The Dharma Works

 

Venerable Jih-Chang spent many years learning from great teachers of both the Tibetan and Chinese lineages, he gained knowledge from both Theravada and Mahayana teachings.  He abided by the precepts he pledged to follow very strictly through out his entire life.


He found that the Tibetan lineage has its special advantages and essence, including the completeness of intellectual knowledge as well as the experiential training that is attainable. Over the years, he put forth tremendous efforts in pervading these teachings around the world, including, in particular, ‘Lamrim Chenmo’ and ‘The precepts of Nan-Shan.’

Venerable Jih-Chang founded the ‘Bliss&Wisdom’ group in 1992 hoping that it would help both monastic and lay people apply Buddhist teachings to everyday life. His other goals were to enable his disciples to collect merits and alleviate obstacles, benefit society, and form a healthy environment for the awareness and well-being of body, mind and spirit.  Venerable Jih-Chang observed the degenerating tendencies of society and developed three major focal points as the remedy: Compassionate Heart (body), Education (mind), and Clear Wisdom (spirit).  Each of them is described as follows:
 

Clear Wisdom works

 

  This is the introduction of Buddha’s teaching and how to apply to every day living.  The Lamrim discussion classes are available in many countries: Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Germany, in North America: S. California, N. California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina (Charlotte), and Colorado (Denver); and in Canada:  Vancouver and Toronto. 

Venerable Jih-Chang’s teaching of Lamrim has positively transformed many relationships and by pointing out the true nature of reality, his teachings have helped many Buddhists find better solutions and methods for improving one’s life. Here are some of the unique characteristics of the Clear Wisdom Works:

  • Emphasis is placed on balancing theory and practice.
  • Members attend classes ranging from 2 to over 10 hours per week and, at the same time, they apply what they learned to their daily lives.
  • The study of Lamrim is a lifelong task.
  • To qualify as a Bliss and Wisdom volunteer, one is required to have studied Lamrim for at least one year.

Here are some of the results today:

  • Lamrim study groups have been established around the world.
  • In Taiwan, there are over 1,100 classes in progress at any given time. As of 2007, there are over 34,000 attendees including overseas participants.
  • Every year, there are at least 140 spiritual retreats with over 1000 people participating in each of them.

 

Educational works

 

  Core concept:

Promote the purification of the mind and achieve personal development

Establish moral standards and preserve traditional culture

Transform the world into a moral conscientious environment

 
 
Venerable Jih-Chang recognized that the key to the rise and fall of humankind is moral education. This focus on moral education encompasses family, school, and society. He also noticed a deterioration of ethical standards in society. He believed that, in order to alleviate the situation; the implementation of the Buddha’s teachings could make a profound difference. Venerable Jih-Chang was committed to the concept of ‘one shoulder carries out Buddha’s will while the other provides support for Confucius’ doctrine.’ Therefore, the ‘Bliss and Wisdom Educational Foundation’ was founded in 1997 to realize Venerable Jih-Chang's idea. Throughout the years, the 'Bliss and Wisdom Educational Foundation' has sponsored activities like ‘Teacher’s Camp,’ ‘Principal and Staff Camp,’ ‘College Camp’, and ‘Educational Administrative Staff Camp,’ among others. All of these have received positive feedback from the educational community, and many former participants returned to volunteer! Here are some of the results from the effors:

- Caring for Teachers
  • National Teachers' Camp has been held 18 times in more than 10 years.
  • Over 30,000 people have gone through this experience, and over 1 million students have been affected.
  • Through this camp, emphasis on sutra reading, mindfulness of others' kindness, and small kind deeds have made profound positively influence within the society. About 100 schools have engaged in life education programs
  • The Department of Education has asked the foundation to create teaching materials for elementary school students and to create and maintain an educational website (http://life.edu.tw).
- Caring for Students
  • Every year, over 200 kindergarten classes, children's sutra reading classes, youth classes and college classes are held.
  • National College Camps have been held every year since 1998; over 10,000 students had participated since
  • National Taiwan University's (NTU) Bliss and Wisdom club was selected as the most distinguished student organization at NTU in 2008.
  • Over the year, over 130,000 participants have spent time attending spiritual learning and inspiration classes and seminars.
- Caring for Society
  • Over 1,700 businesses have had managers participate in the Business Elite Camp and improved human relationships both internally and externally in their business.
  • In 2007, the Bliss and Wisdom Business Elite network was established with over 1,000 members
  • Life enhancement programs with a variety of classes help relieve the stress of modern life.
  • In coordination with sutra reading classes and youth classes, adult learning classes were initiated so parents could grow along with their children
 

