Materialien zum Neobuddhismus


Wilhelm II.: "Völker Europas, wahrt Eure heiligsten Güter!"

4. USA und Hawaii

9. Chinesischer Buddhismus in den USA

von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --  4. USA und Hawaii. -- 9. Chinesischer Buddhismus in den USA. -- Fassung vom 2005-06-23. -- URL: -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert: 2005-06-20

Überarbeitungen: 2005-06-23 [Ergänzungen]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung Neobuddhismus, Univ. Tübingen, SS 2005

Copyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers.

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Diese Inhalt ist unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz lizenziert.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Buddhismus von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

0. Übersicht

Hintergrund: Chinese Americans

"A Chinese American is an American who is of ethnic Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas Chinese and are also one group of Asian Americans. Numbering 2.3 million in 2000, Chinese Americans make up 22.4% of Asian Americans (larger than any other Asian American subgroup), and constitute just over 1% of the United States as a whole.


Chinese immigration to the United States has come in several waves.

According to records from the United States government, the first Chinese arrived in the United States around 1820. Subsequent immigrants that came from the 1820's up to the late 1840's were mainly men, who came in small numbers. However, due to the lack of Chinese women in the United States at that time, many of them intermarried with Americans of European descent. The best known Chinese immigrants that came during this period are the world-famous Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker.

The major initial wave only started around the 1850s. This was when the West Coast of North America was being rapidly colonized during the California Gold Rush, while southern China suffered from severe political and economic instability due to the weakness of the Qing Dynasty government, internal rebellions such as the Taiping Rebellion, and external pressures such as the Opium Wars.

As a result, many Chinese emigrated from the poor Say yup area (四邑 the four-county area including Sun Wui 新會, Toi Shan 台山, Hoi Ping 開平, and Yun Ping 恩平) in Guangdong province to the United States in order to work on the railroads. People in Say yup lived in such poor living conditions that many were willing to sign up for prepaid long term labor contracts to work in the US. Many gave the sum of money to their family and didn't expect to be able to return home alive. They considered this act to be akin to selling themselves as pigs (賣豬仔). These Chinese, who mostly spoke Cantonese and its variant Toisanese (or Taishanese) clustered in Chinatowns, the largest population was in San Francisco. Some estimated over half of these early immigrants were from Taishan. This immigration (encouraged by the Burlingame Treaty of 1868) was stopped by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which made Chinese immigration illegal until 1943. Many Western states also enacted discriminatory laws which made it difficult for Chinese and Japanese immigrants to own land or even find work. These laws were not overturned until the 1950s, at the dawn of the modern civil rights movement.

With the loosening of American immigration laws in 1952 and 1965, a second wave of Chinese immigration began. These Taiwanese Americans consisted of professionals from Taiwan who arrived in the United States on student visas. With the improving economy in Taiwan, immigration from the island began to decrease in the 1970s and was accompanied by an increase in immigration of professionals from Mainland China, which began to allow for emigration in 1977. Both groups of Chinese tended to cluster in suburban areas and tended to avoid urban Chinatowns. These Chinese tended to speak fluent Mandarin often in addition to their native dialect, which in the case of the Taiwanese Americans was often the Taiwanese language (also known as Hokkien, a variant of the chinese Min dialect, but in Taiwan is called 台语 literally: Taiwanese).

A third wave of recent immigrants consisted of undocumented aliens, chiefly from Fujian province who came to the United States in search of lower-status manual jobs. These aliens tend to concentrate in urban areas such as New York City and there is often very little contact between these Chinese and higher-educated professionals. They generally speak some Mandarin but mostly Min dialect, which is close to the Taiwanese language although this fact does not produce much affinity between this group and Taiwanese Americans. The amount of immigration from this group has begun to decrease as the economic situation in Fujian improves. Typically, an immigrant from Fujian will pay a snakehead several tens of thousands of dollars to be transported to the United States, as well as room and board. The funds for the trip are financed by family and village. The immigrant will usually work for three years, the first two to pay off the debt and the third as profit.

Ethnic Chinese immigration to the United States since 1965 has been aided by the fact that the United States maintains separate quotas for Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Absent from the list of Chinese Americans are immigrants from Hong Kong, who because of immigration law, tended to immigrate to Canada.

In the 1980s, there was widespread concern by the PRC over a brain drain as graduate students were not returning to the PRC. This exodus worsened after the Tiananmen protests of 1989.

Many immigrants from the PRC benefited from the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992 which granted permanent residency status to immigrants from the PRC. One unintended side effect of the law was that the primary beneficiaries of the law were undocumented Fujianese immigrants, who unlike the Chinese graduate students, would have had no chance to gain permanent residency through normal means.

In the late 1990s, large numbers of professional Chinese Americans began to return to the PRC, creating a brain gain. In a typical career pattern, a Chinese graduate student would emigrate to the United States and enter the job market and return to the PRC after encountering the glass ceiling; Chinese students had once been favored under affirmative action programs, but that was no longer the case after 1990. The number of Chinese graduate students returning to the PRC increased dramatically after 2000 and the dot-com bust resulted in worsening job prospects in the United States.


Legally all ethnic Chinese born in the United States are American citizens as a result of the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1898 United States v. Wong Kim Ark Supreme Court decision. Upon naturalization, immigrants are required to renounce their former citizenship. The People's Republic of China does not recognize dual citizenship and considers this a renunciation of PRC citizenship. The Republic of China in Taiwan not only recognizes dual citizenship, but also does not recognize the American naturalization oath as renouncing citizenship. In addition, the PRC does not recognize the American citizenship of children born to PRC nationals in the United States.


Cities with large Chinese American populations include New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Houston. In these cities, there are often multiple Chinatowns, an older one and a newer one which is populated by immigrants from the 1960s and 1970s. In some areas, Chinese Americans maintain close relationships with other Asian groups, particularly Vietnamese Americans. These relationships are helped by the fact that many Vietnamese American are ethnic overseas Chinese, although most ethnic Chinese Vietnamese Americans do not classify themselves as Vietnamese American.

In addition to the big cities, smaller pockets of Chinese Americans are also dispersed in rural towns, often university towns, throughout the United States. Chinese Americans formed nearly three percent of California's population in 2000, and over one percent in the Northeast. Hawaii, with its historically heavily-Asian population, was nearly five percent Chinese American.

As a whole, Chinese Americans continue to grow at a rapid rate due to immigration. However, they also on average have birth rates lower than those of American whites, and as such their population is aging relatively quickly. In recent years, adoption of young children, especially girls, from China has also brought a boost to the numbers of Chinese Americans, although most of the adoptions appear to have been done by white parents.


Chinese Americans are divided among many subgroups based on factors such as generation, place of origin, socio-economic level, and do not have uniform attitudes about the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China on Taiwan, the United States, or Chinese nationalism, with attitudes varying widely between active support, hostility, or indifference. Different subgroups of Chinese Americans also have radically different and sometimes very conflicting political priorities and goals. It is for this reason that Chinese Americans do not have any unified political groups or any unified political viewpoints, although some subgroups such as independence oriented Taiwanese Americans do have some effective lobbying groups such as the Formosan American Professional Association.

In addition, many see the People's Republic of China as a potentially powerful rival to the United States.

Among Chinese in Mainland China and Taiwan, second-generation Chinese Americans known as American-born Chinese are often perceived as being a bit exotic. Chinese Americans have also strongly influenced politics both in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China. A large number of major political figures in Taiwan (including Peng Ming-min, Shih Ming-teh, and Lee Yuan-tze) have had either permanent residency or citizenship in the United States, and many Taiwanese political figures including Lee Teng-hui, Ma Ying-jeou, and James Soong have advanced degrees from the United States. The son of James Soong is an American-born Chinese with United States citizenship.

The large number of Taiwanese with either dual American citizenship or relatives with American citizenship have led to some concerns about political loyalty on Taiwan and has resulted in the requirement started in the 1990s that high government officials (although not ordinary people) must renounce any dual citizenships. However, Taiwanese Americans make up important bases of support for both the pan-Green coalition and pan-Blue coalition and neither party appears interesting in pushing this issue much. During the 2000 Republic of China Presidential election, both pan-Green and pan-Blue ran active campaigns among Taiwanese voters in the United States, and an estimated 10,000 Taiwanese Americans returned to Taiwan to vote in the election.

