I only know of Buddhism, can the Venerable tell us what is Jen Chen Buddhism? I have never heard of this before.

Jen Chen Buddhism is for Humanity

Buddhism has been generally misunderstood to be a religion that advocates praying with incense sticks, whether to ghosts, deities, idols, or in fact, to anything. This is erroneous. The word "Buddha" means "awareness", or "enlightenment". We need to maintain our awareness regardless of what we are doing or whoever we are dealing with, and regardless of the place and time.  When we have awareness in our
mind, then we have brightness. With brightness we can see things very clearly. If there is only darkness within us, then we are bound to make silly mistakes through out our life. Being without brightness is being foolish or ignorant. Buddhism teaches humanity, and in fact all sentient beings in the six realms of transmigration, to have awareness and wisdom.

People in general only know about believing in and paying reverence to the Buddha. Where did this Jen Chen Buddhism come from? (Jen Chen is phonetically translated from mandarin , meaning Humanity Vehicle) In fact, Sakyamuni attained Buddhahood in the human world by manifesting as a human being to become Buddha. Not only did Sakyamuni have to manifest in the human form and a prince to become Buddha, but all the one thousand Buddhas in the present period of our earth have to manifest as human beings to attain Buddhahood as well. In his forty-nine years of expounding on the Dharma, he taught the Five Vehicles of Buddhism:

(1) Humanity Vehicle Buddhism or Jen Chen Buddhism: The doctrines expounded to our world.

(2) Deva Vehicle Buddhism: The doctrines expounded to the Devas or celestial beings.

(3) Small Vehicle Buddhism or Hinayana Buddhism: The doctrines for those who cultivate for the sake of personal liberation and aspiration for personal salvation. The highest level of attainment for cultivators of Hinayana Buddhism is the Arahat-hood.

(4) Middle Vehicle Buddhism or Pratyeka-Buddha Buddhism: This is slightly more advanced than the Small Vehicle Buddhism. The famous Lao-Zi of ancient China can be considered to be the best example of this category. Pratyeka-Buddha’s, are those who had taken refuge in the Buddha and became the Buddha’s disciple, in their previous existence of many *kalpas ago, and had personally heard the Buddha expounding on the The Nidanas or the twelve links in the chain of existence. But he did not attain enlightenment then. Latterly, when he was reborn as a human being again, his lifetime did not coincide with that of the Buddha nor was he able to encounter the Buddhist scriptures. However, he continues to cultivate as he had done so in his past life until he attains the state of a Pratyeka-Buddha. This is called the Pratyeka-Buddha Vehicle Buddhism. Since the level of attainment is slightly more advanced than the Small Vehicle Buddhism, it is therefore also called the Middle Vehicle Buddhism. Like those of the Small Vehicle Buddhism, practitioners of the Middle Vehicle Buddhism are not concerned about ferrying other sentient beings across the sea of suffering to the shore of enlightenment. They attain enlightenment through the observation of the "the flying flowers and the falling leaves", the natural changing of the seasons, the times, and the world, or witnessing the twelve links in the chain of existence.

(5) Greater Vehicle Buddhism or Mahayana Buddhism: As the name suggests, the Greater Vehicle is likened to a train or a ship which can ferry many passengers on a single trip; ferrying them across the sea of suffering to the shore of enlightenment. For this reason it is called the Greater Vehicle. The Small Vehicle is like a motorcycle or a bicycle which can carry only one or two persons at a time. This is different from the Mahayana Bodhisattvas, for example, Avalokitesvara or Kuan-Yin, Mahasthama, Manjusri, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, and many others. They are all Mahayana Bodhisattvas. Not only do they ferry sentient beings of this world to the shore of enlightenment, they also do the same for sentient beings of the other realms, such as devas or celestial beings, animals, ghosts and hell. Thus, they are called the Bodhisattvas of the Greater Vehicle.

