Venerable Master Hsing Yun served the international Buddhist community as a monk and teacher for over 80 years. He passed away on February 5 at 97.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order, “passed away peacefully amidst the sounds of chanting on February 5,” Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple has announced. He was 97.
Born in Jiangsu Province, China, Venerable Master spent over 80 of his 97 years as a monk. He leaves behind a wealth of books and institutions that will benefit sentient beings for generations to come. Venerable Master Hsing Yun started a monastery in 1967 to “spread the Dharma through culture, cultivate human talents through education, benefit society through philanthropy; and purify the mind through cultivation.” In the 50 years hence, his Fo Guang Shan order has grown to hundreds of temples, monasteries, organizations and universities all over the world touching the lives of millions of people.
I am one of those people. When I wanted to deepen my practice and make significant changes in my life, I looked for schools where I might better learn about Buddhism and perhaps use those concepts to better the world. In my search, I found the University of the West in Rosemead, California, just east of Los Angeles. UWest was founded by Venerable Master in 1991 eventually graduating thousands of students with accredited undergraduate and graduate level degrees. I went to school with Buddhist chaplaincy students who would go onto to serve in America’s military, schools, nonprofits, hospitals, temples and prisons with a grounding in Buddhist principles.
In addition to UWest, some of his other accomplishments include the creation of Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA), an international nongovernment organization dedicated to sustainability and disaster relief among others; the Fo Guang Shan International Translation Center dedicated to the translation of classical and contemporary Buddhist texts; and the Nan Tien Institute, a not for profit government accredited higher education provider in New South Wales, Australia.
In his book Humanistic Buddhism: Holding True to the Original Intents of the Buddha Venerable Master Hsing Yun wrote:
The greatness of the Buddha lies within his unique approach in delivering sentient beings. Not only had he never regarded himself as the most illustrious in the world, he even asserted that he is but a part of the multitude. He taught his disciples to ‘rely on oneself, rely on the Dharma, and rely on nothing else.’ This shows that the true meaning of faith is about having faith in oneself, and discovering one’s compassion and wisdom.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun served the international Buddhist community for over 80 years. May his incarnation be swift and painless.