Tuesday, December 27, 2016

15th Sakyadhita International Conference Panel: Kwong-Chuen (Kenneth) Ching on Filial Piety in Buddhism

Perfection of Filial Piety in Buddhism: A Study of Lady Clara Ho’s Social Welfare Activities in Hong Kong

Lady Clara
Photo Credit: BuddhistDoor
Lady Clara Ho’s social welfare activities to benefit Buddhism and society in Hong Kong during the 1920s and 1930s in Hong Kong are well known. Her early contributions included providing Buddhist education for nuns and laywomen, and general education for the poor. Later, she established Tung Lin Kok Yuen as a permanent institution for propagating Buddhism.

The strict application of traditional academic disciplines such as sociology, psychology, and anthropology to explain religious behavior tends to reduce research findings to collective behaviours and neglect individuals’ search for meaning in the religious context. Some theorists using liberal feminist methodologies have also been critiqued for neglecting to study individuals’ everyday lives. This research gap may also extend to the study of Lady Clara’s social welfare activities.

In this research project, I will adopt a Buddhist Studies approach to gender, based on historical texts that record the life of Lady Clara. I would like to draw on scholarly studies of the Buddha’s teachings on filial piety at different stages of Buddhist development, i.e., early Buddhism, Mahāyāna Buddhism, and Chinese Buddhism. Within this framework, I will then examine the social welfare activities of Lady Clara during different periods of her life: prior to the 1920s, the 1920s, and the 1930s. The paper will conclude with an analysis of Lady Clara’s vision and her view of women’s roles and abilities to the teachings of Buddhism on filial piety. Lady Clara pointed out the importance of Buddhism for transforming the world and the important roles women play in the family, society, and country. In particular, I will investigate whether or not she regarded perfecting the Buddha’s teachings on filial piety to be of equal importance for women and for men.

In 1931, Lady Clara had established Po Kok Free School for Girls and in 1932, she formed the
Po Kok Society
for the Study of Buddhism, which was dedicated to the promotion of Buddhism
and education. These provided women with the opportunity to receive education.


Kwong-Chuen (Kenneth) Ching

Kwong-Chuen (Kenneth) Ching is currently a post-graduate student in the Master of Buddhist Studies program at The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. He also obtained a M.A. degree in Religious Studies from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong in 2015. His academic interests include Buddhist ethics and Chinese Pure Land Buddhism. He is also interested in Chinese religious thoughts and Chinese philosophy. Additionally, Ching received a B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Hong Kong and a M.B.A. degree from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong. Before returning to university to obtain his Master's Degree in Religious Studies Ching spent more than twenty years in banking where he oversaw several international banks after passing both American financial professional qualifications to use the designations of Chartered Financial Analyst and Financial Risk Manager.

Ching came across the profound teachings of Buddhism in 2012 and, very quickly, he converted to Buddhism in Hong Kong, taking Refuge in the Triple Gem at Chi Lin Nunnery in 2013. He took the Bodhisattva Precepts at Tung Lin Kok Yuen in 2015. It is his ambition to explore the knowledge of the profound teachings of Buddhism in academic institutions as well as to share his knowledge in Buddhism with the younger generations in the society.

Learn More About the 15th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women

The theme for the 2017 conference to be held at The University of Hong Kong is “Contemporary Buddhist Women: Contemplation, Cultural Exchange & Social Action.” This theme highlights the diversity of contemporary Buddhist women throughout the world.

For more information on the conference please visit the Sakyadhita International website and download a brochure.

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