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正覺學報創刊詞

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正覺學報的創刊,對於佛學學術界不僅是一份新的刊物發行而已;對於全球的佛學學術界以及哲學界來說,我們身為實證如來藏的佛弟子,有著一份不可卸下的使命感。綜觀佛教創始以來的弘傳,從印度一地初弘,小乘佛教南傳至泰國、緬甸、斯里蘭卡等,是以東南亞為主的國家;大乘佛教向北輾轉傳至中國、韓國、日本以及台灣,歷經二千五百餘年之光輝與滄桑。現存的佛教,在印度已經完全滅亡,只餘極少數人保留著佛教的表相,本質已是坦特羅雙身法的非佛教了;南傳的小乘佛教教域,雖然仍能維持小乘聲聞佛教的表相而不被坦特羅雙身法的非佛教所染污,然而能夠實證聲聞解脫道的聖者亦已難可覓得;而北傳的大乘佛教教域中,中國才剛從文化大革命的破壞中恢復了儀式表相及意識境界的佛教,日本、韓國則只剩佛教儀軌的表相而無修行的表相,已談不上如同中國地區意識境界的修行了;是故中、日、韓對於大乘佛教實踐菩薩道的見道與修道真實內涵,都已經都無力觸及了。由南、北傳佛教而輻射至歐、美、澳等全球各洲,對於佛教的認識不過二百餘年,卻是經常透過日本沒有實證如來藏而以意識思惟佛學的論文發表者,及西藏以非佛教的雙身法來詮釋與認識佛教,錯將入篡佛教的喇嘛教當作是正統的佛教,全面扭曲了佛教的真實面貌。因此,環顧佛教未來的生存命脈,似乎只有代表傳統中國佛教的台灣佛教,尚存一絲正在發展的光輝,這也是正覺學報之所以創刊的最大意義與佛法永續使命。


   然而,正覺教育基金會的成立與正覺學報創刊的因緣,確實是令人難以預作思議的。台灣的佛教界在二十世紀已經由法鼓山、中台山、佛光山與慈濟等四個宗教團體佔有絕大部分的資源;而這四個團體在行動上,都抵制中國傳統佛教所弘揚的如來藏正法,也就是抵制本基金會所欲宣揚的如來藏正法。因為本基金會的主要捐助人佛教正覺同修會,以及身為次要捐助人的本人,共同弘傳的如來藏正法,是以幫助佛教界有緣人實證唯識學中的第八識實相法界為目標,所弘演出來的法義,正好對比出這四大團體所弘傳的佛法都落入意識境界中,與常見外道並無差別,無意之間顯示了他們並不符合佛教宗門以心印心的傳承及教門中三乘經典的聖言量。但正覺教育基金會的成立與進入佛學學術領域,本非我們弘揚佛法的初衷;猶如我們十餘年前修學三乘佛法並且弘傳如來藏正法,本來也無意對佛教界任何團體作任何的評論。但是在佛教經典的見證下、在實證如來藏的事實下,佛教界人士閱讀正覺同修會、正智出版社的書籍以後,由於對正法開始有了深入的認知,無法避免的會對比出台灣佛教四大團體對於佛法的誤解。四大團體惟恐其信眾認識到這樣的事實而漸漸離心離德,故暗地裡採取種種限制其信眾閱讀正覺、正智書籍的手段,剝奪其信眾獲取正法妙義的權利,使信眾失去理解、選擇的自由。就民主、自由已有長足進步的台灣而言,這樣違反宗教自由的行為,確實是令人遺憾。推究他們如是作為的原因,不外乎名聞、利養、信眾可能流失的考量;但我們自從出世弘法以來,不曾在個人的名聞、利養、眷屬上面著眼,亦從未在這些世俗法中獲得任何利益;我們從來不受供養與求名聞,亦不廣求眷屬,只是隨緣而行地辨正法義破邪顯正,得罪諸方大師而救護被誤導的學人們;我們十餘年勤苦之後所擁有的,除了付出以外,仍然是付出,不曾有一個人是有所得的。


法鼓山、中台山、佛光山與慈濟,為了限制信眾閱讀正覺、正智的書籍,暗中採取對於如來藏正法的抵制、曲解、毀謗等違反宗教自由的行動;我們因此不得不被動回應而出版更多的書籍,以澄清這些團體對於實證如來藏正法的曲解與毀謗,藉以回應這些違反宗教自由的不理性行動。對於他們信奉推崇的釋印順著作中的邪見,我們則是主動的評論而非被動性的回應;但是我們主動評論擁有四十一冊著作的釋印順,是因為他的著作乃根據西藏密宗──即是入篡佛教的喇嘛教──源於天竺坦特羅非佛教的應成學派六識論邪見作為其中心思想,全面曲解、毀謗中國傳統佛教可以實證的如來藏正法為外道梵我、神我思想。釋印順這些邪見書籍正好提供各大山頭反對如來藏正法的理論基礎,使他們自認為可以理直氣壯的弘揚意識常見法;雖然釋印順的思想處處破綻,難逃廣被證悟者依教、據理加以辨正而完全無法回應的命運,他們卻是從來不想遠離釋印順的意識常見境界。


中國傳統佛教可以實證的如來藏妙法,正是全球三乘佛教存在的核心價值與古今佛教教義的核心基礎,是大乘佛教得以見道及進入修道位的唯一根據,也是南傳佛法所弘涅槃解脫不落於斷滅境界的唯一支柱;數十年經營而在台灣佔據佛教重要地位的印順派僧侶們,在佛教正覺同修會成立之前,已經對佛教根本核心教義的如來藏妙理,進行長達數十年的極嚴重破壞;因此使得正覺同修會歷經十餘年努力之後,如今在台灣仍然只能獨力面對這些宣稱「釋迦牟尼佛不曾實證第八識如來藏」的佛教僧侶及隨眾,無法獲得教界任何團體公開的聲援,全都噤聲不語。可見印順派的六識論者數十年經營所得的邪見勢力確實極為龐大,致使台灣的南傳佛法學人無法斷除我見,亦使北傳佛法學人無法實證如來藏,永絕於大小乘真見道者之外,謂其為嚴重破法者,誰都不能否定。因此,向全世界傳達出「教導眾生實證如來藏是釋迦牟尼佛示現在人間的唯一原因」,並在釋昭慧的邀請下而推及佛學學術界,是正覺教育基金會成立之目的,也是證悟佛子不可推卸的使命。


我們身為當今全球唯一實證如來藏的佛教團體,確實無法在眼見全球佛教以實證如來藏為核心的真實意涵少有知者的義學凋敝情況下置身事外,坐看廣大學人失去實證及見道的機會;或者在台灣佛教的根基完全被印順派、四大團體及喇嘛教等常見外道的意識法取代而遭到空前否定與破壞時,卻作壁上觀而不加以挽救。因此,我們最近幾年對台灣地區嚴重破壞佛教正法的大團體,從被動回應進而轉為主動進行法義的分析與論證,希望救護已被廣為誤導的台灣佛教學人;也祈望這些對台灣佛教有廣大影響力的團體與僧侶,都能回歸中國傳統大乘佛教實證如來藏正法的弘傳正路。這樣對於未來佛教的存在與正法弘傳才能有益,也將會對這些團體僧侶未來實證如來藏的道業有極大的幫助,這是整體佛教界皆蒙其利的美事。但是,我們十餘年來的善意一直不能得到正面的回應,這些團體與僧侶個人繼續堅持己見而不肯摒棄意識常見的邪思,持續對如來藏正法進行抵制與暗中毀謗。


我們針對釋印順的邪見給與廣泛評論,但對釋昭慧所有書籍中的錯誤言論則刻意迴避不論,亦將對其弟子擬作的公開評論連載文章一再延期,期望保留未來助其證悟的因緣;然而弘誓學院的釋昭慧繼承釋印順反對實證如來藏的主張,而且經過我們數年來對於反對實證如來藏的種種過失,詳細的加以解說而使她在法義上無法有一語的回應。她如此宣稱:印順法師的法義不是不能夠批評,像有些批評者寄來的書,我看都不看就把它丟進字紙簍裡;如果要批評的話,就進到學術界來。(法界衛星頻道,《佛教倫理學》教學錄影帶中之語意)釋昭慧的意思其實是說,在佛教界中她已經沒有任何可以辨正法義的智慧了;她認為我們這些實證如來藏者對於佛法的論證,純粹只是佛教徒的觀點,無法通過學術觀點的檢驗;因為在學術界中論證是必需先除掉宗教信仰立場的;換言之,釋昭慧已經拋棄佛教僧侶應該盡形壽信仰佛教法義的僧侶立場,不願在佛教界與我們就實證如來藏是否為釋迦牟尼成佛的唯一原因進行論證。她公開的邀請我們進入不屬於佛教的學術界,這雖然已失去她身為佛教僧侶的立場,但是就基本禮儀而言,我們卻不得不恭敬隨順而進入學術界來與她辨正,期待她將會有佛學學術論文提出來:證明釋迦牟尼佛的成佛不是靠實證如來藏,證明聲聞佛法的涅槃不是斷滅,證明聲聞阿羅漢已經證得佛陀的法界真相智慧,在她否定第八識以後。


也許從全世界的眼光來看,發生在台灣佛教界內部對於佛法的論證,可能是現今紛亂世界中極不起眼的一件事。但是,就事件發生的本質加以考察,則可以發現:發生在台灣的這件佛教法義論辯事件,其實正與全球其他國家的佛教事件,或者其他宗教事件有著相同的脈動;也就是說台灣的佛教事件與全球佛學學術界所探討的焦點,本質上是相同的,甚至是與全球哲學學術界探討宇宙真相的核心問題完全相同。台灣目前探討的問題焦點是:始從天竺遞傳至今的傳統佛教主張實證如來藏,那麼如來藏是否真實存在?實證的方法本身是否具有客觀性、有效性及可以一再重複實證性及檢驗性?佛學學術界是否應該採用?而佛學學術界中常用的探究方法,在適用上及理論上是否正確而沒有錯誤?是否可以重複的實證、檢驗?當然還有很多延伸的問題,舉之不盡,我們暫不一一列舉。類似的問題也曾在日本被提出,袴谷憲昭與松本史郎發起批判佛教的言論,在日本讓大家重新思考:如來藏思想是佛教的核心嗎?批判的方法是否為一種具有客觀性、有效性的方法,學術界應該採用嗎?他們批判佛教的方法在適用上可以沒有條件的採用嗎?他們的批判佛教,同樣也會有許多延伸出來的問題,是這二位日本人所無法面對的,我們也暫不一一列舉。


