Buddhist charity is not only the need of
socialization of charity, but also the important way for the weak social
communities to obtain the social supports. To develop the active
function of Buddhist charity in constructing harmonious society,
Buddhism circle should cultivate and improve the concept of Buddhist
charity, building effective mechanism to it, create social credibility
of it, and build up charity brand.
Socialization of charity is a development direction of social
charity. Buddhism charity must integrate into the social charity and
move towards the way of socialization development in order to bring its
positive role fully into play. Therefore, we must renew our concept and
improve its mechanism to promote the socialization development of
1、Lead Buddhism circle to tap, play and carry
forward Buddhist Thought Resource that helps construction of harmonious
society, and improve the concept of Buddhism charity.
There must be a strong and persistent spiritual strength behind any
charitable organizations which can survive and develop from small to
large and from weak to strong. And its organization system must be the
manifestation of its intrinsic spiritual value. The concept of charity
consists of two parts, that is, the purposes of setting up the
charitable organization and its core concept of attracting the public.
The concept of Buddhist social charity, we think, must be on the
premise of social charity to emphasis the core concept of Buddhist
charity and wave the flag that is different from general social charity.
On this point, there is a deep support of spiritual concept in Buddhist
charity. Firstly, with sufficient Buddhist Thought as a basis, the
Buddhism charitable concept can form a charity system. Secondly,
Buddhist charity can not lead social resentment but arouse the
widespread support. Thirdly, with the historical context and realistic
resources, the charity can form a mutual system pattern. Fourthly, with
the tone of current social charitable culture, the charity can make full
advantage of their superiority resources to play a greater role.
The spiritual core pursued by Chinese traditional culture is harmony,
perfect penetration, equality and unity. Their own multi-cultural
system is based on these. There are lots of inexhaustible precious
resources in it. For example, Buddhist thought uses the “Buddha-nature
equality” to emphasis the equality of people’s social rights and
interests, the “infinitely merciful” to encourage people’s friendly
cooperation, the “Yizheng Bu’er” to confirm natural lives’ symbiotic and
co- prosperity and the “self-purification” to request their own
consciousness. In regard to the concept of religious thought, we have to
interpret and change to match the modern context.
Charity is an independent behavior that conforms to humanity
goodness. In the course of doing good, one who does good can obtain the
dual senses of spiritual joy. One is that their sense of suffering
produced by their own sympathy is able to be released; the other, they
feel delighted because they see or think unfortunate people’s pain can
be reduced. Actually, we specially need to advocate and establish the
concept of “Thanksgiving charity”. As long as participants have a
natural, sincere and lasting grateful heart, it’ll promote social
charity to be healthy.
2、Lead Buddhism circle to carry out social welfare
activities positively. And it can be national citizens’ responsibility
not only demands of Buddhist belief. Then to motivate all believers’
enthusiasm to contribute wisdom for a common duty of building a
Needless to say, there is a religious emotion in Buddhist believers’
social activities based on the belief value, but their social
significance conforms to social identical value and is an important way
to make people obtain social concern and support. The essence of social
concern is social equality and justice and its service object is all
citizens. Therefore, social charitable activities in Buddhism circle
cannot only be limited in the religious place. To feedback society,
service society and participate in solving social problems actively can
meet the increasing social needs effectively and can be the most
effective way of integrating society and improving Buddhism social
It’s worth noting that we also pay attention to the “non-government
Buddhist charitable activities” spontaneously organized by kulapati
circle when concerning about social charity of monk group’s
“inner-system religious group”, because the most essence significance of
charity lies in all citizen’s participation voluntarily. And we think
the formation of “social charity” only when “ordinary people charity” is
3、We should according to the characteristic of
Buddhism charitable culture, to discuss the establishment of charity
brand and take appropriate way to explore social marketing on charity
brand and then promote its has a good social model impact.
Today’s society emphasizes on “brand awareness”. It’ll be much more
effective if it’s a good brand. Buddhism charitable activities are a
little bits and pieces and have lacked their own independent creativity
over the years. It cannot help to Buddhism charity to develop a more
emotional appealing social culture brand and cannot help to form a
According to social norms, the brand mainly refers to the brand
cultural elements in the enterprise culture. As the Buddhism charitable
brand, we should pay a great attention to the perfection of the
intrinsic concept and the value system to enhance social cognition. At
the same time, there must be charitable products to correspond and then
to realize charity product and projectization. Charitable, product, to a
certain extend, is a commodity. It’s not for profit but for
contributing to society and is a good product of moral significance. The
key point is that it must adapt to the expression of wishes of
participants’ charitable act and to let it be an appropriate carrier of
people’s good wishes to meet their spiritual needs of offering their
loving and caring.
To promote the charitable product actively is, actually, to promote
the way or model of charitable activities. This is a new concept that
charity needs marketing. In fact, the marketing here is, which has more
specific methods of operation than in the past, to publicize and
encourage mechanism. In other words, we not only have a noble charitable
concept but have excellent methods of asking for charity offering and
then establish the operation system of their own charitable culture.
There is not only a big system but many small systems which form the
network system and the loving network to extend to all over social
circles in the system.
