The majestic Fo Guang Shan monastery near Kaohsiung, Taiwan
The thousands of Buddhas in the headquarters of the Mahayana Buddhist monastery of Fo Guang Shan, Taiwan
Fo Guang Shan (Chinese: 佛光山; pinyin: Fóguāngshān; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hu̍t-kong-san; literally “Buddha’s Light Mountain”) is an international Chinese Mahayana Buddhist monastic order based in the Republic of China (Taiwan), and one of the largest Buddhist organizations. The headquarters of Fo Guang Shan, located in Kaohsiung, is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. The organization itself is also one of the largest charity organizations in Taiwan. The order also calls itself the International Buddhist Progress Society.
Founded in 1967 by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the order promotes Humanistic Buddhism, a modern Chinese Buddhist thought developed through the 20th Century and made popular by this and other modern Chinese Buddhist orders. Humanistic Buddhism aims to make Buddhism relevant in the world and in people’s lives and hearts. While Hsing Yun is a Dharma heir in the LinjiChan (Chinese: 臨濟宗; pinyin: Línjìzōng) school, his stated position within Fo Guang Shan is that it is an “amalgam of all Eight Schools of Chinese Buddhism” (八宗兼弘), including but not limited to Chan. In this sense, it is a monastic order, and not a doctrinal school of thought per se. This is the case for much of Chinese Buddhism, as the lineage of the founder or Abbot does not necessarily dictate the thought or practices of members of the monastery.
Temples and organizations have been established in 173 countries throughout the world, and now encompasses more than 3,500 monastics. The organisation emphasizes education and service, maintaining universities, Buddhist colleges, libraries, publishing houses, translation centres, Buddhist art galleries, teahouses, and mobile medical clinics. It has also established a children’s room, retirement home, high school and television station.
“May the Buddha’s Light shine upon the ten directions. May the Dharma stream continuously flow towards the five great continents.”