In Communist China, the top leadership contains few persons educated in the United States: the Cold War period made for tenuous China-America links and the Cultural Revolution disrupted academic exchanges with the rest of the world. However, the middle ranks of the People's Republic of China government contain very large numbers of people who received their education in the United States, and a graduate degree from an American university has become an important benefit to political and economic career advancement. In addition, the sons and daughters of many Chinese political leaders, such as Jiang Zemin, are students in the United States. With the leadership transition to the fourth generation of Chinese leaders under Hu Jintao, American educated Chinese officials are increasingly found in powerful positions.

Racial discrimination, 20th & 21st centuries

Two incidents have energized some Chinese-Americans and other Asian Americans, particularly American-born Chinese in recent years -- the murder of Vincent Chin by white automotive workers in 1982 and the unsubstantiated charges of spying against Chinese American nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1999, whom many believe was a victim of racial stereotyping.

During the Cultural Revolution, Chinese-Americans, like all overseas Chinese, generally speaking, were viewed as capitalist traitors by the People's Republic of China government. Chinese citizens with relatives in the United States faced extra suspicion and scrutiny. This attitude changed completely in the late 1970s with the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. Increasingly, Chinese-Americans were seen as sources of business and technical expertise and capital who could aid in China's development (economic and otherwise).

Love Boat

One institution well known among Chinese Americans is colloquially called the Love Boat, a cultural and educational study tour to Taiwan whose overt purpose is to reacquaint American-born Chinese teens with their cultural roots. However, it also has a side motive for Chinese American parents wanting to stem out-marriage (i.e., miscegenation) by increasing the chances their children meet other Chinese Americans."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-19]

Hintergrund: Chinesischer Buddhismus

"Chinese Schools of Buddhism

When Buddhism moved to China it met a religiously sophisticated culture. As a result a number of Indian-transplant as well as Chinese-indigenous schools of Buddhism developed.

Indian transmitted

  • Sanlun
  • Faxiang [法相宗]

Indigenous Chinese

  • Chan (禪宗, Wade-Giles: Ch'an) Mythically attributed in founding to Bodhidharma
  • Huayan (華嚴宗, WG: Hua-yen)
  • Pure Land (淨土宗, WG: Chingtu)
  • Tiantai (天台宗, WG: T'ien-t'ai) founded by Zhiyi (Chih-I)

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-19]

Chán is a major school of Chinese Mahāyāna Buddhism.

Chan (Chinese ) is traditionally held to be a Chinese adaptation of Indian dhyana [ध्यान n.] meditation practices, and is also often said to be influenced by indigenous Chinese Taoism. According to traditional accounts, the school was founded by an Indian monk, Bodhidharma [菩提達摩 , who arrived in China in about 440 and taught at Shaolin Monastery. Bodhidharma was ostensibly the twenty-eighth patriarch in a lineage that extended all the way back to Shakyamuni Buddha.

Bodhidharma is recorded as having come to China to teach a "separate transmission outside of the texts" which "did not rely upon textuality." His insight was then transmitted through a series of Chinese patriarchs, the most famous of whom was the possibly invented Sixth Patriarch, Hui Neng [慧能]. A modern revisionist theory, however, suggests that Chan began to develop gradually in different regions of China as a grass-roots movement. According this view, Chan was a reaction to a perceived imbalance in Chinese Buddhism toward the blind pursuit of textual scholarship with a concomitant neglect of the original essence of Buddhist practice: meditation and the cultivation of right view.

After the time of Hui Neng (circa 700 CE), Chan began to branch off into numerous different schools, each with their own special emphasis, but all of which kept the same basic focus on meditational practice, personal instruction and grounded personal experience. During the late Tang and the Song periods, the tradition truly flowered, as a wide number of eminent teachers, such as Mazu, Baizhang [百丈懷海], Yunmen and Linji [臨済義玄] developed specialized teaching methods, which would become characteristic of each of the "five houses" of mature Chinese Chan. Later on, the teaching styles and words of these classical masters were recorded in such important Chan texts as the Biyan Lu; (Blue Cliff Record) [碧巖錄] and the Wumenguan; (Gateless Passage) [無門關] which would be studied by later generations of students down to the present.

The Japanese Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki maintained that a Chan satori (Japanese for "understanding") has always been the goal of the training, but that what distinguished the Chan tradition as it developed in China, and as it then spread to Korea and Japan, was a way of life radically different from that of Indian Buddhists. In India, the tradition of the mendicant (holy beggar) prevailed, but in China social circumstances led to the development of a temple and training-center system in which the abbot and the monks all performed mundane tasks. These included food gardening or farming, carpentry, architecture, housekeeping, administration, and the practice of folk medicine. Consequently, the enlightenment sought in Chan had to stand up well to the demands and potential frustrations of everyday life and self-support.

Chan continued to be influential as a religious force in China, although some energy was lost with the syncretist Neo-Confucian revival of Confucianism starting in the Song period. While traditionally distinct, Chan was taught alongside Pure Land [净土宗] in many Chinese Buddhist monasteries. In time, much of this distinction was lost, and many recent masters teach both Chan and Pure Land. Chan was severely repressed in China during the recent modern era with the appearance of the People's Republic, but has more recently been re-asserting itself on the mainland, and has a significant following in Taiwan and Hong Kong and among Overseas Chinese.

In the 20th and 21st Centuries Chan practice has been adopted by Westerners, particularly in Europe and the USA where several lay practitioners have received Dharma transmission from Chan Master Sheng-yen and are now teaching in their own centres."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-19]

Huayan (華嚴, Pinyin: huáyán, Sanskrit: Avatamsaka) or Flower Garland is a tradition of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy that flourished in China during the Tang period. It is based on the Sanskrit scripture of the same name and on a lengthy Chinese interpretation of it, the Huayan Lun. The name “Flower Garland” is meant to suggest the crowning glory of profound understanding.

Historical Background

The doctrines of the Huayan school ended up having profound impact on the philosophical attitudes of all of East Asian Buddhism. Established during the period of the end of the Sui and beginning of Tang dynasties, this school centered on the philosophy of interpenetration and mutual containment which its founders perceived in the Huayan Jing [華嚴經 ]. Yet despite basic reliance on this sutra, much of the technical terminology that the school becomes famous for is not found in the sutra itself, but in the commentaries written by its early founders.

The founding of the school is traditionally attributed to a series of five “patriarchs” who were instrumental in developing the schools' doctrines. These five are: Dushun (杜順), Zhiyan (智儼), Fazang (法藏), Chengguan (澄觀) and Zongmi. Another important figure in the development and popularization of Huayan thought was the lay scholar Li Tongxuan (李通玄). Some accounts of the school also like to extend its patriarchship earlier to Aśvaghosha and Nāgārjuna.

Although there are certain aspects of this patriarchal scheme which are clearly contrived, it is fairly well accepted that these men each played a significant and distinct role in the development of the school: for example, Dushun is known to have been responsible for the establishment of Huayan studies as a distinct field; Zhiyan is considered to have established the basic doctrines of the sect; Fazang is considered to have rationalized the doctrine for greater acceptance by society; Chengguan and Zongmi are understood to have further developed and transformed the teachings.

After the time of Zongmi and Li Tongxuan the Chinese school of Huayan generally stagnated in terms of new development, and then eventually began to decline. The school, which had been dependent upon the support it received from the government, suffered severely during the purge of 841-845, never to recover its former strength. Nonetheless, its profound metaphysics, such as that of the four dharmadhātu (四法界) of interpenetration, had a deep impact on surviving East Asian schools, especially the Chan school.

Philosophy of the Hua Yen School

The most important philosophical contributions of the Huayan school were in the area of its metaphysics, as it taught the doctrine of the mutual containment and interpenetration of all phenomena: that one thing contains all things in existence, and that all things contain one.

