Chapter five: Building monasteries and academies, nurturing outstanding Buddhists

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Shi Huikong     Time:2015-03-11 16:27:41
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Under the continuous exploration of Master Xuecheng, Longquan Monastery has inherited the best of the traditional monastic system while absorbing the characteristics of modern institutional Buddhist education. Therefore a high quality Sangha has come into shape.

Ⅰ.Presiding over Monasteries

ⅰ . Putian Guanghua MonasteryPutian Guanghua Monastery is one of the major monasteries in Fujian Province. As the Abbot of Guanghua Monastery, Master has been conscientiously working at the infrastructural construction of the Monastery, organizational planning, personnel arrangement, management system, education and life of the Monastery, and quality improvement of individuals and the community as well. Under Master's leadership, the number of residents of Guanghua Monastery has increased from around 100 to over 260. For years, Guanghua Monastery has insisted on the "Three Don'ts":"Do not charge admissions, do not set up commercial shops and do not perform commercialized Buddhist services." The religious community commits itself to teaching all living beings as well as promoting a harmonious society.

Guanghua Monastery offers, with an average living condition, relatively low allowances among monasteries of its kind all over the nation. Providing such an environment, the Monastery has cultivated teams of outstanding monks who have firm resolve, pure faith, high moral attainments and are willing to live a simple and virtuous life. Guanghua Monastery is regarded as one of the best examples of Buddhist societies for its strict adherence to traditional Buddhist precepts and its emphasis on Buddhist culture and education. President Zhao Puchu, eulogized Guanghua Monastery as one of the three model monasteries in China.

In November 1990, President Zhao Puchu made an inspection tour to a monastery and said, "Guanghua Monastery, led by Master Xuecheng, attaches great importance to Buddhist practice. They handle things in accordance with Buddhist principles and never yield to the way of the secular world. They've done a good job of it. I made offerings to the Sangha with vegetarian meals and have had lunch there with others. I was deeply moved by their religious lifestyle, strictly in accordance with the Teachings and the Vinaya. Their wall posters, preaching about Buddhism while also promoting secular ethics helped both monks and people outside monasteries understand each other. The effects are very good." Just as what he used to describe, "Upon entering the Monastery, the determination of cultivation grows and the tradition of South Mount (Guanghua Monastery) is kept. Dignified manner and perfect order are manifested in the dining hall. The benevolence of living beings is reflected upon, even when a grain of rice is consumed."

Receiving President Zhao Puchu at Putian Guanghua Monastery. October 1990

At Putian Guanghua Monastery  October 1990

Every time Master returns to Guanghua Monastery, even if he doesn't arrive until midnight, he would attend morning recitations with the Sangha on the following day. Master often asks the executive monks to update the situations of the Monastery. In addtion, he has a special concern for the watchmen and often walks around at the Monastery between 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. to talk with them.

He is amiable and easy-going, never pretentious. Master cares for every member of the Sangha, from the elders to the novices. He is strict with himself and lenient towards others. When monks encounter problems, Master's guidance is so tactful that they always accept his teachings happily.

Master often says, "In order to rectify the current abuses of transmitting precepts, accepting disciples, performing commercialized Buddhist rituals and accommodating travelling monks in an indiscriminate way, we must emphasize, study and promote precepts." From October 1996 to January 1997, Buddhist Association of China and Putian Guanghua Monastery jointly organized an unprecedented 108-day Canonical Precepts Transmission Dharma Assembly. At the working meeting of BAC in April 1997, Rev. Zhao Puchu spoke highly of this event, "Some work has been done in recent years. For instance, Master Xuecheng's holding the Canonical Precepts Transmission at Putian Guanghua Monastery received positive public response."

In April 2003, Guanghua Monastery held another Dharma Assembly for Transmitting the Three Platforms of Complete Precepts, which complied with the Teachings and the Vinaya. 340 monks from 25 regions of China and such countries as Singapore, Malaysia attended the precepts transmission. As the Preceptor Acārya for precepts transmission, Master was very concerned about the operation of the Assembly. He chaired the planning of the Assembly, attended the precentors' conclusion meetings every night and gave instructions on everything from the overall pace of the Dharma Assembly to the details, and he also made timely adjustments according to the situation. Master held great expectations for the preceptees, instructing them as monks to establish right views, cherish the great opportunity of the Assembly and sincerely repent and vow so as to gain the pure substance of precepts. At the same time, the preceptees should make a vast and great resolve to devote all they have to the revitalization of Buddhism.

In order to provide the resident monastics with more opportunities of learning and contemplating Buddhist scriptures, Master set up Dharma study classes for the monastic community. The curriculum mainly covers recitation of Mahayana sutras such as Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra, The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, and study of Lamrim Chenmo, Outline of Nanshan Precepts for Laity, Manual for Buddhist Novice, The Four-Part Bhikshu Precepts, etc. The courses have greatly helped the monastics with their scriptural study, who had been overwhelmingly occupied with work and various chores. Master told his disciples for many times that the core role of education could not be changed, either in the secular world or in the Buddhist circle. The older that people get, the harder they can change their habits. Therefore, cultivation should start from the youth so as to promote the development of Buddhism in different places. Monks come from lay people. Only when lay people are equipped with the right views to practice in accordance with the Buddha's Teachings and become monastics, can such a Sangha truly protect and uphold the Dharma, promote the Buddha's Teachings, benefit living beings, glorify and succeed the lineage of the Unequaled Teacher, maintain and perpetuate the wisdom of the World Honored One. Influenced by Master's thoughts and charm in personality, more and more outstanding people, especially young intellectuals, come to join the Sangha.

In November 2012, Guanghua Monastery organized a Dharma Assembly for Transmitting the Three Platforms of Complete Precepts in accordance with the Buddha's teachings and precepts. Ven. Master Xuecheng encouraged over 300 newly initiated Buddhist monks who attended the ceremony to avoid aimless wandering and reside in temples, make persistent efforts in their Buddhist practice to avoid state of laziness and procrastination, maintain harmonious relations as practicing community to avoid laxity, always strive to exceed not mediocrity, and to prepare themselves to spread the Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. Master also urged the monks to make continuous efforts to further the development of Chinese Buddhism and fulfill the people's need for the Buddha Dharma. These are the fundamental responsibilities of all Buddhist monks.

