Hsing Yun

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Hsing Yun
Hsing Yun in 2009
School Fo Guang Shan
Nationality Taiwan
Born (1927-08-19) 19 August 1927 (age 93)
Jiangsu, China
Senior posting
Successor Hsin Ping
Religious career
Present post Spiritual advisor of Fo Guang Shan
Hsing Yun
Traditional Chinese 星雲大師
Simplified Chinese 星云大师

Hsing Yun (born 19 August 1927) is a Chinese Buddhist monk. He is considered one of the most prominent proponents of Humanistic Buddhism. Hsing Yun is the founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order as well as the affiliated Buddha's Light International Association and is considered to be one of the most influential teachers of modern Taiwanese Buddhism.

Fo Guang Shan

Hsing Yun's first exposure to Buddhism came from his grandmother, a practicing Buddhist and meditator. He entered the monastic life at the age of 14. Hsing Yun was first inspired by Buddhist modernism in 1945 while studying at Jiaoshan Buddhist College. There he learned about Buddhist teacher Taixu's calls for reform in Buddhism and the Sangha.[1] He fled mainland China to Taiwan in 1949 following the communist victory in the civil war but was arrested along with several other Buddhist monastics. Hsing Yun and the others were released after 23 days and Hsing Yun spent the next several years developing a large following and founding numerous temples. In 1966, Hsing Yun bought some land in Kaohsiung and started building a large monastery. After partial completion, the temple opened in 1967 and would later become the headquarters of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist organization.[2]

Hsing Yun's Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order is a proponent of "Humanistic" Buddhism,[3][2] and Hsing Yun himself was the abbot of the order until his resignation in 1985.[4][5] Following his resignation, Hsing Yun founded the Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA) as a layperson based Humanistic Buddhist organization.[5]

Fo Guang Shan eventually grew to become one of the most significant social actors in Taiwan; the organization has established several schools and colleges,[6] and runs orphanages, homes for the elderly, and drug rehabilitation programs in prisons. Fo Guang Shan has also been involved in some international relief efforts.[7][8]

Fo Guang Shan entered mainland China in the early 21st century, focusing more on charity and Chinese cultural revival rather than Buddhist propagation in order to avoid conflict with the Chinese Communist Party, which opposes religion. Fo Guang Shan's presence in China increased under the premiership of General Secretary Xi Jingping after he started a program to revive traditional Chinese faiths.[9] According to Hsing Yun, his goal in mainland China is to work with the mainland government to rebuild China's culture following the destruction of the Cultural Revolution, rather than promote Buddhism in the mainland.[10]

The headquarters of Fo Guang Shan in Kaohsiung is currently the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. On top of that, the order has a network of over 300 branches throughout Taiwan,[8] as well as several branches worldwide in at least fifty countries.[9]


In Taiwan, Hsing Yun is notable for his activity in political affairs, particularly as a supporter of the One-China policy as well as government legislation supported by the Kuomintang, and has been criticized for his views by those in favor of Taiwan independence and by religious figures, as being overtly political and "considerably far afield from traditional monastic concerns".[11][12] During the 2008 presidential election, Hsing Yun publicly endorsed Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou.[13] During the second World Buddhist Forum in 2009, Hsing Yun asserted that there are "no Taiwanese" and that Taiwanese "are Chinese".[12] In 2012 he said that the Senkaku Islands (also known as the Diaoyutai Islands) belonged to China.[14]

In the past he has encouraged reconciliation between China and the Dalai Lama,[15] but has tried hard to avoid causing rifts between him and his organisation and the Chinese government.[16]


On 26 December 2011, Hsing Yun suffered a minor ischemic stroke, his second in that year.[17] In his older years Hsing Yun began suffering from numerous health issues, including diabetes and near blindness.[10]


  1. Harding, John S.; Hori, Victor Sōgen; Soucy, Alexander (2010-03-29). Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 282. ISBN 9780773591080. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Schak, David; Hsiao, Hsin-Huang Michael (2005-06-01). "Taiwan's Socially Engaged Buddhist Groups". China Perspectives. 2005 (3). ISSN 2070-3449. 
  3. Richard L. Kimball (2000). Humanistic Buddhism as Conceived and Interpreted by Grand Master Hsing Yun of Fo Guang Shan. Hsi Lai Journal of Humanistic Buddhism 1: 1–52.
  4. Fo Guang Shan – Abbotship. Archived 26 August 2006.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harding, John S.; Hori, Victor Sōgen; Soucy, Alexander (2010-03-29). Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 283. ISBN 9780773591080. 
  6. Juergensmeyer, Mark; Roof, Wade Clark (2012). Encyclopedia of Global Religion. SAGE. p. 406. ISBN 9780761927297. 
  7. Miller, DeMond S.; Rivera, Jason David (2016-04-19). Community Disaster Recovery and Resiliency: Exploring Global Opportunities and Challenges. CRC Press. p. 452. ISBN 9781420088236. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Schak, David; Hsiao, Hsin-Huang Michael (2005-06-01). "Taiwan's Socially Engaged Buddhist Groups". China Perspectives (59). ISSN 1996-4617. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Johnson, Ian (2017-06-24). "Is a Buddhist Group Changing China? Or Is China Changing It?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-25. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Johnson, Ian; Wu, Adam (2017-06-24). "A Buddhist Leader on China's Spiritual Needs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  11. [s.n.] (4 June 2008). A Buddhist master straddles the Taiwan Straits: Hsing Yun seeks to make reunification Buddhism’s sixth precept – at least for Beijing. Asia Sentinel. Archived 15 September 2015.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Loa Iok-sin (31 March 2009). "Taiwan Buddhist master: 'No Taiwanese". Taipei Times. p. 1. 
  13. 意在言外 星雲籲幫馬找工作. 民視新聞. 26 December 2011. 
  14. Wang Pei-lin; Chung, Jake (18 September 2012). "Master Hsing Yun says China owns Diaoyutais". Taipei Times. p. 3. 
  15. "Taiwan monk urges China to befriend Dalai Lama". 
  16. Chandler, Stuart (2004). Establishing a Pure Land on Earth: The Foguang Buddhist Perspective on Modernization and Globalization. Topics in Contemporary Buddhism. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 258–259. 
  17. Taipei Times: Hsing Yun recovering after stroke, 26 December 2011


External links

Buddhist titles
Preceded by
Abbot and Director of Fo Guang Shan
Succeeded by
Hsin Ping
Preceded by
New creation
Honorary President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists
Served alongside: K. Sri Dhammananda

Succeeded by


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