Biography of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
宣化上人的生平事蹟


A Brief Introduction / 宣化上人簡介

⚪He came from the snow-laden vicinity of the Eternally White Mountains in northeastern China.
⚪At the age of nineteen, he became a Buddhist monk and vowed to save all living beings.
⚪In 1962, he brought the Proper Buddhadharma from East to West.
⚪In 1968, five Americans took monastic vows under his guidance; thus, he established the Sangha and the Triple Jewel on American Soil. He founded the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, with branch monasteries in the United States, Canada and Asia.
⚪He established the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the first large American Buddhist monastic community.
⚪In 1995, before he passed into stillness, he said,“I came from empty space, and to empty space I will return.”
⚪Throughout his life, he promoted peace and light in the world, compassionately and tirelessly rescuing living beings.
⚪來自白雪皚皚的中國東北長白山區。十九歲出家修道,發願普度一切眾生。一九六二年將正確真實的佛法,由東方帶到西方——美國。創美國佛教史始有僧相之記錄——一九六八年五位美國人在上人座下出家,是在西方建立三寶的第一人。「美國法界佛教總會」創辨人,分支道場遍佈美、加、亞地區。建立美國第一座佛教大道場—萬佛聖城。一九九五年圓寂,「我從虛空來,回到虛空去」。終其一生儘量幫助世界走向安樂光明的途徑。



The Dharma name of the Venerable Master Xuan Hua was An Ci (Peace and Compassion), also known as Du Lun (Liberate [from the] Wheel [of Rebirth]). He became the Ninth Patriarch of the Wei-Yang lineage school of Chan after being granted the Dharma Seal of the Wei-Yang lineage from the Elder Venerable Master Xu Yun. The Venerable Master’s Dharma-Transmission name was Xuan Hua (Proclaim and Transform), but he often referred to himself as “a living dead person”, or “the Monk in the Grave”.
上宣下化老和尚法名「安慈」,字「度輪」。接上虛下雲老和尚法脈,為禪門溈仰宗第九代傳人,嗣號「宣化」。自號「活死人」、「墓中僧」。

Throughout his life, he never wanted fame or profit, and he had even less desire to contend with others. Instead, he said that he would rather be “a little bug,” or “a small ant” beneath the feet of all living beings, and let them use his body as a stepping stone to transcend from commoners straight to the ground of the Buddha.
上人一生,不要名,也不要利,更不願和人爭勝負。寧做一隻「小蚊蟲」、「小螞蟻」,走在眾生的腳㡳下,令眾生踏在自己身上,從凡夫直達佛地。

The Venerable Master Xuan Hua was a native of Shuang-Cheng County in Ji-Lin Province in northeastern China. He was born in 1918, on the sixteenth day of the third lunar month. His father’s surname was Bai and his mother’s maiden name was Hu. His father was a diligent, frugal, simple and honest farmer. His mother was a vegetarian who recited the Buddha’s name throughout her life.
上人是中國東北吉林省雙城縣人,生於西元一九一八年農曆三月十六日。父姓白,母胡氏,父親是勤儉樸實的莊稼人,母親一生茹素念佛。

She gave birth to four sons and three daughters. Then one night, she had a dream in which she saw Amitabha Buddha emitting a light so radiant that it penetrated heaven and shook the earth. Shortly after, she gave birth to her youngest son. When the Venerable Master was born, the room was filled with a rare fragrance. For three days and nights the Venerable Master cried continuously, a sign of his deep sympathy for beings suffering birth and death in this Saha world.
老夫人在生了四男三女之後,一夜夢見阿彌陀佛大放光明,照動天地,而後產下幼子。上人出胎時,異香滿室。降生後,連哭三晝夜,似乎悲憫著娑婆世界的生死大苦。