所以,問題的焦點與本質是相同的,同樣是哲學學術探討的第一哲學問題,認識論與方法論的問題:真正的佛教是什麼?如來藏一名所指的到底是什麼?如來藏的不生不滅,在神學上與其他宗教所說上帝(阿拉)永恆存在的說法有何同、異?一神教的修行者能否實證上帝(造物者)的存在與所在?能否經由他人同樣而一再的證實上帝的永恆性?實證上帝的存在以後是否可以時時都看得見祂而與祂互動?我們能夠認識而指稱如來藏是什麼嗎?研究如來藏該用什麼樣的方法?但是更廣泛的哲學問題是:東西方哲學探討的問題本質到底是同、是異?如果問題的本質相同,最終的真理應該相同嗎?生命的真實面貌(生命的根源)到底是什麼?哲學學說若非可以客觀驗證而純粹只是推論出來的思想,是否有其存在之價值?什麼方法才能夠正確的探討與驗證宇宙、生命的真相?從台灣、日本佛教事件所關心的議題,顯現佛教的脈動與全球新興宗教的蓬勃發展,都在同一的脈動中;然而,我們只專注於佛教教義及宇宙、生命本源的探討,原則上不會關心事相上的問題。


因緣確實是如此奇妙而令人難以預料地發展著;我們知道佛教的真實內涵已在全世界凋零的實際情形,但是我們一直沒有任何野心想要如何的發展;我們只是同情海峽兩岸廣大的佛教徒渴求實證大乘見道與解脫而不可得。但是台灣佛教界的四大團體:法鼓山、中台山、佛光山與慈濟,幾乎囊括全台灣佛教界的資源,而且幾乎都是宗奉釋印順沒有如來藏可以實證的生滅法緣起性空的六識論錯誤主張。不幸的是這種主張十年來已明顯影響大陸地區的佛教界了,中國傳統佛教已經名存實亡了。今日大乘佛教界被釋印順的大量著作所蒙蔽,我們只想盡我們微薄的力量,努力幫助大乘法中的佛教徒實證如來藏而進入大乘見道位中,同時獲得南傳佛法解脫道的實證。在被請求而隨順因緣進入佛學學術領域的情形下,期望我們在台灣的努力,同時也可以有助於全世界關心佛教的學術界朋友與信徒們,開始瞭解實證如來藏的理論與方法,重現佛世時大乘佛教妙法的真實面貌;不久的未來,我們也將會逐步具體的重現佛世時大乘佛教的菩薩僧團──如同在家相的文殊、普賢與出家相的彌勒、持世一樣的出家人,和合共住於正覺寺中長期專心的弘法利眾。


進入佛學學術界與開辦學報,其實並不存在著必然的關係。身為實證如來藏的佛弟子,我們只單純想要在台灣為佛弟子的實證如來藏正法,為大眾能確實獲得大乘見道的功德而尋找發聲的管道;藉以救回邪見中的佛弟子,並回應釋昭慧進入學術界辯論的邀請,進而能與全世界佛學學術界溝通。但是本會中許多從事學術研究的專業人士評估後,認為台灣現存的佛學學術界幾乎都是被釋印順為首的學派所掌控,都是主張沒有如來藏可實證的無因唯緣論者的緣起性空觀,而不是如同佛陀一般以如來藏為中心的有因有緣論的緣起性空觀;根據以往的經驗觀察,在台灣尋找發聲的管道將可能(事實上也已經)面臨不公平的刁難與封殺,因此主張有如來藏可以實證者,在台灣佛學學術界中根本沒有任何發聲的機會。我們身為追求真相的宗教信仰者,很難想像在以追求真理為目標的佛學學術界,竟然也會發生不公平、不理性、不想追求真理的情況,確實令人難以置信。然而,我們秉持佛教徒的熱誠,對未來的台灣佛學學術界仍然抱持著樂觀的看法:如果我們舉證至教量的經典加以清楚的說明,也許本於學術界追求真理的高貴情操,可能將來會有不同的結果吧!而且我們若還沒有試著作作看,則似乎不應該先行妄下台灣佛學學術界無藥可救的論斷。


於是,本會會員蔡禮政先生曾以〈《阿含經》對存有的定義〉一文(註:請見本學報,頁23-48;英文版,頁209-240),舉證《阿含經》中確實有經文明確表達有如來藏常住而且可以實證的聖教;除了論證「實證如來藏是確實可能的」之外,並且探討西方哲學二千餘年來對於存有論(Ontology)中Being的定義,在《阿含經》中釋迦牟尼佛是採用實證的方法加以定義,同時論述其中的種種差別。由於可能發生的不公平情況,蔡先生在投稿時審慎的選擇了中華佛學研究所,對於中華佛學研究所自稱為台灣最具佛學學術水準而一向聲明:「本刊以嚴謹的態度與開放的心胸,兼容並蓄各方論點。」認為應該可以獲得理性的對待及公平的發表機會,因此投稿於《中華佛學研究》期刊。


令人擔心而遺憾的情況果真發生了,中華佛學研究所竟然以極不符合學術審查標準的觀點而認為蔡先生「許多主張違背大家公認的看法」。(註:請見本學報,頁139-144〈作者回應書〉之審查意見引文;英文版,頁241-247)違背了他們高談的「開放的心胸」及「兼容並蓄各方論點」的理想。就自由開放的學術界而言,專制體制下的思想檢查式的論文審查意見,應該是不可能會發生的;但事實卻真實的發生在眼前,而且完全不提及「什麼樣的主張違反什麼樣的共識」的具體理由。作者面對這樣的審查結果,在據理力爭下,中華佛學研究所自知理屈而同意重新審查。其實,論文中作者舉證《雜阿經》第37經(Puppha, S.22: 94),經文開始便述明前提:「我(佛陀)不與世間諍,世間與我諍。」接著說明前半句,世間智者認為:世間五陰法無常、苦、變易為有,世間五陰法常、恆、不變易為無。這樣的主張佛陀不與世間諍。但是,什麼是前提中後半句的世間與我諍呢?很明顯的,經文語意上主張:佛陀不是世間智者,而是出世間智者,這已意味出世間法──如來藏──必然是常、恆、不變易,也就是世間智者與出世間智者佛陀諍論的法。這已顯示實證如來藏者與未實證如來藏者間極大的差別,實證如來藏者都能輕易的讀出佛陀開示的真正意思,未實證如來藏者則讀後仍然堅持說四阿含中佛陀沒有說如來藏的存在。所以,雜阿含經文中佛陀接著斥責:未實證如來藏者看不見佛陀為他顯示的如來藏理,說這樣的人是瞎了他的眼睛,連佛陀自己也拿他無可奈何。所以,實證所得的智慧確實是正確解讀經文關鍵的先決條件,正好證明實證方法在佛教領域的重要性,雖然佛學學術界與哲學界長久以來一直忽視實證方法的重要性,由此而無人能實證如來藏,因此就無法發起般若智慧而不能了知實相。蔡先生舉出這段經文,已經說明佛陀是以真我常住不滅作為蘊等諸法緣起性空的大前提,但因印順派凡夫眾口鑠金數十年而習以為常,導致四大山頭不肯承認佛陀是八識論者;然而卻仍有極多佛弟子及學術界人士認為佛陀確實是八識論者,是故中華佛研所認為蔡先生「許多主張違背大家公認的看法」,其實是有疑義的。並且,現代正覺同修會中仍有許多人已經實證如來藏,並且年年有人一再的重複實證;而中華佛研所認為佛陀不是八識論者,是否意在變相指責說:佛陀的智慧不如現代的正覺同修會中的同修們,所以只能了知識陰等六個識,尚無法證得第八識如來藏。然而四阿含中的記載史實,卻不是如他們所說一般。


因此,大乘佛教及經典中的種種所說,都是以如來藏的實證為核心;二乘佛教的實證,依四阿含所顯示的史實,則是以相信有如來藏常住不滅,使無餘涅槃成為真實、常住不變,而不落入斷滅境界,作為中心思想;並不是只有我們有此主張,而是佛教從釋迦牟尼佛創教以來就一直都是以如來藏為核心,初轉法輪時就已經如是,故在《阿含經》中仍然處處記載著這樣的實例,平實已在《阿含正義》共七輯書中明確的舉證《阿含經》中是如何一再開示這個正理了;此外,不僅止北傳的大乘佛教與四大部阿含如此記載,南傳的小乘佛教經典也是如此記載,才會有愛阿賴耶、樂阿賴耶、欣阿賴耶、喜阿賴耶、窮生死蘊等記載。不單過去的中國傳統佛教如此主張,當代許多卓有學識的佛學研究者也有類似的觀點。相反的,無有如來藏的緣起性空之斷滅本質六識論主張,是悖離佛陀有因有緣論而成為無因唯緣論,這其實只是近百年來少數日本佛學學術界的聲音,透過近代中國的大陸、台灣一些過分盲從於西方神學學術方法論的僧侶與學者,例如中國內學院的歐陽竟無與呂澂、台灣福嚴佛學院的釋印順及其追隨者,在中國文化大革命後的佛學蕭條背景下,以及台灣傳統佛教界對釋印順的極度包容中,使得這一股缺乏實證並且缺乏理性論證的聲音,過度的渲染與放大,漸有取代傳統佛教八識論正法的趨勢,令此錯誤看法能由日本傳向台灣與大陸,終於能在台灣由印順派壟斷佛學學術界的發聲管道。所以,中華佛學研究所基於釋印順的六識論而作下如此簡單而獨斷的一句審查意見,便將整體佛教界以及學術界長久以來對於如來藏正法的認識,加以完全推翻與否定;獨斷地否定《阿含經》中種種論說如來藏的文獻證據,而《阿含經》正是最可靠、最早期的文獻證據,他們口說文獻學研讀為重要根據,卻在作為上反其道而行。這樣的審查意見與中華佛學研究所宣稱「嚴謹的態度與開放的心胸,兼容並蓄各方論點」的承諾,是完全違背而令人遺憾的。


