The Day Gold Mountain Opened
 Celebration of the Birth of the Buddha


On May 20th, 1972, the anniversary of the Buddha's birth. Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery formally opened its doors. This historical event signals the arrival of Buddhism in America, because the efforts leading up to the opening, the construction and establishment of the Monastery, were made by young Americans led by American Bhiksus fully ordained in the orthodox tradition of Buddhism.

The day's celebrations, which were attended by several hundred people, began at 9:00 A.M. on a Saturday morning with the installation of the commemorative plaque of the calligraphy of President Chiang, which arrived recently from the Republic of China. The Consul General for the Republic of China in San Francisco, Mr. Tuan, presented the plaque to Dharma Master Heng Ch'ien, Supervisory Director of Gold Mountain Monastery, and Dharma Master Heng Ching, Managing Director of the Monastery, who received it on behalf of the Sino-American Buddhist Association (see page 20). The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua then opened the light on the Buddha images, and the ceremonies formally opening the Monastery were completed. All present were invited to join in the Great Meal Offering and partake of a vegetarian meal.

Following the meal the four-fold assembly gathered to offer their respect to Sakyamuni Buddha on the anniversary of his birth, and everyone had the opportunity to bathe the newborn Buddha and thereby symbolically cleanse the self—nature. The Sino-American Buddhist Association was honored to have Dharma Master His Ch'en, Abbot of Mahayana Temple in South Cairo, New York, as the guest speaker at the Dharma assembly that afternoon. The Dharma Master brought congratulatory wishes from The Eastern States Buddhist Association and from Mahayana Temple (see article below).

      Buddha’s Birthday ceremonies began again in the evening at six-thirty with recitation of mantras and praises to the Buddha, and all those present again had the opportunity to bathe the Buddha. Leading Bay Area Buddhists spoke to the assembly, using a wide variety of wonderful expedient methods to encourage everyone to put the symbolic bathing of the self-nature into actual practice.

      Buddhists and members of the Sino-American Buddhist Association from all parts of the country attended the celebration. The Association was again pleased to welcome Upasaka Kuo Kuang King from Los Angeles. Professor King is a diligent and adept Dharma protector who finds time from his busy teaching schedule for cultivation of the Way.

Eminent Bhiksu Visits from New York

       Dharma Master His Ch’en arrived in the United States nearly a year ago from Burma. Not long after he left home in 1945 at Tan Sha Mountain in Fu Kuei, he was forced to leave the Mainland China by the civil struggle. He went to Burma and resided there more than twenty years, living at Chung Hua Monastery in Rangoon. He received the complete Bhiksu precepts in 1948 from the Venerable Master Shou Yen.

An able protector of the Buddhadharma who left the home life at a very early age, Dharma Master Hsi Ch’en is now the Abbot of Mahayana Temple in South, Cairo, New York. He was on hand for the opening of Gold Mountain Monastery, and carried congratulatory messages to the Sino-American Buddhist Association from the Eastern States Buddhist Association and from Mahayana Temple.

Dharma Master Hsi Ch'en arrived in San Francisco International Airport in the evening on May seventeenth. He was met by a party representing the Sino-American Buddhist Association and Vajra Bodhi Sea Publication Society, led by Dharma Master Heng Kuan, Guest Prefect at Gold Mountain Monastery, The party consisted of Dharma Master Heng Ch'ao, Sramanera Kuo Yu, Upasaka, Kuo Yi Foorman, Upasaka Kuo K'uei Bach, Upasaka Kuo Kuei Nicholson, and Upasaka Kuo Fa Olson. The Dharma Master resided at Gold Mountain for nearly a week, assisting in the activities. He delivered several worthy speeches to the members of the Sino-American Buddhist Association and other guests, praising their work, exhorting them to continue progressing, and in general explaining various points of Dharma.

A large farewell party gathered in the Jeweled Hall of the Great Heroes at Gold Mountain on the evening of the Dharma Master's departure to return to New York. After the final speeches, a party led by Dharma Master Heng Shoou including Dharma Masters Heng Yin and Heng Ch'ih, Sramaneras Kuo Tao and Kuo Yu and Upasaka Kuo Yi Foorman saw him off to the airport.

The Sino-American Buddhist Association was very pleased to have Bhiksu Hsi Ch'en as a visiting Dharma Master, and hopes that in the future many cultivators both those who have left the home life and lay Buddhists will come to San Francisco to join in the practice and experience the unsurpassed flavor of the Dharma at Gold Mountain.


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