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When the Venerable Master was a child, he followed his mother’s example, eating only vegetarian food and reciting the Buddha’s name with sincerity. When eleven years old, the Venerable Master came across a dead baby in the wilderness. Suddenly he was awakened to the major event of birth and death and the impermanence of all phenomena. Subsequently he resolved to leave the householder’s life (i.e., become a monk) to cultivate the Way.
上人幼隨母茹素念佛。年十一偶值荒郊死嬰,深感生死事大,無常迅速,遂萌出家修行之志。

In the following year, in order to repent for his obstinate disposition and to avoid bringing affliction and worry to his parents, the Venerable Master began to practice the Dharma door of bowing to his parents, to heaven and earth, to the emperor and to his teachers as well. He also bowed to all the great sages and worthy ones, to all the great filial sons and daughters, and to all the loyal government officials and patriots. He even bowed to all great wholesome people, and to all great evil people. His wish was that good people would be rewarded, and bad people would repent and reform.
次年為懺除倔強脾氣,不令父母憂煩,始行叩頭法門。向父母、天地君親師及一切大聖賢、大孝子、忠臣義士,乃至大善人、大惡人們叩頭。冀善人善報,惡人侮改。

Twice a day when no one could see him, before anyone else woke up and after everyone went to bed, the Venerable Master went into the courtyard and quietly made eight hundred and thirty-five bows, which took about two and a half hours. Regardless of wind and rain, the Venerable Master continued to bow everyday without fail. He bowed and bowed in the hope that evil people would become good, that disasters would be transformed to good fortune and that world conflicts would give way to world peace. In addition to his bowing, the Venerable Master took excellent care of his parents; he observed his filial respect down to the very last detail from the moment his parents got up in the morning to when they retired at night. As time passed, he became widely known as “filial Son Bai.”
每日於院子𥚃,人睡後、人醒前,早晚兩次默默跪拜,不令人知。每一次叩滿八百三十五個頭,約兩個半小時。風雨無阻,照叩不誤,希望將壞人叩成好人,將災難叩成吉祥,將亂世叩成太平。上人事親至孝,晨昏定省,無微不至。久之,孝名遠播,人稱「白孝子」。

At fifteen, after receiving permission from his parents, the Venerable Master went on a pilgrimage to visit and look for Good Knowing Advisors. At the end, he took refuge with the Elder Venerable Master Chang Zhi of San Yuan (Three Conditions) Monastery and became a disciple of the Triple Jewel (the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha). While the Venerable Master investigated and practiced Chan (Dhyana) meditation, he also attended a private school. Benefiting from the Dharma door of single-minded concentration of Chan, the Venerable Master could recite a work from memory after having only read it once.
十五歲,上人拜別雙親,四處尋訪善知識,終得皈依哈爾濱市郊三緣寺上常下智老和尚為三寶弟子,研習禪定。旋入私塾,因禪定專一法門的受用,而能過目成誦。


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When the Master was seventeen years old, although he had only two and half years of formal education, he had thoroughly mastered the Four Books, the Five Classics, and the lessons of the numerous schools of philosophy. He also learned other worldly dharmas such as medicine, divination, astrology and physiognomy. The Venerable Master worked diligently without being lax. He dedicated himself to investigating Chan and studying the Buddha’s Teachings ceaselessly, and thoroughly understood the transcendental Dharma.
至十七歲時,雖僅讀了兩年半的書,已能貫通四書、五經、諸子百家、醫卜星相一切世間法。又精勤不懈,參禪研教,透徹出世法。

When he was sixteen years old, he resolved to lecture on the Buddhist Sutras, and to help those who liked to study the Buddhadharma but were illiterate. At age eighteen he left school to care for his mother, who was very ill. At the same time, he gave up his house and started a free school, teaching a class of thirty impoverished children of different levels and age groups all by himself. In addition, the Venerable Master joined many charitable organizations. He exerted himself to practice the great work of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in saving all living beings and aiding those in need.