第二次的審查意見出來後,我們發現其審查標準不但充滿學術偏見,更充滿了宗教偏見;完全是根據釋印順一派創見的無因唯緣論學說,將台灣許多佛教寺院仍受持的傳統宗教觀點、學術觀點完全排除;也完全不參考全球佛學學術論著的看法,只狹隘地採取台灣釋印順一派的觀點;連學術界中重要的實證主義學派及詮釋學的方法,都完全排除,要求只能採用文獻學的對讀方法。更有甚者,主張採用文獻學的方法時卻對經典中確實有實證解脫者的文獻記錄完全否定,否定佛教中實證的可能性,這正是十足的學術偏見與宗教偏見。譬如,論文作者舉證經文所說有如來藏常住,審查者卻認為「如來是常等十四難是無記的」,偏執的推翻而不肯加以討論,否定討論事實真相的正當性。他們無視於北傳《阿含經》中對此觀點種種討論所顯示並非全然屬於無記性的事實;在南傳的《尼柯耶》以及北傳的《阿含經》,雖然也有佛陀回答提問者說是無記的記載,但是同時也記載著這樣的事實:由於提問者只知道五陰而不曾實證如來藏,或者尚未斷除我見而仍然處在凡夫位中,為其回答及解說涅槃本際的如來藏,顯然都無所利益,所以不予回答,故說為無記。同時也記載:「四聖諦為如,為不離如、不異如,是故名為聖諦。」(註:相應部Puppha, S.56: 20、27;雜阿含417經)說明解脫道也是依如來藏而建立,是如,不是滅盡五陰之後無如來藏獨存而成為斷滅空,因此中華佛學研究所實質審查時的立論基準是偏差不全的。


印順學派否定如來藏以後,導致他們所說的二乘涅槃無法避免成為斷滅空,於是不得不重新建立一個妄想施設而永遠無法實證的滅相真如,作為不是斷滅空的施設而永遠無法實證,由無法實證故而成為純屬名言的戲論。經中說,對此類人,在他們知見嚴重欠缺的狀況下,為其解說本識如來藏的是否存在,是無意義的;應該先設法使他們斷除我見而非先為他們解說如來藏的存在與否,故說是無記──不加以記論;但是對於菩薩及實證涅槃的阿羅漢們,這就絕對不是無記,反而是促使佛陀以更多篇幅來加以說明的極重要課題,因為第二、三轉法輪所說的法義全都是在探討這個本識如來藏是否實有及其作用的真相;所以佛陀也在四阿含中不厭其詳,以極大篇幅為阿羅漢們說明無餘涅槃中不是斷滅空,而是如、清涼、真實、寂靜、常住不變。是故若提問者未具備如來藏存在的見解,根本沒有討論任何有關三乘佛法的資格,當然要對提問者說是無記;但中華佛研所的審查人員顯然是不曾讀過四阿含中如是記載,或是讀過而不能理解佛陀的意旨,或是基於偏見執著而故意加以推翻。很顯然的,就文獻學的方法而論,對於文獻的證據應該同等看待,文獻中的每一句話都應該具有同樣的效力,除非已被如實的證明有偽。這是採用文獻學研究方法的任何一位學者所必須具備的基本素養。如果沒有這樣的認知,我們很難想像此學者的研究成果會有何可靠度,更不用說以這樣偏頗的態度來審查論文時會有任何的公正性了。以上的立論都有最古、最正確的文獻學上的根據,有興趣的讀者可以參考本刊中〈《阿含經》十四難有記無記之再議〉一文中詳細的舉證與論述。


文獻學的研究方法有必須遵循的原則,才能夠說是正確的使用方法。如果違反應該遵守的原則,那麼學術研究將會成為預設立場而非追求真理的一場鬧劇。同樣的,批判的方法是不是也須要遵循某些原則,才能稱為理性的批判;如果理性的批判是學術界希望獲得的成果之一,如果只有理性的批判才不稱做鬧劇的話。從方法學來描述佛教時(例如:以批判為方法來研究佛教,就是「批判佛教」的話),那麼真正的佛教應該稱為實證佛教,不應該用其他的方法稱之。因為有資格對佛教法義加以批判的人,必須是確實理解佛教法義內容的人;然而確實理解三乘佛教法義的人,一定是實證如來藏及聲聞解脫道內容的人,不是只作經文訓詁的人;所以,能批判佛教的人只有一種,就是實證經文所說內涵的人。


要認識真正的佛教,只有實證的方法與確實履踐,別無他途,而這種方法是人類認識涅槃、認識實相的基礎。譬如如何認識杯子中水的滋味與溫度呢?再多的語言、文字與說明,都沒有辦法清楚完整地指稱杯子中的水味或溫度;只有親自喝了杯中的水,才能夠說明那杯水的滋味,才能知道要採用什麼屬性可以客觀的描述那杯水的味道或溫度。所以中國古諺說:「如人飲水,冷暖自知。」即是說明實證方法的重要性。同樣的,一切有情無始劫來從未認識如來藏;因為一切有情無始劫來只認識生滅變異的法──蘊處界,而且總是錯誤的認定為常;對於不生不滅而永恆的如來藏從不認識,乃至大阿羅漢在聽聞之後,多數認為是只能猜測與想像的法;絕大多數的人們甚至認為根本不可能親自驗證──自認為窮其一生都無法開悟。所以,實證是認識如來藏的唯一方法,實證如來藏者才是能評論大乘佛教法義的人。


如來藏確實是可以親證的,在2007年十月的今天,我們已經有三百多名親證者證得如來藏,分佈於台灣各地,也有極少數在中國及美國西岸;而且正以每年大約六十餘位會員親證如來藏的速度在逐漸增加中。本會中證悟如來藏的會員由於實證而找到生命的本來面目,親證本來自性清淨涅槃,因此對於南北傳經典的佛語開示能夠真正瞭解,不會產生誤解。對於如來藏的認識,不再只是猜測或是想像而已,而是可以現前驗證如來藏的存在,並且能夠觀察體驗其種種體性。對於實證如來藏的人來說,絕對不會產生認知上的錯誤與方法學上的錯誤,因為這是我們親自走過來的道路,如此對於佛教的方法學及解脫與實相才能夠真正的認識。所以,實證的方法才是認識佛教唯一的正確方法。至於,詳細實證的步驟與程序,此處略而不論。


這些都是佛學學術研究方法論中極為重要的適用問題,而這樣背離方法論的事件已經在台灣及日本發生了,已經成為佛學研究者須嚴肅面對的問題了。我們將〈《阿含經》對存有之定義〉的本文以及作者對第二次審查意見的回應〈作者回應書(二)〉刊載出來,並且翻譯成英文(請見本學報,頁145-168;英文版,頁249-280。),對於中華佛研所審查意見中主要的錯誤,提出符合南北傳《阿含經》聖典義理的申辯。而且這些往來函件中,也已顯示佛學中部分重要的內涵,值得佛學界重視;所以本刊認為應該一併刊出,也就是同時將這些佛學學術研究方法上的根本問題呈現出來,讓關心此議題的學者一起來為學術界提供寶貴的意見。


當然,我們認為台灣的佛學學術界應仍有公正的學術研究機構,但是這些機構普遍都限制必須具有教職的學者才具有發言權。也就是說,只有從事教職的學術研究者才能對佛學具有發言權,而身為實踐佛學的實證者則不具有發言權。這就好像台灣不識字的廣欽老和尚雖是佛教公認的證悟者,但是他在佛學學術界是不具有發言權的;他只能是被研究的對象而不具有自我詮釋的發言權;假使他的實證內容被研究錯了,也不能在學術界為自己發言。試想:一位佛教聖者對於佛學的詮釋比較能夠代表真正的佛教?或是學術研究者的詮釋比較能夠代表?當兩者的詮釋有所差異時。很顯然的,前者才具有能夠令人瞭解真正佛學意涵的能力,而後者只是表達意象中的佛學而非真正的佛學意涵。這種荒謬現象就像是,自學成就的偉大哲學家蘇格拉底如果活在現代的話,他在哲學學術界仍然不具有任何發言權。世界的佛學學術界已經有人在反省與改進這樣的矛盾了,可是台灣的佛學學術界尚未見有如此的省思。


我們在此呼籲佛學學術界,應該以追求真理作為核心價值來思考:怎樣的學術制度有利於真理的發現?是否只有佛學學術研究的學者才可能發掘真理而實踐者反而不能?是否真修實證者更有可能發掘佛學真理?佛學學術研究的目的是否在於發掘真理?若遇到更合理的說法時,是否應該捨棄原有錯誤的見解而接受自己所無法推翻、無法如理質疑的見解?或是繼續堅持自己原有粗淺的見解而暫時保有佛學界虛偽不實的聲譽?怎樣的論文審查標準能夠有助於客觀、有效的探求真理?實證的方法是否應該被排除於學術研究之外?我們也期待學術界審慎考察本學報作者們所提出的觀點是否有助於佛學真理的追尋,而非專注於辯證中的言語火花。《雜阿含》923經(Kesi, 增支部, A. IV 111)說佛陀調御丈夫如同調馬有三種法:柔軟、粗澀、柔軟粗澀。實證如來藏者對於佛學學術界的辯證,是基於實證者的本質而說的,必然也是柔軟與粗澀兼而有之,也必然是堅持真相與正義的;這一點,本刊期待佛學研究者,特別是佛教界人士參與佛學學術者,應該嚴肅思考與認知:1.如果未能認知研究方法應用上的限制,也未遵循應有的實驗準則,純憑文字推敲所得到之觀點而錯誤的引導讀者偏離法界真相,是違反學術界追求真與善的終極目標。2.不應要求本刊約束實證者考慮錯說佛法者原有的名聞利養,改以鄉愿的和事佬心態寫作佛學學術論文,請認同本刊依學術研究者追求真相正理的觀點,對強詞奪理者加以理性而如理作意的論辯,認同本刊考量學佛人利益而不鄉愿的追求真理精神。敬請學術界能夠審慎考量此二觀點。


