Memorial Ceremony for the Venerable Master Hua Nirvana at
Banqiao County Stadium in Taiwan
Gazing at the
Venerable Master sharira.
Sure, the host of the ceremony, urged everyone to
live up to the Venerable Master expectations by bringing forth a great
resolve for Bodhi.
Lin Yanggang gave a speech.
Yongxing from the Bodhi Association gave a speech.
Master hosting the Opening Ceremonies at Cixing Monastery
on Lantao Island, Hong Kong
Master at Western Bliss Gardens Monastery in Hong Kong
arrived at the Zhongzheng International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, in
the evening of November 9. More than one hundred disciples were waiting
at the airport, dressed in their ceremonial gowns and reciting the
Buddha’s name with joined palms. They bowed when they saw Dharma
Masters Heng Sure and Heng Tso appear, carrying the Venerable Master’s
sharira and portrait.
Ceremony for the Venerable Master Hua’s Nirvana, which was jointly
organized by the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Association
(DRBBDA) in Taipei and the memorial delegation from America, was held
from November 11 to 13 at the Banqiao Stadium. The program for the
first two days included recitation of the chapter “Universal Worthy
Bodhisattva’s Conduct and Vows,” the Ceremony for Passing Offerings,
the Flower Adornment Repentance, recitation of the Buddha’s name,
speeches in praise and recognition of the Venerable Master, and slide
presentations. Several hundred slides were shown in six parts during
the two days, covering the Venerable Master’s journey from Manchuria to
Hong Kong, and then to America, where he propagated the Dharma,
directed the translation of Sutras, promoted education, advocated
Chinese culture and volunteer teaching, caused Buddhism to flourish,
set up an orthodox Sangha, and spread the Dharma to living beings
around the globe. The slides also covered the Venerable Master’s
Nirvana and cremation ceremonies.
ceremony proper began on November 13 at 9:00 a.m. Dharma Master Heng
Sure presided over the ceremony. There were more than thirty guests of
honor, including representatives of Dharma Masters Cheng Yen and Xiao
Yun; several advisors to the President of the Republic of China,
including Mr. Lin Yanggang, Mr. Huang Zunqiu and his wife, and Mr.
Liang Surong; Councilmember Ling of Taiwan provincial government;
Professor Yang Yingfeng; Director Qiu and over thirty members of the
Hualien County government, and nearly one hundred representatives from
the Tzu-chi Foundation.
An article in
praise and appreciation of the Venerable Master was read in Chinese and
English by two Dharma Masters. Then the assembly sang two songs by the
Venerable Master: “To the Ends of Space” and “Turning the Dharma
Wheel.” In the Ceremony for Passing Offerings, which lasted for an hour
and twenty minutes, 108 kinds of offerings were passed in four lines
from the back of the assembly up to the front. Around four thousand
people attended the memorial ceremony.
afternoon, the public was allowed to view and pay respect to the
Venerable Master’s sharira. The guests and disciples first bowed to the
Venerable Master’s eighteen vows and listened to a Dharma Master
explain the meaning of the vows.
Master’s sharira are of many colors. Many of them are crystallized onto
the bones and are a lustrous bluish green, resembling ancient jade.
There are several hundred sharira clusters of various shapes and twelve
sharira from the teeth.
Venerable Master sharira are of many colors. Many of them are
crystallized onto the bones and are a lustrous bluish green, resembling
ancient jade. There are several hundred sharira clusters of various
shapes and twelve sharira from the teeth.
work for the well-organized memorial ceremony was divided into eleven
areas and carried out by more than five hundred volunteers. About a
hundred volunteers worked in the kitchen preparing three meals a day
for the duration of the event.
and gifts, such as the two volumes of In Memory of the Venerable Master
Hsuan Hua; photographs of the Venerable Master, his calligraphy, and
his sharira; and Sutras and other printed material were distributed.