上人在十六歲就發心宣講佛經,幫助歡喜學佛而苦於不識字的人。十八歲因母病而輟學在家,悉心照顧老母,並捨宅開辦義務學校,幫助艱困的失學者。一人全天候教導三十多個不同程度,不同年齡的貧寒孩童。並䀆心參加慈善團體,力行菩薩救世濟人的廣大佛事。

When the Venerable Master was nineteen, his mother passed away. Hence the Venerable Master put down all the myriad conditions. On the eighth day of the fourth lunar month (the anniversary of the Buddha’s birthday), the Venerable Master respectfully requested the Elder Venerable Master Chang Zhi from San Yuan Monastery to shave his head so he could leave the home-life. After the Venerable Master received the Shramanera (novice monk) precepts, he returned to live beside his mother’s grave in a sorghum stalk hut for a three-year mourning period. The Venerable Master ate only one meal a day at noon and never lay down to rest at night. He bowed to the Avatamsaka Sutra, and performed repentance. As each day went by, his ability to concentrate become more proficient, and his compassion grew deeper and deeper.
十九歲母親往生,於是萬緣放下。同年四月初八佛誕日,禮請三緣寺上常下智老和尚剃度出家。受沙彌戒後,披緇結廬,守孝三年,日一食,夜不臥,拜華嚴,禮浄懺,定功日純,悲心日深。

At age nineteen, on the nineteenth day of the sixth lunar month (the anniversary of Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s attainment of the Way), the Venerable Master made eighteen great vows and resolved faithfully to achieve each one of them in order to relieve and cure all illnesses and sufferings of all living beings. He vowed to take upon himself all living beings’ karmic obstructions created by ignorance, afflictions, and anger, so he alone would endure the negative retributions on their behalf.
十九歲那年的六月十九觀音成道日,在佛前發下十八大願,依願篤行,救治一切眾生的疾病苦難。將眾生的無明、煩惱、脾氣所有罪障,歸攬自身,一人承擔。


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Moreover, the Venerable Master’s actions were able to inspire and transform beings such as countless dragons, snakes, and fox spirits. They took refuge with the Triple Jewel and observed the precepts, changing their evil ways to cultivate the good. The Venerable Master had always helped out living beings, but he never helped himself. Throughout his life he had devoted himself to fulfill and perfect his eighteen great vows.
又感化無量龍蛇、狐狸鬼神前來皈依受戒,改惡修善。上人只知幫助眾生,從不幫助自己,一生實踐力行,圖滿所發的十八大願。

In 1946, the Venerable Master journeyed south. On his way, he stopped by Wu Chang, Hubei Province. In 1947, the Venerable Master received his full ordination at Pu Tuo Mountain. In 1948, he returned to Shanghai, and from there he went to Hangzhou on his way to Canton. Finally, after several thousand miles of travel, the Venerable Master arrived at Nan Hua Monastery and bowed to the Elder Venerable Master Xu Yun, who was the era’s most distinguished authority on Buddhism. At their first meeting, there was a mind-to-mind seal dialogue between the two, and the Venerable Master composed a verse describing this occasion:
一九四六年,上人南下,途經湖北武昌,一九四七年於普陀山受具足戒,一九四八年轉回上海,取道杭州下廣東,歷數千里跋涉,方抵廣東南華寺,參禮當代宗門泰斗虛雲老和尚。虛老和上人會晤時,曾有一以心印心之談話。上人為此作偈曰:

The Noble Yun saw me and said “Thus it is.”
I saw the Noble Yun and verified, “Thus it is.”
The Noble Yun and I, both Thus,
Universally vow that all beings will also be Thus.
雲公見我云如是,
我見雲公證如是;
雲公與我皆如是,
普願眾生亦如是。

At that time, the Elder Venerable Master Xu Yun was 109 years old, and he recognized the Venerable Master Xuan Hua to be a “Dharma vessel of elephant and dragon (one who is worthy of the propagation of the Dharma).” He then asked Master Hua to be an instructor in the Nan Hua Vinaya Academy and an Acarya in the Great Precepts of the Three-Fold Platforms. He certified the Venerable Master, saying, “Thus it is. Thus it is.”
當時,一百零九歲的虛老知道上人是龍象法器,便委任為律學院的監學,暨三壇大戒的尊證阿闍黎。虛老為上人印證「如是!如是!」