面對目前台灣佛學學術界被台灣佛教四大山頭壟斷,而且不肯如理正視他人所說是否確有正理,卻又無法給與合理解釋的台灣佛學學術界的鄉愿、和事佬環境,我們認知到:如果我們不自己創辦學報,那麼釋迦牟尼佛創教而一脈相傳實證法界實相如來藏的正法聲音,將失去在佛學學術界發聲的機會,也將失去利益學術界人士的機會。身為當代廣大佛教界人士中實證如來藏的唯一團體,在釋昭慧的公開邀請下進入學術界,我們除了義無反顧的創立本學報爭取發言權,以回應釋昭慧的邀請以外,我們也願意肩負起重振傳統佛教如來藏正法的歷史使命。


在宗教偏見方面,中華佛研所否定實證的可能性,令人十分驚訝;因為法鼓山的釋聖嚴曾經公開宣稱已印證十餘位弟子明心見性,也就是公開宣說他們都已明心而實證如來藏了,這是極為矛盾而令人困惑的作法。長久以來,法鼓山宣稱已經明心(證悟如來藏),我們則質疑法鼓山的證悟內容其實仍是第六意識而非禪宗所證悟的第八識如來藏,並寫在公案拈提書中提出辨正;但是至少對於實證如來藏的可能性,應該是彼此都有共識的。本刊佛學論文的作者也因此而困惑著:法鼓山雖是宣稱實證如來藏者,難道並不參與研究所的佛學研究,因此產生了致使中華佛研所否定實證如來藏的可能性?由於事實上有這種可能性,所以論文作者將論文及審查意見郵寄給宣稱已明心(實證如來藏)的釋聖嚴,請求澄清其立場。結果釋聖嚴竟然同意中華佛研所否定實證如來藏可能性的立場,那麼釋聖嚴不是同時也否定了自己與其他十餘位弟子明心(實證如來藏)的可能性嗎?而他們卻已宣稱證悟如來藏而明心了,這是極端自相矛盾的作法。如果法鼓山釋聖嚴宣稱已明心實證如來藏,我們也舉證出佛教在北傳《阿含經》中(其實南傳《尼柯耶》也已同樣的證明這個道理),記載著實證如來藏的明確教示;可是屬於法鼓山一脈的中華佛學研究所卻是否定實證如來藏的可能性,而釋聖嚴回函中也明確表明認同中華佛研所否定實證如來藏的立場。這種只允許自己主張實證如來藏,卻不許他人主張如來藏可以實證,又認同轄下單位否定自己實證之可能性的作法,豈不是極為嚴重的宗教偏見與歧視?正理既受不合理封殺而無發聲的管道,我們只能成立正覺教育基金會,自己辛苦地發行學報來宣示正理,以供佛學學術界共同檢視與討論;也因此,本學報編輯群對於法鼓山釋聖嚴違反自身禪學思想、違背創辦中華佛研所的理念,在編輯序言中作了簡要的評論,向讀者忠實地呈現台灣佛學學術研究界的真實環境,留下此一記錄,作為佛教歷史的見證,也藉此說明本學報創刊的因緣與使命。


法鼓山釋聖嚴對於如來藏的實證內容,在距離他公開印證十二位弟子明心不久的時間裡,又出現另一種說法,登載於網站中:「真空就是如來藏,『如來藏』是一個假名,沒有一個真正的東西叫如來藏。」(註:引自法鼓山全球資訊網首頁>佛學教育>佛學教室,網址:http://oldweb.ddm.org.tw/index. asp,2007/03/21擷取[編註:2007/11/20前述文章在該網站中已被刪除])這意謂釋聖嚴是以無因唯緣論的斷滅空作為如來藏,或以意識作為如來藏。但他在同一段文字中又說:「真空而隨緣,從佛的立場說,這隨緣就是妙有。所以如來藏非第一因,不是梵我。能實證如來藏的真空,就是從如來藏緣起觀而得解脫。」這一段文字的語意是嚴重自相矛盾的說法,而且佛陀也不是這樣的說法,卻被他栽贓為佛陀所說,實質上已是謗佛的行為。如釋聖嚴所說,如來藏是能隨緣而且是妙有,顯然就不是緣起性空的空無,因為空無之空不可能隨緣。凡是能隨緣的法一定是有實法在運作或回應,絕非只有假名施設的名言,名言不可能隨緣運作或回應。此外,釋聖嚴既說有「如來藏緣起觀」,從語意學上來看,顯然是有實法如來藏的存在及運作,才能有如來藏隨緣而生起名色等諸法,才能有如來藏能夠隨緣而應、隨緣而生諸法的「緣起性」可供觀察,他在這句話中已經明示如來藏是實有法,卻在前幾句中否定了如來藏的實有,這是很典型的自相矛盾,不符合學術界嚴謹立論的常規。


並且前後三轉法輪的聖教中,也都說如來藏(在阿含中說為入胎而住的識)入胎、住胎,才能出生名色(詳見拙著《阿含正義》第二輯,正智出版社(台北),2007/10,初版四刷,頁355)。意識不能入胎而住,要由本識入胎、住胎出生了五色根以後,意識才能出生及存在,故知入胎、住胎的識是本識如來藏,證明如來藏本識是實有法;故釋聖嚴所說緣起性空的斷滅空無或「如來藏名言」,不可以判為真空妙有;因為全部蘊處界緣起性空的結果必然是斷滅空,不可能是妙有空性。若反過來認定蘊處界中的某一部分是常住不壞法,則又成為常見外道而非已斷我見者。由這事實顯示了釋聖嚴的居心:想要使人認定他是實證如來藏的聖者,又想要避免別人探究他是否已經實證如來藏,藉此免除廣大弟子們要求他傳授如來藏實證的法門,迴避無法教人實證如來藏的窘境。這是言行不一的行為,已悖離學術界不許說謊的常規,更違犯比丘不許說謊的戒律;不幸的是,釋聖嚴是名聞於大乘地區的禪宗弘法者,也是佛學學術界的名人及中華佛研所的負責人。


處在這樣特殊的環境中,本學報有些不得不為的特殊作法,必須加以說明。本期學報中,某些作者仍然在台灣的佛學學術界中努力創作以取得學位資格與地位,但是他們的真正看法與立場總是要刻意的隱瞞,以免一再遭遇不公平、不合理的對待而喪失取得學術地位的機會。因為:這類不公平的氛圍已經愈來愈明顯而越發嚴重了。以往,釋印順學派在台灣傳統佛教界極為寬厚的容忍下成長茁壯,甚至發展到現在幾乎囊括台灣所有的佛學學術界資源;但是他們被長期寬容以後,對於其他不同的意見卻不能容忍,也不肯正視其合「法」及合理性,而這些不同意見者所說,又是他們所不懂而無力回應的學術真理。由於作者們誠懇的要求,以及我們查證台灣佛學學術界確實有這樣的狀況,所以本學報同意作者們暫不遵循學術界慣例,同意部分人士採用筆名來發表論文,以確保作者自由的發言權;但是作者仍然必須對本學報告知真實姓名,以負起論文作者應負的責任。本學報將會負起監督之責,當確認作者已被解除不公平待遇時,將會適時公佈作者的真實姓名,向讀者及佛學學術界負責。當然,本學報也必須負起查證作者真實身分的責任,同時也扮演學術言論自由平衡者的角色而提供這個追求學術真理的管道,並且建立現代佛學論述的典範:凡是嚴格恪守論藏三量標準的作品,皆是本刊歡迎的對象;凡是曾經投稿於採用不公平手段的佛學學術單位的研究學者投稿到本學報來,只要符合三量的審查標準,即使是不同見解的雙方,在本學報都可以有平等發言的機會。也讓他們認知到:採用壓制學術言論自由的手段,在現代的台灣學術界並不能阻止學者對於學術自由的追求與發聲。我們期望如此的作為,能夠讓台灣的佛學學術界,早日回復到言論自由與追求真理的終極目標。


最後,感謝作者們的熱心投稿,以及編輯委員們、基金會中所有相關的工作同仁長久以來的辛苦,讓本學報終於能夠出刊。這也代表台灣佛學學術界即將進入新的階段,讓台灣的佛學研究與世界的佛學研究接軌而一起脈動,提升中國佛教及佛學學術界的品質,並引領佛教界及佛學學術界人士共同沐浴在釋迦牟尼佛拈花微笑的慈暉中!

財團法人 正覺教育基金會

董事長 蕭平實 謹識

公元二○○七年十月十日



Inaugural Statement


The publication of the Journal of True Enlightenment is not just a new journal in the Buddhist academia; it is an inevitable responsibility for us, as the Buddha's followers who actually realize Tathagatagarbha, to worldwide propagate the true Buddha dharma to both the Buddhist academia and the philosophical society. For the propagation of Buddhism from the very beginning, one branch, called Theravada Buddhism, spread southward from India to Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, etc., mainly in southeast Asia; another branch, called Mahayana (Great-vehicle) Buddhism, spread northward to China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, and has gone through flourishing and declining for more than two thousand and five hundred years. Nowadays in India, the true orthodox Buddhism has been completely extinguished with only a few superficial appearances left, and the substance has been replaced by the non-Buddhist tantrism of couple-practice. About Theravada Buddhism, although it can still keep the appearance of sound-hearer Buddhism and is not defiled by the non-Buddhist tantrism, it is rare to find the saints who can personally realize the sound-hearer liberation now. As for Mahayana Buddhism, there are only Buddhist rituals and the mind-consciousness dharma now in China, which has just recovered from the ravage of the Cultural Revolution. In both Japan and Korea, only the appearance of Buddhist rituals but not practice remains and there is no even the mind-consciousness practice like in China. Therefore the practitioners in China, Japan and Korea cannot touch the real content of the practice and realization to fulfill the Buddhahood way of the great-vehicle Buddhism. Owing to the recent spreading of both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism to the global areas like Europe, America and Australia, Westerners have understood Buddhism for only more than two hundred years through both the Japanese Buddhist researchers, who did not actually realize Tathagatagarbha but published papers with conceptual imagination, and the Tibetan tantric couple-practice practitioners, who completely distorted the real Buddhism and were in fact Lamaists but not Buddhists at all. For the future continuation of Buddhism, only Taiwanese Buddhism, which stands for the Chinese traditional Buddhism, has still a slight hope of developing the true Buddhism. Therefore, the everlasting of the true Buddha dharma is the most significant meaning and mission for the publication of the Journal of True Enlightenment.


