Venerable Master Hsing Yun (1927–2023) was a Chinese Buddhist monk, author, philanthropist, and founder of the Fo Guang Shan monastic order, which has branches throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Ordained at the age of twelve in Jiangsu Province, China, Hsing Yun spent over seventy years as a Buddhist monk promoting what he called “Humanistic Buddhism”—Buddhism that meets the needs of people and is integrated into all aspects of daily life.
In 1949, Hsing Yun went to Taiwan and began to nurture the burgeoning Buddhist culture on the island. Early on in his monastic career, he was involved in promoting Buddhism through the written word. He served as an editor and contributor for many Buddhist magazines and periodicals, authoring the daily columns “Between Ignorance and Enlightenment,” “Dharma Words,” and “Hsing Yun’s Chan Talk.” In 1957, he started his own Buddhist magazine, Awakening the World, and in 2000, the first daily Buddhist newspaper, the Merit Times.
Hsing Yun authored more than one hundred books on how to bring happiness, peace, compassion and wisdom into daily life. These works include For All Living Beings, Humanistic Buddhism: A Blueprint for Life, and Chan Heart, Chan Art. He also edited and published the Fo Guang Encyclopedia, the most authoritative Buddhist reference work in the Chinese language. His contributions have reached as far as sponsoring Buddhist music and art to creating Buddhist programming for television, radio, and the stage.
Even after suffering a stroke in 2011, Master Hsing Yun continued to travel around the world teaching the Dharma. He continued to write a daily column for the Merit Times, as well as to produce one-stroke calligraphy paintings. He was also the founder and acting president of Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA), a worldwide lay Buddhist service organization established in 1992.