Venerable Master Hsuan Hua of the City of 10,000 Buddhas – Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
“The Venerable Master, whose Dharma name is An Tse and style name is Tu Lun, received the Dharma from the Venerable Master Hsu Yun and became the Ninth Patriarch of the Wei Yang Lineage. His name is Hsuan Hua, and he is also called The Monk in the Grave. A native of Shuangcheng County of Jilin Province, he was born on the sixteenth day of the third lunar month in the year of Wu at the end of the Qing Dynasty. His father’s name was Bai Fuhai. His mother, whose maiden name was Hu, ate only vegetarian food and recited the Buddha’s name throughout her life. When she was pregnant with the Master, she prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisatrvas. The night before his birth, in a dream, she saw Amitabha Buddha emitting brilliant light. Following that the Master was born.
As a child, the Master followed his mother’s example and ate only vegetarian food and recited the Buddha’s name. At the age of eleven, he became aware of the great matter of birth and death and the brevity of life and resolved to leave the home-life. At fifteen, he took refuge under the Venerable Master Chang Zhi. When he was nineteen, his mother passed away, and he requested Venerable Master Chang Zhi of Sanyuan Temple to shave his head. Dressed in the left-home robes, he built a simple hut by his mother’s grave and observed the practice of filial piety. During that period, he bowed to the Avatamsaka Sutra, performed worship and pure repentance, practiced Chan meditation, studies the teachings and comtemplations, and strictly kept the rule of eating only one meal at midday. As his skill grew ever more pure, he won the admiration and respect of the villagers. His intensely sincere efforts to purify and cultivate himself moved the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as the Dharma-protecting gods and dragons. The miraculous responses were too many to be counted. As news of these supernatural events spread far and wide, the Master came to be regarded as a remarkable monk.
Esteeming the Venerable Master Hsu Yun as a great hero of Buddhism, the Master went to pay homage to him in 1946. The Venerable Master Hsu Yun saw that the Master would become an outstanding figure in the Dharma, and transmitted the Dharma-pulse to him, making him the Ninth Patriarch of the Wei Yang Lineage, the forty-sixth generation since the Patriarch Mahakashyapa.
In 1948, the Master bid farewell to the Venerable Master Hsu Yun and went to Hong Kong to propagate the Dharma. He gave equal importance to the five schools-Chan, Doctrine, Vinaya, Esoteric, and Pure Land-thus putting an end to prejudice towards any particular sect. The Master also renovated old temples, printed Sutras and constructed images. He established Western Bliss Garden Monastery, the Buddhist Lecture Hall, and Qixing Monastery. Delivering lectures on numerous Sutras, the Master caused Buddhism to flourish in Hong Kong.
In 1959, the Master saw tht conditions were ripe in the West, and he instructed his disciples to establish the Sino-American Buddhist Association (later renamed the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association) in the United States. In 1962, at the invitation of American Buddhists, the Master traveled alone to the United States, where he raised the banner of proper Dharma at the Buddhist Lecture Hall in San Francisco.
In 1968, the Shurangama Study and Practice Summer Session was held, and several dozen students from the University of Washington in Seattle came to study the Buddhadharma. After the session was concluded, five young Americans requested permission to shave their heads and leave the home-life, marking the beginning of the Sangha in the history of American Buddhism. Since then, the number of American disciples who have left the home-life under the Venerable Master has continued to grow, creating a profound and far-reaching impact on the propagation of the Buddhadharma and the translation of Sutras in the West.
The Master’s explanations of Sutras and lectures on Dharma are profound and yet easy to understand. Several decades have passed in a flash, and the Master has ascended the Dharma seat and delivered well over ten thousand Dharma lectures. Over a hundred of his explanations have been translated into English. No one else has overseen the translation of so many Sutras into English. In 1973 the Master established the International Translation Institute, which plans to translate the entire Buddhist Canon into the languages of every country, so that the Buddhadharma will spread throughout the world.
In 1974, the Master purchased the City ofTen Thousand Buddhas and established the Dharma Realm Buddhist University and the Sangha and Laity Training Programs in order to train Buddhist professionals on an international scale. Furthermore, he founded Instilling Goodness Elementary School and Developing Virtue Secondary School in order to save children’s minds from corruption. Over subsequent years, the Master has successively established Gold Mountain Monastery, Gold Wheel Monastery, Gold Summit Monastery, Gold Buddha Monastery, Avatamsaka Monastery, Dharma Realm Monastery, Amitabha Monastery, the City of the Dharma Realm, and other Way-places of the proper Dharma. Dedicating himself to serving others, the Master doesn’t mind the toil and suffering. Acting as a model for others in founding schools and expounding the teachings, and in order to promote the talent of future generations, the Master has offered the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas as the “Refuge for the Buddhists of the World.” The traditions at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are strict, and residents vigorously strive to practice the Six Great Principles established by the Master after he left the home-life: do not content, do not be greedy, do not seek, do not be selfish, do not pursue personal benefit, and do not tell lies. Due to the influence of the Venerable Master’s integrity and cultivation, the City ofTen Thousand Buddhas has become an important Buddhist Way-place in the United State. The Master has composed a verse expressing his principles:
The Venerable Master’s profound samadhi and wisdom have truly opened up the great way of Bodhi for living beings in the age of the Dharma’s decline. It is as if in the dark night, we suddenly see the lamp of Prajna wisdom, and in the obscurity, we smell the fragrance of the Dharma lineage. It is like a pure lotus which grows out of the mud and blooms. Upon realizing the inconceivable state of a great cultivator, we are moved to express our praise and exaltation.
