Venerable Master Hsing Yun founded Fo Guang Shan in 1967. Since then it has evolved from a mountaintop bamboo forest to the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. Master Hsing Yun has inspired the selfless devotion of over 1,000 monastics as well as the ardent support of many lay devotees to assist him in bringing confidence, joy, hopes, and providing service to countless other. Presently Fo Guang Shan has over 200 branch temples throughout the world carrying out the goals of propagating Humanistic Buddhism and establishing a Pure Land on earth.
In May 1997, Fo Guang Shan decided to close its doors to the general public to give monastics the cloistered atmosphere they need for their Buddhist practice. At the end of 2000, President Chen Shui-bian and government officials from Kaohsiung visited Fo Guang Shan bringing with them the wish from their constituents that Fo Guang Shan re-open its mountain gate. After due consideration, Fo Guang Shan decided to re-open the monastery to some extent thereby providing the public with a Pure Land environment in which to practice Buddhism.
More information: https://www.fgs.org.tw/en/Organizations/Introduction/
Four Main Objectives
Buddhism has propagated in China for more than two thousand years. Not only has it become unified religiously but also in the populace and their daily living. It has influenced the meanings and usage of Chinese words, architecture, carving, tea making, painting, music, dance, literature, and drama. They have inevitably become common trends of Chinese cultures, education in society, and philosophical ideas. Even more so, there remained many remarkable and outstanding artistic representations.
The literature, media publications, music and art creations and cultural activities of Fo Guang Shan have already become a way of Dharma propagation. These initiatives and innovations, in the long-running history, are examples of taking on the responsibilities of the Buddha, as well as promoting the Buddha’s teachings as our purpose in life. The achievements and benefits that are shared among the many definitely have gone beyond one small area. It has embraced all sentient beings in the ten directions. The impact and influences of the propagation of the Buddha’s teachings are deep and broad. No matter how far one is, there will be Buddhism.
Eminent monastics in the past have made the same vows: To build temples for the monastics and propagate the Dharma for the liberation of all.
The founder of Fo Guang Shan, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, arrived in Taiwan in the midst of chaotic times. Upon seeing the declination of true Buddhism, he deeply felt the importance of education and comprehended the need for talented people to teach the Buddha’s teachings, organise events, and initiate Buddhist enterprises so that the true Dharma could be preserved.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun, together with his disciples, has established more than 40 Buddhist colleges, systemized rules and regulations, proactively built schools, fostered talented monastics, and constructed the image of monastics. These resulted in many benefits being brought about in society from the works of education and propagation of the Dharma; also bringing many devotees together to support and protect the monasteries and preserve Buddhism. In the future, Fo Guang Shan will actualize the works of education through the 16 Buddhist colleges, four universities, many primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, as well as branch temples in Taiwan and overseas.
Two thousand five hundred years ago, the Buddha attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree. After that, the Buddha spoke of many ways to liberate from suffering to acquire happiness, also different practices in saving, consoling and giving relief. Ever since the ancient times, Buddhists have implemented the Buddha’s compassionate ways to “provide medicine for illness” and “relieve suffering for happiness.” They proactively engage in any acts that are helpful for all in body and mind, as well as organise charitable events, so that a pureland on earth could be realised.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun says, “Compassion is not momentary, it is a long lasting resolve.” Charitable works need to be continual and persistent. Following the Buddha’s spirit of “Cultivating loving-kindness without conditions and ground compassion in oneness,” and with support from the ten directions, and the goal of relieving sufferings of the many, Fo Guang Shan will relentlessly continue to benefit humanity.
Fo Guang Shan has built many cultivating centres and Venerable Master Hsing Yun has been propagating the Dharma for 40 years. However, many monastics and laity still lack a place for practice. Nowadays we can see a strong commonality in society. Many people feel void, pain, despair and lost. With the cultivating centres, they can become the places of practice for monastics and laity.
Through the ongoing activities such as meditation, recitation of the Buddha’s name, transcribing of the sutras, and other methods of practices, they can bring positive changes in society, purify the minds of the many, and make a small contribution on behalf of Buddhism for our world, countries and society.