smallflower.GIF (1312 bytes)smallflower.GIF (1312 bytes)
Volume 5 no 3


Harmonious And Blissful Family
By Venerable Shen-Kai

In Buddhism, the fragrance of the incense symbolizes ethics. Without ethics, we cannot speak of a person, a family, a society, a nation or an entire human race as having the utmost fragrance. Why do we use the incense when we pay our respects to the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas? It is because the ethics of the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas are of the highest order and therefore they are of the utmost, sublime fragrance.

There are codes of ethics at home, in the society, the nation and for the human race of this world. If in a family the siblings are self-centred, lacking in a sense of ownership for their home, fuss over trivial matters, and do not help each other to benefit the family, then it is impossible to nurture the ethics of the family. If the man of the family does not take care of his family, his wife and children, then he does not live up to the code of ethics of a husband. He certainly does not know about the code of family ethics.

There are irresponsible mothers who abandon their babies at birth, or they do not give their children a proper upbringing. Such a conduct does not constitute the ethics of a mother. Some people are not filial to their parents. They do not fulfill the ethics of being somebody's children. If one is not capable of being kind to his children, filial to his parents, respectful of his siblings, then his conduct in the family is not fragrant, but foul.

If one cannot fulfill his moral obligations to his family, what more is there to say of his moral obligations to society? Similarly, people who are not trustworthy and are lacking in the code of ethics, will use various methods of trickery and deceit on their relatives and friends. The family circle will always hold in high regards a person who conscientiously observes the code of family ethics. On the contrary, if he is not ethical, then his actions will throw the family into disarray. Naturally the family will cast him aside. In the same way, society will hold in high regards a person who conscientiously observes social ethics. He will win the support of the masses should he seek high offices.

A person may be elected to the government because of his intelligence and eloquence. But, if he does not represent the people and instead engages only in petty political quibbles, then he has not fulfilled his moral obligations. He will lose the support of the people. Heads of state have had to step down because of their involvement in scandals. Such downfalls occur because of their loose code of national ethics.

The Humanity Vehicle Buddhism (Jen Chen Buddhism) endeavours to promote ethics. It is hoped that everyone will observe the code of ethics and conduct himself or herself as such wherever they go. As to the reason why Buddhism can help to bring about harmony, happiness and bliss to the family, it is a matter of observing the code of ethics in the family. If we extend the concept of ethics to society, to the nation and even to the world, then the entire world will be peaceful and stable. This is why ethics are so important.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre