Ashin Jinarakkhita

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Ashin Jinarakkhita (1923-2002),[web 1] born Tee Boan-an[1] was an Indonesian-born Chinese[1] who revived Buddhism in Indonesia.[web 1][2] He was also known as Bhante Ashin, Ti Zheng Lau He Shang 體正老和尚,[web 1] Teh-ching,[3] Sukong 叔公[web 2] ("Grandmaster",[web 3] and The Flying Monk.[web 4]

Biography[edit]

Youth and early career[edit]

Jinarakkhita was born in Bogor, West Java on 23 January 1923[web 1] as Tee Boan-an,[1] the third son of The Hong Gie and Tan Sep Moy.[web 4] According to Juangari, as a young boy The Boan-an was already interested in yoga and "mystic powers".[web 4] As a boy, he met a Theosophist from the Netherlands, who let him read "The Ancient Wisdom" and "The Secret Doctrines".[web 4] When he was a teenager, The Boan-an practiced meditation at Gede Mountain and Salak Mountain, and visited "virtuous people" and Viharas to gain spiritual knowledge.[web 4]

After attending the HBS at Jakarta and the Technical School in Bandung, he left in 1946 for the Netherlands to study chemistry at Groningen University.[web 1] There he also continued his interest in Theosophy.[web 4] He also learnt Pali and Sanskrit languages from Dr. Van Der Leeuw,[web 4] and acquired fluency in English, Germany, France, and Dutch.[web 4] During holidays, he went to France, where had the opportunity to lectures from Jiddu Krishnamurti.[web 4]

In 1951[web 4] he returned to Indonesia he was a teacher at several secondary schools in Jakarta,[web 1] but also took up an active interest in religion.

Buddhist ordination[edit]

Tee Boan-an became president of the Indonesian Sam Kauw Union[web 1][web 4][note 1] as well as the vice-president of the central committee of the Indonesian Theosophy Youth.[web 1][web 4][1] Buddhism was reintroduced in Indonesia in the beginning of the 20th century by the Theosophical Society,[1] which played a central role in the popularisation of Buddhism in the west, and the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.[4] In Indonesia the Theosophical Society found adherents among the Dutch colonials, Chinese immigrants, and Indonesian noblemen.[1] Buddhism spread in the form of Theravda and Mahayana.[1] Theravada followers had contacts with Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, while Chinese Mahayana priests were invited by the Indonesian-Chinese Buddhist communities.[1]

Tee Boan-an received ordination as a Mahayana Ch'an[web 5] novice monk on 29 July 1953, and received the name Ti Zheng (Te Cheng) from the Chinese Mahayana priest Ben Qing (Chen Ping) Lau He Shang.[web 1][1][note 2][note 3]

After the Communists took over power in China in 1949, Buddhist monasteries were closed in China, and Indonesia tried to diminish Chinese influences in Indonesia.[5] For these reasons, further Ch'an-training in China was problematic,[5] and Chen Ping sent Te Ching to Burma in 1953, where he practiced satipatthana meditation under Mahasi Sayadaw.[web 5][5] Te Ching was ordained as a Theravada monk in 1954, and received the name Ashin Jinarakkhita.[1] The same year he returned to Indonesia,

Buddhist Revival[edit]

Jinarakkhita was instrumental in the revival of Buddhism in Indonesia. He realised that Buddhism had to adapt to Indonesian culture to survive; otherwise it would remain a foreign "fremdkörper".[5][note 4]

In 1955 Jinarakkhita formed the first Indonesian Buddhist lay organisation, Persaudaraan Upasaka Upasika Indonesia (PUUI).[1] In 1957, the PUUI was integrated into the Indonesian Buddhist Association (Perhimpunan Buddhis Indonesia, Perbudi),[1] in which both Theravada and Mahayana priesthood were united.[1] Nowadays, the PUUI is called Majelis Buddhayana Indonesia (MBI).[web 7]

In 1960 Jinarakkhita established the Sangha Suci Indonesia, as a monastic organisation. In 1963 the name was changed to Maha Sangha of Indonesia, and in 1974 the name was change into Sangha Agung Indonesia. It is a community of monastics from the Theravada, Mahayana and Tantrayana traditions.[web 7][web 5][9]

In 1965, after a coup-attempt, Buddhist organisations had to comply with the first principle of the Indonesian state ideology, Pancasila, the belief in one supreme God.[2] All organisations that doubted or denied the existence of God were outlawed.[10] this posed a problem for Indonesian Buddhism, which was solved by Jinarakkhita by presenting nibbana as the Theravada "God", and Adi-Buddha, the primaeval Buddha of the region's previous Mantrayana Buddhism, as the Mahayana "God".[10] According to Jinarakkhita, the concept of Adi Buddha was found in the tenth-century Javanese Buddhist text Sang Hyang Kamhayanikan.[2]

Another important factor in the Buddhist Revival was the use of a new category of lay Buddhist teachers.[11] Those were older Buddhists without a formal dharma transmission or authorisation, but with a lot of life-experience. Those elder teachers were sanctioned by Jinarakkhita, and instituted new meditation-centers, and organised meetings and lectures.[11][note 5]

Death[edit]

Jinarakkhita died on Thursday 18 April 2002 in Pluit Hospital, North Jakarta. His ashes and relics were brought back to Sakyavanaram Temple at Cipendawa Cliff, Pacet, Cianjur (between Jakarta and Bandung), West Java, where Jinarakkhita lived.[web 1]

Teachings[edit]

Jinarakkhita had a liberal teaching on Buddhism.[11] According to Jinarakkhita, orang suci ("saints") can be found everywhere,[2] and religious experience is personal and unique.[2] Each one has to go his or her own path.[2] In his teachings he often quoted non-Buddhists, such as Ranggawarsita,[2] and he admired Sai Baba.[2][web 4]

Love, as represented by Guanyin, is essential:

Duty is most important. If you practice love, there is no war, no hate. Truth is love. Buddhist religion is the religion of love. Jesus Christ sacrificed His Life for the sake of love. All religions are based on love.[web 4]

Students[edit]

Jinarakkhita had students and followers in both Indonesia and other countries.[13] One of them is Ton Lathouwers, a Dutch lay student who received dharma transmission in the Rinzai-linegae in 1987,[5] and founded the Maha Karuna Ch'an organisation in the Netherlands.[web 8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See [web 5] for more info on the Sam Kauw Union
  2. ^ 本 清 老 和尚,[web 6] also known as Y.A. Mahasthavira Arya Mula.,[web 4] Chen Ping Lau He Sang,[1] Pun-Cheng,[3] and Pen Cheng.[5] Pen Cheng (1878[web 4] or 1887[5]-1962) was born at Wu Chen Li village, at Phu Thien district, Hokkien, China.[web 4] He was trained in K'uang Hwa Ssu (Kuang Hua, Guanghua Temple, "Vast Influence",[6] in Fo Tiën[5] (Fujian), a monastery which was influenced by Hsu Yun, abbot of Ku Shan Ssu (Gu Shan) monastery in Fo Tiën (see also Charles Luk (Lu K'uan Yü), "Chan and Zen Teaching"[5]). Eventually, Te Cheng received dharma transmission from Chen Ping.[5]
  3. ^ Pen Cheng came to Indonesia in the beginning of the 20th century. [5] This was in the time of the socalled Buddhist Revival, when, under influence of the western culture, attempt were being made to revitalize Chinese Buddhism.[7] Most notable were the Humanistic Buddhism of Taixu, and the revival of Chinese Chán by Hsu Yun.[7]
  4. ^ The same strategy was being followed by Catholic missionaries like the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) and the Jesuits, who were aware of the value of the Javanese culture and identity.[8]
  5. ^ The use of lay-teachers was not new in Indonesia. In conjunction with missionaries from the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) and the Jesuits, "lay-apostles" in the first half of the 20th century spread and practiced the Gosple.[12] Exemplary are the Schmutzer family, who established the Catholic Ganjuran Church in Ganjuran, Bantul, Java.[12]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

Published sources[edit]

  • Harvey, Peter (1995), An introduction to Buddhism. Teachings, history and practices, Cambridge University Press 
  • Hsüan Hua (2003), Pictorial Biography of Venerable Master Hsu Yun, Dharma Realm Buddhist Association 
  • Huai-Chin, Nan (1999), Basic Buddhism. Exploring Buddhism and Zen, Mumbai: Jaico Publishing House 
  • Juangari, Edij ((year unknown)), Menabur Benih Dharma di Nusantara 
  • Lathouwers, Ton (2008), Het grote verschil tussen een snauw en een bloemetje. In: Maha Karuna Bericht, 2008, nummer 3, pagina 3-7 
  • Maha Karuna Ch'an ((year unknown)), Ingaan tot het hart dat luistert. Sutrateksten uit de Maha Karuna Ch'an traditie 
  • McMahan, David L. (2008), The Making of Buddhist Modernism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195183276 
  • Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin (2010), Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO 
  • Missiemuseum Steyl (year unknown), Christelijke-Javaanse Kunst 1924-1927 
  • Naik, C.D. (2010), Buddhism and Dalits: Social Philosophy and Traditions, Gyan Publishing House 
  • Ricklefs, Merle Calvin (2007), Polarising Javanese Society: Islamic and Other Visions, C. 1830-1930, NUS Press 
  • Suryadinata, Leo (1995), Prominent Indonesian Chinese: Biographical Sketches, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies 
  • Verboven, Lucette (1992), Je kunt er niet uitvallen. Interview met Ton Lathouwers. In: Zen, jaargang 13, januari 1992, nummer 48 

Web-sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Ton Lathouwers, More than anyone can do. VU University Press (forthcoming)
  • Charles Luk (Lu K'uan Yü), Chan and Zen Teaching

External links[edit]

Organisations

Jinarakkhita's Parinirvana

Religious pluralism