Venerable Master Hsing Yun was born in 1927 in Jiangdu, Jiangsu Province, China. Having

grown up in a poor household with both parents working, Venerable Master Hsing Yun never

received formal education and was left in the care of his maternal grandmother. After the Sino-

Japanese War broke out, while accompanying his mother to search for his missing father, who had

most likely lost his life in the war in 1938, he was tonsured by eminent Master Zhi Kai in Qixia

Temple, Nanjing, with Dajue Temple in Yixing, Jiangsu, as his ancestral temple. In 1947,

Venerable Master Hsing Yun graduated from Jiaoshan Buddhist College, where he underwent a

complete Buddhist education of Ch’an, Vinaya, doctrinal traditions, and later became the principal

of Baita Elementary School, editor-in- chief of Raging Billows Monthly and abbot of Huazang

Temple in Nanjing.

He arrived in Taiwan in 1949 and became the dean of the Taiwan Buddhist Seminar as well as

the editor-in- chief of Human Life Magazine. In 1953, he became the guiding teacher for the

Buddhist Chanting Association of Yilan, and subsequently established the Buddhist Cultural

Service Centre in Taipei, in 1957. In 1964, he founded Shou Shan Temple and Shou Shan Buddhist

College in Kaohsiung; and then founded the Fo Guang Shan (Buddha’s Light Mountain) Buddhist

Order in 1967. With the objectives: to propagate the Dharma through culture; to foster talents

through education; to benefit society through charity, and to purify people’s minds through spiritual

cultivation, he has dedicated his efforts to propagating Humanistic Buddhism. Additionally, he

integrated tradition and modernity in establishing the rules and regulations which were drafted and

published into the Rules and Regulations of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, bringing

Buddhism into a new milestone of modernization.

Having been a monastic for over seventy years, Venerable Master has successively established

over three hundred temples around the world, among which Hsi Lai Temple in the United States,

Nan Tien Temple in Australia, Nan Hua Temple in South Africa, and Zulai Temple in Brazil, each

being the largest in the country. He also founded sixteen Buddhist Colleges, twenty-four art

galleries, libraries, several publishing companies, bookstores, fifty Cloud and Water Mobile

Libraries, fifty Chinese schools, as well as Chih-Kuang Commercial and Industrial Vocational High

School, Pu-Men Senior High School, Jiun Tou Elementary and Junior High School, Junyi School

for Innovative Learning, and several kindergartens. Other education institutes were also established

in the United States, Taiwan, Australia, and Philippines such as Hsi Lai University (now University

of the West), Fo Guang University, Nanhua University, Nan Tien Institute, and Guang Ming

College respectively. In 2006, University of the West became the first university established by a

Chinese organization to be accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges).

Beginning in 1970, he successively established a children’s home, the Fo Guang Senior

Citizens Home, the Cloud and Water Mobile Clinic, the Fo Guang Clinic, helped the Kaohsiung

government establish a senior citizen’s home, and together with the Fu Hui Foundation. In addition,

he established multiple Fo Guang middle and elementary schools and hospitals in China. He has

also donated wheelchairs and combination houses, provided emergency relief aids, educated the

young, provided for the elderly, and supported the poor and needy around the world.

In 1976, the Fo Guang Academic Journal was founded. The next year, the Fo Guang Tripitaka

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Editing Committee was founded to repunctuate and paragraph the canons. The committee compiled

the Fo Guang Buddhist Canon (totalled nearly 1,000 volumes), and the Fo Guang Buddhist

Dictionary. In 1988, Fo Guang Shan Foundation for Buddhist Culture & Education was founded to

hold symposiums and publish collections of dissertations, as well as journals. In 1997, the 132-

volume Selected Chinese Buddhist Texts in Modern Language was published and the CD-Rom

edition of Fo Guang Buddhist Dictionary was released. In the same year, Venerable Master assisted

in establishing M-Radio in Taichung, and the Buddha’s Light Satellite Television Station (now

Beautiful Life Television) was established. In 2000, the Merit Times Daily News was founded.