Distinctive features of this approach to Buddhist philosophy include:

  • Truth (or: reality) is understood as encompassing and interpenetrating falsehood (or: illusion), and vice-versa
  • Good is understood as encompassing and interpenetrating evil
  • Similarly, all mind-made distinctions are understood as 'collapsing' in the enlightened understanding of emptiness (a tradition traced back to the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna)

Huayan makes extensive use of paradox in argument and literary imagery. The following quote from Dale S. Wright (1982) summarizes the range of such devices a reader is likely to encounter in a first foray into Huayan literature:

         The  first  type  of  paradox   is  modeled  after
       paradoxical  assertions found in many early Mahayana
       texts   that   emphasize   the   concept   emptiness
       (k’ung(f)/’suunyataa).  Beginning with the assertion
       that  a  phenomenon,  X, is  empty  (k’ung/’suunyaa)
       (that  is, since  X  originates  dependently, it  is
       empty  of  own-being),  one  moves  to  the  further
       paradoxical implication that X is not X.  An example
       from  Fa-tsang  is  the  assertion  that  “when  one
       understands that origination is without self-nature,
       then there is no origination.”(5)
         A second  type  of  paradox  is derived  from  two
       doctrinal  sources: the  Hua-yen  concept  of  “true
       emptiness”   (chen-k’ung(g)   )  and   the   Hua-yen
       interpretation  of the  dialectic  of the  One  Mind
       (i-hsin(h)) in the Awakening  of Faith.  Whereas the
       first  type  of paradox  worked  with  the  negative
       assertion   that  phenomenal   form  is  empty   and
       nonexistent  (wu so yu(i)), the second type reverses
       that claim by asserting that any empty phenomenon is
       an expression  of, and the medium  for, the ultimate
       truth of emptiness.  The union of opposites effected
       here is the
       identity  between conditioned, relative  reality and
       the ultimate truth of suchness (chen-ju(j)/tathataa) .
       Fa-tsang’s  paradoxical  assertion illustrates  this
       second  type.  “When  the  great  wisdom  of perfect
       clarity gazes upon a minute hair, the universal  sea
       of nature, the true source, is clearly manifest.”(6)
         The third variation of paradox is grounded in the
       Hua-yen  doctrine  of  the  “nonobstruction  of  all
       phenomena”  (shih shih wu-ai(k)).  According to this
       doctrine,  when  the  ultimate  truth  of  emptiness
       becomes manifest  to the viewer, each phenomenon  is
       paradoxically perceived as interpenetrating with and
       containing all others. This paradoxical violation of
       the conventional  order  of time  and space  is best
       exemplified by Fa-tsang’s famous Essay on the Golden
       In each and every  hair [of the lion]  there  is the
       golden lion.  All of the lions contained in each and
       every  hair  simultaneously  and suddenly  penetrate
       into  one hair.  [Therefore], within  each and every
       hair there are unlimited lions.(7)
         The common element in all three types of paradox is
       that they originate  in the tension  between the two
       truths,   between   conventional   truth   (su-ti(l)
       /  and  ultimate   truth  (chen-ti(m)
       /paramaarthasatya).  Our  task  of interpreting  the
       significance  of  paradoxical  language  in  Hua-yen
       texts,  therefore, will  begin  by  working  out  an
       initial  interpretation  of the two  truths  and the
       relation between 

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-19]

"Pure Land Buddhism (zh. 净土宗, pinyin jìngtǔzōng, Japanese 浄土宗 Jōdoshū), also known as Amidism, is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism and currently one of the most dominant school of Buddhism in Asia.


Pure Land Buddhism is based upon the Pure Land sutras first brought to China circa 150 by the Parthian monk An Shih Kao [安世高] and the Kushan monk Lokakshema [支娄迦谶], which describe Amitabha [阿彌陀佛], one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas [五智如来], and his heaven-like Pure Land, called Sukhavati.

The Pure Land school first became prominent with the founding of a monastery upon the top of Mount Lushan by Hui-yuan in 402. It spread throughout China quickly and was systematized by Shan-tao (613-681). The philosophy spread to Japan and slowly grew in prominence. Honen Shonin [(法然] (1133-1212) established Pure Land Buddhism as an independent sect in Japan, known as Jodo Shu. Today Pure Land is the dominant form of Buddhism in Japan, China, and Taiwan.

Contemporary Pure Land traditions see the Buddha Amitabha preaching the Dharma in his buddha-field (sa. buddhakshetra), called the "Pure Land" (zh. 净土, pinyin jìngtǔ, jp. 浄土 jodo) or "Western Pureland" (zh. 西天), a region offering respite from karmic transmigration. In such traditions, entering the Pure Land is popularly perceived as equivalent to the attainment of nirvana.

It is thought that by adherents that without assistance, it would be likely over the course of multiple rebirths for individuals to get lost or possessed by devils. Thus, adherents believe that the Buddha provided an easier route to enlightenment, the Pure Land. The main idea behind Pure Land Buddhism is that nirvana is sometimes hard to obtain by ourselves, so we need help from the Buddha. Instead of solitary meditative work toward enlightenment, Pure Land Buddhism teaches that devotion to Amitabha will lead us to the Pure Land (reminiscent of Heaven) from which Nirvana will be easier to attain. Rebirth in Pureland is from both the work of us and Buddha.

Some Pure Land Buddhists have taught that in order for a devotee to be reborn in Amitabha's Western Paradise or Western Pureland, they should chant or repeat a mantra or prayer to Amitabha as often as possible to reinforce a proper and sincere state of mind (ex: Chinese 南無阿弥陀佛 Nàmó Āmítuó fó, Japanese pronunciation Namu Amida butsu). This fairly simple form of veneration has contributed greatly to its popularity, especially in Japan."

[Quelle: -- Zugrif am 2005-06-19]

"Tiantai (天台宗, Wade-Giles: T'ien T'ai) is one of the thirteen schools of Buddhism in China and Japan, also called the Lotus Sutra [Saddharmapundarīka-sūtra; 妙法蓮華經] School. It was founded by Zhiyi [智顗] (538-597) during the Sui dynasty in China.

Tiantai is a Mahāyāna [大乘] school established at Tiantai mountain. Zhiyi, taking the Lotus Sutra as his basis, classified the other Buddhist sūtras into five periods and eight types of teachings; he discussed the theory of perfect interpenetration of the triple truth, emphasized both scriptural study and practice, and taught the rapid attainment of Buddhahood through observing the mind. The official line of transmission lists the Indian scholar Nagarjuna and Chinese monks Huiwen and Huisi as Zhiyi's predecessors, although modern scholars believe that Zhiyi was in fact the sect's founder. The sixth patriarch, Jingqi helped popularized the sect through his commentaries on these three scriptures.

Zhiyi organized all existing Nikaya and Mahayana sutras into a five-part scheme, comprising his view of the various levels of teaching revealed by the Buddha. Zhiyi's schema culminated with the Lotus Sutra, which he held to be the supreme synthesis of Buddhist doctrine.

Tiantai thus became doctrinally broad, able to absorb and give rise to other movements within Buddhism. It also took up a principle of triple truth derived from Nagarjuna:

  • All things are void and without essential reality.
  • All things have a provisional reality.
  • All things are both absolutely unreal and provisionally real at once.

The transient world of phenomena is thus seen as one with the unchanging, undifferentiated ground of existence. This doctrine was elaborated in a complex cosmology of 3000 interpenetrating realms of existence."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-19]



Abb.: Kuan-yin (觀音, 观音) auf Marian Adams' Grab im Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington DC
[Bildquelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. X, No. 3 (Spring 2001). -- S. 25.]

Henry Adams lässt vom Bildhauer Augustus Saint-Gaudens einen Grabstein mit der Darstellung von Kuan-yin für seine Frau, die 1885 Selbstmord begangen hatte, erstellen.

