Taiwanese Buddhist monks – life & contributions
Buddhism is one of the major religions of Taiwan. Taiwanese people predominantly practice Mahayana Buddhism.
Buddhism was brought to Taiwan in the era of Dutch colonialism by settlers from the Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong.
In 1662, Koxinga drove the Dutch from Taiwan. His son Zheng Jing established the first Buddhist temple in Taiwan.
During this period, Buddhist practice was not pervasive, with Buddhist monks only performing funeral and memorial services.
When the Qing dynasty took control of Taiwan in 1683, large numbers of monks came from Fujian and Guangdong provinces to establish temples, particularly those devoted to Guanyin, and a number of different Buddhist sects flourished.
Monastic Buddhism, however, did not arrive until the 1800s.
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Sheng Yen, born Zhang Baokang, was a Taiwanese Buddhist monk, religious scholar, and writer. He was one of the mainstream teachers of Chan Buddhism. He was a 57th generational dharma heir of Linji Yixuan in the Linji school and a third-generation dharma heir of Hsu Yun. In the Caodong lineage, Sheng Yen was a 52nd-generation Dharma heir of Dongshan Liangjie (807-869), and a direct Dharma heir of Dongchu (1908–1977).
Nan Huai-Chin was a Chinese Buddhist monk, religious scholar, and writer. A well-regarded spiritual teacher in contemporary China, he was considered by many to be the major force in the revival of Chinese Buddhism. While Nan was regarded by many in China as one of the most influential Chan Buddhist teachers and Vajrayana teachers, particularly in the Cundī practices, he was little known outside the Chinese cultural sphere. Nan died at the age of 94 on Sept. 29th, 2012 in Suzhou, China.
Chin Kung, AM is a Buddhist monk from the Mahayana tradition. He is the founder of the Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, an organization based on the teachings of Pure Land Buddhism. He is known for his teaching of the dharma, and work in promoting inter-faith harmony in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Hsin Pei was the seventh and eighth term abbot and director of the Fo Guang Shan, an international Chinese Buddhist order based in Taiwan. The youngest abbot ever elected to the order, Hsin Pei was elected by the members of Fo Guang Shan worldwide in 2004 and succeeded retiring abbot Hsin Ting in 2005. As abbot of the Order, Hsin Pei is the second highest monastic in the order, and is second in line to the position of head teacher. His term ended in March 2013. Hsin Pei currently resides in the United States in order to improve his English.
Hsin Ping was the fourth and fifth abbot of Fo Guang Shan and the dharma heir to Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan.
Hsin Tao or Hsin-tao, born Yang Jinsheng, is a Buddhist monk who set up the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Foundation in 1989.
Hsin Ting is a Buddhist monk from Taiwan who served as the sixth-term abbot and director of Fo Guang Shan from 1997 to 2005. He served as acting abbot for three years after the sudden death of his predecessor, Hsin Ping, in 1995. From 2004 to 2010, Hsin Ting served as the president of Buddha’s Light International Association. In his post-abbotship years, Hsin Ting was appointed the abbot of Tai Hua Temple in Bangkok, Thailand, assisting in overseeing the construction project for Fo Guang Shan’s satellite branch temple in South East Asia.
Jian Tan is a Buddhist monk and current abbot of the Chung Tai Zen Center of Houston in Houston, Texas.
(Master) Yin Shun was a well-known Buddhist monk and scholar in the tradition of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism. Though he was particularly trained in the Three Treatise school, he was an advocate of the One Vehicle as the ultimate and universal perspective of Buddhahood for all, and as such included all schools of Buddha Dharma, including the Five Vehicles and the Three Vehicles, within the meaning of the Mahayana as the One Vehicle. Yin Shun’s research helped bring forth the ideal of “Humanistic” (human-realm) Buddhism, a leading mainstream Buddhist philosophy studied and upheld by many practitioners. His work also regenerated the interests in the long-ignored Agamas (Nikayas) among Chinese Buddhists society and his ideas are echoed by Theravadin teacher Bhikkhu Bodhi. As a contemporary master, he was most popularly known as the mentor of Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu-Chi Buddhist Foundation, as well as the teacher to several other prominent monastics.