1. I vow that as long as there is a single Bodhisattva in the three periods of time throughout the ten directions of the Dharma Realm, to the very end of empty space, who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right englightenment.
2. I vow that as long as there is a single Pratyekabuddha in the three periods of time throughout the ten directions of the Dharma Realm, to the very end of empty space, who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
3. I vow that as long as there is a single Shravaka in the three periods of time throughout the ten directions of the Dharma Realm, to the very end of empty space, who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
4. I vow that as long as there is a single god in the Triple Realm who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
5. I vow that as long as there is a single human being in the worlds of the ten directions who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
6. I vow that as long as there is a single god, human and asura who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
7. I vow that as long as there is a single animal who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
8. 1 vow that as long as there is a single hungry ghost who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
9. I vow that as long as there is a single hell-dweller who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
10. I vow that as long as there is a single god, immortal, human, asura, air-bound or water-bound creature, animate creature or inanimate object, or a single dragon, beast, ghost, or spirit, and so forth, of the spiritual realm that has taken refuge with me and has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain the right enlightenment.
11. I vow to fully dedicate all blessings and bliss which I myself ought to receive and enjoy to all living beings of the Dharma Realm.
12. I vow to fully take upon myself all sufferings and hardships of all the living beings in the Dharma Realm.
13. I vow to manifest innumerable bodies as a means to gain access into the minds of living beings throughout the universe who do not believe in the Buddhadharma, causing them to correct their faults and tend toward wholesomeness, repent of their errors and start anew, take refuge in the Triple Jewel, and ultimately accomplish Buddhahood.
14. I vow that all living beings who see my face or even hear my name will bring forth the Bodhi resolve and quickly accomplish Buddhahood.
15. I vow to respectfully observe the Buddha’s instructions and cultivate the practice of eating only one meal per day.
16. I vow to enlighten all sentient beings, universally responding to the multitude of differing potentials.
17. I vow to obtain the five eyes, six spiritual powers, and the freedom of being able to fly in this very life.
18. I vow that all of my vows will certainly be fulfilled.
The poem “White Universe” was composed by the Venerable Master on February 15, 1972, during a session for recitation of the Six-syllable Great Bright Mantra (Om mani padme hum) at Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery. The fourfold assembly of disciples sincerely recited around the clock without fatigue, praying for world peace. Upon the completion of the seven-day session, the Venerable Master was inspired to compose this poem. “White Universe” signifies that the entire universe has been purified, so that it is luminous and immaculately white. In order for the universe to be free from defilement, we must cultivate vigorously and begin by “sparing neither blood nor sweat, and never pausing to rest.”
When Buddhism first came to China from India, one of the most important tasks required for its establishment was the translation of the Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Chinese. This work involved a great many people, such as the renowned monk National Master Kumarajiva (fifth century), who led an assembly of over 800 people to work on the translation of the Tripitaka (Buddhist canon) for over a decade. Because of the work of individuals such as these, nearly the entire Buddhist Tripitaka of over a thousand texts exists to the present day in Chinese.
Now the banner of the Buddhas Teachings is being firmly planted in Western soil, and the same translation work is being done from Chinese into English. Since 1970, the Buddhist Text Translation Society (BITS) has been making a paramount contribution toward this goal. Aware that the Buddhist Tripitaka is a work of such magnitude that its translation could never be entrusted to a single person, the BTTS, emulating the translation assemblies of ancient times, does not publish a work until it has passed through four committees for primary translation, revision, editing, and certification. The leaders of these committees are Bhikshus (monks) and Bhikshunis (nuns) who have devoted their lives to the study and practice of the Buddha’s teachings. For this reason, all of the works of the BTTS put an emphasis on what the principles of the Buddha’s teachings mean in terms of actual practice and not simply hypothetical conjecture.
The translations of canonical works by the Buddhist Text Translation Society are accompanied by extensive commentaries by the Venerable Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua and are available in softcover only unless otherwise noted.”
The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Namo Dharma Protector Weituo Bodhisattva
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