In 2001, the Universal Gate Magazine, which was in publication for over twenty years, was

transformed into the bi-monthly Universal Gate Buddhist Journal. At the same time, the Collection

of Contemporary Buddhist Works, a collection of Master’s theses and Ph.D. dissertations on

Buddhism from the Cross-Strait was published into a 110-volume Chinese Buddhist Academic

Series. In 2013, the 20-volume Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts was published. And in 2014, the 10-

volume Fo Guang Buddhist Dictionary Revised Edition, 365 Days for Travelers: Wisdom from

Chinese Literary and Buddhist Classics, and A House Full of Jade and Gold – a teaching material of

Humanistic Buddhism – were published.

Venerable Master wrote the Biography of Sakyamuni Buddha, Essential Guides to Buddhism,

Fo Guang Textbooks, Hundred Sayings Series, Between Ignorance and Enlightenment, Ten

Thousand Affairs in the World, Modern Thoughts, Wise Mentality, A Record of a Discussion on

Modern-day Questions, Sayings in Humanistic Buddhism, Collection of Papers on Humanistic

Buddhism, Buddhist Affinities Across 100 Years, and Hear Me Out: Messages from a Humble

Monk. Totaling more than 20 million words, these works were translated into over twenty

languages, such as English, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese, and have been

circulated to all corners of the world.

With over two thousand disciples from around the world and over a million devotees around

the world, Venerable Master has spread the teachings far and wide. His Dharma heirs, numbering

more than a hundred, come from provinces across China, as well as Japan, Korea, Hong Kong,

Singapore, and Australia. These Dharma heirs include Venerable Longxiang (President of Nanjing

Buddhist Association), Venerable Zhenguang (President of Baoding Buddhist Association),

Venerable Daoji (President of Jinzhou Buddhist Association), and Venerable Daojian (Standing

Executive Board Member of the Buddhist Association of China). In 1991, Buddha’s Light

International Association (BLIA) was established and he was elected president of the World

Headquarters. To this day, over 170 chapters have been established over the five continents, making

it the largest Chinese organization around the world; allowing “the Buddha’s Light shining over

three thousand realms, and the Dharma water flowing continuously through the five continents.”

BLIA General Conferences have successively been held in Los Angeles, Toronto, Sydney,

Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and other major cities around the world, drawing attendances of over

5,000 delegates each time. In 2003, BLIA was officially granted Non-Governmental Organization

(NGO) association status by the United Nations. Throughout the years, the themes include: Joy and

Harmony; Oneness and Coexistence; Respect and Tolerance; Peace and Equality; Nature and Life;

Wholeness and Freeness; One Truth For All; To Resolve and To Develop; Self-awareness and

Practicing the Buddha’s way; Change the World and Benefit Humanity; Bodhisattva and Volunteer;

Environmental and Spiritual Preservation; Happiness and Peace; and Future and Hope. All of these

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advocate the philosophy of “the global citizen,” in order for it to become the direction of modern

thinking as well as the value that is universally pursued by all.

Starting in 1978, due to his work in the areas of culture, education, and humanity, Venerable

Master has received honorary Ph.D.s from the University of Oriental Studies in the United States,

the University of the West, Chulalongkorn Buddhist University in Thailand, the University Santo

Tomas in Chile, Dongguk University in Korea, Mahamakut Buddhist University in Thailand,

Griffith University in Australia, Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, Whittier College in the

United States, National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung, Hong Kong University, Geumgang

University in Korea, Macau University, National Chung Cheng University in Chiayi, Uiduk

University in Korea, and National Pingtung University. In recent years, Venerable Master has also

been awarded honorary professor by universities across China such as: Nanjing University, Beijing

University, Xiamen University, Nanchang University, Yangzhou University, Shandong University,

Wuhan University, Renmin University of China, Tongji University in Shanghai, Hunan University,

Shanghai Normal University, Zhejiang University, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has also

received numerous awards from the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and

Ministry of Education. In 2000, President of the Republic of China presented him the “National

Civic-Service Award.” In 2002, he was listed as the ten greatest leaders in educational

undertakings. In 2005, he also received the President's Award “Bodhi Award of Culture.” These are

all recognitions to Venerable Master’s contributions to the nation, society and Buddhism.

