I am proud to recognize the tremendous service
that the Late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua had rendered during his
lifetime in the cause of Buddhism. Although he was an orthodox follower
of the Mahayana School of Buddhism, he nevertheless displayed a great
openness of mind and recognized the transcendental essence of the
Teachings of the Enlightened One. Although not English educated, he was
able to bring the sublime teachings of the Buddha to the West and
thereby inspired both Easterners and Westerners to follow his
discipline and devotion to the study of the Dharma. His was a dynamic
personality that inspired his followers, both monks and nuns as well as
laypeople, to follow the path of discipline, virtue and wisdom that he
himself had trod throughout the seventy-seven years during which he
manifested himself in this earthly form.
He devoted his tremendous energy not only towards
the noble task of teaching, but also to that of developing the more
tangible, physical aspects of Dharma Practice. His greatest
contribution in this area was the building of the magnificent edifice
called the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, which will long endure to
symbolize the presence of the sublime Dharma in the West. It is not
only a place of worship and a meditation centre; it is also a
University and a renowned Buddhist Research and Translation Centre.
Many millions of sentient beings will benefit from the work done at
this centre for a long time to come.
Following in the footsteps of the great Chinese
Buddhist Missionaries of the past like Fa Hsien and I Ching, the Late
Master Hsuan Hua travelled widely not only in the West but also in Asia
as well, spreading the Dhamma in far-off places like Hong Kong,
Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan where he established Buddhist Centres
for the study and propagation of the Dhamma. In Malaysia there are many
members and devotees who respect him and try to emulate the footsteps
of the great Master Hsuan Hua.
The demise of Master Hsuan Hua is indeed a great
loss to all of us. But we can learn even from his passing away of what
our Lord Buddha had reminded us—that all of us are subject to the
triple suffering of Jati (Birth), Jara (Decay) and Marana (Death). No
one can stop that. We must therefore endeavour to renew our efforts to
follow in the footsteps of the Late Master and work diligently to free
ourselves from the bonds of Samsara, the endless round of rebirths. May
he, like all of us, be freed from worldly suffering and may he attain
final Nirvanic bliss.