Quotations fromm Lin Qiuwu

These quotations come from the article Buddhism and Marxism in Taiwan: Lin Qiuwu’s Religious Socialism and Its Legacy in Modern Times By Charles B. Jones, published in the Journal of Global Buddhism 1 (2000): 82-111. Lin Qiuwu’s ideas on the synthesis of revolutionary socialist and Buddhist ideology display a clear coherence which goes beyond mere rhetorical parallels and continues to have relevance to struggles today.

“Wisdom realizes the 3000 [worlds] in a single thought;
A consciousness that reflects on the currents of the times is the highest Chan.
A deep understanding of the Tathagata’s fearless teaching:
The vow to struggle alongside the weak minority for their rights!”

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need, without a trace of selfish intention, each and every person strives to produce in common. In this kind of society, everyone will have enough, and thievery will disappear all by itself. Buddhism has a name for this kind of world: the Pure Land of Utmost Bliss.”

“When Buddhism calls people to construct a Pure Land in this world,. . . it does not mean to utilize some outside, artificial power, or to bind oneself with ritualistic practices, or to bring the masses to make only surface changes. . . . Rather, it means to concentrate on taking firm and steady steps with a passionate attitude to call people to awake to their original nature in the midst of their daily activities, calling forth their dormant strength and faith! . . . In sum, the Buddhist Attitude toward the class struggle is of a piece from start to finish: It means to stand within the no-self that is also the Great Self, to take as one’s purpose that one will cherish the propertyless masses and liberate the deprived classes, using methods that exclude military force and violence, and especially taking as one’s basic principle the resistance that is non-resistance.”

“The one who cultivates bodhisattva conduct is thereby a harbinger of social revolution.”

“Individual bodies, seen from the perspective of the body of the whole, are not separate from each other. When individuals gather together, society emerges. One’s power goes to support and aid others, and in turn the power of others external to oneself comes back to support and aid one. The universe is even greater than society. The universe is a vast, orderly body. It is like society in being composed of individual bodies that form the whole by mutual support and aid.The myriad phenomena in the universe — humans! animals! mountains, rivers, and trees! — all are in order and so have their being. This great universe is one great buddha-body. The one [or entire] great buddha-body’s one [or entire] great life is the buddha that we believe in. Thus, whether one is talking about things within society or the universe, the one and the totality, the part and the whole, oneself and the buddha, are all knit together into an indivisible, unified existence.”

“How do human beings give rise to thoughts of greed? Because they are unable to understand the true principle of the non-duality of mind, buddha, and sentient beings, thinking instead that the four elements [that is, earth, water, fire, and air] are their body, or that the five aggregates [body, sensations, perceptions, mental constructions, and consciousness] are their self. Because they have this view of self, they develop hatred and desire, grasp at or reject all kinds of things, and make distinctions [among people] between relatives and strangers. Finally, the time comes when the means of production become increasingly complex, which gradually brings forth the rise of practical scientific methods, clandestine conspiracies, and capitalists who exploit the laboring classes. Because of this, those on opposite sides of the loss and benefit [equation] take the pretext of [the other’s] misconduct to form parties and advance their own selfishness, or they come up with some other way to distinguish themselves from the other, discriminate against each other, and gradually, the class struggle arrives.”

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