Great Union of Southern and Northern
Traditions of Buddhism
Although sudden and gradual are different,
At the time of achievement they are one.
Why distinguish between north and south?
Sages and commoners temporarily differ,
But their basic natures are the same
Whether they are from the east or the west.
--Venerable Master Hua
Besides devoting himself to the propagation of Dharma, translation, and education, the Venerable Master also thought constantly about integrating the northern and southern traditions of Buddhism and fostering cooperation among the various major religions.
In 1991, a group of Theravadan monks from England borrowed some space at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) for a two-week meditation retreat. The Venerable Master was delighted and said, "Theravadan and Mahayana Buddhism are both about guiding living beings to seek enlightenment, become liberated from the cycle of birth and death, leave suffering and attain bliss. For this reason, the two traditions ought to communicate and unite. Don't you go and do your thing while I do mine, for then the power of Buddhism is dispersed."
In a symbolic exchange between the northern and southern traditions in May 1991, Ajahn Amaro, Co-abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Center, on behalf of the Theravadan Sangha, offered their robes and almsbowls to the Sangha led by the Venerable Master. This ceremony marked another page in the history of Buddhism.
Through the years, the Sangha led by Venerable Master Hua have united the strength of Southern and Northern Buddhism traditions through various means of visiting each other, transmitting precepts together, and meditating & investigating Chan, therefore, creating a new era of Buddhism.
This film recorded the precious moments of the interaction between CTTB and Theravadan Sangha in 1991.