Additionally, he has also received countless awards internationally, which include:

1995: the Buddha Ratna Award from the members of All India Buddhist Conference

2000: During the 21st World Fellowship of Buddhists Conference, the Buddhist Great Contribution

Award was conferred by the Prime Minister of Thailand, Chuan Leekpai to commend

Venerable Master for his efforts towards Buddhism worldwide

2006: « Peace in Body and Mind Award » by Phoenix Satellite Television and Lifetime Achievement

from Chinese Writers' Association and Award for Outstanding Achievement from the United

States Republican Party's Asian Committee (in representation of President George W. Bush)

2007: the Contribution Award conferred by the Bayswater city government

2010: Lifetime Achievement Award of China’s first People of Chinese Culture

2013: Lifetime Achievement Award of Most Influential Chinese People, The Light of Chunghwa –

Annual Mass Media Person of the Year Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award for

Chinese Business Leaders.

Venerable Master’s great and deep compassionate vow has created countless Buddhist events.

In November of 1988, Hsi Lai Temple, which is the largest North American Buddhist temple, was

inaugurated and an International Triple Platform Full Ordination Ceremony was held, becoming the

first time for the transmission of full monastic ordination in a western country. At the same time,

the Sixteenth World Fellowship of Buddhists Conference was held, marking the first time that

cross-strait representatives attended a conference at the same time; it also marked Buddhism’s first

exchange between cross-straits. In 1989, under the invitation of the Buddhist Association of China,

the Dharma Propagation and Homecoming Tour Group visited China and met with the Chinese

President Yang Shangkun and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)

Chairman Li Xiannian at the People's Congress Hall.

In February of 1998, he presided over the International Triple Platform Full Ordination

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Ceremony held at Bodhgaya and multiple Five and Bodhisattva Precepts ceremonies for lay

Buddhists; helping to revive the bhiksuni precepts of Southern Buddhism, which had been lost for

over a thousand years. In April of the same year, Venerable Master led a group to escort the

Buddha’s tooth relic to Taiwan from India through Thailand. In November 2004, he presided over

the International Full Ordination Ceremony at Nan Tien Temple in Australia, which was also the

first to be held in Australia and marked milestone in local Buddhist history.

Due to Venerable Master’s lifetime efforts, Buddha’s Birthday was declared a national

holiday to be held every lunar April 8 th by the Legislative Yuan of Republic of China in 1999. In

2000, the first Buddha’s Birthday was celebrated nationally in conjunction with the celebration of

the 2,000th anniversary of Buddhism’s spread into China. In October of 2001, he personally visited

Ground Zero of the September 11 th attack to pray for the victims. In December of the same year, he

was invited to deliver a speech titled “The Direction to Work On in the Future” at the president’s

office. In January 2002, he reached an agreement with China on the basic principles for the

Buddha's finger relic Taiwan tour: “Hsing Yun to make the initiation; united effort in the escort;

enshrinement and worship as one; safety as top priority.” He founded Taiwan's Buddhist

Organizing Committee for the Buddha's Finger Relic Tour, which went to Famen Temple in Xi’an

to escort the finger relic to Taiwan for a tour of thirty-seven days. An estimated five million people

paid respect to the relic during the tour.

In July of 2003, Venerable Master was invited to participate in the Cross-strait Eradication of

SARS—A Blessing for Wellness and World Peace Dharma Service in Nanputuo Temple of

Xiamen; in November of the same year, he was invited to take part in the 1250th Anniversary

Celebration of the Success of Master Jian Zhen's Journey to the East; later, at the invitation of the

Religious Art Research Center of the Chinese National Academy of Arts, he led the Fo Guang Shan

Buddhist Hymn Choir to Beijing and Shanghai to perform; in February of 2004, Buddhists of the

cross-straits came together to form the Chinese Buddhist Music Performing Group, which

undertook a tour of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, the United States and Canada.