"Adams, Henry (Brooks), amerikanischer Historiker und Schriftsteller; 16. 2. 1838 Boston - 27. 3. 1918 Washington; Großenkel des amerikanischen Präsidenten John Adams, Jurastudium in Harvard und Göttingen ohne Abschluss; im Bürgerkrieg Sekretär s. Vaters Ch. F. Adams, des amerikanischen Gesandten in London; unabhängiger politischer Beobachter in Washington; 1870-77 Prof. für Geschichte Harvard und Hrsg. der 'North American Review'; heiratet Marian Hopper 1872, Erschütterung durch ihren Selbstmord 1885; Rückkehr ins politische Leben Washingtons; Reisen im Fernen Osten, 1895 Normandie, 1900 Paris, Weltausstellung

Pessimistische Geschichtsphilosophie im Gegensatz zur herrschenden Fortschrittsidee: das der Physik entnommene Gesetz des Energieverfalls bewirkt die Auflösung des religiös, geistig und politisch geschlossenen Kosmos des Mittelalters, verkörpert im Marienkult von Mont St. Michel und Chartres, und führt im frühen 20. Jh. zum Zerfallstadium der 'Multiplizität', symbolisiert im Dynamo und am eigenen Schicksal exemplarisch und mit Ironie dargestellt in der bedeutenden Autobiographie. Außer historischen Werken zwei Romane aus der Gesellschaft von Washington und New York."

[Quelle: Lexikon der Weltliteratur : Autoren und Werke / Gero von Wilpert. -- Berlin : Directmedia Publ., 2000. -- 1 CD-ROM. -- (Digitale Bibliothek ; 13). -- ISBN 3-89853-113-9. -- s.v.]


Abb.: Hsüan Hua ( 宣化)
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-17

Hsüan Hua ( 宣化) (1908 - 1995) gründet die Sino-American Buddhist Association (später umbenannt in: Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (法界佛教總會))

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-17

"Biographical Sketch of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

The Venerable Master, a native of Shuangcheng County of Jilin Province, was born on the sixteenth day of the third lunar month in the year of Wu Wu at the beginning of the century. His family surname was Bai and his name was Yushu. He was also called Yuxi. His father, Bai Fuhai, was diligent and thrifty in managing the household. His mother, whose maiden name was Hu, ate only vegetarian food and recited the Buddha's name every day throughout her life. When she was pregnant with the Master, she prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The night before his birth, in a dream she saw Amitabha Buddha emitting brilliant light. Following that the Master was born.

As a child, the Master followed his mother's example and ate only vegetarian food and recited the Buddha's name. The Master was quiet and untalkative by nature, but he had a righteous and heroic spirit. At the age of eleven, upon seeing a neighbor's infant who had died, he became aware of the great matter of birth and death and the brevity of life and resolved to leave the home-life. At the age of twelve, he heard of how Filial Son Wong of Shuangcheng County (later known as Great Master Chang Ren) had practiced filial piety and attained the Way, and he vowed to follow the Filial Son's example. Repenting for being unfilial to his parents in the past, the Master decided to bow to his parents every morning and evening as a way of acknowledging his faults and repaying his parents' kindness. He gradually became renowned for his filial conduct, and people called him Filial Son Bai. At fifteen, he took refuge under the Venerable Master Chang Zhi. That same year he began to attend school and mastered the Four Books, the Five Classics, the texts of various Chinese schools of thought, and the fields of medicine, divination, astrology, and physiognomy. During his student years, he also participated in the Moral Society and other charitable societies. He explained the Sixth Patriarch's Sutra, the Vajra Sutra, and other Sutras for those who were illiterate, and started a free school for those who were poor and needy. When he was nineteen, his mother passed away, and he requested Venerable Master Chang Zhi of Sanyuan (Three Conditions) Monastery to shave his head. He was given the Dharma name An Tse and style name To Lun. Dressed in the left-home robes, he built a simple hut by his mother's grave and observed the practice of filial piety. During that period, he made eighteen great vows, bowed to the Avatamsaka (Flower Adornment) Sutra, performed worship and pure repentance, practiced Chan meditation, studied the teachings, ate only one meal a day, and did not lie down to sleep at night. As his skill grew ever more pure, he won the admiration and respect of the villagers. His intensely sincere efforts to purify and cultivate himself moved the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as the Dharma-protecting gods and dragons. The miraculous responses were too many to be counted. As news of these supernatural events spread far and wide, the Master came to be regarded as an extraordinary monk. One day as he was sitting in meditation, he saw the Great Master, the Sixth Patriarch, come to his hut and tell him, "In the future you will go to the West, where you will meet limitless and boundless numbers of people. The living beings you teach and transform will be as countless as the sands of the Ganges River. That will mark the beginning of the Buddhadharma in the West." After the Sixth Patriarch finished speaking, he suddenly vanished. When his observance of filial piety was completed, the Master went to Changbai Mountain and dwelled in seclusion in the Amitabha Cave, where he practiced austerities. Later he returned to Sanyuan Monastery, where he was chosen to be the head of the assembly. During the period that he lived in Manchuria, the Master contemplated people's potentials and bestowed appropriate teachings. He awakened those who were confused and saved many people's lives. Countless dragons, snakes, foxes, ghosts, and spirits requested to take refuge and receive the precepts from him, changing their evil and cultivating goodness.

In 1946, because he esteemed the Elder Master Hsu Yun as a great hero of Buddhism, the Master quickly packed his belongings and set out on his way to pay homage to him. During his arduous journey, he stayed at many of the renowned monasteries of mainland China. In 1947 he went to Potola Mountain to receive the complete ordination. In 1948 he reached Nanhua Monastery at Caoxi of Guangzhou, where he paid homage to Elder Master Hsu Yun and was assigned to be an instructor in the Nanhua Monastery Vinaya Academy. Later he was appointed as Dean of Academic Affairs. The Elder Master Hsu Yun saw that the Master was an outstanding individual in Buddhism and transmitted the Dharma-lineage to him, giving him the Dharma name Hsuan Hua and making him the Ninth Patriarch of the Wei Yang Sect, the forty-fifth generation since the First Patriarch Mahakashyapa.

In 1949, the Master bid farewell to the Venerable Master Hsu Yun and went to Hong Kong to propagate the Dharma. He gave equal importance to the five schoolsChan, Doctrine, Vinaya, Esoteric, and Pure Landthus putting an end to sectarianism. The Master also renovated old temples, printed Sutras and constructed images. He established Western Bliss Gardens Monastery, Cixing Chan Monastery, and the Buddhist Lecture Hall. He lived in Hong Kong for more than ten years, and at the earnest request of living beings, he created extensive affinities in the Dharma. He delivered a succession of lectures on the Earth Store Sutra, the Vajra Sutra, the Amitabha Sutra, the Shurangama Sutra, the Universal Door Chapter, and others. In addition, he held various Dharma assemblies such as the Great Compassion Repentance, the Medicine Master Repentance, recitation sessions, and meditation sessions. He also published the magazine Hsin Fa (Mind Dharma). Every day he worked and travelled zealously for the sake of propagating the great Dharma, and as a result the Buddhadharma flourished in Hong Kong. During that time he also made several visits to Thailand, Burma, and other countries to investigate the southern (Theravada) tradition of Buddhism. He wished to establish communication between the Mahayana and Theravada traditions and unite the strength of Buddhism.

In 1959, the Master saw that conditions were ripe in the West, and he instructed his disciples to establish the Sino-American Buddhist Association (later renamed the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association) in the United States. He travelled to Australia in 1961 and propagated the Dharma there for one year. Since the conditions were not yet ripe there, he returned to Hong Kong in 1962. That same year, at the invitation of Buddhists in America, the Master traveled alone to the United States. He raised the banner of proper Dharma at the Buddhist Lecture Hall in San Francisco. Because the Master started out living in a damp and windowless basement that resembled a grave, he called himself "The Monk in the Grave." At that time the Cuban missile crisis occurred between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the Master embarked on a total fast for thirty-five days to pray for an end to the hostilities and for world peace. By the end of his fast, the threat of war had dissolved.

In 1968, the Shurangama Study and Practice Summer Session was held, and over thirty students from the University of Washington in Seattle came to study the Buddhadharma. After the session was concluded, five young Americans requested permission to shave their heads and leave the home-life, marking the beginning of the Sangha in the history of American Buddhism. Since that time, the Venerable Master devoted his utmost efforts to such tasks as propagating the Dharma, supervising the translation of the Buddhist Canon, and developing education. He accepted vast numbers of disciples, established monasteries, and set forth principles. He focused the earnest sincerity of all disciples on the work of glorifying the Proper Dharma of the Thus Come One to the ends of time and throughout empty space and the Dharma Realm.