Transmitting the Three Platforms of Complete Precepts at Putian Guanghua Monastery. April 2003

To guide Buddhists to practice in the right way, to serve and protect Buddhism, and to benefit society, every year, Guanghua Monastery holds the Dharma Assembly for Transmitting Three Refuges, Five Precepts and Lay Bodhisattva Precepts, the Intensive Buddha Name Chanting 7-day Retreat and the Ten Thousand Buddhas Dharma Assembly with Master's personal participation and instruction. To respond to the government's call for "Humanistic Olympics, Green Olympics" and to better discover, cultivate, utilize and keep outstanding Buddhists in reserve, Master initiated the Tour of Bliss and Wisdom—Dharma Assembly of Experiencing Monastic Life during the Golden Weeks of May Day holidays and National Day holidays. Such Dharma assemblies are tailored for the young intellectuals and social elites. Through rich and varied courses, which are educational and lively, the true meaning of life is revealed at physical, psychical and spiritual levels to help young people improve their lives, purify their minds, reset their life goals and reflect upon the value of life. The Tour of Bliss and Wisdom has been held 11 times in total.

The 1st Tour of Bliss and Wisdom of Putian Guanghua Monastery. January 2004

The 11th Tour of Bliss and Wisdom of Putian Guanghua Monastery. October 2007

ⅱ. Fufeng Famen Monastery 

Famen Monastery

Invited by the resident Sangha of Famen Monastery in Fufeng, Shaanxi Province, approved by Buddhist Association of Shaanxi and agreed upon by BAC, Master became the Abbot of Famen Monastery on January 16th, 2004. During the inaugural ceremony, Master said, "I have come to Famen Monastery to complete the following tasks: to fulfill my duty, to improve cooperation of Famen Monastery and lastly, to develop various Buddhist undertakings."

Shortly after the inauguration, Master invited and appointed the new board of executives, set up a five-member leadership team and improved and completed the Monastery's regulations. At an executives' meeting, when difficulties in the Monastery's reconstruction were discussed, Master pointed out, "Such matters, which are tangible and non-lasting are easy to cope with. At the moment, our most important duty is to cultivate outstanding monks. We cannot afford a moment's delay."

On April 11th and May 22nd, 2004, with the highest level of Buddhist rituals, Master led the resident Sangha at Famen Monastery in a reception held in honor of President Hu Jintao, the Secretary-General of the CPC Central Committee, and the 11th Panchen Erdeni, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. From May 25th to June 5th of the same year, when Shakyamuni Buddha's finger sharira which was enshrined in Famen Monastery was invited deferentially to Hong Kong for a 10-day worshipping, Master was Deputy Chief of the Escorting Delegation. During his stay in Hong Kong, Master participated in a number of interviews with the media including Phoenix TV and Ta Kung Pao of Hong Kong. He said at an interview, "The visit of Shakyamuni Buddha's finger sharira to Hong Kong is a great event for Buddhism with inconceivably good motivations, inconceivably good causations, inconceivably good merits and inconceivably good results."

An interview during the period when the Buddha's finger sharira sent to Hong Kong for worshipping. May 2004

Talking with the 11th Panchen Erdeni at Famen Monastery. May 22nd, 2004

In order to further consolidate the good practice and study ethos, Master organized classes, lectures and Dharma assemblies. Meanwhile, in accordance with what was set up by the Buddha, he advocated and resumed the bimonthly precepts chanting. On June 7th, 2004, he also led the Sangha of Famen Monastery to hold the Monastery's first summer retreat since the restoration of religious policy in the country. Through these measures, a pure and harmonious Sangha community has been formed and a new chapter of upholding the Dharma and perpetuating the Buddha wisdom has begun. In the summer retreat Dharma talk, Master said, "We will provide training courses right after this summer retreat in order to uplift the quality of our resident Sangha. Later we will establish a Buddhist college with diverse curriculums to promote Buddhism of all the three language families and of all the eight sects of Han Buddhism." Since then, the summer retreat has been held every year. From August 29th to September 5th, 2004, Master presided over the Ullambana Universal Delivery Dharma Assembly and the First Dharma Assembly for Transmitting Three Refuges, Five Precepts and the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts, which was attended by over 1,000 people. On November 11th, 2004, the very day of Medicine Buddha's Birthday, the Buddhist Class of Famen Monastery was set up under Master's guidance.

At the invitation of the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders, Shakyamuni Buddha's finger sharira of Famen Monastery, was worshipped in Korea for 42 days from November 11th to December 20th, 2005. Master was the Chief of the Escorting Delegation. In his speech given at the set-off ceremony, Master said, "On this special occasion, which occurs once in a thousand years, all living beings are pleased. Amidst this bliss of escorting Buddha's finger sharira to Korea for worshipping, let us be bathed in the auspicious light of Buddha's compassion and wisdom, and accumulate great merits for the peace and advancement of human beings. This grand event will undoubtedly consolidate and enhance the precious 'Golden Tie' between Chinese and Korean Buddhist societies." Master remarked in the Welcome-back and Re-enshrinement Dharma Assembly, "The traditional friendship between China and Korea and various kinds of good relationships between Chinese and Korean people will certainly be consolidated and enhanced and bring more substantive benefits to the two peoples."

Famen Monastery. On April 24th, 2006, Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, led a 9-member delegation in visiting Famen Monastery. When invited by the Prime Minister to Sri Lanka to exchange Buddhist cultures, Master replied, "The exchanges between Chinese and Sri Lankan Buddhism could date back to early days. I've been to Sri Lanka three times and was given a great reception by both the government and the Buddhist society. We are predestined to meet here at Famen Monastery today." 

Receiving Soe Win, Prime Minister of Burma at Famen Monastery. February 17th, 2006

On May 17th, 2006, Famen Monastery and Doseonsa Temple in Korea established Brother-Monasteries relationship. Witnessed by over 800 people, Master Xuecheng and Ven. Master Sunmook Hyeja, the Abbot of Doseonsa Temple, signed and exchanged documents.

On May 22nd, 2006, Master together with the resident Sangha, welcomed the delegation headed by Blo Bzang Vjig Med Thub Bstan Chos Dyi Nyi Ma Rinpoche, who is a member of the NPC Standing Committee and Vice President of BAC. Master said, "Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism share the same origin with Tibetan Buddhism. We come down in one continuous line. Only when we advance side by side, endeavor jointly in a spirit of cooperation, can Buddhism as a whole be developed and strengthened harmoniously. We all worship the Foundamental Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha, transmit the Buddha's peaceful doctrines of compassion, wisdom, equality and perfect harmony and share the same goal of purifying people's minds, benefiting society and striving for peace in the world."

