TAIWAN —  Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the founding patriarch of the Fo Guang Shan (Buddha’s Light Mountain) Buddhist Order, passed away on Sunday (5 February) 5 pm at the age of 97.

Fo Guang Shan official website confirmed the passing of Master Hsing Yun. However, there will be no funeral committee,  individual obituaries, nor Buddhist ceremonies as the master wishes to keep his departure from this world simple.

They will instead hold a tribute ceremony for the master on 13 February at 9 am. The organization will suspend any external activities from now on and will be open to public for condolences from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day.

Taiwan media reported that Master Hsing Yun’s health declined in recent years, and has been frequently admitted to Kaohsiung Chang Gung Hospital.

People close to him said the master was admitted to the intensive care unit before Chinese New Year. He was admitted to the hospital for about three weeks.

On Sunday morning, his condition worsened, with unstable blood pressure and difficulty breathing and consuming food.

Master Hsing Yun’s core disciples were mentally prepared for his departure. After a discussion with the medical team, they escorted the master back to Fo Guang Shan, where he passed away peacefully at around 5 pm.

People close to the venerable said: “The master returned to the place he was constantly thinking of, and departed in peace.”

Venerable Hsing Yun founded the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order in 1967 in Taiwan and became the abbot of the order until his resignation in 1985. Fo Guang Shan grew to become one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the world under his leadership.

He has spent over eighty years as a Buddhist monk promoting what he calls “Humanistic Buddhism”, emphasising the integration of Buddhist principles into everyday life and the application of Buddhist values in society, making Fo Guang Shan a major force in promoting Buddhism and its impact on the world.

Through its various programs and activities, Fo Guang Shan offers Buddhist teachings, cultural events, and social services to communities around the world, helping to bring the wisdom of Buddhism to people from all backgrounds.

Fo Guang Shan is also recognized for its charitable and educational initiatives, which include schools, universities, and hospitals.

Life of Venerable Master Hsing Yun

According to The Merit Times, Venerable Master Hsing Yun was born in Jiangsu, China, in 1927. Master Hsing Yun grew up in poverty and, at the age of 12, accompanied his mother to Nanjing to search for his father but to no avail.

At the age of 12, he accompanied his mother to Nanjing and had a chance encounter with Venerable Master Zhi Kai, who became his mentor and teacher. He was tonsured at the age of 15 and received full ordination at Nanjing Qixia Monastery.

His ancestral temple is Yixing Dajue Temple in Yixing, Jiangsu, and he was given the Dharma name Wuche and the moniker Jingjue, as the 48th Patriarch of the Linji School and the founding Patriarch of the Fo Guang Order.

In 1949, Hsing Yun went to Taiwan and began to nurture the burgeoning Buddhist culture on the island. He was involved in promoting Buddhism through the written word, serving as an editor and contributor for many Buddhist magazines and periodicals and authoring daily columns.

In 1957, he started his own Buddhist magazine, “Awakening the World,” and later, in 2000, he established the first daily Buddhist newspaper, “The Merit Times.”

In 1967, he founded Fo Guang Shan, on a bamboo-filled hilltop located in the humble Dashu district of Kaohsiung, with the Four Objectives: to propagate Dharma through culture, to foster talents through education, to benefit society through philanthropy, and to purify human minds through spiritual cultivation.

56 years after the founding of Fo Guang Shan, he established over 300 temples across the globe, such as Hsi Lai Temple in the United States, Nan Tien Temple in Australia, Nanhua Temple in South Africa, and Templo Zulai in Brazil, all of which are the largest Buddhist temples in their respective regions.

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