Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order passed away at age 97 on February 5th, 2023, at 7:00pm amidst the solemn chanting of the Buddha’s name in the Founders Quarters of the Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The Venerable Master was born in Jiangdu, Jiangsu Province, China in 1927. He grew up in poverty and at the age of 12 began his monastic training, receiving full monastic ordination at 15.
For over 80 years, Venerable Master endeavoured to propagate the Dharma as a global citizen, inspiring and forever changing the lives of many. He was followed by over two thousand monastic disciples and millions of followers worldwide. He had also ordained over one hundred Dharma heirs to continue his teachings.
In 1967, the Venerable Master founded Fo Guang Shan, on a bamboo-filled hilltop located in the humble Dashu district of Kaohsiung, with the Four Objectives: to propagate Dharma through culture, to foster talents through education, to benefit society through philanthropy, and to purify human minds through spiritual cultivation. Fully dedicated to the promotion of Humanistic Buddhism, he subsequently realised the grand vow of “May the Buddha’s Light shine universally; may the Dharma water flow across the Five Continents.”
Today, Fo Guang Shan has over 300 temples worldwide, with three universities and two institutes, 16 Buddhist colleges, 27 art galleries, libraries, publishing houses, bookstores, Water and Cloud Mobile Libraries, over 50 Chinese Schools and several kindergartens.
In philanthropy, the Venerable Master has established children’s homes, senior citizen’s homes, dozens of hospitals in mainland China, mobile hospitals, and clinics.
In propagating Dharma through culture, the Venerable Master has founded a number of book publishing companies and published over 390 books. In 1997 he set up Beautiful Life Television and in 2000 launched the Merit Times, a daily worldwide Buddhist newspaper.
In 1992 the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) was inaugurated in Los Angeles. Since its inception, the Association has expanded, with chapters established in over 170 countries worldwide. In 2003, the BLIA achieved the milestone of being officially recognised as a member of the United Nations Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
The Venerable Master has visited Australia many times with temples located in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun first visited Queensland in 1989 to inspect at a vacant block of bushland next door to the Daisy Hill Koala Park. He envisaged one day, a great temple on the site which would carry on his quest to propagate Humanistic Buddhism in Queensland. He named the yet to be built temple Chung Tian which means “middle heaven”. Over the past 30 years the Chung Tian Temple has become one of the iconic institutions in Queensland through educational endeavours, charitable works and staging major Buddhist cultural events.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s life was a shining example of the teachings of Buddha. Throughout his lifetime, he dedicated himself to serving countless individuals, providing guidance and hope to people everywhere. Despite his passing, his achievements have left an indelible impact on the world and will continue to inspire future generations. The legacy of Venerable Master Hsing Yun will live on and his unwavering commitment to propagating Humanistic Buddhism and delivering sentient beings will always be remembered.
“Stars and clouds so vast they are infinite, Shining light on the five continents and the world; Today as you bid goodbye and reach the far shore, May your return to benefit the world be swift”.
A memorial chanting service for Venerable Master Hsing Yun is being held in the Chung Tian Temple on Monday 13th February commencing at 10:00am.