From July 19th to July 24th, 2006, initiated and guided by Master, the First Light of Famen Bliss and Wisdom Camp was successfully held. The Light of Famen Camp provided an opportunity for people to learn and experience Buddhism. The purpose of the Camp was to help young people reset their life goals and reflect upon the value of life. Focusing on the principle of purifying minds, the Camp provided rich and varied courses that were educational and lively, such as, "A Tour of the Monastery", "How to Lead a Happy Life", "Experiencing Sitting Meditation", "The Rules of Karma", "Happy Life Forum", "Q&A Session", "Film Appreciation", "Lamp-passing Evening", etc. The programs worked to help young people understand themselves and society, to take hold of their life and their future, to know Buddhism and to purify their minds.

The 1st Light of Famen Camp of Famen Monastery. July 2006

At the opening ceremony of the 2nd Light of Famen Camp on July 19th, 2007, Master said, "When we encounter problems and difficulties in our daily lives, we quite often blame the outside environment. We think that our problems are caused by others' unreasonable arrangement. It is difficult for us to find the causes within ourselves. However, the Teachings of Buddha tell us that we must look into the depths of our minds to find the causes and solutions for all our problems. The Teachings of Buddha have been passed on from generation to generation. They are experiences that can provide guidance. Only under the instructions of experienced people, can we find ways to dispel afflictions, ignorance, defilements and sufferings off our minds."

In July, 2009, Master attended the 4th Light of Famen Camp and transmitted the Three Refuges to the Camp members. He also attended the first graduation ceremony of Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy and delivered a speech entitled "Be a Low Profile Person, Act in a Moderate Way and Conduct a High Profile Cultivation." He said,  "Being a low-profile person means we must be modest. Acting in a moderate way is to act appropriately: too much is as bad as too little. Conducting a high-profile cultivation means having a strong sense of purpose and responsibility and putting primary energy and time in studying the Buddha's Teachings, which is the duty of monks. 'Promoting Dharma is our household task, while benefiting all sentient beings is our mission.'"

From July 17th to July 22nd, 2013, the Light of Famen Bliss and Wisdom Camp initiated by Master has witnessed its 8th anniversary. The theme of the 2013's camp was "Do what you are, dedicate what you can". More than 500 young people from across China were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to experience and participate in this public benefit activity.

The Light of Famen Camp is held every summer and has become an influential event. Till July 2014, it is the 9th consecutive year that this event has been held.

The 6th Light of Famen Camp of Famen Monastery. July 2011

On May 9th, 2009, during Master's abbotship, Famen Monastery held another millennium event, the Ceremony for the Enshrinement of Shakyamuni Buddha's Finger Sharira. Master hosted the ritual and received the sharira to be permanently enshrined and worshipped at Famen Monastery. Despite a moderate rain during the Enshrinement Dharma Assembly, Master walked peacefully with his palms pressed together all the time.

During the Enshrinement Dharma Assembly, Master said, "This Buddha's finger sharira is a genuine relic of Shakyamuni. Therefore it is one of the most sacred relics worshipped by Buddhists all over the world and a valuable cultural treasure for China. It is extraordinarily meaningful that we enshrine Buddha's sharira today in the dignified stupa. This is not only a grand event for Chinese Buddhists, but for all Buddhists around the world. This event is inspired by the merits and virtues of the fourfold Buddhist assembly and is a sign of a prosperous nation, content people, a stable political situation and a harmonious society. It signifies the prosperity of the Chinese nation. It bears utmost significance in manifesting Buddha's spirits and spreading his compassion and wisdom."

Master told his disciples after the Dhrama Assembly, "At that time when I was walking, all sorts of feelings surged up. Over one thousand years ago, in the Tang Dynasty, the sharira was welcomed 6 times and sent back twice, each time by a different emperor. Finally, it was enclosed in the underground palace by Emperor Xizong (862—888 AD). On the day of Buddha's birthday in 1987, the sharira reemerged after a 1,113-year disappearance. Since then, the sharira has been sent to many countries and regions around the globe such as Thailand, Korea, China's Taiwan and Hong Kong, etc., worshipped by almost 10 million people. Due to security concerns and many other considerations, the government and the Monastery have not openly enshrined the sharira in the underground palace of Famen Monastery. Now, the time has come and the conditions are met. There are absolutely causes and conditions underlying behind, innumerable causes and conditions."

Master is known to teach through action before giving verbal explanations and always be consistent in words and action. Whenever he is in the Monastery, Master, with no exception, attends the morning and evening recitations and has regular meals in the refectory. Even if he goes to bed as late as 1 a.m., he will still attend the morning recitations. Once, Master was not feeling well and his doctor told him not to attend the morning recitation, yet he still got up on hearing the beating of the board. He explained, "Sluggishness and laziness are hard to get rid of once they become habits." As for his meals, the chef monk was afraid that Master might not be used to the Northwest cuisine since he came from South China and proposed to cook separately for Master. Master declined, saying, "I've never had such a privilege." When the attendant asked if he would enjoy eating steamed bread as a Southerner, Master smiled and said, "I will eat whatever is cooked. 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do.'" The dress Master wears is simple and natural. Once in 2004, the attendant found Master's robe worn out, and intended to get Master a new one. Master heard of it and said, "No need. This robe has been with me for 15 years till now (2004), ever since I became Abbot in 1989." A few patches were made later and the robe continued to be in use. To this, the attendant sighed to himself. "The robe is indeed worthy of the name, 'Kasaya'." (A Kasaya originally refers to a robe patched by small pieces of cloth together.)

People attributed the rapid development of Famen Monastery to Master's merits and virtues, however, Master said, "It's the result of everyone's aspirations and efforts." Under this young elder's leadership, Famen Monastery is sure to regain its past glory and witness brilliance in the days to come!

 ⅲ. Beijing Longquan Monastery

On April 11th, 2005, upon the Buddhist devotees' hearty request and with the approval of Beijing Administration for Religious Affairs, Master became the Abbot of Beijing Longquan Monastery, which is located at the foot of the Phoenix Ridge in the Haidian District, Beijing. With aspirations of fulfilling his compassionate vows in his past lives, benefiting the capital city of Beijing and rejuvenating this ancient Monastery, Master began to preside over this 1000-year-old monastery.