In terms of propagating the Dharma, the Master lectured on the Sutras and expounded the Dharma virtually every single day for several decades, always giving simple explanations that made profound principles easy to understand. He also worked actively to train both his left-home and lay disciples to become skilled in propagating the Dharma. He led many delegations to propagate the Dharma at various universities and in many countries of the world, with the goal of guiding living beings to reform and to discover their innate wisdom.

As for the translation of the Buddhist Canon, to date over a hundred volumes of the Master's explanations of the scriptures have been translated into English. No one else has overseen the translation of so many Sutras into English. Translations into Spanish, Vietnamese, and other languages have also been produced. His plans were to translate the entire Buddhist Canon into the languages of every country, so that the Buddhadharma could spread throughout the world.

As for education, at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas  [萬佛聖城 ]  he established such educational institutions as Instilling Goodness Elementary School, Developing Virtue Secondary School, Dharma Realm Buddhist University, and the Sangha and Laity Training Programs. Many of the affiliated monasteries also have weekend and weekday classes based on the eight fundamental human virtues of filiality, fraternal respect, loyalty, trustworthiness, propriety, righteousness, incorruptibility, and a sense of shame. Taking the public-spirited, unselfish spirit of kindness, compassion, joy, and giving as their goal, boys and girls study separately and the volunteer teachers regard education as their personal responsibility. In this way, students develop into capable individuals of incorruptible integrity who will be able to save the world.

The Master taught his disciples that every day they should sit in meditation, recite the Buddha's name, bow in repentance, investigate the Sutras, rigorously uphold the precepts, eat only one meal a day, and only before noon, and always wear the precept sash. He instructed them to dwell in harmony and offer encouragement to each other. In this way he established a Sangha that genuinely practices the Buddhadharma in the West, in the hope of uplifting the orthodox teaching and causing the Proper Dharma to long abide. The Venerable Master also opened up the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas [萬佛聖城 ] as an international religious center promoting the unity of all world religions by giving everyone a chance to learn, communicate, cooperate, pursue the truth, and work for world peace. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-17]


Abb.: Logo

In New York wird die Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS) (美國佛教會 ) gegründet, eine chinesisch-ethnische Pure-Land-Vereinigung. Mitbegründer ist Chia Theng Shen (張鴻洋 ) (1913 - ), ein chinesischer Geschäftsmann.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-07

"Dr. SHEN, CHIA THENG (1913--), co-founder of the Buddhist Association of the United States (abbreviated hereafter as BAUS), was born on Dec. 15, 1913 in Chekiang, China. In 1937, after obtaining his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the National Chiao Tung University in Shanghai, he had served for the next ten years in Central Elec. Mfg. Works and then in the National Resources Commission in the Chinese government. In 1947, Shen had his own international trading company opened in Shanghai and then moved his business to Hong Kong in 1949. In 1952, he and his family came to the United States and, along with some business partners, established a shipping company and thereafter had held various shipping executive positions until his retirement in 1980. In 1973, Shen was conferred with an honorary Litt. D. by St. John's University in New York.

Ever since his youth, Shen had always felt spiritually drawn to the Buddhist teachings of personal cultivation toward enlightenment and compassion for all sentient beings. But it was not until he came to the United States that he started to study Buddhism seriously. Guided by some learned Buddhist friends in the States, Shen has attained a deep understanding of the profound and subtle principles of the religion. He has the vision that the ever-new wisdom embodied in the Buddhist teaching, along with other w orld religions, will help bring about world peace and alleviate the suffering of mankind. He has therefore dedicated himself to the cause of promoting friendship and mutual communication among all religions, and to introducing the Buddha Dharma into the Western world, in particular America, which he recognized as a fertile soil for the propagation of Buddhism for the benefit of its people.

Over the years, Shen's efforts and financial support has led to the formation of the BAUS in 1964, and in 1971 the Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions in New York. Since accurate translation and publication of the Buddhist scriptures into western languages are essential if Buddhism is to be appreciated beneficially by the Western world, Shen donated in 1968 a property in San Francisco to Rev. Hsuan Hua to establish the Buddhist Text Translation Society for just that purpose. In 1971, he fur thermore helped found the Institute for the Translation of the Chinese Tripitaka (ITCT) in Taipei, Taiwan. The most important publication of the latter is a 496-page book entitled A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras, which was published in 1984 by Penn State University.

To allow North American Buddhists to have a place for regular Dharma Assembly and to attend lectures given by renowned Dharma masters and learned Buddhists from all over the world, Shen and his wife, Upasika Woo Ju Shen, donated in 1969 a property in Bronx, N.Y. to BAUS to establish the Temple of Enlightenment. In 1970, Shen started the Bodhi House in Long Island, N.Y., which has been used as headquarters of the 16th Karmapa of Tibetan Buddhism and conference places for various Buddhist gathering. Shen late r supported the 16th Karmapa again financially to establish the Karma Triyana Dharma Monastery in Woodstock, N.Y.

In 1980, a 125-acre parcel of land, located in Putnam County, N.Y., was donated by Shen to the BAUS to build the Chuang Yen Monastery which, with its Great Buddha Hall which houses a 37-foot statue of Buddha Vairocana - the largest Buddha statue in the Western hemisphere, Kuan-Yin Hall, Thousand Lotus Memorial Terrace, library, statues of Kuan-Yin and Amitabha, and beautiful landscape designed with the theme "Pure Land" in mind, has become an attraction for Buddhists as well as tourists. Currently, Shen eng ages himself in a project to store the Buddhist scriptures on computer CD-ROMs. By doing so, Shen hopes distribution of the Buddhist books becomes more convenient and the Buddha Dharma can be preserved from being destroyed because of war or political upheaval.

Since 1969, Shen has lectured, in either English or Chinese, on Buddhism on many occasions. Most of the lectures have been collected and printed as books. His publications include A Study on Diamond Sutra, The Five Eyes, May Flower, A Glimpse of Buddhism, What We can Learn From Buddhism, and The Enlightenment of Bodhisattva Kuan-Yin.

Reviewing his life, Shen made the following statements in Who's Who in America: To benefit all human beings and to work toward freeing them from fear is my goal. The collective wisdom of all world religions furnishes us the direction and means to achieve that goal. To introduce such wisdom into the daily life of mankind in general and America in particular, is therefore what I devote my energy to. To the extent that I succeed in this endeavor, I consider my life successful."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-16]


Abb.: Ta Tsung, 1977
[Bildquelle: ©Tom Moore. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-06-23]

Ta Tsung (1907 -1986), ein Ch'an Mönch, kommt nach Monteagle, Tenessee, und führt dort ein zurückgezogenes Leben der Arbeit und Meditation.


Fünf Amerikaner von Hsüan Hua's ( 宣化) (1908 - 1995) Gemeinschaft reisen nach Taiwan und werden zu Vollmönchen ordiniert.


Die von Hsüan Hua ( 宣化) (1908 - 1995) gegründete Buddhist Text Translation Society beginnt mit ihrer Übersetzungsarbeit

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21


Abb.: Bericht über die Wallfahrt

Die amerikanischen Ch'an-Mönche Heng Ju und Heng Yo wallfahren zu Fuß für den Weltfrieden vom Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco nach Marblemount, Washington (insgesamt 1800 km), dabei machen sie alle drei Schritte eine Prostration. Sie haben immer wieder Nachahmer.


Abb.: City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

Hsüan Hua ( 宣化) (1908 - 1995) gründet in einem ehemaligen Gefängnis The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (萬佛聖城 ) in Talmage, Ukiah, California


Chan-Meister Sheng-yen (聖嚴法師 ) (1931 - ) kommt in die USA und gründet in New York City das Institute of Chung-Hwa Buddhist Culture (中華佛教文化 )

"Chan Master Sheng-yen (born 1931) is one of the more famous living teachers of Chan (Chinese Zen) Buddhism. Sheng-yen has received dharma transmission in the lineages of both Caodong [曹洞宗 ] (Japanese: Soto) and Linji [臨済義玄] (Japanse: Rinzai) Chan.

Born near Shanghai, he became a Buddhist monk at the age of 13. He went to Taiwan in 1949, and from 1961 to 1968 he trained in solitary retreat. He studied for a master's degree (1971) and doctorate (1975) in Buddhist literature in Japan.

