Hangzhou LingYin temple is one of the places where the students from Coventry to China Exchange visited. On their adventure they have noticed that Buddhism plays a big part in the lives of the Chinese people. What was also noticed is that there were not many young people at the temple praying to their God, commonly known as the laughing Buddha. This intrigued us and made us curious to know why not many young people were present at the temple. We decided to investigate this topic further and find out what the Chinese students think, who we are working with, thought of Buddhism. Write Roxana Matei, Lisa Hippolyte and Vincent…
It was a bit of a surprise to hear that a lot of the young people don’t follow the religion strictly or at all. We wondered if it was because they had lost their faith or are just not believers. In order to make clear these questions we interviewed 20 young students in Hangzhou to better understand their perception and views of religion.
Buddhism has a very long history in China. In ancient China, the highest ruler used laws to make everybody believe in Buddhism. Is this true that Chinese youth do not believe in Buddhism and what do they believe in now? What is today’s youth culture in China?
20 young people have been interviewed with the following 6 questions to find out what their perceptions about Buddhism are.
1. Do you believe in Buddhism?
2. Do your parents believe in Buddhism?
3. What does Buddhism mean in your country?
4. Have you ever been to a temple?
5. What is the purpose of you going to a temple?
6. What do you think will become of Buddhism in 15 years?
After doing our primary research, we found interesting thoughts and ways of seeing Buddhism through the eyes of the Chinese students. There were people who said that they do not believe in Buddha; on the other hand, there were people who said that they strongly believe.
Yangzhi Jiang for instance said she believes in him because “I think Buddha can tell me a better way to think of many things, like how to get along well with all the people around you, even the people you don’t like.” Or others said that their parents influenced their opinion about religion.
Some, as Jonathan James Tan, could not say if he believed in it or not, but he stated “I understand it and have immense respect for it”. Generally speaking, those who believe in Buddha are the oldest ones.
Buddhism is a part of the Chinese culture, with a long history behind it. Long time ago everyone believed in Buddha, nowadays things’ve changed. When we asked the question “What do you think would become of Buddhism in 15 years time?” opinions were divided, so we have to wait 15 years to see what is going to become of Buddhism.