At the ceremony issuing the certificate to Longquan Monastery as a legitimate religious site, Master said, "Today Longquan Monastery is reinstated as a venue for Buddhist activities. It is a day that is pleasing to Buddha, the deities and to mankind, especially the Buddhists of Beijing." Ven. Master Chuanyin, President of the Buddhist Association of Beijing, expressed his anticipation, "With Ven. Master Xuecheng as the Abbot, Longquan Monastery will certainly play a leading role in purging away defilements and bringing forth innovation. It is sure to become the capital's model Buddhist Monastery." Having been deserted for almost a century, Longquan Monastery once again regained its vitality. Even the long gone spring water (Longquan, or the Dragon Spring) has a limpid stream running again! Later on, Master reflected, "When I came to Beijing in 1984, I noticed that many local lay people had to look for monasteries in other cities. I wished that I could provide them with a sacred place to study and practice Buddha's Teachings in Beijing. 21 years have passed and now such a place has come into being."

The Sangha was confronted with many challenges and difficulties immediately after the Monastery had started to function. There were only a few simple and unsophisticated wooden structures. The facilities of the Monastery such as water, electricity and heating systems and the accommodation were far from completion. The water supply for the Monastery came from the surface flow of the mountain, but during the winter, the pipes froze and water had to be carried from somewhere else. Practically everything in the Monastery, from the infrastructure to the construction of the Sangha started out with nothing. The successful construction could not have been achieved without Master's painstaking planning and organizing efforts. Understanding that the restoration and reopening of Longquan Monastery would have profound influence on Haidian District, Beijing, the nation, Buddhism and all living beings, Master never retreated, despite the difficulties. Instead, with great will power, he confronted new challenges and ushered in a new era for the Monastery.

The cultivation of talents is currently the priority for Buddhist society. For over a decade, Master has been considering and exploring favorable conditions for creating and cultivating an excellent Sangha. Master once said in an interview, "I am deeply aware that we are confronted with the challenges of building a Sangha in this new era and allowing Bhikshus to glorify and succeed the lineage of the Unequaled Teacher, to maintain and perpetuate the wisdom of the World Honored One in these new conditions. With today's advanced technology and abundant information, the boundary between monasteries and the outside world is minimal and nearly nonexistent. Monasteries have merged with the rest of society. All sorts of information seep into monasteries through the Internet, radio, newspapers, magazines and various events. Under such circumstances, how do Bhikshus consolidate their determination of cultivation? How do they accumulate their inner merits, virtues and strength continuously in study, contemplation and practice of Buddha's Teachings while being able to cope with the intrusions from society and dealing with lots of practical matters in such a commercialized world? In other words, how can they guarantee the tradition of uninterrupted study, contemplation and practice of Buddha's Teachings, and also the diligent cultivation of precept, concentration and wisdom, so as to keep a tranquil and peaceful mind? How can they, at the same time, shoulder the responsibilities of benefiting living beings, carrying on Buddha's work, caring the society and serving the masses according to the needs of the society. Monastics today are faced with all these tremendous challenges. Only through building a pure and harmonious Sangha, having sufficient precautionary measures in place and keeping monasteries in full function, can we meet such challenges."
Moved and inspired by Master's compassion, wisdom, aspiration and action, Longquan Monastery has formed a new type of Sangha out of nothing, which continues to grow and develop. Its members have all been carefully selected and are agreeable in terms of faith, determination for cultivation, educational background, sense of organization and team spirit. Master said, "It is the man that can exalt the Way, not vice versa. Top priority should be given to the cultivation of monks. This calls for the building of a pure, harmonious and progressive Sangha of proper size with good ethos of study and practice. The Sangha, rooted deeply in upholding precepts, should have a complete educational system for the study and practice of Buddha's Teachings with a corresponding administration to ensure its smooth operation. A successful education system will allow the Sangha to continuously practice Buddha's Teachings. People of the present and future will also be able to advance their pursuits at the Monastery. Thus Buddha Dharma can be passed on from generation to generation without interruption."

Since 2005, every year the Monastery has organized the monastic summer retreat. During the 2006 summer retreat, Master scheduled concentrated courses on precepts and supporting courses for disciples. He went to the Monastery every day to give lessons in person. He instructed the Sangha, "The focus of the Retreat is to seclude ourselves from the outside world, guard the sensory faculties, cultivate our desire for and delight in the precepts as well as our deep faith in the Three Jewels. Precepts are fundamental to perpetuating the Dharma and essential to achieving Unsurpassable Bodhi." In addition to guiding the Sangha in an in-depth study of the connotation and purposes of precepts, Master instructed his disciples on how to analyze and uphold the precepts according to different situations in actual practice and life. The whole Sangha, taking the precepts as their teacher, has become pure and harmonious and achieved great progress.

With respect to management, Master far-sightedly established the ethics model of the Sangha by referring to the traditional Vinaya's Karma system and modern monastic management experiences. The members of the Sangha follow two ethics: one based on the different precepts received, the other based on the administrative system.

According to the precepts received, a monk's seniority is based on the levels and the time when they receive precepts. There are three different levels of precepts for Bhikshus, Shramaneras and Postulants in the descending order. Within each level, the seniority is based on the time of receiving precepts, the earlier the senior. All religious activities like morning and evening recitations, eating meals together at refectory, chanting sutras, doing Uposatha and so on are arranged by the ethics in precepts. In the ascending order of Postulant, Shramanera and Bhikshu, the junior monks should respect and learn from the seniors and the senior monks should care for and guide the junior ones. Administrative ethics are based on administrative positions. In performing duties, members of lower positions should obey those of higher positions. Those who do not have positions should obey executives, while senior members should strictly discipline themselves and set examples through their own actions to assist the growth and improvement of the members at lower positions rather than acting as officials. These two types of ethics are each applicable in different situations and should not be confused. Neither system should be abused or neglected. If each member of the Sangha can perfectly understand his role and perform his responsibilities accordingly, the Sangha will be strongly bound together.

Master has arranged for young members of the Sangha to learn and recite traditional cultural classics, so as to raise their morality and perfect their personality and quality as monks. Such classics include, Rules for Disciples, The Confucian Analects, The Great Learning, The Universal Order, Mencius, Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tse, Anthology of Three Hundred Tang Poems, Best Classical Chinese Essays, Forty-two Chapters Sutra, Sutra of the Buddha's Last Teaching, Sutra of Eight Awareness of Great Beings and many others.
Under the continuous exploration of Master, Longquan Monastery has inherited the best of the traditional monastic system while absorbing the characteristics of modern institutional Buddhist education. Therefore a high quality Sangha has come into shape.