He became abbott of Nung Ch'an Monastery in Taiwan in 1979 and founded of the Institute of Chung-Hwa Buddhist Culture in New York City in 1980. In 1985, he founded the Institute of Chung-Hwa Buddhist Culture in Taipei and the International Cultural and Educational Foundation of Dharma Drum Mountain in 1989.

He has been teaching in the United States since 1980, and has also visited many countries in Europe, as well as continuing his teaching in several Asian countries, in particular Taiwan. In this way his work has helped to bridge East and West and convey the Dharma to the West. Sheng-yen has given Dharma Transmission to several of his lay Western students, such as John Crook [1930 - ]."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-19]


Chia Theng Shen (張鴻洋 ) (1913 - ), ein chinesischer Geschäftsmann. stiftet in Putnam County, New York 125 acres (50,6 Hektar) Land, damit das Chuang Yen Monastery (莊嚴寺) errichtet werden kann.


Abb.: Hsi Lai Temple (西來寺)

Eröffnung des Hsi Lai Temple (西來寺) in Hacienda Heights, California

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-26

"Hsi Lai Temple (Chinese: 西來寺) is the largest Buddhist temple and monastery in the Western hemisphere. It is located on the foothills of Hacienda Heights, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.

The temple was finished in 1988 at a cost of $10 million. The planning and construction of the temple, in the 1980s, were met with suspicion and resistance from local residents outside of the Asian community. Those feelings have diminished as the general level of awareness has been raised and as the temple and its residents have proven to be good neighbors. The Taiwanese religious organization Fo Guang Shan [佛光山 ], led by Master Hsing Yun [星雲大師], has its North American headquarters at Hsi Lai Temple.

The temple mainly attracts local Chinese-American Buddhists but the general public is welcome provided they abide and respect the rules of the temple (e.g., shorts and miniskirts may not be worn and no meat is permitted).

During the 1996 presidential campaign, Vice President Al Gore held a controversial fundraiser at Hsi Lai. Gore allegedly received contributions from monks who had sworn a vow of poverty. In this context, Hsi Lai was often referred to in the media as simply "the Buddhist temple".

To court the Chinese-American community in the San Gabriel Valley, the temple was a venue during the campaign of the Mexican American Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

In 1991, Hsing Yun founded Hsi Lai University in Rosemead, California. In 2004, the university changed its name to the University of the West and appointed Dr. Lawrence Lerner as president."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-26]

Abb.: Offizielles Portrait von Hsing Yun

"Venerable Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師; Xing Yun Da Shi) (1927 -) is an important figure in modern Mahayana Buddhism. He is well known around the world for his humanitarian work, caligraphy, his talent in speaking the Dharma, and his talent in writing. He is also an active philantropist.

Master Hsing Yun is best known as the founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, the largest religious and humanitarian organization in Taiwan. He is also the 48th patriarch of the Rinzai Zen school.


Early life

Master Hsing Yun was born 1927 in Jiangsu province in China in a family under the surname of Li. (李) His father left home to do business and was never heard from again. When his mother was desperately searching for her husband, he went to Nanjing. By chance, he came across the host monastic as Chi-Hsia Shan Monastery. The host monastic asked young Li if he wanted to become a monastic, to which Li immediately blurted out "yes".

In a half hour, Master Zhi Kai, the abbot of the monastery, requested that Li could be tonsured under him, therefore, Master Zhi Kai would be his master. Therefore at the age of 12, young Li was tonsured under Master Zhi Kai. He was ordained under the dharma names name Jin Chueh (今覺, to be enlightened today), and Wu Che (悟徹, through enlightenment).

In 1941, Hsing Yun was fully ordained and went on to formal monastic training at Ch'i-Hsia Vinaya School and transferred to Chiao-Shan Buddhist College in 1945. From an early age, he vowed to revitalize and spread Buddhism. As mainland China was enmeshed in civil war, he left his home in 1949 to head for Taiwan.

Origin of the name "Hsing Yun"

One day, when Jin Chueh was still a student at Chiao-Shan Buddhist College, he happened to stumble onto the word Hsing Yun, which means "star and cloud", in the dictionary. Jin Chueh admired the infiniteness and boundlessness of these nebulas and wished that he could shed light on darkness and be as free and unbound as clouds and stars. When Jin Chueh a new identification card after China's victory over Japan, he gave himself the Dharma name of Hsing Yun.


In 1949, Hsing Yun wrote his first book, "Singing in Silence", the first stepping stone in his writing career. In later years, he founded several Buddhist publications, and was promoted as editor-in-chief for many Buddhist periodicals and newsletters for various temples and wrote articles for major Taiwanese newsletters. In 1955, he published one of the first hardback biographies of Sakyamuni Buddha.

Hsing Yun's pen names

When Hsing Yun was a writer for a local Taiwanese newsletters, magazines, and radio stattions, he was known as Mo Jia (摩迦), the Chinese name for Mahakasyapa, a senior disciple of the Buddha. He called himself this because he made a strenuous effort in promoting the Dharma and writing. Some time later, he called himself Jiao Fu (腳夫), meaning porter. He called himself this because he served people, carried loads and labored.

Jiao Fu was also the pen name for a novel Hsing Yun wrote called "National Master Yulin" (玉琳國師), which was later turned into a televison soap opera, Continued Fate of Love. He chose Jiao Fu because he wasn't sure if a romantic novel would be accepted by the public if it was written by a Buddhist monk.


Starting in the 1950s, Hsing Yun taught numerous religious classes, built many schools for children, and was promoted as an executive in many Buddhist associations. In 1957, Hsing Yun established a Buddhist cultural center in which a variety of Buddhist books are published with training tools such as audio and visual aids. In 1959, Hsing Yun also supported the Tibetan movement against communist supression, and organized the first float parade in celebration of Wesak in Taiwan.

Perhaps one of Hsing Yun's greatest achievements was his successful push for Wesak to become a national holiday in Taiwan, a wish that had been granted by former ROC President Lee Teng-hui in 2000.

In 1997, Hsing Yun was invited to a Cross-century Religious Dialogue with the late Pope John Paul II. Under the invitation of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican, Hsing Yun met with the Pope for an inter-religous dialogue to promote inter-religious exchange between the two parties and to pray for world peace. This was a great progressive step for Buddhism in Taiwan toward international exchange.

The founding and involvment with Fo Guang Shan

In 1967, Master Hsing Yun made plans to build a large Buddhist monastery in the mountains. During that time that was spent clearing the moiuntains, the endless toiling away, wave upon wave of physical strain, the planning that carried on into all hours of the day, the barrage of floods and other natural disasters, and the belligerant mobs that surrounded the mountain were all quite beyond description.

On windy and sunny days, the workers clothes would be soaked in sweat, dried up, and then soaked up again. They would be discussing throughout the day and go to bed late at night, and then as soon as the sun came out, they would work again.

However, in the momentum of an incomparable courage, and by the blood and sweat of the laborers, the vast wilderness was transformed into the scenic Fo Guang Shan today.

Branch Temples

Soon after the building of Fo Guang Shan, many countries, including most parts of Taiwan, each had their own Fo Guang Shan branch temple. Hsi Lai Temple (USA), Nan Tien Temple (Australia), and Nan Hua Temple (South Africa) are among the biggest branch temples. Fo Guang Shan branch temples can be found in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, France, the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Abbotship: 1967-1985

Master Hsing Yun was the abbot of Fo Guang Shan for the first three terms. From 1967, after Master Hsing Yun's founding of Fo Guang Shan, he has worked relentlessly to promote humanistic Buddhism. However, in an effort to systematize and modernize Buddhism, Master Hsing Yun his abdication on September 22nd, 1985 without any regret or hesitation. He handed the abbotship to his most senior disciple, the most Venerable Hsin Ping.

At the time of the Venerable Master’s announcement, every devotee was shocked by the news and could not bring themselves to accept the decision. The abdication of Master Hsing Yun was done for the sake of setting a fine example for the democratization of Buddhism. From a social point of view, Master Hsing Yun’s action served to educate and enlighten the minds of the people and for Fo Guang Shan, it was a day of historical importance.

