Author: Leann Moore

The Passing Away of Venerable Master Hsing Yun

On the morning of February 6th, 2023, at 5 AM, as dawn broke, a thousand monastic and lay members of the Fo Guang Shan Order knelt in the Main Shrine Courtyard of Fo Guang Shan Monastery, listening to the solemn announcement made by Most Ven. Hsin Bau, Chairperson of the Fo Guang Shan Board of Directors. Ven. Master Hsing Yun, the founder of the Fo Guang Shan Order, passed away at age 97, on February 5th, 2023 at 5 PM, amidst the solemn chanting of the Buddha’s name in the Founders Quarters at the Fo Guang Shan Light Transmission Building. With great sadness and sorrow, the congregation mourned the loss of such an eminent Buddhist Master. Faced with the reality that his heavenly and human eyes of wisdom have now closed, and his ferry of wisdom has now sunk, they prayed for his swift rebirth into this world.

An Honest Revelation

All my life, many have thought of me as rich, but the truth is, staying poor has always been my motto. I grew up in a poverty-stricken family, yet I never saw myself as poor, because I always felt rich in heart. Till my old age, many have thought of me as very wealthy because they believe I own many education institutes, cultural enterprises, publishing houses, and foundations; however, I never felt that I owned anything because these belong to the public, not to me. Although I have constructed many temples around the world, none of these houses, buildings, or even any of the furniture were intended for me. I own not a single piece of the tiles above my head or a single mound of the dirt beneath my feet. Every object within the Buddhist community belongs to the world, so how can there be such a thing as individual possessions? Nonetheless, in my mind, I can still feel that the entire world is mine.

Only Setting the Tone and Not Becoming the Master

It seemed that I had to do every­thing for Buddhism. For Buddhism, I have to only set the tone and not be­come the master, hand over my physi­cal body to the temple and give my life to the Dharma protectors, heav­enly beings and nagas, and making the aspiration to head out for Buddhism, striving to move Buddhism to­ward humanity and society. It seemed then that I suddenly saw people in the tens of thousands who were waving at me. I must propagate the Dharma for the benefit of sentient beings, and usher in a new set of circumstances for Buddhism.

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My Silent Revolution for Buddhism

In devoting my life to Buddhism, in order to keep Buddhism current with the advances in society, in terms of thoughts, I am always making improvements at every hour and moment; in terms of practice, I am constantly and continuously making adjustments. Even though I know that Buddhism must be reformed, innovation never comes into being in the heat of the moment. My “silent revolution” advocates that some things advance, while some things retreat; some things proceed, while some things stop. Although the results are not apparent immediately, I consistently work on them, which can slowly overcome any obstacle!