According to the disciplines of the Sangha, monastics without posts cannot own cell phones. Contact with the outside world is generally not allowed unless it is necessary to do so and approved by an executive monk. Televisions, newspapers, magazines and radio are not allowed. No food is kept in the dormitory and no snack is permitted outside the refectory. No allowance is issued and money offered by devotees must be handed in to the Sangha. The Sangha provides its members with all reasonable expenses that they may need so that monks are free from all monetary concerns to secure both body and mind tranquility for study and practice...This system has ensured pure monastic practice.

All activities of the Sangha such as morning and evening recitations, attending classes, eating together at refectory, labor work, summer retreats, precepts study, Karma meetings, bimonthly precepts chanting, etc., are all conducted orderly in accordance with the Teachings and Vinaya. Moreover, monks often examine their own behaviors and correct what's not in accordance with the requirements of deportment or the Teachings. At classes, Master often leads the reading and discussion of sutras and treatises such as Avatamsaka Sutra, The Treatise on Wisdom, Lamrim Chenmo, and Lecture Notes on the Four-Part Bhikshu Precepts. Master also takes the lead in labor work. In June, 2006, to solve the water shortage, he led the Sangha and laity disciples up to the source dike of the mountain stream and dredged up the accumulated silt and sands.

Going to the reservoir on the back hill of Beijing Longquan Monastery. June 24th, 2006

Planting bamboos at Beijing Longquan Monastery. August 16th, 2007

As long as Master stays at a monastery, he leads the morning and evening recitations of the Sangha, and there is no exception at Longquan Monastery. Master said, "The purity and harmony of the Sangha depends on the right view, precepts, and practice in accordance with the Teachings. Such practice relies on an individual cultivation, regular practice, and aspiration to work for the Sangha and benefit others. Without regular practice, it is nearly impossible to be beneficial toward others." He continued, "You shall be closer than brothers. We take the same path, we practice together and we learn with each other. I am your teacher, your friend as well as your fellow practitioner."

Guided by Master's instructions and his personal example, the Sangha's study, cultivation and work are so directed as to help "cultivate the mind through real-life encounters". They manage to combine their scriptural study, contemplation and practice with the cultivation of precepts, concentration and wisdom. In this way, they can integrate well the issues such as the understanding of the doctrine and the true life, the Buddha Dharma and mundane dharma, self-cultivation and team development, and benefiting oneself as well as others. The spirit of "Six Harmonies" in the Sangha has been gradually fostered by unifying views, establishing common understandings, upholding pure precepts, living in harmony, putting equal emphasis on study and practice and helping each other. As soon as one is within the Sangha, he can feel the monastic ethos of an excellent learning atmosphere. The whole Sangha shows a positive spirit for integrating Buddha Dharma with life. They rely on Master to help them study and practice, they follow the Buddha's Teachings to maintain harmony and rely on fellow practitioners to make progress. 

Master has stated, "Though self-improvement of the Sangha is the most essential first step, you shall not wait until you are perfectly educated to promote the Buddha's Teachings. You should learn while teaching. To teach is to learn. To educate the fourfold assembly is the primary task of the Sangha in preaching Dharma and benefiting living beings." Under the guidance of Master, Longquan Monastery began to organize various Dharma assemblies to reach Buddhist believers.

In 2005, on the eighth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar (May 15th), Longquan Monastery held its first Bathing Buddha Dharma Assembly with about 300 participants. Master transmitted the Three Refuges to the believers and said, "Taking Refuge is not merely chanting rituals and taking the Refuge Certificate home. We are disciples of the Buddha and we shall earnestly practice the Buddha's Teachings." The new Buddhists started to benefit from the Teachings and found delight in Dharma.

From the fifteenth day of the fourth month to the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar (May 22nd—August 19th), 2005, Longquan Monastery held its first summer retreat. During that period, all monks were refrained from going out. They set their minds on precepts study. Since then, the Karma meetings and the precepts chanting have been held every half a month in accordance with the Vinaya. On the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, the last day of the 3-month summer retreat, the Ullambana Dharma Assembly was held. To prepare for the Dharma Assembly, Master returned to Longquan Monastery almost every day from the Buddhist Association of China to guide the Sangha and laity. At the concluding meeting, Master encouraged everyone by saying, "As long as we have the right motivation and take the promotion of Buddhism and the elimination of all living beings' sufferings as our mission, we will certainly be empowered by all Buddhas. Both the Sangha and the laity should act in accordance with the Dharma, do real work for Buddhism and contribute to the harmony of the society."On the nineteenth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar (October 21st), 2005,  the date on which Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva renounced the secular life, Longquan Monastery held a 3-day Lotus Sutra Dharma Assembly. Master transmitted Three Refuges at the request of the devotees. He appreciated their great virtues that led them to take refuge in Buddhism and in the Three Jewels. Master said, "Longquan Monastery will hold itself responsible for all believers who take refuge here. We will continue to have Dharma assemblies in the future and provide courses and opportunities for devotees to study and practice Buddha's Teachings."

From the first day to fourteenth day of the first month of the lunar calendar (January 29th—February 11th), 2006, Longquan Monastery organized the Spring Festival Blessings and Flower Adornment Sutra Dharma Assembly. Over 1,000 people celebrated the Chinese New Year at the Monastery. On the fifth day, Master transmitted Three Refuges and Eight Precepts to over 200 believers in the chilly open yard. At the concluding meeting of the Sangha, Master said, "In the past year, all of you have worked hard. You have encountered many challenges, but you have faced them and resolved them. This is indeed gratifying!"

Following the Flower Adornment Sutra Dharma Assembly, Longquan Monastery organized many rich and diverse Dharma activities in 2006, including the Lotus Sutra Dharma Assembly, Ullambana Dharma Assembly and the Mid-Summer Universal Salvation Dharma Assembly. During each Dharma assembly, Master transmitted Three Refuges and Eight Precepts to believers and guided them to Buddhism. A succession of Buddhist cultural events was held during the Golden Weeks of May Day and National Day holidays to demonstrate the active engagement of Buddhism in the secular world and the delivery of all living beings. As time goes by, more and more believers come to attend the Dharma assemblies, which enable the Dharma assemblies to gradually grow in size and influence.