In 1949, after the completion of the Spring Precept Transmission, the Venerable Master bowed and bade farewell to the Elder Venerable Master Xu Yun and traveled to Hong Kong to spread the Buddhadharma. After his arrival, the Venerable Master impartially proclaimed and propagated the Five Schools of Buddhism, and helped rid the religious schools and sects of divisiveness. In addition, he renovated and reconstructed many ancient Bodhimandas (monasteries), printed sutras, and commissioned the making of images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. He also established Xi Le Yuan (Western Bliss Garden) Monastery, the Buddhist Lecture Hall, and Ci Xing (Flourishing Compassion) Monastery.
一九四九年,待春天戒期圓滿,叩別虛老,赴香港弘化,平等宣揚五宗,打破門户派別。修古剎、印經造像、成立西樂園寺、佛教講堂、慈興寺。

In 1956, on the ninth day of the fourth lunar month, the Elder Venerable Master Xu Yun from Yun Ju (Cloud Dwelling) Mountain sent the Venerable Master a certifying documents of the Wei-Yang Chan School. He appointed the Venerable Master as the 9th Patriarch of the Wei-Yang Lineage in China, the 46th generation in a line descending from Shakyamuni Buddha. He also bestowed the Venerable Master the name “Xuan Hua” (Proclaim and Transform).
一九五六年四月初九日,虛老特從雲居山寄給上人溈仰宗的祖脈源流,任命上人為釋迦牟尼佛傳承的第四十六代及中國溈仰宗第九代嗣法人,賜名「宣化」。

In 1959, some disciples of the Venerable Master in the United States established the Headquarters of the Sino-American Buddhist Association (now known as the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association).
一九五九年,上人指示弟子在美成立「中美佛教總會」〈即現今「法界佛教總會」〉。

In 1962, causes and conditions matured and the Venerable Master accepted an invitation to come to the United States. He then transmit the Proper Dharma to the Western countries.
一九六二年因緣成熟,應邀赴美,傳續正法於西方國家。

In 1968, after the Master had finished lecturing on the Shurangama Sutra, five young men and women, all of whom were American university students, sincerely requested to leave the home life and shaved their heads under the Venerable Master. Thus, he is the first one to establish the Triple Jewel on American soil.
一九六八年,上人於「楞嚴經講修班」結業後,為五位懇求出家的美籍男女青年大學生披剃,乃在西方建立三寶的第一人。

With the founding of a new American Sangha, the Master wan then ready to embark on an incredible building program for Buddhism in America. The Venerable Master devoted his life’s work in three main areas: (1) propagation of the proper Dharma; (2) translation of the Buddhist Canon; and (3) education.
有了美國僧團後,上人就開始在美國建立佛教的龐大計劃,終其一生致力於弘法、譯經、教育三大弘願。

Since the Buddhist Lecture Hall was quickly outgrown, the Venerable Master moved the wayplace into a large three-story building in 1970. This building was remodelled to become Gold Mountain Monastery.
由於佛教講堂很快就不敷使用了,所以一九七O年上人將道場遷入一幢改裝過的三層樓房,成立金山聖寺。


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In 1976, the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was established in Ukiah, Northern California. It occupies an total of 480 acres of land and is a Way-Place for all Buddhists in the ten directions. In addition, the other monasteries that were founded include Gold Wheel Monastery in Los Angeles, Gold Summit Monastery in Seattle, Gold Buddha Monastery in Vancouver, and Avatamsaka Monastery in Calgary. A total of twenty seven Way-Places were established one by one to form a solid foundation for Buddhism in Northern America.
一九七六年,於北加州瑜伽市逹摩鎭建立萬佛聖城,佔地四百八十畝,作為佛教十方道場。隨後洛杉磯之金輪聖寺、西雅圖之金峰聖寺、温哥華金佛聖寺及卡加利之華嚴聖寺等二十七處道場,一一成立,為北美佛教界奠定深厚之基礎。