Compassionate Heart works

 

Core concept:

Promote physical health and satisfaction in living

Revitalize the earth and benefit all future generations

Proliferate these kindnesses to institute an honorable society

 

 
A compassionate mind fosters kindness toward all! Upholding the spirit of ‘compassion without harming,’ Venerable Jih-Chang led his disciples and encouraged them to work diligently in organic agriculture. They made the impossible possible and revitalized many damaged fields. By combining Buddhist practice with agriculture, a group of people enthusiastically worked rain or shine for over a decade fighting against the use of insecticides. Later, specialists and government officials lent their support to this group as they became increasingly specialized in this domain.
 
Due to the heavy application of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, the vitality of the earth is being depleted, and more and more beings are detrimentally affected. Venerable Jih-Chang told his disciples that ‘if we continue to apply pesticides and chemical fertilizers, eventually the human race will be left with only three options: death by poison, death by hunger, or death by war. The damage of pesticides and chemical fertilizers will prevent the land from producing food, we will either die of hunger, or eventually people will kill for food.’
 

Venerable Jih-Chang cared very much about our health as well as the protection of the environment. He founded the ‘Compassionate Heart Organic Agriculture Foundation’ (CHOAF) in 1997 and helped many farmers transform their farms from conventional farming to organic farming. After many years of effort, this foundation received positive recognition from many different government agencies. The Foundation focuses on the development of organic farming in the hopes of reducing insecticide use and providing more pure and natural living conditions for all beings as well as future generations. Here are some of the results from the effors:

  • CHOAF is the largest organic certification organization in Taiwan. According to Taiwan Agriculture Department, there is a total of 2,010 acres of organic farmland with CHOAF certifying over 715 acres of this land.
  • CHOAF is the largest organic farming promotion organization in Taiwan. As of 2007, it has helped 36% of organic farms in Taiwan. Therefore, it helps to maintain high standards in organic farming, actively facilitating the conversion of conventional farms to organic farms
  • The largest organic health education team in Taiwan promoting organic farming and compassion through education. It has yearly investments of:
- Over 500 instructors
- Various programs with volunteers participated over 30,000 times
- Various programs influenced participated farmers over 80,000 times
- Published several books in healthy eating, organic farming, etc., and a short film on organic farming


Later, Venerable Jih-Chang also recognized that additives in processed foods have seriously threatened the health of all living beings. His lay disciples founded the ‘Li Ren Company’ in 1998 in order to develop healthy and wholesome processed foods and household products. This act has fostered a positive and harmonious relationship among producers, marketers and consumers.Here are some of the results from the efforts:

  • Li-Ren Industries Limited has around 61 stores in Taiwan, with over 3 million customers visiting these stores in 2007.
  • Supply products to over 500 overseas and domestic stores that sell natural products
  • Partnerships with over 350 top quality producers in Taiwan
  • Consumers can enjoy organic fruits and vegetables, natural processed foods, 100% organic cotton products, and environmentally safe household products
  • Provides solid support for those farmers who convert to organic farming and those manufacturers developing natural processed foods
  • Established a cooperative system among producers, distributors, and consumers


Through the mindfulness of altruism that motivates more people to turn the wheel of kindness, the ‘Compassionate Heart Organic Agriculture Foundation’ has touched many people. Those who had been helped in turn pay the kindness forward to reach out and help others!