However, it is difficult for us to imagine in advance the conditions to establish the True Enlightenment Education Foundation and publish the Journal of True Enlightenment. Since the twentieth century, most resources of the Taiwanese Buddhist society have been dominated by the four Buddhist groups: Dharma Drum Mountain, Chung Tai Mountain, Fo Guang Shan, and Tzu Chi. But all four groups with action oppose the true Tathagatagarbha dharma, which is advocated by the Chinese traditional Buddhism and our foundation. The reason why they oppose us is that the content of the Tathagatagarbha dharma propagated by the Buddhist True Enlightenment Practitioners Association, as the main benefactor of True Enlightenment Education Foundation, and me, as the secondary benefactor of it, aims to help people personally realize the true reality of the eighth consciousness, Tathagatagarbha, which is taught in the consciousness-only theory of the orthodox Buddhism. This Tathagatagarbha dharma provides a contrast to the dharma those four groups propagate, which falls into the conscious state and makes no difference with the non-Buddhist permanence view. The contrast also incidentally reflects the fact that their teachings do not conform to the tradition of "verifying the mind with mind" in the Zen School and the ultimate teachings of the three-vehicle sutras in the Doctrinal School. Nevertheless, establishing the True Enlightenment Education Foundation and entering the Buddhist academia were not our original intention to spread the Buddha dharma. It is just like that we simply concentrated on the practice and propagation of the Tathagatagarbha dharma and did not want to criticize any Buddhist group over ten years ago. But when the Buddhists read the publications of the True Enlightenment Practitioners Association or the True Wisdom Publishing Co., which are based on the evidence of Buddhist sutras and the personal realization of Tathagatagarbha, they will understand the true dharma more in depth, and unavoidably discover, by comparison, those four groups' misunderstandings on the Buddha dharma. Due to the fear that their followers may leave gradually, all four groups take many actions in private to restrain their followers from reading our books, deprive them of the right to obtain the true dharma, and let them lose the freedom of both understanding and choice. In current Taiwan where the democracy and freedom have been promoted a lot, it is really regretful that the behavior of violating religious freedom still exists. The reason why they behave so we think is the consideration of losing their reputation, wealth and followers. On the other hand, since starting to spread the dharma, we have never been concerned about any personal reputation, wealth or followers, and have not gotten any worldly benefit either. Without aspiring to personal reputation, wealth or followers, we just elaborate the true dharma against the false ones according to conditions, rescue the misguided learners, and thus of course displease those masters with wrong teachings. After our diligent endeavor for over ten years, what we have obtained is only our selfless contributions, and none of us have gotten any personal benefit from the society.


In order to forbid their followers to read our books, all these four groups, Dharma Drum Mountain, Chung Tai Mountain, Fo Guang Shan, and Tzu Chi, rebuff, distort and slander the true Tathagatagarbha dharma in private. We are thus forced to passively respond to their anti-freedom actions by publishing more books to clarify their irrational distortion and defamation of the personal realization of Tathagatagarbha. However, we criticize the false views of Shi Yinshun, whom all four groups believe in and highly praise, actively rather than respond passively; it is because all his publications of forty-one books are based on the false views of the six-consciousness theory of Tibetan Secret Schools, which are originated from the ancient Indian non-Buddhist tantrism and are in fact Lamaism that seizes the position of Buddhism now but are not real Buddhism. Yinshun completely distorted and slandered the Chinese traditional Buddhist thought, which emphasizes on the personally realizable Tathagatagarbha dharma, as the thought of Brahma-self or Divine-self. Yinshun's books provide a theoretical base against the true Tathagatagarbha dharma for all four groups and let them spread the conscious permanence view based on it. Although Yinshun's thoughts are full of mistakes and hence cannot avoid being extensively corrected by the realizers according to doctrine or inference and being unable to respond their criticism at all, these four groups never want to depart from Yinshun's conscious permanence view. The Chinese traditional Buddhism, which is the personally realizable Tathagatagarbha dharma, is the kernel of the true original Buddhist doctrine and the main value for the existence of global three-vehicle Buddhism; it is not only the unique dependency for the practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism to see the way and enter the stage of cultivating the way, but also the only support for the practitioners of Theravada Buddhism to avoid falling into the state of complete extinction in nirvanic liberation. However, some monks and nuns of Yinshun School, who have operated for several decades and now occupy important positions in the Taiwanese Buddhist society, have severely destroyed the Buddhist core doctrine of Tathagatagarbha for many years before the establishment of the Buddhist True Enlightenment Practitioners Association. Due to this reason, our association, after endeavoring for over ten years, cannot get any public support from other Buddhist groups and still solely faces these Buddhist monks, nuns and their followers who wrongly claim, "Buddha Sakyamuni did not personally realize the eighth consciousness, Tathagatagarbha." After spreading for several decades, the false view of Yinshun School's six-consciousness theory is very influential now. It results in that, in Taiwan, the practitioners of Theravada Buddhism cannot eliminate their self-views and the practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism cannot personally realize Tathagatagarbha, having no chance to see the way of both the great and small vehicles. None can deny that Yinshun and his followers are the persons who badly destroy the Buddha dharma. Therefore, the objective of establishing the True Enlightenment Education Foundation and the unavoidable mission of the realized Buddha's followers are to transmit the information of "Teaching sentient beings to personally realize Tathagatagarbha is the unique reason that Buddha Sakyamuni appeared in the world," to the whole world, and further into the Buddhist academia under Shi Zhaohui's invitation.


As the only Buddhist group that personally realizes Tathagatagarbha nowadays in the whole world, we cannot get away from the fact that very few people understand the kernel of Buddhism should be based on the realization of Tathagatagarbha, and that many Buddhist learners lose the chances of personal realization and seeing-the-way. At the same time, we must do something on the fact that the base of Taiwanese Buddhism has been completely replaced, negated and destroyed by the non-Buddhist permanence views of Yinshun School, all four groups, and Lamaism. Hence in recent years, we have changed our attitude, with the hope of rescuing the misguided learners, from passive responding to active analyzing and discoursing on the doctrine against the four groups who have badly destroyed the true Buddha dharma. We also hope all four groups, who have great influential power, can return to the true dharma of realizing Tathagatagarbha of the Chinese traditional Buddhism so as to benefit the existence of Buddhism and the propagation of the true dharma; then those actions will benefit themselves on their future personal realization of Tathagatagarbha as well. This will be the best result to benefit the whole Buddhist society. But from the current fact, all four groups still insist on their false views, do not want to give up their evil thought of the conscious permanence view, and continuously rebuff and slander the true Tathagatagarbha dharma in private. Although we have expressed our kind intention of communication for over ten years, there is no positive response yet.


We have extensively criticized Yinshun's false views, but intentionally did not comment on the error discourses in Shi Zhaohui's books and postponed publicly criticizing her followers' discourses so as to reserve the opportunity for helping her get enlightened in the future. Shi Zhaohui of Buddhist Hong Shi Institute inherits the claims from Shi Yinshun against the realization of Tathagatagarbha, and cannot reply to our detailed criticism, which has been done for several years, on many Yinshun's errors of opposing the realization of Tathagatagarbha at all. She said that Yinshun's teachings could be criticized, but she always threw the books that were mailed from some critics into the wastepaper basket directly. Then, she asked the critics to criticize Yinshun's viewpoints in the Buddhist academia (reference to the tape of The Ethics of Buddhism from the TV channel of Dharma Realm Satellite). It in fact indicates that, in the Buddhist society, she has no wisdom to debate the doctrine completely. She thinks that our discourses, derived from the personal realization of Tathagatagarbha, on the Buddha dharma are from the viewpoints of Buddhist believers, and cannot pass the inspection of the academic viewpoints because the standpoint of religious belief should be removed in academic discussion. In other words, she has given up her standpoint as a Buddhist nun, who should believe in the Buddhist doctrine, and does not want to debate with us on the subject of "the realization of Tathagatagarbha being the unique cause for Buddha Sakyamuni to become a buddha." Although she has lost her standpoint as a Buddhist nun since her inviting us to enter the academia, which does not belong to Buddhism, we, based on the basic etiquette, cannot help but enter the academia with pleasure and debate with her. We sincerely hope she will be able to publish some Buddhist academic papers to prove that Buddha's achievement of Buddhahood did not result from the personal realization of Tathagatagarbha, that the nirvana of the sound-hearer Buddhism is not complete extinction, and that the sound-hearer arhats have realized and attained Buddha's wisdom of the dharma-realm truth after she has denied the eighth consciousness, Tathagatagarbha.


From the global scope, the debate of the Buddha dharma in the Taiwanese Buddhist society may not matter much in the current chaotic world. But from the essence of this event, we can find that the event of the debate on the Buddhist doctrine in Taiwan has the same tempo with the Buddhist events in other countries, or even with other non-Buddhist religious events. That is to say, the focus of both the Taiwanese Buddhist event and the global Buddhist academia is the same in nature. It is even exactly the same core question on exploring the truth of the universe in the global philosophical academia. The current key questions explored in Taiwan are the following: "Although the traditional Buddhism, starting from ancient time in India till nowadays, has claimed the realization of Tathagatagarbha, does Tathagatagarbha really exist? Does the method of personal realization itself possess objectivity, validity, repeated realizability, and the characteristic of being able to be inspected iteratively? Should the Buddhist academia adopt that method? Are the methods often used by the Buddhist academia really precise without any mistake in both practice and theory? Are these methods able to be repeatedly realized and inspected?" Of course there are lots of extended questions but we will not list them all here. Similar questions were brought up in Japan too. For example, Hakamaya Noriaki and Matsumoto Shiro initiated Critical Buddhism and let people reconsider the following: "Is the Tathagatagarbha thought the kernel of Buddhism? Is the critical method with objectivity and validity, and should the academia adopt that method? Can the way they criticize Buddhism be adopted unconditionally in practice?" Similarly, there are lots of relevant questions of Critical Buddhism that both Japanese scholars cannot face and we will not list all here as well.