As a means to propagate the Proper Dharma, the Venerable Master lectured on sutras and spoke the Dharma daily for several decades. He always explained the profound meanings in a way which was easy to comprehend. Furthermore, the Venerable Master exerted great effort to train all members of the four-fold assembly (monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen) to become proficient in propagating the Buddhadharma.
在弘法方面,上人講經說法,深入淺出,數十年如一日,並極力栽培四眾弘法人才。

Since 1972, the Venerable Master performed seven Three-fold Precept Platform Ceremonies and numerous Water, Land and Air Dharma Assemblies. Devoted to the unification of world religions, the Venerable Master invited nearly hundred Sangha members of the Theravada and Mahayana traditions to these ceremonies.
自一九七二年以來,上人先後在美舉辦七次三壇大戒,並啓建多次水陸空大法會,恭迎南北傳近百位僧人參加,致力於世界宗教大結合。

Responding to requests from Buddhist disciples around the world, the Venerable Master led delegations to Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Burma, England, France, Poland, Belgium, etc. to propagate the Proper Dharma. He was invited to give lectures at Universities and attend Academic conferences. His presence drew a multitude of the faithful everywhere he went.
上人又應邀組團赴香港、印度、新加坡、馬來西亞、越南、臺灣、泰國、緬甸、英國、法國、波蘭、比利時等海外各國弘法。或受邀到大學院校講演及出席學術性會議。所至之處,信眾蜂湧。

The year 1987 marked the advent of the World Religions Conference. Leaders of the Buddhist, Confucian, Christian, Islamic and Taoist faiths congregated at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to explore solutions to societal problems in an effort to bring peace to the world.
一九八七年上人舉辦「世界宗教聯席會議」於萬佛聖城,邀集佛教、儒教、耶穌教、回教、道教等宗教代表,共商解決當前社會問題,為世界和平而努力。


In the area of Sutra (teachings of the Buddha) translations, the Venerable Master founded the International Translation Institute in 1973. To date, this Institute has published more than a hundred volumes in English. The institute also translated Sutras into French, Spanish, and Vietnamese. In addition, it is actively working on the publication of audio cassette tapes, CD, DVD, and MP3. It is also the Venerable Master’s wish to translate the Tripitaka (the Buddhist Canon) into languages of all countries to benefit all living beings.
在譯經方面,上人於一九七三年成立譯經院。至今已出版了百餘種英譯本,另有法文、西班牙文、越南文的佛經譯本。除書藉出版外,亦積極發行盤帶、光盤、MP3等有聲出版。並希望將「大藏經」譯為各國語言文字,利益一切眾生。

Under the Venerable Master’s guidance, education has flourished. In the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, he founded Instilling Goodness Elementary School, Developing Virtue Secondary School, Dharma Realm Buddhist University, the Sangha and Laity Training programs, and other educational centers. Furthermore, many branch monasteries have established affiliated Sunday schools. All these schools strive to teach their students the Eight Virtues in Confucianism – filial respect, brotherhood, loyalty, trustworthiness, propriety, righteousness, incorruptibility, and a sense of shame- as the foundation of being a person. They also teach their students the Buddhist principles of impartiality, selflessness, kindness, compassion, joy, and giving as the ultimate goal. Boys and girls are schooled separately in an educational system staffed by volunteer teachers who help train and cultivate students to develop the virtuous and lofty character needed to benefit the entire world.
在教育方面,萬佛聖城設有育良小學、培德中學、法界大學、僧伽居士訓練班等教育機構。其他分支道場亦多附設週末、週日班學校。以孝、悌、忠、信、禮、義、廉、恥的儒教八德為做人基礎,以大公無私、慈悲喜捨的佛理為究目標,男女分校,義務教學,培養品德高尚的人才,挽救整個世界。

