"Anthropocentricity" and "Equality of All Sentient Beings": Animal Protection from Ven. Yinshun’s "Humanistic Buddhism" Point of View  (Mr. Chien-te Lin )
Ven. Yinshun’s "Humanistic Buddhism" has repeatedly emphasized on "human- based" Buddha-Dharma, but does this "human-based Dharma" fall into the human-centered chauvinism? Is it consistent with the Buddhist maxim "all sentient beings are equal," or impedimental to the promotion of animal protection?—these are the main questions I plan to discuss in this article.

Firstly I interpreted Ven. Yinshun’s emphasis upon human world and human beings in his ideas of "Humanistic Buddhism." Secondly I pointed out that there are two ways of justification for animal protection in Buddhism, one is the theory of Dependent Arising (prat?tya-samutp?da) and the other is the doctrine of Buddha Nature (tath?gatagarbha) . By contrast to the ontological assumption of "endowment of animal rights via tath?gatagarbha," Ven. Yinshun’s "Humanistic Buddhism" lay more stress on the theory of Dependent Arising, justifying "all sentient beings are equal" from equality of sensitive feeling, equality of Dharma nature, and equality of the potentiality to achieve Buddhahood. Thirdly, under the doctrines of "dependent arising and emptiness," Ven. Yinshun’s "Humanistic Buddhism" placed importance on "human duty" rather than "animal rights", suggesting that in pursuit of the value of human goodness animal protection is compulsory. Lastly, I argued that Ven. Yinshun’s "Humanistic Buddhism" on animal protection indeed had a higher goal and concern, including care of suffering, nurture of compassion, encouragement of spiritual life and even realization of nirvana.

Keywords: Yinshun, Humanistic Buddhism, equality of all sentient beings, prat?tya-samutp?d, tath?gatagarbha, animal protection



Department of Religious Studies, Hsuan Chuang University

Life Conservationist Association

HongShi Buddhist Cultural and Educational Foundation


Ministry of Science and Technology,Republic of China

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.C.

Ministry of Education, R.O.C.

Hsuan Chuang University


Hsuan Chuang University Research Center For Applied Ethics

Buddhist HongShi College