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Zen to the rescue of modern society

Xing Yi
Updated: Jul 8,2015 10:29 AM     China Daily

Tibetan Buddhist scholar Sodargye reveals in his new book some tips to help people deal with their fast-paced lives.[Photo/China Daily]

Sodargye, a well-known Tibetan Buddhist teacher, recently released a new book in Chinese.

Titled Ni Zai Mang Shenme (What Are You Busy Doing?), it offers tips on how to apply the wisdom of Buddhism to fast-paced lives in today’s world.

Born in Garze county of the Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, Sodargye spent his early years reciting Buddhist sutras while herding cattle in the mountainous area in southwestern China.

Now, his Sina Weibo microblog account is followed by nearly 2 million users. He explains the Buddhist philosophy in a layman’s language on social media.

“Nowadays, everyone is busy doing things, not only in the physical world but also inside a person’s mind. But few know what they are really busy with,” Sodargye, 53, writes in the preface to his book.

“Therefore, it is more important to seek wisdom for a peaceful mind. This wisdom is everywhere in Buddhism.”

Tibetan Buddhist scholar Sodargye reveals in his new book some tips to help people deal with their fast-paced lives.[Photo/China Daily]

During an interview with China Daily through e-mail, he recalls his younger days on the mountains, saying that his main activity back then was to take yaks to graze on the grass. The setting, he adds, was of blue skies and white clouds.

“All my worries would go away, ... I remember the delight nature and a peaceful mind always brought me.”

At the age of 23, Sodargye went to study Buddhism at Larung Buddhist Institute in a nearby county and became a student of its founder Jigme Phuntsok, who is considered an influential Tibetan Buddhist master in the country.

Through learning, debating and writing, Sodargye soon became a khenpo, the title for a senior Buddhist monk with high discipline.

During the 1990s, Sodargye followed Jigme Phuntsok on lecture tours to other countries in Asia, the United States and Europe.

He also translated many Tibetan Buddhist works into Chinese.

In the past few years, Sodargye has devoted much of his time to popularizing Buddhism by himself talking to students and faculty members at universities at home and abroad.

“I don’t know how long I will live. But even if there was just a listener, I would exert myself to benefit him with dharma until my last breath,” Sodargye was quoted by media as saying earlier.

Titled Ni Zai Mang Shenme (What Are You Busy Doing?), the book offers tips on how to apply the wisdom of Buddhism to fast-paced lives in today’s world.[Photo/China Daily]

The book is an edited version of his various teachings and lectures at universities, including Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

In the book, he talks about Zen and fortune, suggesting that people use their money to help others through charitable work rather than just accumulating for themselves.

He says, stress can be reduced by cutting down on material desire and pursuing love.

Sodargye says people in modern society have become busier with each passing day, but he himself doesn’t deny the usefulness of technology.

Since 2004, he has been learning how to spread Buddhism through the Internet and established a website to give classes online.

“I’m embarrassed when people call me teacher or khenpo because I’m still far from qualified as a good student (of Buddhism),” Sodargye writes in the book.

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