About Fo Guang Shan
 

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About Fo Guang Shan

Origins

The Fo Guang Shan monastery was established by Venerable Master Hsing Yun on the 16th of May 1967. It eventually grew to be the largest and internationally well-known Buddhist monastery in Taiwan.

Since its very inception, Fo Guang Shan has been dedicated to the establishment of a Pure Land on the earth. In addition, it has been focusing on the religious spirit and the altruistic activities of bodhisattvas. By striving to render happiness, hope and convenience into their faith, Fo Guang Shan works to bring forth a dynamic and humanistic Buddhism to this contemporary society.

Objectives

There are four objectives of Fo Guang Shan:

  • Propagate the Dharma through cultural activities

  • Foster talent through education

  • Benefit society through charitable programs

  • Purify the human mind through Buddhist practice

Propagate the Dharma through cultural activities

There is a saying: The gift of Dharma excels all gifts. Because of decades of Fo Guang Shan sponsorship of cultural and educational activities, numerous people from across the globe have been led to Buddhism.

In order to promote the cultural traditions of Buddhism and propagate the Dharma, different entities within the Fo Guang Shan organization have undertaken a wide variety of activities. For instance, the Fo Guang Shan Cultural and Educational Foundation has supported a number of promising young scholars to continue their studies in Buddhism as well as sponsoring national and international academic conferences.

Also, as a means of making Buddhism more accessible to devout followers of the religion, the Fo Guang Publishers continuously publish periodicals such as Awakening the World and Universal Gate, as well as books, audio cassettes, and the video tapes on Buddhism.

Furthermore, to encourage Buddhist followers to immerse themselves in the sea of Dharma, Fo Guang Bookstores have been established in places such as Taipei, Kaoshing, and Yuanlin in Taiwan and Hacienda Heights, San Francisco and San Diego in the United States.

Moreover, Fo Guang Shan has been actively engaged in preaching the Dharma to a broad spectrum of followers through mass media.

Foster talent through education

As a way of meeting its ideal of benefiting society through the fostering of both religious and secular training, Fo Guang Shan has been sponsoring educational programs for the Sangha Community and the lay community.

Fo Guang Shan has established kindergartens, Pu-Men High School, and Continuing Education for adults to foster talents through education for all ages. In addition to the academic curriculum, Fo Guang Shan also organises short-term courses in vegetarian cooking, flower arrangement, Chinese knot knitting, calligraphy, and singing.

To enable interested people gain membership in the Sangha and to enhance their mastery of morality, concentration and wisdom, Triple Platform Ordinations have been held four times between 1977 and 1998 at Fo Guang Shan. On these occasions, senior monastic and prominent lecturers have been invited to infuse the prospective members with disciplined training in religious faith, Buddhist beliefs, moral precepts, daily practice, and ceremonial liturgy.

Benefit society through charitable programs

Based on the Buddha's teaching of loving kindness, the Fo Guang Shan Foundation of Compassion provides assistance to the disadvantaged. Its major undertakings include providing free medical assistance for the poor through the Annual Relief Drive, encouraging the relief of suffering of sentient beings and advocating organ donations.

Aside from the Annual Relief Drive, Fo Guang Shan has established an orphanage, the Ta Tzu Children's Home, to accommodate orphans from both Taiwan and abroad.

Fo Guang Shan has also established a Retirement Home for senior citizens. The objective of such an establishment is to provide a peaceful and quiet environment for retired devotees who wish to lead a Buddhist life in a monastery. For the past 24 years, the Lan Yang Senior Citizens' Home has provided shelter for more than 820 chronically ill and destitute seniors who are 70 and over. Due to their performance based on the Bodhisattva ideal of "forbearing the unbearable and practicing the impossible", Venerable Yi-Rong and Shao-Chueh, the administrators of the Lan Yang Home have been highly praised by all.

In order to mitigate the problems that are usually associated with death, Fo Guang Shan has erected a magnificent seven-story funerary complex. This complex could accommodate more than 50,000 niches for urns, where 2,000 of these are reserved for the destitute people free of charge. In addition of serving a final resting place for the deceased, this facility also functions as a hospice for the terminally ill and a place of spiritual solace for their families.

Purify the human mind through Buddhist practice

Based on their sense of gratitude toward the Buddha, their country and parents, and all living beings, the resident Sangha members and lay devotees at Fo Guang Shan arise at 5:30 every morning for service of chanting, prostration, and meditation.

Throughout the year there are also regularly scheduled Dharma functions to cultivate the roots of benevolence and to further the participants' knowledge of the Dharma.

Since its establishment in 1967, there have been frequent organized pilgrimages to Fo Guang Shan in the hope that the pilgrims will gain an inner spiritual transformation and cultivate cosmopolitan attitudes. Periodic pilgrimages to other monasteries and holy sites around the world are also organized by Fo Guang Shan.