The International Translation Institute and the Headquarters of Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, founded by the Venerable Master Hua, held their Grand Opening beginning at 9 a.m. on May 28th.
The opening ceremony began with the Dharma Masters leading everyone in reciting the Universal Door Chapter and the Great Compassion Mantra. The resonant, sincere recitation, the beautiful sunshine, gentle breeze, and clear blue sky outside, presented an atmosphere of undefiled purity and infinite brightness.
Located in Burlingame, a five-minute drive from the San Francisco Airport, the International Translation Institute and the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association Headquarters are separated by only a hundred meters. They are the offices where monks and nuns work in administration and translation. Seen from a distance, these two buildings are very imposing. The magnificent entrance to the Headquarters has an air of grandeur. A couplet suspended on both sides of the entrance says, "With humane hearts and humane practices, universally save all with kindness and compassion, gathering and guiding those with affinities to return to the sea of enlightenment. With skillful teaching and skillful transformation, equally moisten all with the Dharma rain, receiving and leading those without sentience to enter the flow of Sagehood." Another couplet suspended on both sides of the entrance to the International Translation Institute says, "The Venerable Kumarajiva translated Sutras for the Seven Buddhas, rescuing the multitudes from the sea of suffering. Great Master Xuanzhuang sought the Dharma on behalf of the people, enabling living beings to reach the Land of Bliss." These couplets reflect the Venerable Master Hua's compassionate wish to rescue the world, his great vow to propagate the Dharma, and the power of his awesome virtue.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted by Professor John B. Tsu. The distinguished guests who cut the ribbon were Doris Morse, Mayor Pro Tem of Millbrae City, California Congress candidates Elsa Cheung and Debrah Wilder, California Assembly candidate Dennis R. Preger, and others. Dr. Tsu observed that since the Venerable Master Hua came all by himself to the United States in 1962, he has been propagating the Buddhadharma with all his might. Now there are many branch temples around the United States and Canada, made possible by the Venerable Master's wisdom, his left-home disciples' diligent cultivation and the support of the faithful from many places.
Ms. Wilder greatly praised the energy and the time dedicated to the translation work done at the Interational Translation Institute. She was very impressed by the display of over a hundred different Buddhist books published in English. She thought the Venerable Master's advocacy of non-violence and of religious exchange between the East and West was really beneficial to the public.
The Venerable Master has promoted the work of translating Sutras and education all his life. He said that although the teaching of the Buddha is so perfect and ultimate, it has not become as popular as Christianity and Catholicism in the world, because the Buddhist Sutras have not been translated into many languages like the Bible has. Therefore, the Venerable Master often urges his disciples to vigorously study languages, promotes those with potential talents, and encourages people with strong language skills who hold doctoral, Master's, or Bachelor's degrees to join the translation work.
After Buddhism spread to China, it flourished greatly in the Tang Dynasty. Because of the numerous talented people engaged in the work of translation, and the sponsorship and great involvement of the government, many elegant Chinese translations, such as that of the Shurangama Sutra, were produced. Now the Venerable Master Hua is relying on his personal strength to direct the work of translation, undertaking a very difficult task. Under the International Translation Institute are the Board of Directors and the Managing Committee of Translation and Publication, comprised of both left-home and laypeople. All translation work undergoes the careful and strict process of editing, proofreading, reviewing and certification.
After the solemn ribbon-cutting ceremony concluded, there were also exhibits of Buddha images, Chinese calligraphy, and ceramic art made by students of Developing Virtue High School. After lunch, the four-fold assembly of disciples turned the Dharma wheel together, speaking Dharma in a lecture hall for two hundred on the third floor of the Headquarters. The day's activities ended about 3 p.m.
Orthdox Buddhism has been brought from Asia to the United States by this organization. Today, the conditions have ripened, and the door of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association Headquarters is formally opened, symbolizing the sprouting of the seed, and the flourishing of the Buddhadharma in the West. Limitless men and women of faith will be enabled to leave suffering and attain bliss in the future. People from all walks of life are welcome to cross this bridge to reach the other shore of birthlessness together.