The disciples of the four-fold assembly throughout the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association’s monasteries all strive to uphold the Three Great Principles and the Six Great Guidelines established by the Venerable Master. They use these principles and guidelines as a compass in their cultivation. They cultivate with vigor, following the Venerable Master’s footsteps to advance on the Bodhi path.
法界佛教總會所有道場四眾弟子,秉持上人建立的三大宗旨,六大條款,作為修行的指南,精進修行,在菩提道上跟著上人的腳步邁進。

The Six Guidelines are:
No fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuing personal advantage, and no lying.
六大條款是:不爭、不貪、不求、不自私、不自利、不打妄語。


The Three Great Principals are:
Freezing to death, we do not scheme.
Starving to death, we do not beg.
Dying of poverty, we ask for nothing.
According with conditions, we do not change.
Not changing, we accord with conditions.
We adhere firmly to our three great principles.
We renounce our lives to do the Buddha’s work.
We take the responsibility to mold our own destinies.
We rectify our lives as the Sangha’s work.
Encountering specific matters, we understand the principles.
Understanding the principles, we apply them in specific matters.
We carry on the single pulse of the patriarchs’ mind-transmission.
三大宗旨是:
凍死不攀緣,餓死不化緣,窮死不求緣;
隨緣不變,不變隨緣。
抱定我們三大宗旨:
捨命為佛事,造命為本事,正命為憎事;
即事明理,明理即事,
推行祖師一脈心傳。

The Venerable Master dedicated his entire life to disseminating the Buddhadharma. Undaunted by adversities, he strove ceaselessly, and traveled to propagate the Buddhadharma in various Way-places, both in the U.S. and abroad. Based on the compassionate vows of a Bodhisattva, he rescued and crossed over living beings until he fell ill due to persistent overwork. Finally he collapsed form illness.
上人終其一生,為法忘軀,不辭勞苦,奔波於海內外各道場,本著菩薩的悲願,救度眾生,以致積勞成疾,卒之病倒。

In the afternoon of June 7, 1995, the Venerable Master manifested stillness in Los Angeles. His worldly age was seventy-seven. When he was alive, he wanted neither fame nor profit. In his final instructions he said:
一九九五年六月七日下午,上人示寂於美國南加州的洛杉機,世壽七十又八。生時,既不要名,也不要利,臨終遺言亦復如是:

After I depart, you can recite the Avatamsaka Sutra and the name of Amitabha Buddha for however many days you would like, perhaps seven days or forty-nine days. After the cremation, scatter my remains in empty space. I do not want you to do anything else at all. Do not build me any pagodas or memorials. I came into the world without anything; when I depart, I still do not want anything, and I do not want to leave any traces in the world.
我走後你們可以誦《華嚴經》、念佛,
你們要多少天就多少天,或者一個七,或者七個七。
火化之後,把我的骨灰洒到虛空去;
旁的事情我什麼也不要,
不要給我造什麼塔,什麼紀念館。
我來的時候什麼也沒有,
走的時候,還是什麼也不要,
在世上我不要留什麼㾗跡。

The Venerable Master said, “From empty space I came, to empty space I return.” In fact the life of the Venerable Master itself was a mandala for the great Dharma wheel of the Avatamsaka. Although he manifested Nirvana, he still constantly turns the Dharma wheel: “With great kindness and compassion rescue all. Spare neither blood nor sweat, and never pause to rest.” We, the disciples of the four-fold assembly, can only practice according to the Venerable Master’s teachings, and thus endeavor to repay one-ten thousandth of our teacher’s boundless grace.
上人曾說:「我從虛空來,回到虛空去。」其一生即是華嚴大法輪的壇場,雖示現涅槃,而法輪恒轉———大慈悲普度,流血汗,不休息!
吾等四眾弟子,唯有依教奉行,庶幾報師恩於萬一!