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The Life of Venerable Master Hsing Yun

Venerable Master Hsing Yun Biography

Venerable Master Hsing Yun was born in Jiangsu, China in 1927 and entered a monastery near Nanjing at age twelve. He was fully ordained in 1941, and is the 48th patriarch of the Linji school of Chan Buddhism.

He is a Chinese Buddhist monk, author, philanthropist, and the founder of the Fo Guang Shan International Buddhist Order, which is headquartered in Taiwan and has branches throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Ordained at the age of twelve in Jiangsu Province, China, Hsing Yun has spent over eighty years as a Buddhist monk promoting what he calls “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 has 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.

Master Hsing Yun is a prolific writer and has authored over 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 writings have been translated into English and many other languages. His works of the Life of Sakyamuni Buddha and the sixteen-volume Fo Guang Buddhist Dictionary have both won Taiwan's highest humanitarian awards. His contributions have reached as far as sponsoring Buddhist music and art to creating Buddhist programming for television, radio, and the stage.

Today Master Hsing Yun continues to travel around the world teaching the Dharma. He continues to write a daily column for The Merit Times, as well as produce one-stroke calligraphy paintings. His insightful, engaging, and witty lectures unfailingly endear him to audiences. He reminds us that to transform our world, we must be actively engaged in it. "Community transcends the individual," he says, "and in doing so, fulfills the individual in the most complete way possible." Wherever he goes, he encourages people to unite both the local and global community into a world of complete equality, joyfulness, and perfect peace.

Books Related to Venerable Master Hsing Yun's Life:
Star and Cloud  
Handing Down the Light  
Bright Star Luminous Cloud  

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Humble Table, Wise Fare


Recorded by Leann Moore         0:16

Words of praise are like perfume:
even a small drop
     will fill the air all around.
The voice of admonishment is like
     a majestic bell:
even a small toll
     will shake the world.

Dharma Instruments

Venerable Master Hsing Yun grants voices to the objects of daily monastic life to tell their stories in this collection of first-person narratives.

Sutras Chanting

The Medicine Buddha SutraMedicine Buddha, the Buddha of healing in Chinese Buddhism, is believed to cure all suffering (both physical and mental) of sentient beings. The Medicine Buddha Sutra is commonly chanted and recited in Buddhist monasteries, and the Medicine Buddha’s twelve great vows are widely praised.


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