Therefore, the focus and substance of those questions are the same. Those are all related to the question of the first philosophy that the philosophical academia explores, and the questions of epistemology and methodology like "What is the real Buddhism? What does the name of Tathagatagarbha mean? What are the similarity and difference between the neither-arising-nor- ceasing of Tathagatagarbha and the permanent existence of God (or Allah) in other religions? Can the practitioners of monotheism personally realize the existence of God, the creator of the world, and the place where He stays? Can the same experience on realizing the permanency of God be repeatedly verified by other persons? Can anyone see and interact with God after personally realizing Him? Can we understand and identify the contents of Tathagatagarbha? What methods should be used to research Tathagatagarbha?" But the broader philosophical questions are the following: "Is the substance of the questions explored by both Eastern and Western philosophies the same or different? If the substance is the same, should the final truth be the same? What is the real face (the origin) of life? If a philosophical theory cannot be objectively verified but is just a purely inferred thought, is there any value for its existence? What methods can precisely explore and verify the true reality of the universe and life?" From the concerns of the Buddhist events in both Taiwan and Japan, we can find that the paces of both Buddhism and the vigorous developing global religions have the same tempo. But here we only concentrate on the exploration of both the Buddhist doctrine and the origin of the universe rather than the problems of worldly affairs.


The causes and conditions have been developing so wondrously and incredibly; although we know the true content of Buddhism had faded away in the world, we did not think about how to improve it before. We simply pity those practitioners in both China and Taiwan who aspire to see the way of the great-vehicle and liberation but fail to achieve it. On the other hand, the four Taiwanese Buddhist groups—Dharma Drum Mountain, Chung Tai Mountain, Fo Guang Shan and Tzu Chi—have dominated most of the Buddhist resources in Taiwan, but almost all of them follow Shi Yinshun's false view of the six-consciousness theory, which claims that no Tathagatagarbha can be personally realized and only the view of "the nature of all arising-and-ceasing dependent-arising dharmas being empty" is true. Unfortunately, this kind of claims has influenced the Buddhist society of China for over ten years and the Chinese traditional Buddhism has only the external appearance left now. The truth of the great-vehicle Buddhism has been messed up by Shi Yinshun's many publications. We just want to contribute our effort, although very little, to diligently help the practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism realize Tathagatagarbha so as to enter the stage of seeing-the-way, and at the same time, to help them realize the liberation of Theravada Buddhism as well. By accepting Shi Zhaohui's invitation, we are going to enter the Buddhist academia; we hope our endeavor made in Taiwan can help both academic scholars and Buddha's followers in the world start to understand the theory and methods of realizing Tathagatagarbha so that the real face of the wondrous dharma of the great-vehicle Buddhism during the Buddha's time can reappear. In the near future, we also will actually and gradually rebuild the bodhisattva sangha community of the great-vehicle Buddhism that is similar to the sangha of the Buddha's time—both home-staying bodhisattvas, similar to Manjusri or Samantabhadra, and home-leaving bodhisattvas, similar to Maitreya or Vasudhara, live together over a long period of time in the True Enlightenment Temple to concentrate on spreading the dharma and benefiting the public.


Entering the Buddhist academia and publishing our own journal in fact do not have a necessary relation. As Buddha's followers who have personally realized Tathagatagarbha, we only have a simple thought of looking for a proper channel that could deliver our information to help Buddha's followers realize Tathagatagarbha and obtain the virtue and merit of seeing-the-way. By this way, we can rescue the followers who have wrong views, respond to Shi Zhaohui's invitation of entering the Buddhist academia to debate, and even communicate with the global Buddhist academia. Nevertheless, after evaluating current environment, the academic researchers in our association all conclude that current Taiwanese Buddhist academia is almost dominated by the schools led by Shi Yinshun, who claimed that no Tathagatagarbha can be realized and that the view of the empty nature of dependent-arising is based on the "no-cause-but-condition-only" theory rather than Buddha's cause-and-condition theory centered with Tathagatagarbha. According to our academic researchers' comments, we are likely to face unfair heckling and blocking (in fact, it already happened), and completely have no chance to claim Tathagatagarbha in the Taiwanese Buddhist academia. Being the religious believers who pursue the truth, we could not imagine that the behavior of unfairness, irrationality and unwillingness to pursue the fact could happen in the Taiwanese Buddhist academia, which always claims to pursue the truth. With the Buddhist enthusiasm and the optimistic attitude to the Taiwanese Buddhist academia, we still thought if we could explain clearly and provide enough evidence of the ultimate teachings from the sutras, the academia, based on the noble spirit of pursuing the truth, might change. We should not jump to the conclusion of negating the Taiwanese Buddhist academia before we had a trial.


Therefore, Tsai Lichen, one of our association members, wrote an article entitled The Definition of Being in The Agama Sutras (Refer to pp. 209-240 of this issue of the Journal.) to prove, by citing related sutras, the existence of the ultimate teachings that Tathagatagarbha permanently exists and can be personally realized. In addition to expounding "the possibility of realizing Tathagatagarbha," in his article, Tsai also explored the definition of "being" in ontology of Western philosophy, which has been studied for more than two thousand years, explained that Buddha defined "being" in The Agama Sutras with the method of personal realization, and discussed the differences between both definitions. In order to avoid the possible unfair treatment, Tsai carefully considered and decided to submit his article to the journal of Chung-Hwa Buddhist Studies because it declares itself the best in the Taiwanese Buddhist academia and always claims, "We have the conscientious attitude and open mind, and are willing to accept all different viewpoints." He thought with this kind of attitude, that Journal would treat his article rationally and provide a fair opportunity for publication.


Unfortunately, the situation we had worried about really happened. The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies, the publisher of the Chung-Hwa Buddhist Studies, commented Tsai's article with the conclusion of "his many claims even violating the viewpoint that the public all agree" (Refer to pp. 241-247 for the Author's Reply.) without further explanation. That conclusion completely conflicts with the academic review criteria, and violates their ideal of "open mind" and "accepting all different viewpoints" as well. The paper review procedure similar to the thought inspection under despotism should not happen in current free and open academia, but it really happened in front of us and there was even no specific reason about "which consensus being violated." Given the unconvinced reviewers' comments, Tsai wrote a reply letter to reviewers. Due to strong evidence in his reply letter, The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies agreed to review his article again. As a matter of fact, Tsai declared his premise in the article by citing the passage from The Kindred Sayings, Sutra 37 (Puppha, Samyutta-nikaya, S.22:94), as follows: "I (Buddha) do not argue with the mundane, but the mundane argue with me." Then Buddha explained the former clause that the mundane thought, "The dharmas of the worldly five aggregates (skandhas) with the impermanent, bitter and changeable characteristics are being; the dharmas of the worldly five aggregates with the permanent, everlasting and unchangeable characteristics are nothingness," but Buddha "did not argue with them." Consequently, what does the latter clause exactly mean about "the mundane arguing with me?" Obviously from semantics, Buddha was not a mundane wise man but a supra-mundane wise man instead; it implied that the supra-mundane dharma—Tathagatagarbha—must be permanent, everlasting and unchangeable and is the argument between the supra-mundane wise man, Buddha, and the mundane wise. This also reflects a tremendous difference between the Tathagatagarbha realizers and non-realizers; all realizers can easily comprehend the real meaning of Buddha's teaching, but the non-realizers, even after reading the statement, still insist that Buddha did not talk about the existence of Tathagatagarbha in The Agama Sutras. Therefore, Buddha concluded in the following statement of the same passage that the persons who did not personally realize Tathagatagarbha could not see the Tathagatagarbha dharma, even Buddha already elaborated it for them; Buddha said those persons were blind and helpless by any means. From the above evidence, we can conclude that the wisdom attained from the personal realization of Tathagatagarbha is the prerequisite to fully understand the meaning of sutras. It also proves the importance of positivist spirit in the Buddhist society. The Buddhist academia and philosophic society have ignored its importance for quite a long time so that no body can personally realize Tathagatagarbha and bring forth prajna wisdom to know the true reality. From the above statement of the sutra, Tsai has explained that Buddha regarded the permanently dwelling and non-ceasing true-self as the main premise for the dependent-arising with empty nature of the aggregates. But because Yinshun and his followers have claimed and gotten used to the wrong theory for several decades, all four groups do not accept Buddha's eight-consciousness theory. Regardless of their wrong thought, many Buddha's followers and academic scholars still admit Buddha's eight-consciousness theory. Therefore, the Institute's statement of Tsai's "many claims even violating the viewpoint that the public all agree" is questionable. In addition, many persons in the True Enlightenment Practitioners Association have personally realized Tathagatagarbha now, and the number of realizers increases every year. The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies claims that Buddha did not say the eight-consciousness theory; it implies they blame that Buddha had less wisdom than the practitioners of our association so that He could only recognize the six consciousnesses of the consciousness-aggregate rather than the eighth consciousness, Tathagatagarbha. Nevertheless, what The Four Agama Sutras record does not state as the Institute's claim.


All teachings in the great-vehicle Buddhism and its sutras regard the personal realization of Tathagatagarbha as the kernel; the personal realization of the two-vehicle Buddhism, according to the historic facts in The Four Agama Sutras, has the central thought of believing in the permanent existence of Tathagatagarbha so that the state of the remainderless nirvana becomes real, permanent and unchangeable, and does not fall into the nihilistic state. It is not just us who claim Tathagatagarbha as the kernel of Buddhism; it has been so since the very beginning when Buddha established Buddhism. Many examples can be easily found in The Agama Sutras; I have cited and elaborated them clearly in my seven volumes of The Correct Meanings of The Agama Sutras. This view was really recorded in both The Four Agama Sutras of Mahayana Buddhism and the Nikaya of Theravada Buddhism, which states the attachment alaya, happiness alaya, delight alaya, joy alaya and exhausting the life-and-death aggregates; not only the Chinese traditional Buddhism claimed it in the past, but also many modern knowledgeable Buddhism researchers have the similar viewpoint. By contrast, the claim of "the six-consciousness theory of dependent-arising being empty," which totally denies the existence of Tathagatagarbha and has the substance of complete extinction, was only initiated by a few Japanese Buddhist scholars in last few centuries, and then exaggerated and enlarged by the contemporary monks, nuns and scholars in Mainland China or Taiwan like Ouyang Jingwu and Lv Zheng of China Interior Institute or Shi Yinshun of Taiwan Fu Yan Buddhist Institute and his followers, who blindly followed the academic methodology of Western theology. Under the background of both the degeneration of Buddhism after the Cultural Revolution in China and the extreme tolerance of Taiwanese traditional Buddhist society for Shi Yinshun, this false viewpoint, which lacked both the personal realization experience and the reasonable inference, was over exaggerated and enlarged to gradually replace the eight-consciousness theory of the tradition Buddhism, propagated from Japan to China and Taiwan, and dominated all the announcing channels of the Taiwanese Buddhist academia finally. Based on Shi Yinshun's six-consciousness theory, The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies simply and arbitrarily made the review comment with a sentence to completely overrule and deny the correct Tathagatagarbha definition, which has been recognized by the whole Buddhist society and academia for more than two thousand years. They peremptorily denied the documented evidence about Tathagatagarbha in The Agama Sutras, which are the most early and reliable documents of Buddhism. They claim that the philological textual contrast is an important base, but behave in the reverse way. This kind of review comments totally violates the commitment of "having the conscientious attitude and open mind, and being willing to accept all different viewpoints" that The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies committed in public. It is really regrettable.


