be the source that has preserved his wisdom.
In doing so, he has set a worthy example for scholars who could enrich their discussions on various aspects of Buddhism if only they had an equally open mind on the unity which supersedes the diversity of Buddhism.
The translation of Being Good is presented in a distinctly lucid, absorbing, and readable style. These essays can be read with unabated interest. As a translator of Pali and Sanskrit I am able to appreciate how well the translator has been able to rendes Master Hsing Yun’s wise teachings in plain and beautiful language.
This book is a gift to readers of English all over the world. In Being Good, Master Hsing Yun has made it easier and more pleasant for all of us to deepen our understanding of the wisdom of Buddhism.
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