Thanks to Master's efforts, the conditions for organizing Dharma assemblies have greatly improved. Since 2007, the Monastery has regularly held the following Dharma assemblies every year: The Flower Adornment Sutra Chanting Dharma Assembly, in the period of Chinese New Year; The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra Chanting Dharma Assembly to celebrate the birthday of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, on the nineteenth day of the second month of the lunar calendar; Ksitigarbha Sutra Chanting Dharma Assembly, on the Tomb-Sweeping Day; Shurangama Sutra Chanting Dharma Assembly, during the May Day holidays; the Bathing Buddha Dharma Assembly, on the eighth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar ((the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha); The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra Chanting Dharma Assembly, on the nineteenth day of the sixth month of the lunar calendar, the date on which Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva attained enlightenment; the Ullambana Dharma Assembly, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, the date on which the summer retreat of the Sangha is completed; the Shurangama Sutra Chanting Dharma Assembly, during the Golden Week of National Day holiday; The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra Chanting Dharma Assembly, on the nineteenth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar, the date on which Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva renounced the secular life. Starting from the Golden Week of National Day holiday of 2009, Master, responding to the new conditions, changed the function of Dharma assemblies from establishing affinity with believers to educating them.

Master once said, "By commanding and proficiently employing various languages, we could in a way follow the example of Buddha to enlighten all living beings and promote the spread of Buddhism worldwide." The Dharma assemblies have become more customary at Longquan Monastery and a multilingual team is developing. Master therefore has initiated multilingual Dharma assemblies in January of 2011. Since then, in major Dharma assemblies at Longquan Monastery, the multilingual session covers such languages as English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese, Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, etc.

Being at their initial stage, the multilingual Dharma assemblies focus on establishing affinity connections with believers through events like morning and evening recitations, scripture chanting, Dharma talks, outdoor work, bow repentances, meditation, food serving, interactive online broadcasts, multi-cultural exchanges, teaching Buddhist songs and Buddhist film appreciation. The Dharma assemblies are designed to guide followers in lively and various ways. Master once pointed out that Buddhism would only be socialized when it is globalized. The multilingual Dharma assemblies, which serve language enthusiasts and foreigners, are an important link in this process of globalization.

Master once said to the Sangha, "Without a pure, harmonious and progressive Sangha, it is impossible to retain the Dharma, let alone to develop and promote it. You have aspired to become monks and have studied and practiced so hard. I am overjoyed that you have decided to become monks and have studied and practiced so hard. You must keep a clear vision of why you should have become monks, and what are your mission and duties. You are here not only for yourselves, but for Buddhism as a whole, for the enlightenment of living beings, and for the promotion of Dharma. Only true faith in the path that you have chosen can enable you to overcome difficulties. Now that the religions of the world have started to engage in dialogues, we should refrain from taking the sole path of one particular sect of Buddhism. On some occasions, we speak on behalf of Buddhism. You will be the successors of the whole Buddhism. We do not cultivate ordinary abbots or persons who are eloquent in Dharma preaching or skilled in doing things. We cultivate great monks and virtuous masters who have made great vows and possess great compassion, great wisdom and great conduct."

"At present, my overriding mission is to cultivate monastics and disseminate Dharma. From now on, I expect you to make great resolve and be courageous in taking responsibilities. I am here to pave the road and build the bridge for you. I will exert my every effort to assist you and help you attain achievements. We have been related since past lives and I am willing to go forth together with you through eternity. You are all blessed with better conditions than I am; your future attainments will be beyond imagination. You should have every reason to be confident with your future. You must make more efforts to maintain harmony and get improvement in spite of setbacks."

Thanks to the merits and virtues of Master, the Sangha expanded from 5 members to more than 100, the number of resident lay people rose from 1 to over 200 and more and more believers have taken refuges here, which made the existing buildings and facilities inadequate for daily operation. Led by his great vows, Master led monastic and lay disciples to complete the construction of Longquan Reservoir, Dechen Building, Laity's Building, the Multi-functional Complex (Jianxing Hall, East Wing Building, North Wing Building), Educational Building, etc., and also the restoration of the old Buddha Hall.

Master had put great energy into the construction during its whole process from preliminary design, framework building to final decoration. Almost every day after he returned back to the Monastery from BAC, Master immediately went to the construction site to learn about the progress and give timely guidance to specific problems. He also engaged in construction work, helping workers to carry bricks and build walls. Especially in the crucial stage, Master often worked with others at the construction site all night and left behind all of his fatigue got in the daytime work at BAC. His inexhaustible energy truly demonstrates the nature of a Bodhisattva—selfless and altruistic.   

On September 30th, 2009, Master talked about the guiding principles for the long-term management of Longquan Monastery at Jianxing Hall, which was newly put into use.

(1) Order of the Monastics and the Laity should be specified as (a) differentiating by the precepts received and the administrative positions held, being different from each other though inseparable, and (b) being equal by nature, yet different in specific matter.

(2) Order of Study and Practice should be specified as (a) faith, understanding, practice and attainment, in this sequence, and (b) generating Bodhicitta and extensively accumulating provisions.

(3) Order of Work should be specified as (a) conforming to the Teachings whether talking or keeping silent, moving or being still, and (b) dealing with people and things with sincerity.

(4) Order of Life should be specified as (a) the purity and dignity of daily activities involved with eating, clothing, lodging and transportation, and (b) the purification of the three karmas: body, speech and mind, and the possession of physical serenity for achieving spiritual enlightenment.

With respect to the Order of the monastics and the Laity, Master said, "The monastics and the laity are inseparable. The monastics are responsible for upholding the Buddha's Teachings, while the laity are responsible for protecting and supporting the Buddha's Teachings. There should be a good division of responsibilities and collaboration between the two groups. Each of them should do their job well to form a harmonious and progressive team. Cooperation between the monastics and the lay people is necessary for transmitting and upholding Buddha Dharma. The monastics should work hard in cultivation, make progress in Dharma pursuit and guide the laity to protect and support the Sangha. Then, the monastics and the laity can cooperate with each other to promote the Buddha's Teachings. It is crucial to form such a system. Only with such a system can powerful collective karma be created, and Buddhist undertakings be completed intensively and extensively."

On October 8th, 2009, 5 departments were established in order to implement the orderly management of Longquan Monastery proposed by Master.

(1)  Construction Department is in charge of the Monastery's infrastructure construction.

(2) Culture Department is responsible for editing, designing and producing the Monastery's books and media products.

(3) Charity Department, namely, Beijing Ren Ai Charity Foundation, holds the mission of spreading the culture and spirit of charity and promoting the action of poverty relief. It aims to build up a platform for encouraging virtuous motivation and practicing virtuous deeds where everyone can get themselves involved. The Foundation follows the idea of "Everyone can enjoy taking part in charity work. Ren Ai charity activities are within your reach."