After receiving the second review comments, the author found the review criteria of The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies were full of not only academic but also religious prejudices; these criteria completely followed Shi Yinshun's self-created no-cause-but- condition-only theory and excluded all the other traditional religious or academic viewpoints; they did not refer to the viewpoints of the treatises in the global Buddhist academia either; with totally excluding the important methodologies of positivism and hermeneutics, they parochially adopted the viewpoints of Shi Yinshun School, and requested the author to use only the method of philological textual contrast. Moreover, although requesting the author to use the method of philology, they completely denied the records of the personal realization on liberation in the sutras and the possibility of personal realization in Buddhism. It is exactly the academic and religious prejudice. For example, when the author provided the evidence of the sutras to prove the permanent existence of Tathagatagarbha, the reviewers of the committee argued with the statement of "The fourteen questions of Tathagatagarbha being permanent, etc. are unidentifiable," arbitrarily overturn the author's discourse, and denied the rightfulness of discussing the truth of facts. They completely ignored the fact that the discussion of these questions, as recorded in The Agama Sutras, was not absolutely unidentifiable. In both Nikaya and The Agama Sutras, although there are the records that Buddha answered some questions with no-identification, He explained that because the questioners only recognize the five aggregates but do not personally realize Tathagatagarbha, it is useless to answer or expound the Tathagatagarbha of the nirvanic origin for them; therefore I do not answer. Thus it is called no-identification. The sutras also state, "The four noble truths are suchness; they neither leave suchness nor differ from suchness, and thus are called the noble truths" . (Puppha, Samyutta-nikaya, S.56:20 and 27, and The Kindred Sayings, Sutra 417.) This explains that the liberation way is built based on Tathagatagarbha, and is suchness; it is not the nihilistic emptiness with the state of both the five aggregates' extinction and no Tathagatagarbha left. Therefore, the theoretical base of the actual review of The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies is biased. With denying the existence of Tathagatagarbha, the theory of Shi Yinshun School leads to the situation that the nirvana of the two-vehicles is inevitable to fall into the nihilistic state. In order to get rid of that dilemma, they cannot help but set up an illusion true-suchness as the appearance of extinction, which can never be personally realized and is in fact only a setting name, to avoid others' criticism of nihilism. As stated in the sutras, Buddha said it was meaningless to explain whether Tathagatagarbha exists or not for those people who badly lacked the Buddhist knowledge; He would enable them to eliminate the self-view first by any way rather than expound the existence of Tathagatagarbha; therefore in this situation, it was called no-identification—not identifying the possibility of seeing-the-way. On the other hand, for those bodhisattvas or the arhats who had personally realized nirvana, the same questions were definitely not unidentifiable; instead, they were very important questions and that made Buddha even explain them more deeply; for example, the sutras of both the second and the third round of dharma transmission are all about the truth of this fundamental consciousness, Tathagatagarbha; it was by no means unidentifiable. Therefore in The Four Agama Sutras, Buddha used lots of space to explain to the arhats that the state of nirvana was not nihilistically empty, but steady, cool, real, permanent and unchangeable. For those questioners who did not have the view of the existence of Tathagatagarbha, they were not qualified for any discussion of the three-vehicle Buddha dharma; thus Buddha replied their questions with no-identification. The reviewers of The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies overturned this viewpoint might be due to the reason that they did not read the records of The Agama Sutras, had read but unable to understand them, or purposely denied it with prejudice. It is obvious that, from the methodology of philology, we should treat all documental evidence equally; every sentence should have the same effectiveness unless it is actually proved to be false. This is a basic and necessary attitude for a scholar who adopts the methodology of philology in his research. It is doubtful that a scholar who does not have this attitude can have reliable research results, let alone the fairness to review articles with this kind of prejudicial attitude. All above viewpoints are based on the most ancient and correct philological documents, for your further interest, please refer to A Further Discussion on the Fourteen Questions of Identification in The Agama Sutras in current issue of this Journal for detailed evidence and discourses.


To be a right methodology, the research method of philology must follow some principles. If anyone violates those principles, his academic research is not for pursing the truth but will become a farce with preset standpoint. Similarly, if the academia wants to obtain the fruition of the rational criticism and avoid a farce, the method of criticism should also follow some principles so as to be a reasonable one. Based on the methodology, when criticizing is used as a method to study Buddhism, it is called "Critical Buddhism." With the same rationale, when the personal realization is used as a method to understand Buddhism, it should be called "Positivist Buddhism" rather than other names because the persons who are qualified to criticize the Buddhist doctrine must be those who have personally realized and thoroughly understood the contents of both Tathagatagarbha and sound-hearer liberation described in the sutras. The only way to recognize the real Buddhism is through the positivist method and spirit, But not philological study That is the base of human beings to recognize both nirvana and the true reality. For example, how can we recognize the taste of the water in a cup? There is no way to clearly, correctly and completely describe the taste and temperature of the water through language; the only way to completely recognize it is through drinking it in person. Through this personal realization, then one can clearly, correctly and completely describe the taste of the water, and know how to objectively describe the taste and temperature of it. Therefore there is a Chinese proverb of "Like someone drinking water, only he knows how cold or warm it is," to explain the importance of personal realization. Similarly, most sentient beings have never recognized Tathagatagarbha since the past beginningless eons because they have only perceived the arising-and-ceasing changeable dharmas since then. They never realize Tathagatagarbha, which is everlasting and neither-arising-nor-ceasing, and thus can only speculate or imagine Tathagatagarbha after hearing it. Most people even think it is impossible for them to personally realize it during this life. Hence personal realization is the only way to recognize Tathagatagarbha, and the Tathagatagarbha realizers are those who are qualified to comment It.


Tathagatagarbha is indeed personally realizable. Until this month, October 2007, there are more than three hundred persons in our association, mostly in Taiwan and very few in both China and the west coast of the U.S., who have personally realized Tathagatagarbha. The number of realizers is increasing with the rate of over sixty persons every year. Through personal realization, they have found the origin of life, really verify the inherent, intrinsic and pristine nirvana, and can correctly understand the true meanings of Buddha's teachings in the sutras of both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, rather than through only speculation or imagination. They can, through realization, personally verify the existence of Tathagatagarbha, and observe and experience various substantial natures of It. For those who have personally realized Tathagatagarbha, it is absolutely impossible for them to make the mistake of recognition or methodology because this recognition is exactly what they have walked through in person. By this way they can truly understand the methodology, liberation and the true reality of Buddhism. Therefore, the method of personal realization is the unique and precise way to completely understand Buddhism. As for the detailed steps and procedures for personal realization, we will not discuss them here.


These are very important applicability problems in the methodology of Buddhist academic research, and have been brought up in both Taiwan and Japan already; the Buddhist researchers should seriously face them. For this reason, we publish the article of The Definition of Being in The Agama Sutras by Tsai and his twice reply letters to review comments from the committee of The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies with English version as well. (Refer to pp. 249-280, the Author's Reply (2), which identifies some major errors of the Institute's review comments based on the evidence of The Agama Sutras in both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.) In these letters, some important contents are worthy of attention for the Buddhist academia; therefore we publish them to show these fundamental problems on the methodology of the Buddhist academic research with the hope that the scholars who are interested in this topic can provide their valuable comments.


Although we think there should be some Buddhist academic organizations in Taiwan that still have the spirit of fairness, it is unfair that these organizations generally restrict the qualification of article authors to teaching scholars. That is to say, only the academic researchers can have the voice about Buddhism rather than the real Buddhist practitioners. One example is that the old Monk Guangqin in Taiwan, who is illiterate, is a personal realizer recognized by the Taiwanese Buddhist society, but he could not have any voice in the Buddhist academia. He is a target to be studied rather than a speaker to explain his own realization. If the contents of his personal realization were distorted by any researchers, he could not even speak for himself in the academia under current environment. Based on the fact, will an enlightened Buddhist sage have better explanation on the real Buddhism or an academic researcher? If the explanations between them are different, which one is more reliable? Apparently the former possesses the capability to understand the real meanings of Buddhism, and the latter can only express the imagined Buddhism but not the real one. This ridiculous phenomenon is just like that if Socrates, who learned by himself, lived in current environment, he still could not have any voice in the philosophic academia. This kind of contradiction has been introspected in the global Buddhist academia, but the Taiwanese Buddhist academia does not have this kind of self-examination yet.


