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.
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.
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.