(4) Publicity Department is in charge of the Voice of Longquan website and Ven. Master Xuecheng's Blog. The website aims at disseminating traditional Chinese culture, the content of which covers Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, and concerns about various aspects of modern society. The website in Chinese, English and Japanese claims visitors from over 170 countries and regions.

(5) Department of Education consists of three divisions:

(a) The Division of Dharma Assembly aims to provide preliminary education to lay Buddhists through the organization of activities that connect the masses and proclaim the universal values of Buddhism.

(b) The Division of Student Affairs offers services and support for the study and practice of lay Buddhists through recruiting Buddhist study group members and organizing and maintaining the operation of the study groups.

(c) The Division of Instructor Affairs is to train Buddhist missionaries of the new era by educating and giving guidance to instructors of the study groups.
Other departments include Beijing Great Sinology Foundation and Translation Center of Beijing Longquan Monastery. The Foundation's main function is to provide  complimentary books such as traditional Chinese classics. It also conducts domestic and overseas cultural exchanges. The Translation Center is responsible for the translation and distribution of Master's multilingual microblogs, the translation and publication of all kinds of books and media products of the Monastery. The Center also translates and interprets for relevant reception of the Monastery.

Thus the new framework of operations has been set up at the Monastery. The Sangha runs through the monastic executive system and the endeavors of spreading Dharma operate through an organizational structure.

A group photo with instructors of Beijing Longquan Monastery. January 22nd, 2011

Giving a Dharma talk at the opening ceremony of the 1st Buddhist study groups of Beijing Longquan Monastery. November 7th, 2009

The year of 2010 witnessed the 5th anniversary of Longquan Monastery's reopening for religious services. The five years' development of the Monastery has been a vivid representation of Master's compassion and aspiration. Master's broad mind and outstanding vision had won sincere reverence from his disciples. On September 22th (the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, the traditional Mid-autumn Festival), 2010, to express their profound gratitude to the virtuous teachers, the disciples held a meeting entitled "5th Anniversary Retrospect: Five Years on the Bodhi Path, Memories of Masters' Benevolence" and an evening party entitled "A Gathering on a Cool Evening to Recollect Masters' Benevolence". During the events, Master especially encouraged disciples to make more efforts in the future to serve the society and create new history.

Guided by Master, starting from October 2009, Longquan Monastery launched series of lectures under the title of Longquan Lectures. The speakers are renowned scholars and experts within and outside of China. They talk on various topics including religion, history, charity and culture. The knowledge of both the monastics and lay people are greatly enriched with a broadened view. On August 14th (the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar), 2011, the Institute for Advanced Study of the Humanities and Religion of Beijing Normal University established a research base at Longquan Monastery. The founding of this base was an important step forward serving as an example with far-reaching significance on the new development of the exchanges and collaboration between the religious society and the academic society.

In 2012, Master put forward a development model for Longquan Monastery that is grounded on the model of elitism and internationalization. On May 23rd, 2012, the Longquan Monastery was officially admitted as member to the Translators Association of China (TAC). The Monastery is the first religious organization to have been admitted since TAC's establishment 30 years ago. From June 21st to July 5th, 2012, under Master's instruction, Longquan Monastery Translation Center sent a delegation of 14 representatives to United States for a 15 day cultural exchange visit. This represents the first real step that the Longquan Monastery has taken to promote Buddha Dharma outside of China. During their stay, Longquan Monastery delegation visited 10 important Buddhist centers and 10 prestigious universities, such as, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Hsi Lai Temple, Harvard and MIT. Longquan Monastery delegates discussed their experiences of translating Buddhist literature with American hosts and learned more about American culture. They also spread the voice of China's Buddhist culture.

From May 31st to June 26th, 2013, under Master's instruction, 21 representatives from Longquan Monastery Translation Center visited 7 European countries, including: Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. They traveled in 19 cities, visited 9 Buddhist sites, 16 universities, 16 Catholic churches and monasteries and two Christian churches, and held 13 lectures and 22 informal discussions related to multi-religious and multi-cultural communications. Following the US cultural exchange visit in the previous year, this EU tour is a further outreach made by Longquan Monastery into spreading the Chinese Buddha Dharma abroad.

Afterwards, Master dispatched many of his disciples to US, Europe and Africa for further multi-religious and multi-cultural communication activities.

Master has led the Monastery to make remarkable advancements both in infrastructure construction and the cultivation of monks. Longquan Monastery will surely become a platform for promoting traditional Chinese culture, a source for elevating morality and purifying minds, a link for exchanging cultures and building friendships and a sacred place to promote Buddha Dharma, benefit sentient beings and create a blessed and harmonious society. Just as Master said, "What we do today is in preparation for tomorrow. What we do this year is in preparation for next year. What we do in this life is in preparation for next life and what we do lifetime after lifetime is in preparation for attaining Buddhahood. What we have achieved is not yet ideal; what is perfect is attaining Buddhahood!!"

Ⅱ . Chairing Academies

ⅰ. Buddhist Academy of Fujian Province

Buddhist Academy of Fujian Province was established by Ven. Master Yuanzhuo and others on April 1st, 1983 with the approval of the Government of Fujian Province and the State Administration for Religious Affairs. It is a Buddhist academy at the provincial level and one of the earliest Buddhist academies established since the reform and opening up of China. The Academy consists of Male Division located at Putian Guanghua Monastery and Female Division at Chongfu Monastery of Fuzhou, which is renowned as the leading nunnery south of the Yangtze River.

As President of the Academy, Master Xuecheng serves as a link between the past and future. Rev. Zhao Puchu, pointed out that the cultivation of monastics should always be the top priority of Buddhism at present and for a long time to come. Guided by this, Master has accumulated many years of experience in study and practice and has also observed the learning system of leading domestic and international monasteries. Given the fact that modern monastic practices are vastly different from the ancient reclusive monastic practices, Master advocates integrating three language families of Buddhism and promoting all eight sects of Han Buddhism. With such a vision, Master has brought forward and implemented the idea of Four Becomings: "the monastery becoming academic, the academy becoming monastic, the learning and practice becoming integrated, and the management becoming scientific." The Academy takes the four Bodhisattva qualities of "compassion, wisdom, aspiration and action" as its motto and aims to cultivate modern monastics who excel in "aspiration, cultivation, ability, merit and knowledge" under the ten practice principles: honoring the Three Jewels, respecting teachers and their teachings, restraining the six sensory faculties, eliminating bad habits, developing faith, establishing right views, accumulating merits through hard-working, coordinating understanding with practicing and being pure and harmonious.