4、Establish a normal social donation system to be
well-organized and clear division of labor so that charitable donation
can be carried out in the sun.
At the present, relatively speaking, Buddhism charities, such as, in
Taiwan and Hong Kong and other social charity culture are quite
effective, and worth us studying. In Taiwan, the charity culture of Tzu
Chi Foundation has been quite mature and made great social achievements.
In Hong Kong, Buddhism charity culture such as Cihui Foundation has
great influence and can be seen in each parts of mainland. They are
Buddhism charity culture that is under the Buddhism concept and models
of their operation mechanism are very modern, especially mechanism of
management, and also worth us studying.
Tzu Chi Foundation which is organized by Taiwanese Master Cheng Yan
and set up in 1966 Taiwan, China has recently quickly grown into a
global Buddhism charitable organization. Because of the cross-strait
cultural homogeneity, including charity culture, from the view of
religious sociology, there must be a typical significance of studying
its charity establishment and the transformation of charity culture of
its model operation and model backside. From the main types and ways of
Master Cheng Yan’s Humanistic Buddhism Thought and Tzu Chi aids, the
credibility and system construction of Tzu Chi, the intrinsic driver of
its individual charitable activities and other aspects, we study its
ideological guide of the operational model, its driving and operational
mechanism, system guarantee, how to obtain the achievements and all
aspects. And the arguments extracted from the above should be
5、We should learn to absorb the successful
experiences of domestic and foreign religious charities, to encourage
and support social welfare agencies including hospitals schools, welfare
homes, orphanages and community centers which are directly established
by Buddhist group, to make full use of money saved by the temples and
attract followers to donate money and serve society.
Whatever Chinese Buddhist circle and communities in history and in
today’s Taiwan and Hong Kong, there are successful experiences and
feasible patterns of independent social charities. According to China’s
“Constitution” and the religious policies, religion cannot interfere
with politics, judicature, education and other fields and must persist
“the policy of freedom of religious belief” and opposite bad things such
as religious infiltration. This is an unshakable principle. On this
premise, there is no policy and legal obstacle to encourage and support
social service agencies directly established by religious circle.
“Strong social organizations and enhance serving social functions.
Persist to lay equal stress on cultivating development and managing
supervision, perfect the policies of training the assistance and
managing social organizations legally and play a role in offering
services, reflecting appeals and regularizing behaviors in each kind of
social organizations.” (Abstracted from “Decisions of CPC Central
Committee on a certain number of Issues of Building a Socialism
Harmonious Society” 2006) “Each kind of social organizations” should
include charities of religious communities. Even if is not allowed
religious circle to establish and fund national educational schools and
other institutions, there is no problem to establish pure social welfare
services such as hospitals and nursing homes for the old.
6、Strengthen staffs in Buddhist organizations to
cultivate education on social welfare and social service and to train
managers in welfare projects, supervise to establish legal and standard
operational mechanism and management system, establish honesty rules
such as donated money and publicity of charitable activities and enhance
social credibility in Buddhism charity.
It is extremely crucial. If Buddhism charity lacks of effective
management, it’s easy to breed corruption. And it would be great harm to
the development of social charity. Because Buddhism believes and
Buddhism morals basically belong to the bottom lines of social morals
and Buddhism charity hopes foe social conscience and anticipation and
absorbs a large amount of social resources, donors donate because of
their faith and moral pursue and their pure hearts are easy to be
destroyed, Buddhism charity must be carried on more effective
supervision and management.
Of course, the establishment of institutional Buddhism charitable
model depends on whether we carry on institutional innovation and
whether to let Buddhism legally have identity of “Religious Corporation”
(correspondingly “Corporation Aggregate” and “Incorporated
Foundation”). Otherwise, under the circumstance of Buddhism donation
money lacking institutional supervision and institutional channels of
repaying the society, Buddhism will be not only difficult to upgrade the
dignified place of virtue and educating people but exist the danger of
crashing into turbidity and polluting social morality and the result of
danger will be incalculable in social trust and human kindness.
7、Normally publicize and report Buddhist and other
religious charities and social services, give them the social honor and
status, form the modern social incentive mechanism, change people’s
concept, rebuild religious groups’ social images in order to realize the
goal of social charity and socialization.
In recent years, there are religious charitable figures and
communities’ names in charitable commendations set up by our country’s
news media and other relevant agencies. This is a very good start.
Nevertheless, some concerned agencies mostly belong to the well-known at
home and abroad charity agencies. However, Buddhist charitable
activities are also intentional or unintentional “ignored” and
“weakened” because of the background of religious faith. Our accustomed
phenomenon indeed reduces the enthusiasm that Buddhist believers
participate in social charitable activities positively.
We know that media play an obvious role in social charities. The
media’s supervision functions are from the publics and the media’s
attitudes represent attitudes of general social publics. The awareness
that most ordinary people know charitable activities is all obtained
through media’s reports. So to call for the whole nations, the whole
society and all citizens to join the charities is media’s advantage and
medial’s responsibility. If we can change our minds, fully respect
religious charitable participants’ belief emotion and citizen dignity
and report and commend their social contribution in time, does it help
to build a beautiful future that “promote harmony is everybody’s
responsibility and a harmonious society is for all”?