As human beings, we need to know which is the Buddhism most suitable for humanity. The Five Vehicles of Buddhism expounded by the Buddha, after a span of several thousand years, still remained recorded in the scriptures. What we need to do is to spread the Dharma which the Buddha expounded to human beings. We need to promote the Humanity Vehicle Buddhism.

Over the years, the outlook of Buddhism has been changed somewhat. The broad masses in the society do not know how to apply the teachings of the Buddha to purify the human mind. Instead they use it as a tool for praying to the ghosts and deities. In view of this trend, we need to advocate the promotion of Humanity Vehicle or Jen Chen Buddhism. Jen Chen Buddhism is urgently needed by humanity. It is the Buddhism that gives humanity the highest hopes of distancing from suffering and attaining happiness. We need to purify the human mind and purify the world. In time to come, it will transform humanity into a pure land, a paradise on earth, and a Buddha land. The Dharma that is promoted is intimately related to our life. Thus, this is called Jen Chen Buddhism.

Ever since the promotion of Jen Chen Buddhism more than a decade ago, tremendous progress has been made. Many places for the learning, practising and the promotion of Jen Chen Buddhism worldwide such as Vihara, Dharma halls and book publishers have been established in many countries around the world. I travelled around the world to conduct Dharma talks and the response has always been overwhelming. Even those who do not understand Mandarin showed a profound interest and liking of the principles of Jen Chen Buddhism after translations were made.

Gradually, people across the world will take refuge in Jen Chen Buddhism. There being no distinction in nationality, race or colour, and as long as they are a part of humanity, Jen Chen Buddhism is applicable. Because there is little difference in the sufferings experienced by humanity, we need to impart to all humanity the best way of ending suffering and attaining happiness. These will be well received. The international community and leaders of the world today are promoting and seeking world peace. Now that we found that such beneficial Truth in the Buddha’s teachings, such good methods to reform humanity, the human mind and purify our society, there is no reason why we should not pursue them.

I do not consider myself wise, but it is my duty to share whatever little that I know with humanity. Just like a monk sounding the bell everyday for as long as he life, I shall spare not efforts in promoting Jen Chen Buddhism to the whole world until the day I exist no more.

*Kalpa: A long period of time; an age. 1 small kalpa = 16.8 million years; 1 medium kalpa = 336 million years; 1 great kalpa = 1.344 billion years.

Is Jen Chen Buddhism taught by the Buddha?

The Buddha taught Jen Chen Buddhism

Whichever Buddhism practised by humanity in this world, they are covered by the principles of Jen Chen Buddhism. This is because Jen Chen Buddhism is recorded in the Buddhist sutras.

Where is the venue for Jen Chen Buddhists to learn and practise Buddhism?

Where do Jen Chen Buddhists practise

The venue for learning and practising Jen Chen Budhism is right here. Because humanity is omnipresent, therefore any place is ideal for humanity to carry out the religious duty, and to promote the Dharma for the benefit of humanity. This is called "The Bodhisattva cultivates everywhere".

Why does Master use the question-and-answer approach in his Dharma talk?

Dharma talks must speak the Truth and meet the needs

When you are in a restaurant, you invariably pick the dishes that suit your taste. Learning the Dharma is the same. Whatever questions that you may have, or whatever Dharma that you need to know, you raise them and I shall explain them to you. A Buddhist teacher is the same as a physician. When the physician prescribes medicine for the sick, he does not always prescribe the most expensive medicine, but
those that will cure them. When a Buddhist teacher expounds on the Dharma, he does not just talk about non-origination and supreme enlightenment, but the Dharma that sentient beings need most. It is in this way that sicknesses are healed by the correct prescriptions. This is the meaning of "observing the needs and delivering the teachings accordingly". The Jen Chen Buddhism approach of Dharma talk is to be able to cater to all levels of the society, avoiding difficult terms or using sutras to explain sutras, so that everybody can understand and apply its teachings in their life.

Copyright 2001. Jen Chen Buddhism Centre