Keeping in mind Rev. Zhao Puchu's teaching, that is, the cultivation of monastics should be the top priority of Buddhism at present, Master has been committed to cultivating the Sangha for years. Master said, "Chinese Buddhism lacks excellent Sangha members, therefore their cultivation is urgent. Only persistent efforts for ten or even twenty years can have some effects." From 1990 to 1994, when the Teaching Affairs Office was in crisis due to lack of teachers, he taught 16 classes per week. He vowed, "Even if there is only one student monk left, the Buddhist Academy shall not stop functioning." Master always taught through example. He led the teachers and students of the Academy in morning and evening recitations, eating meals together at the refectory, doing labor work, keeping the Uposatha tradition of chanting precepts, engaging in summer retreats, practicing Buddha name chanting and meditating. These activities are carried out in accordance with the Teachings and Vinaya, thus creating an environment that integrates learning with practice and equally emphasizes the understanding and practice of the Teachings.

Master is also very concerned about the infrastructure construction of the Buddhist Academy. In early days, the facility was simple and insufficient. Therefore, in 1999 he personally created the designs for and participated in the building of a new classroom complex with a number of new facilities such as audio-visual classrooms, greatly improved the hardware conditions of the Academy. The Academy has had a strong teaching faculty. Masters like Ven. Zhimin, Ven. Jiequan, Ven. Huihai, Ven. Shengyue, Ven. Yanlian, Ven. Miaofeng, Ven. Fakong, Ven. Dayang, Ven. Puti and Ven. Zhenyu have in turn taken charge of the Teaching Affairs Division of the Male's Department. The Venerables responsible for the teaching have included, among others, Ven. Jiqun, Ven. Ruiyin, Ven. Zhaoming, Ven. Xiankong, Ven. Fahui, Ven. Jixiang, Ven. Yanwu, Ven. Bozhou and Ven. Zhengcan.

The achievements of the Academy over the past decade could have not been possible without Master's selfless dedication. In August 2009, due to the effort made by Master, the State Administration for Religious Affairs approved the Academy's request to upgrade its three-year junior college program to a four-year undergraduate program. At present, the Academy offers three-level programs, i.e. the two-year secondary specialized program, the four-year undergraduate program and the three-year advanced study course. There are 150 monastic students, 30 Dharma teachers and 10 guest lecturers at the Academy.
By the end of 2011, Buddhist Academy of Fujian Province had been annually producing graduates for 12 years, giving over 1,400 graduation certificates and certificates of completion. A large number of young monks have emerged with a possession of moral integrity and ability, good character and knowledge. Some of them have committed themselves to teaching, some are engaged in Buddhist research, some are devoted to charity work, some have become abbots, and guiding people in Buddhist cultivation and some others have traveled abroad to promote Dharma. These excellent monks have provided a momentum for Buddhism and have breathed new life into the religion and culture, greatly contributing to the dissemination of Dharma.

Year after year, with his simple style and unshakeable faith, Master has passed this "patriotism to the nation and faithfulness to Buddhism" and lofty ideal of "Honor the land and benefit living beings" to the teachers and students of the Academy. Under his leadership, the Academy is full of vigor and vitality.

ⅱ. Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy

Since he assumed abbotship of Famen Monastery on January 16th, 2004, to fulfill the wishes of the former Abbot, the late Ven. Master Jingyi, Master has made up his mind to prepare for the establishment of Shaanxi Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy.

Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy

Under Master's elaborate planning and guidance, Famen Monastery Buddhist Class was established on November 11th, 2004, the birthday of Medicine Buddha. With Master's persistent efforts for three years, Famen Monastery Buddhist Class, which started from nothing, developed into large, regular classes. Its software and hardware facilities matched those of an intermediate and advanced academy. In December 2007, with approval from the State Administration for Religious Affairs, Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy started to run on a trial basis. In May 2010, Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy was officially established as a Buddhist academy at provincial level, the first Han Buddhist academy in Northwest China, located inside Famen Monastery.

The facilities of the Academy were prepared and built under the resolution of the late Abbot Ven. Jingyi, between 1997 and 2002. Currently, there are 8 classroom buildings, 4 large classrooms, 1 lecture hall and 1 library. Each building is equipped with a heating system and teaching facilities such as projectors and computers. The audio-visual classroom and the stadium are under construction. The facilities can accommodate 300 students. The library has a collection of nearly 10,000 books, five sets of Tripitakas and dozens of different Buddhist magazines, which meet the basic requirements of teaching and learning at present.

The Academy and Buddhist Academy of Fujian Province share the same educational concepts. In the summer of 2006, in order to strengthen the communication and cooperation between Famen Monastery Buddhist Class and Buddhist Academy of Fujian Province, Master instructed that a class from each institute should attend the other's summer retreat so that they may learn from each other. This produced remarkable results.

Attracted by Master's compassion and vows, a number of high quality teaching and administrative faculty from around China came to Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy, including those from Buddhist Academy of China, Buddhist Academy of Fujian Province, etc. The faculty keeps stable, consisting of teachers who teach in an earnest and responsible spirit and manage by setting up models themselves. The Dharma teachers have strong determination for cultivation and pious faith. Besides running the Academy, they take an active part in the important receptions and Dharma assemblies of Famen Monastery. At the opening of the Academy, there were only 24 students, but one year later its distinctions and advantages won increasing recognition from both within and out of Buddhist society. There were 92 students in three classes: a secondary specialized class, a junior college class and an undergraduate class.

On July 24th, 2009, Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy held a graduation ceremony for its first graduates. Despite his tight schedule, Master Xuecheng, as Abbot of Famen Monastery and President of Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy, came from Beijing to attend the graduation ceremony. He addressed the graduates, "Be modest, try to let go of oneself, let go of self attachment, and be obedient to living beings. Do things in accordance with the Middle Way principle, do things appropriately, deal with every kind of relationship skillfully with Dharma wisdom and do one's own job well. Take initiative to practice and promote Dharma, and make great resolve to undertake the responsibilities of disseminating Dharma and benefiting living beings."

By 2011, Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy had produced graduates for two consecutive years. More than 100 graduation certificates and certificates of completion were awarded. At present, the Academy offers two-levels of programs: a four-year undergraduate program and a three-year postgraduate program. Currently there are 60 monastic students, 20 Dharma teachers and 7 guest lecturers. These achievements were made impossible without Master's efforts. With Master's leadership, Famen Monastery Buddhist Academy will witness a brighter future.

Tags:Longquan Monastery, academy

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