Tung Lin Kok Yuen International Conference
Buddhist Canons: In Search of a Theoretical Foundation for a Wisdom-oriented Education
27 & 28 November, 2021 (HKT) | Online & On-site at HKU
Director and Associate Professor
Centre of Buddhist Studies
The University of Hong Kong
Guang Xing, Ph.D. from School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London in 2003. He is an Associate Professor and Director of the Centre of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong. He also served as Tung Lin Kok Yuen Canada Foundation Visiting Professor in Buddhism and Contemporary Society at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver 2007, Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Buddhist College of Singapore 2010-2014. His publications include The Concept of the Buddha: Its Evolution from Early Buddhism to the Trikaya Theory (Routledge 2005), Filial Piety in Chinese Buddhism (Peter Lang 2022). He is working on the study and translation of Qisong’s Xiaolun and “Buddhism and Chinese Culture”. He has published many papers such as “A Buddhist-Confucian Controversy on Filial Piety” in Journal of Chinese Philosophy, “Buddhist Impact on Chinese Culture” in Asian Philosophy, “The Teaching and Practice of Filial Piety in Buddhism” in Journal of Law and Religion, and “Filial Piety in Chinese Buddhism” in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Buddhism, “Tathatā: the Creation of Doctrinal Foundation for Mahāyāna Buddhism” in the Journal of Buddhist Philosophy.
Educating the Confucians about Filial Piety: Qisong’s Treatise on Filial Piety
Qisong said in the preface to his Xiaolun (Treatise on Filial Piety) “Filial piety is venerated in all [Chinese] religions, but it is especially venerated in Buddhism although the latter’s teaching [of filial piety] is not well known to the world. This is because we [Buddhists] did not make it explicit [to the world] and I am always ashamed of this.” Therefore Qisong told Chan Master Xiaoyue 曉月禪師 that “I have recently written Xiaolun in twelve chapters by imitating the Confucian Xiaojing(Classic of Filial Piety) in order to illuminate the Buddhist teaching (on filial piety).” Thus, Qisong promoted the understanding of Buddhist teaching of filial piety by composing the Treatise on Filial Piety, which synthesizes the teaching of filial piety in Chinese Buddhism and further developed it with his own theory of the concept and practice, referencing both Buddhist and Confucian scriptures. He asserted that the greater filial piety was found in Buddhism, as the Buddhist concept and practice of it were wider and deeper than that of Confucianism. First, the Buddhist practice was not only towards one’s present parents, but also included the previous seven generations. Secondly, filial piety practiced in Buddhism not only concerned human beings but also included animals. Thirdly, Qisong asserted that the five precepts are in fact components of Buddhist filial piety; thus filial piety was actually the antecedent practice to the five precepts. At the end of the Xiaolun, Qisong also discussed Buddhist monks’ practice of filial piety in the context of funerals and mourning (ie mourning in heart without mourning garments). This comprised an important example of the practice of filial piety not only the lay Buddhists with families but also the Buddhist monks and nuns without families. After its publication, Qisong’s Xiaolunwon the admiration from many and influenced not only Buddhists but also Confucian scholars.