Closing Fo Guang Shan

In May 1997, Master Hsing Yun announced that he would close the mountain gate of Fo Guang Shan to the general public, causing a media frenzy in Taiwan. His reason in closing the monastery was to give monastics the cloistered atmosphere they need for their Buddhist practice.

At the end of 2000, ROC President Chen Shui-bian and government officials from Kaohsiung visited Fo Guang Shan bringing with them the wish from their constituents that Fo Guang Shan re-open its mountain gate.

After due consideration, Fo Guang Shan decided to re-open the monastery to some extent, thereby providing the public with a Pure Land environment in which to practice Buddhism.


More that 1,000 monastic disciples have been tonsured under Master Hsing Yun, with over a million followers. During his life's work, he has promoted the ideals of Humanistic Buddhism and being "a global person". His philosophy calls for a life in which the spirits of joy and harmony, integration and coexistence, respect and magnanimity, equality and peace are widely disseminated.


In Taiwan and the United States, many detractors call Master Hsing Yun a political monk, due to his great involvement with politics, especially his promotion of the democratization of Buddhism, as well as in all parts of the world. In fact, he has used democratic ideals to help govern Fo Guang Shan. Critics have even suggested that democratic ideals have strayed Master Hsing Yun far afield from the traditional monastic concerns.

Master Hsing Yun and Fo Guang Shan has also been exposed to accusations that he and the organization might exploit their followers financially. Many critics in Taiwan and the United States think that Fo Guang Shan members treat Master Hsing Yun as an idol. This thought brought forth an accusation that he might also use brainwashing techinques to gain more members.

In 1996, Master Hsing Yun's main Fo Guang Shan branch temple in the United States, Hsi Lai Temple, became embroiled in a high-profile controversy involving the 1996 presidential campaign, where Master Hsing Yun and two other nuns who swore a life of poverty donated $1000 during a campaign booster for Vice President Al Gore."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08]


Gründung der Massachusetts Buddhist Association


The largest Chinese lay Buddhist organization in the state, the Massachusetts Buddhist Association was founded in 1985 by four scientists from Taiwan, and is housed in a former Protestant church. Based on a democratic organization, rejecting sectarianism and hierarchy, the Association follows a distinctive individual approach to practice and embraces all Buddhist traditions. Most of its 150 members come from Taiwan, some from Hong Kong, and virtually all became practicing Buddhists only after their arrival in the United States.

Activities and Schedule

The Association offers programs, classes and lectures in meditation and chanting. It celebrates major Buddhist festivals such as the birthday of the Buddha and Guan-Yin.
Sunday Meditation takes place from 9:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
Contact Name and Title
Alice Hwang, President or K.C. Lin, Director

Contact Phone/Fax Number
(781) 863-1936

Date Center Founded

Membership/Community Size
Approximately 150

Ethnic Composition
Predominantly Taiwanese; some Buddhists from Hong Kong and mainland China

Updated on June 20, 2002"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-07]


Ven. Shih Ying-Fa gründet die Zen Society of Cleveland, Home of the Nien-Fo Ch'an Order

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20

"Operated by the Zen Society of Cleveland, CloudWater Zendo is a Buddhist meditation center dedicated to Ch'an (Zen) meditation, Pure Land Buddhism, the combined practice of Ch'an and Pure Land meditation, the practice of meditative arts and the study of Buddhist teachings for the benefit of all sentient beings. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20]


Comparing the Paths

Due to the differences between Ch'an Buddhism and Pure Land Buddhism as well as those between Traditional Pure Land Buddhism and Shin Pure Land Buddhism, some confusion and misinterpretation is bound to occur.  The following are simplified charts comparing these paths in general terms.  The intent is to help clear up any confusion which may occur, particularly when trying to understand the combined practice of Nien-Fo Ch'an.  The charts may also help to clarify the important differences between Pure Land Buddhism as it originally evolved in China and the style of Pure Land Buddhism which developed in Japan.  For additional information please refer to the Pure Land Buddhism page.


Ch'an/Zen & Traditional Pure Land

  Ch'an/Zen Traditional Pure Land
Major Emphasis Developing the eye of Wisdom. Abiding in the Heart of Compassion.
Personal Turning Point Raising the Great Doubt. The experience of Serene Trust.
Major Practices T'so-Ch'an (J. Zazen),  Kung-An (J. Koan), Silent Illumination (J. Shikan-taza) Hua-T'ou, Walking Practice, Chanting Practice. Meditation (recitation, visualization etc.), Sutra Reading, Veneration, Transference of Merit.
Elements of Faith Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Ancestors, Teachers. Amitabha, Amitabha's Vows.
Types of Vows To save all sentient beings, to end delusions, to master the teachings, to follow the Way and to abide by the Precepts. To be reborn into the Pure Land, to save all sentient beings, to see Amitabha Buddha at the moment of death and to abide by the Precepts.
Object of Meditative Concentration One's own true nature. Amitabha Buddha.


How Ch'an/Zen & Traditional Pure Land Complement Each Other

Ch'an/Zen Traditional Pure Land
Refines Wisdom. Opens the Compassionate Heart.
The direct realization of Emptiness and the aspiration for Enlightenment allows true Compassion to grow. Realization of oneness with boundless Compassion opens the Eye of Wisdom..
Focuses concentration, calming the agitated mind. Calms the agitated mind, fostering concentration.


Differences Between Traditional Pure Land (Chinese) and Shin Pure Land (Japanese)

Traditional Pure Land Shin Pure Land
A cooperative relationship exists between the practitioner and Amitabha Buddha; the practitioner tries to become one with the Purified Mind. A person is totally reliant on the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha; Enlightenment is not dependent in any way on one's own efforts.
There are a number of practices and variants, including recitation, visualization, Sutra reading, etc. Saying of the name (nembutsu) is all that is necessary; the nembutsu is not considered a "practice" as such.
Based on the tripod of Faith, the Aspiration for Rebirth (Vow) and Practice. Based on Faith in Amida Buddha's Primal Vow.
The Pure Land is considered to be Amitabha's merit-created realm of rebirth where cultivation may be done free of  hindrances; it is also considered the Realm of the Purified Mind which manifests itself everywhere. The Pure Land is considered to be Amida Buddha's Paradise made manifest by the Primal Vow.

Quelle der Tabellen: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20


Abb.: Al Gore mit dem Abt des Hsi Lai Tempels  (西來寺)
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-07]

Das Democratic National Committee (DNC) nimmt $140,000 ein bei einem fund-raiser mit Vice President Gore im Hsi Lai Temple (西來寺), Hacienda Heights bei Los Angeles. Da der Tempel als religiöse Institution Steuerbefreiung genießt, darf er politisch nicht aktiv werden.

"The temple fund-raiser was organized by John Huang and Maria Hsia. Hsia was indicted Feb. 18 on federal charges of laundering campaign contributions from the temple. And the temple, also known as the International Buddhist Progress Society, was cited as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Gore suffered considerable embarrassment from the temple visit. He initially said it wasn't a fund-raising event, but memos prepared by the DNC for his staff clearly show that those joining him for lunch at the temple had to contribute $2,500 per person to the party.

What early on appeared to be a mystery – how monks and nuns living on $40 monthly stipends could afford to make hefty campaign contributions – was at least partly solved by reports that the temple repaid individuals who donated.

It is illegal to finance a political donation officially listed in the name of another.

The DNC later returned most of the donations and paid the temple back for the cost of the event, admitting it was wrong to hold a political fund-raiser at a tax-exempt religious institution. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-07]

Hsing Yun kommentiert den Vorgang in einem Leserbrief so:

"With regard to political donations made to the Democratic National Committee by myself and other Fokuangshan Buddhists during the recent presidential race: the American public was apparently especially perplexed by how Buddhist monastics could personally have so much money that they would be willing to donate up to $5,000 to the DNC And, since the monastics and lay members were all originally from Taiwan, why their interest in gaining influence in American politics? Americans are under the mistaken assumption that Buddhist monastics have taken a "vow of poverty." Buddhist monastics do take many vows (monks take 250; nuns 348), but poverty is not one of them. Although monastics follow a simple life, with few personal possessions, those who have received gifts or inheritances from their families are free to spend such funds in any way they consider beneficial to Buddhism and society. As to the second question, while it is true that the people who donated funds during the Hsi Lai Temple banquet originally hail from Taiwan, all have either U.S. residency or citizenship. As is the case with all permanent residents, it is perfectly legal for us to contribute to political parties or candidates. To assume that we who contributed funds were working on behalf of the government of Taiwan is ludicrous and smacks of prejudice. We contributed to the DNC to demonstrate our respect for Vice President Al Gore and to encourage the government to act in ways that we believe are best for our own ethnic group, American society as a whole, and the entire global village.