Here we would like to appeal to the Buddhist academia for thinking about the following questions: "Based on the core value of pursuing the truth, what kind of academic system can really benefit people to discover the truth? Is it possible that only the Buddhist academic researchers can discover the truth rather than the personal realizers? Is it possible that the practical and personal realizers have more chances to discover the truth? Is the purpose of the Buddhist academic research to discover the truth? If some other theory is more reasonable, should we get rid of our previous wrong viewpoints? Should we accept the viewpoint that we cannot reasonably overrule or argue? Or should we insist our original superficial viewpoints and temporarily keep the unreal reputation in the Buddhist society? What kind of review criteria of papers can help us explore the truth more objectively and efficiently? Should the methods of personal realization be excluded in the methodology of the academic research?" At the same time, we expect that the academic society can deliberately inspect if the viewpoints brought up by the authors in this Journal help pursue the truth or not, rather than focus on arguing the wording. As stated in The Kindred Sayings, Sutra 923 (Kesi, Avguttara-nikaya, A. IV. 111), Buddha said, similar to the horse training, there were three ways to train and adjust people as follows: soft way, hard way, and both-soft-and-hard way. Similarly, the personal realizers of Tathagatagarbha, based on the substance of real experience, debate with both-soft-and-hard way in the Buddhist academia and will insist on the truth and justice. We also expect the Buddhist scholars, especially those from the Buddhist society, can seriously contemplate and recognize the following two points. Firstly, one will violate the ultimate target of pursuing the truth and goodness in academia if he cannot recognize the limit on the application of research methods, does not follow the experimental criteria, or, based on the viewpoint through only wording inference, misleads readers to depart from the true reality. Secondly, please agree to our spirit of pursuing the truth in the academic research for benefiting Buddhist learners and to our attitude of rational and faithful debate against the irrational arguers without any compromise, and please do not ask us to restrict our personal realizers to consider those false view speakers' reputation and wealth so as to write their articles hypocritically.


Under current hypocritical environment of the Taiwanese Buddhist academia, which is exclusively dominated by big Buddhist groups that neither rationally study others' discourses nor provide reasonable explanation for discussion, we realize that, if we do not have our own journal, we will lose our voice for Buddha Sakyamuni's true dharma of personally realizing the Tathagatagarbha of the true reality in the Buddhist academia, and lose the opportunity to benefit the academic society too. Being the unique group of personally realizing Tathagatagarbha in the Buddhist society nowadays, and responding to Shi Zhaohui's invitation to enter the academia, we are obligated to publish this Journal to strive for our right to speak in academia, and to take the historical mission of revitalizing the true Tathagatagarbha dharma of the traditional Buddhism.


About the religious prejudice, it is surprising that The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies denied the possibility of personal realization of Tathagatagarbha. Shi Shengyen of Dharma Drum Mountain declared that he has certified more than ten followers for enlightenment and seeing the buddha-nature, i.e., they have enlightened and personally realized Tathagatagarbha. These are two extremely contradictory and confusing events. Dharma Drum Mountain have proclaimed their enlightenment (the realization of Tathagatagarbha) for a long time; although their content of realization is in fact the sixth consciousness, which is corrected by us in the book series of Commenting by Koans, rather than the eighth consciousness, Tathagatagarbha, of Zen School, at least both they and we have the consensus on the possibility of personal realization of Tathagatagarbha. Owing to that, the author of the above-mentioned article in our Journal was puzzled with the following question: "Is that possible the ‘personal realizers' of Dharma Drum Mountain did not participate in the Buddhism research of their Institute so that, due to lack of communication, The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies denied the possibility of personal realization of Tathagatagarbha?" Although the possibility is very little, in order to clarify this standpoint, the author mailed his article and the committee's review comments to Shi Shengyen himself, who declared he has enlightened (personally realized Tathagatagarbha), for reconfirmation. Surprisingly, Shi Shengyen agreed to the standpoint of The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies, i.e., denying the possibility of personal realization of Tathagatagarbha. His agreement implies that Shi Shengyen denies the possibility of his and his followers' enlightenment (personal realization of Tathagatagarbha) although they all proclaim that they have enlightened and thus have realized Tathagatagarbha. It is an extremely contradictory behavior. Although Shi Shengyen declared his enlightenment and the realization of Tathagatagarbha, and we have also provided evidence in The Agama Sutras of Mahayana Buddhism (the Nikaya of Theravada Buddhism also having similar evidence) for Buddha's teachings of personal realization of Tathagatagarbha, The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies, which belongs to Dharma Drum Mountain, denies the possibility of personal realization with the support from Shi Shengyen. Is that not an extremely severe religious prejudice and discrimination for such kind of behavior as allowing oneself to claim the realization of Tathagatagarbha, disallowing others to claim that it is realizable, and agreeing to the standpoint of denying the realization of Tathagatagarbha claimed by his subsidiary institute? Because the true dharma and speaking channel were unreasonably blocked, our only choice is to establish the True Enlightenment Education Foundation and publish our own journal to proclaim the true dharma so that the Buddhist academia can inspect and discuss it altogether. Due to this reason, the review committee of this Journal has a brief comment in the Editorial Note on the behavior of Shi Shengyen of Dharma Drum Mountain, who violates his own Zen thought and betrays his vision of establishing The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies, so as to expose the actual environment of the Taiwanese Buddhist academia, keep the record as the evidence of the Buddhist history, and explain the reason and mission of publishing this Journal as well.


Soon after Shi Shengyen had approved his twelve followers' enlightenment in public, his explanation on the content of personal realization of Tathagatagarbha, which is another kind of sayings, was posted on the website as follows: "A vacuum state is Tathagatagarbha; Tathagatagarbha is only a set-up name; there is no real thing that is called Tathagatagarbha." (The Classroom of Buddhist Theory, The Education of Buddhist Theory, Dharma Drum Mountain Worldwide Web, Website http://oldweb.ddm.org.tw/index.asp, 2007/03/21 retrieved. [Editor's note on 2007/11/20: this passage on the website having been deleted.]) That means Shi Shengyen regards the nihilistic emptiness as Tathagatagarbha, or regards the mind-consciousness as Tathagatagarbha. But in the same passage, he says, "Keeping in the vacuum state but following conditions, from Buddha's standpoint, this conditions-following is wondrous existence. Therefore, Tathagatagarbha is not the first cause or the Brahma-self. If someone can personally realize the vacuum state of Tathagatagarbha, he has attained liberation based on the observation of Tathagatagarbha's dependent-arising." The above two sayings contradict each other completely. Furthermore, Buddha did not say it like that way but Shi Shengyen implicates Buddha with that false view. He has in fact slandered Buddha already. As he says, if Tathagatagarbha can follow conditions and is the wondrous existence, It is obviously not the nothingness of dependent-arising with emptiness nature because the emptiness of nothingness is not likely to follow conditions. Any dharma that can follow conditions must be a real dharma that can operate or respond, but definitely not a set-up name only. It is impossible for a set-up name to operate or respond. In addition, based on semantics, Shi Shengyen's saying of the view of Tathagatagarbha's dependent-arising means there does exist a real dharma, Tathagatagarbha, which is always operating, and has the dependent-arising nature to be observed through responding to following conditions and through generating all dharmas by following conditions. All saints' teachings of the three rounds of dharma transmission state that Tathagatagarbha (called the womb-entering consciousness in The Agama Sutras) enters and stays at a womb so that the name and the form can be generated. (Xiao Pings, The Correct Meanings of The Agama Sutras, True Wisdom Publishing Co., 2007, Vol. 2, p.355.) The mind-consciousness cannot enter and stay at a womb. After the fundamental consciousness enters a womb, stays at it, and generates the five sense-organs, the mind-consciousness can then be generated and exist. Therefore, the consciousness that enters and stays at a womb is the fundamental consciousness, Tathagatagarbha, and it is proved that Tathagatagarbha is a really existing dharma. The nihilistic nothingness of dependent-arising with emptiness nature or Tathagatagarbha being only a set-up name, which Shi Shengyen says, should not be regarded as the real vacuum state with wondrous existence because the dependent-arising with emptiness nature of all aggregates, fields and divisions must be the nihilistic emptiness, rather than the emptiness nature of wondrous existence. On the other hand, if someone regards any part of aggregates, fields or divisions as the permanently dwelling and non-perishable dharma, he will become the non-Buddhist with permanence view, who does not eliminate his self-view yet. The above fact shows Shi Shengyen's intention as follows: "He wants others to think that he is a saint who has personally realized Tathagatagarbha, but at the same time, he wants to avoid others exploring that whether he has realized Tathagatagarbha or not. Then, he can be free from his numerous followers' requests of teaching the method of realizing Tathagatagarbha, and get rid of the dilemma of being unable to teach that." This behavior of inconsistency between saying and doing has violated the precept of not lying as a Buddhist monk. Unfortunately, Shi Shengyen is a famous teacher of Zen School in the great-vehicle area, a well-known person in the Buddhist academia and the one in charge of The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies.


Under this abnormal environment, we would like to explain a special way about the authors' names we take temporarily. Some authors of this Journal are still the students of the Taiwanese Buddhist institutes now although they have different views and standpoints from those of their institutes. Because the situation of unfairness becomes more obvious and severe, they must hide their standpoints from the institutes so that they can avoid the repeatedly unfair or irrational treatments and losing the opportunity to obtain the degrees of master or doctor. For the past several decades with the tolerance of the Taiwanese traditional Buddhist society, Shi Yinshun School grew up, became strong, and now almost occupies most resources of the Taiwanese Buddhist academia. Although having this kind of influential power, they can neither comment the correctness of the academic truths from others nor endure those different viewpoints. Due to the requests from some authors and our confirmation after investigating current environment of the Taiwanese Buddhist academia, we agree some authors to use pseudonyms so that their free speech rights can be kept. But the authors should let us know their real names in order to take the responsibility for their articles. At the same time, we will take our responsibility of supervising. After we ensure that the author can be treated fairly, we will announce his or her real name so as to be responsible to the readers and the Buddhist academia. On the other hand, being a balancer of the academic freedom, we also have the responsibility to check each author's identity and provide a fair and public platform for pursuing the academic truth and establishing the model of the modern Buddhist discourse. Any writings that strictly follow the discourse standard of the three-ways-of-knowing are welcome, including those different viewpoints of the scholars in the institutes that we have criticized. We will provide a fair opportunity for publication in this Journal with the condition that the discourse must conform to the review standard of the three-ways-of-knowing. With these actions, we would like to let those Taiwanese Buddhist institutes with unfair attitude understand that the suppression of the academic speech cannot stop scholars' pursuit and voices of the academic freedom. We hope then those institutes can return to the ultimate targets of the freedom of speech and pursue the truth.


At last, I would like to appreciate the authors' enthusiastic contributions, the editorial committee's cautious review and the publishing team's hard work to make this Journal published smoothly. It also means that the Taiwanese Buddhist academia will enter a new era and both our and global Buddhist research can have the same tempo. Then, we all can be bathed in the mercy sunlight of Buddha Sakyamuni's smile during taking a flower.


Xiao Pings, The Board Chairman

True Enlightenment Education Foundation

October 10th, 2007


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