有感而發 On Reflection
A Preface by Chia-Tung Lee
Professor of National Chi Nan University and Ex-President of Taiwan Qing Hua University
When I read the manuscript of this book, I was shaken. One of the articles in the book entitled “Don’t Let the Mistake Happen Again” especially left me with many feelings. The author, Shi Ming Wang, mentioned that he is carrying an unshakable sense of shame and guilt for the rest of his life. Why? He wrote that,
“I couldn’t believe that as a student less than twenty years old, I did a terrible thing and brought a life into the world, then ignorantly deprived him of the right to live!”
After reading this account, I suddenly thought that, “In our schools today, how many students are in similar predicaments as the young Mr. Wang?” It has been thirty-three years since I started teaching in 1975. During these thirty-some years, I have witnessed the atmosphere on our campuses changing from being plain and simple to being permissive; our permissiveness in schools has surpassed that of some countries. In the past, men and women on college campuses were basically shy towards each other, and they acted with propriety in their relationships. During their courtship before marriage, couples respected each other’s integrity. This self-restraint on both sides had a certain beauty, and it also prevented a dark shadow from hanging over the couple in the future.
As for nowadays, let’s take premarital sex as an example. In the past, such an act was prohibited in both Eastern and Western societies. However, these days, it is common for young students in Taiwan to steal a taste of the forbidden fruit during their summer vacation, and then when school starts they try to clean up the mess they have made. In addition, gynecologists have indicated that in recent years, abortion is no longer limited to the month of September (i.e., when school starts); rather, now, abortion is taking place almost every day! What really chilled my bones was when I heard that young students are using abortion as a means of birth control, with a manner-of-fact attitude; and the age of those who are having abortions is declining!
We also discovered that although the birth rate in Taiwan is decreasing gradually, the popularity of abortion is increasing day by day. In comparison to sexually liberated France, the number of abortions in Taiwan exceeds that of France by six times! After industrialization and urbanization, social structure and human relations are a lot more complicated than they were in the past. Our society’s value has undergone chaotic changes, and as a result, people now are led to focus on wealth and brand names, in other words, hedonism. In addition, given the speed of information dissemination (such as the internet), there is immediate access to limitless information telling one to indulge in one’s sexual desires. Due to lack of restraints imposed by a proper sense of morality, young students, who are originally innocent and full of vigor, are sinking to the level of selling their bodies for money or dealing with the embarrassment of pregnancies resulting from premarital sex.
When we see the situations that the students are in, we can’t help but worry. What went wrong with our education? What should we do in order to rescue these young children? Shouldn’t we tell them what they can do and what they can’t do, based on basic principles of morality? We need to let the students know clearly and unequivocally the difference between right and wrong, and not “As long as I like it, there’s nothing I can’t do.” We don’t want to have more students be like the young Mr. Wang, ending up with an unshakable sense of shame and guilt for the rest of their lives!
Without proper views, it would be like walking in endless darkness; we won’t even know when we wander onto the wrong path. Similarly, most people have the wrong view about abortion; they don’t think an unborn fetus counts as a life, so they think it can be gotten rid of casually. Actually, a life comes into being at the moment of conception, or else how can a fetus gradually grow day by day? Similarly, those of us who have been born are considered alive because we can move and grow. Therefore, an unborn fetus is alive, just like us.
I am a Catholic, and the Catholic religion has always treasured life. Although the “Innocent Little Ghosts” is written from the Buddhist perspective, its compassion and love towards all living beings is very moving. In this book, the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s explanations and answers to questions about abortion gave me a new perspective, and the true stories based on personal experiences serve as great warnings. I believe that, this book will guide many people towards the correct view of abortion, and be a great help to our society and save many lives! I sincerely hope that the word “abortion” will become a term of the past and let more lives continue to live as a result.