Founder, Hsi Lai Temple
Hacienda Heights, California"

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. VI, No. 3 (Spring  1997). -- S. 10f.]


Abb.: Chuang-Yen-Kloster (莊嚴寺)
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-07]

Verdienst-Erwerb und Umweltschutz kollidieren.

"The Buddhist tradition of liberating captive animals has environmentalists in upstate New York alarmed. According to an article in the New York Times (January 11, 1997), residents of New York City's Chinatown regularly arrive at Chuang Yen, a Buddhist temple outside the town of Kent, with as many as 2,500 live goldfish at once. Following a ritualized acknowledgment of gaining merit through acts of kindness, the fish—and often turtles—are taken to the "releasing pond." But the water that feeds the city's reservoirs depends on a delicate balance of native species, including perch, sunfish, and catfish, which are endangered by the reproductive powers of the heartier goldfish. Turtles pose an even greater problem. Sold in Chinatown for "cooking or release," they carry, according to Dr. Klemens of the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo, a host of diseases, caused by crammed living conditions, that threaten the state's native population of twelve species, half of which are on the endangered list.

While everyone acknowledges the good intentions of these Buddhist believers, the outcome can be fatal sooner rather than later. Pathologists have identified exposure as the cause of death to turtles released by Buddhists in some of the state parks.

The situation may provide endless discussions on the polemics of karma, cause and effect, intention and result. But it may provide as well an area where Western advocates of Green Buddhism and other Buddhist conservationists can work with the immigrant communities to continue this tradition in ways that are not only neutral but helpful to the environment. Any suggestions?"

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. VI, No. 3 (Spring  1997). -- S. 83f.]

Abb.: Chuang Yen Monastery  (莊嚴寺)
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-16]


Abb.. Great Buddha Hall
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-16]

Einweihung der Great Buddha Hall des Chuang Yen Monastery  (莊嚴寺)  in Putnam County, New York.

"This large building has a design similar to that of the Kuan-Yin Hall - the exterior design of both buildings are in the style of architecture of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD) and both are constructed without internal pillars supporting the ceiling. This results in a spacious, unobstructed interior that reflects the spirit of Chuang Yen Monastery.

The building is 84 feet tall, contains 24,000 square feet of space and can accommodate 2,000 people in the main hall. Inside the Hall is a 37-foot statue of the Buddha Vairocana - the largest Buddha statue in the Western hemisphere. Encircling the large statue are 10,000 small statues of the Buddha on a lotus terrace.

Surrounding the pedestal of of the Great Buddha Statue are 12 bas-reliefs of Bodhisattvas. A mural 8 feet high and 104 feet long covers the wall of the lotus terrace containing the 10,000 small Buddha statues. It depicts scenes from the "Pure Land" or "Western Paradise" of Amitabha Buddha.

At the back of the terrace is another mural 8 feet high and 144 feet long which contains lively pictures of 500 Ara. They have different facial expressions. These paintings are the masterpieces of Professor C.G. Chen. All paintings will be finished by 1999.

The construction of the Great Buddha and the building took 8 years. The Great Buddha has to be complete before the building. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to bring a huge Buddha into the building. Professor C.G. Chen spent 2 years just to complete the Great Buddha itself. The little Buddhas are also designed and fabricated by Professor C.G. Chen."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-16]


Gründung des Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Richmond Chapter in Richmond, Virginia

Webpräsenz der Tzu Chi Foundation: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08


Tzu Chi [慈濟基金會] is a major Buddhist charitable organization in Taiwan, staffing hospitals and free clinics, offering educational programs, and providing direct relief to people in areas affected by war and natural disasters. They also have a substantial American presence, and the Richmond Chapter is one of many local branch organizations. Tzu Chi's presence in Richmond goes back to the beginning of 2002, when members from the New Jersey chapter began holding regular activities in Richmond. This included training local members until they were deemed ready to launch their own chapter of Tzu Chi. This finally occured in February of 2003.

Activities and Schedule

The Richmond Tzu Chi Chapter maintains a very busy schedule. Every Wednesday they provide Microsoft Office training at a local women's shelter, and every Thursday they do Meals on Wheels. On the third Thursday of the month, they also distribute food at Richmond's First Ministry Emergency Shelter, and they serve every other month at a local men's shelter. They periodically bring children to local nursing homes in order to cheer up the residents. On Thanksgiving and Christmas they donate hats to the shelters so that residents can stay warm. They are also involved in setting up a bone marrow donors registry. Members have gone on international relief missions, such as a trip to Guatemala where they built classrooms and a community center.

There are also two internal meetings each month. Both are held at the suburban home of Tammy Hsieh, who acts as the primary coordinator of the group. One meeting is geared toward relative newcomers, the other involves more intense study and discussion of Buddhism, as well as some yoga activities.


In Taiwan, Tzu Chi has about 75% female membership, and women occupy most leadership positions. Its leader is Cheng-yen, an internationally known Buddhist nun. In America, most members are Chinese-American, especially Taiwanese, and women outnumber men. These general demographics hold true for the Richmond chapter, which is all Chinese-American and has more female members than males. Those men who do participate are in many cases the relatives of women who joined the Tzu Chi chapter before them. Tzu Chi provides women with a place to work, build supportive networks, and embody the Buddhist emphasis on selfless giving. At the same time, its focus on caregiving activities traditionally assigned to women in Chinese society does not revolutionize gender relations, whether in Taiwan or America. In both countries it is an example of the middle path women have developed in Buddhism to steer themselves between the juggernauts of 21st century modernity and traditional idealized Chinese femininity.

The group has 52 current members, of which 15-20 are considered core members who participate in activities regularly. Most members are aged 30-60.

Richmond Tzu Chi gains members through word of mouth, and also advertises at a local Chinese grocery store. There is some overlap with the Ekoji Buddhist temple in downtown Richmond--several members also attend the Pure Land group that meets there.


Contact Name and Title
Tammy Hsieh

Contact Phone/Fax Number

Date Center Founded

Lay Leader and Title
Tammy Hsieh, Commissioner

Membership/Community Size
52 members

Ethnic Composition

Affiliation with Other Communities/Organizations
Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi New Jersey Chapter

Prepared by Student Researcher Jeff Wilson
Updated on November 3, 2003"

[Quelle: Jeff Wilson. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08]

"The Tzu Chi Foundation (Hanyu Pinyin: Cí Jì, Wade-Giles: Tz'u Chi, Simplified Chinese: 慈济基金会, Traditional Chinese: 慈濟基金會) is one of the two large Buddhist organizations in Taiwan (the other being Fo Guang Shan). Tzu Chi was founded by Master Cheng Yen [證嚴上人], a nun, on April 14, 1966 in Hualien, Taiwan. The society started as a group of thirty housewives who saved a small amount of money each day.

Whereas many buddhist societies focus on personal enlightenment and meditation, Tzu Chi focuses on community service and outreach (especially medical, educational, and disaster relief). Tzu Chi maintains a small number of monks and nuns, and conducts its mission via an international network of volunteers. The volunteers are easily recognized by their uniforms (navy blue shirt with a ship imposed on a lotus flower as a logo on the left breast; white pants, shoes and socks; and a black belt with the same lotus ship logo as a clasp). Tzu Chi remains a non-profit organization and has built many hospitals and schools worldwide.

The organization was heavily criticized in the early 1990s for spending much of its focus in relief efforts outside of Taiwan, but these criticism ended after the 921 earthquake [1999], when the organization was able to draw on its logistics experience to provide disaster relief. In contrast to the official government efforts to deal with the disaster, which were considered uncoordinated and haphazard, Tzu-Chi was widely praised for its efforts."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08]