  In March of 2006, he was invited by the reputed “learning academy with a history of a

thousand years” — Yuelu Academy of Changsha, Hunan to speak. In April of the same year, he was

invited to the First World Buddhist Forum in Hangzhou, China, where he gave a speech on the

theme of the conference. In 2009, the Buddha’s Light International Association, the Buddhist

Association of China, China Religious Culture Communication Association, and the Hong Kong

Buddhist Association jointly organized the Second World Buddhist Forum, which opened in Wuxi

and closed in Taipei, writing a new page in the history of religious exchange between Taiwan,

mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

In September 2012, Venerable Master was invited to give a speech about “The Value of Faith”

at the 6th Summer Davos World Economic Forum, becoming the first Buddhist leader to give a

keynote speech since its establishment. Since 2010, Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s One-Stroke

Calligraphy Exhibition has been toured the National Art Museum of China and the National

Museum of China in Beijing upon invitation, also the first Buddhist monastic to have exhibited

calligraphy in these museums. The exhibition subsequently toured various art galleries and

museums around Mainland China including in Hainan, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi’s Taiyuan,

Guangdong, Yunnan, Xiamen, Zhenjiang, Shanghai, Dalian, Shandong, Zhejiang, and Guangxi.

In December 2011, under Venerable Master’s guidance, the Buddha Memorial Center

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officially opened to the public and received the National Golden Award For Architecture: Golden

Lion Award for Culture and Education) the following year. In 2014, three years after its opening,

the Buddha Memorial Center has been recognized as a member of ICOM (International Council of

Museums), becoming the museum to acquire membership in the shortest time since opening. In the

same year, the Buddha Memorial Center was awarded the 2014 Travelers’ Choice and a Certificate

of Excellence by the world’s largest travelling website, TripAdvisor, gaining international

recognition for having hosted various art exhibitions, promoting education and Cross-Strait cultural

exchange, collecting artifacts from different eras for its underground palace, and continuously

contributing to the society.

To promote world peace, over the years, Venerable Master has met with leaders of different

countries including King Bhumibol of Thailand, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, President

Diosdado Macapagal of the Philippines, President of Dominica Sir Clarence Seignoret, Vice

President of the United States Al Gore and three Prime Ministers of Malaysia Mahathir, Abdullah

Badawi and Najib. Besides, Venerable Master has also had religious dialogues with other religious

leaders such as President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists HSH Princess Poon Pismai Diskul,

Roman Catholic Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

In 2004, he accepted the position of chairperson of the religious organizations association in

the National Cultural Association. Together with religious leaders of Christianity, Catholicism, Yi-

Guan-Dao, Daoism, and Islam, he attended the Praying for Love and Peace Concert, which

promoted communication between religions and implicated the use of religion to help purify the

minds of people in society. Venerable Master has also held cultural exchange forums with Swedish

Academy Nobel Committee member Professor Goran Malmqvist, Swedish Sinologist Professor

Torbjorn Loden, Harvard University’s Professor Ezra Vogel, and Winner of Nobel Prize in

Literature Mo Yan. In 2013, his meeting with three successive Presidents of Mainland China, Xi

Jinping, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin has written a new page in the Buddhism history.

In recent years, Venerable Master has returned to China to rebuild Da Jue Temple and also to

donate to the construction of the Chinese Academy Museum, Jianzhen Library in Yangzhou,

Nanjing University’s Fo Guang Building as well as to establish the Yangzhou Forum and the

Venerable Master Hsing Yun Public Education Trust Fund, all with hopes of promoting Cross-strait

harmony and bringing world peace.

Throughout his lifetime of propagating Humanistic Buddhism, Venerable Master Hsing Yun

has indeed contributed tremendously to the systematization, modernization, humanization, and

internationalization of Buddhism development!