Heng Sure, the host of the ceremony, praised the Venerable Master for
his lifelong practice of altruism and the Bodhisattva path. The
Venerable Master offered to living beings the treasury of the
Buddhadharma as well as twenty-seven Way-places—including the City of
Ten Thousand Buddhas, Dharma Realm Buddhist University, and the
International Translation Institute. The Master also gave his disciples
their Dharma bodies and wisdom lives, the pure precept substance, the
resolve for enlightenment, and the Dharma-selecting Vision. He taught
them to esteem their own spiritual natures and to apply the six guiding
principles in their minds. Dharma Master Sure urged everyone to live up
to the Venerable Master’s expectations by bringing forth a great
resolve for Bodhi.
Advisor Lin Yanggang spoke of how the Venerable Master had encouraged
and instructed him on two special occasions. He praised the Venerable
Master’s lifelong contributions to the development of Buddhism and to
the culture of humankind, saying that the Venerable Master set a good
example for generations to come.
Advisor Huang Zunqiu, who is also the Chairman of the World Religions
Fellowship, called the Venerable Master’s passing into stillness a
tremendous loss to Buddhism and to the human race as a whole. There
were two things that Advisor Huang particularly respected about the
Venerable Master: (1) The Master’s advocacy of Chinese culture and
ethics in his Dharma lectures, in the hope of saving humankind. (2) The
Master’s great loyalty to his country and his refusal to change his
citizenship despite the inconveniences that it brought. Advisor Huang
said that in order to restore today’s contaminated society to a pure
and simple state, everyone must follow the six guiding principles and
the eight virtues.
Advisor Liang Surong praised the Venerable Master for his pioneering
efforts in propagating the Buddhadharma in China, Southeast Asia, Hong
Kong, and America. The Venerable Master had twice invited him to serve
as the Chancellor of Dharma Realm Buddhist University, and after he
declined, the Venerable Master still appointed him as the Chairman of
the University Board of Directors. Advisor Liang stressed that after
the Venerable Master’s passing, his disciples and devoted followers
must continue the work of propagating the Dharma and improving
education—in particular the expansion and development of Dharma Realm
Buddhist University. The best way to remember the Venerable Master is
to carry on his mission.
Episodes in Taiwan and Hong Kong
whose vegetarian restaurant in Taiwan was not doing well had thought of
going to America to open a nonvegetarian restaurant. One night she had
a dream in which the Venerable Master told her, “Don’t go to America.
On the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth of November, I’ll be having a
Dharma assembly at the Banqiao Stadium. You should go and help out!”
She later found out from her friends that there was indeed going to be
a Memorial Ceremony there, and so she went to Dharma Realm Buddhist
Books Distribution Association to volunteer her help in the food
delegation was going through customs in Hong Kong, a customs officer
asked a delegation member what Buddha was depicted on the portrait he
was carrying. As the officer lifted the cloth that covered the
portrait, the delegation member told him it was the Venerable Master’s
image. The officer gazed at it and remarked, “Your teacher has such a
dignified air; he must be a great and virtuous master. And now I have
some affinities with Buddhism!”
Several days after the Venerable Master passed into stillness, he
comforted a disciple in a dream, saying, “If you believe that I’m gone,
then I’m gone. If you believe that I’m still around, then I’m still
around!” As the Venerable Master said, “Life is like a play in which
living beings are crossed over.”
delegation left for Hong Kong in the early morning of November 14. The
Memorial Ceremony in Hong Kong was organized by the Buddhist Lecture
Hall. It was held at the Beijiao Auditorium from the fourteenth through
the sixteenth of November.
During the first
two evenings, the program began with the Incense Praise and recitation
of the Amitabha Sutra and the Buddha’s name. Then disciples spoke of
the teachings and inspiration that the Venerable Master had given them.
Finally there was a slide presentation. Many old disciples and
volunteers organized the program. People from all walks of life came
eagerly to view the Venerable Master’s sharira.
Elder Masters from various
monasteries attended, including Chuhui,
Daohai, Xulin, Yizhao, Xuanyang, Changhuai, Fayun,
Ceremony proper began at 9:30 a.m. on November 16. Elder Master
Yongxing from Western Monastery presided, and local Dharma Masters
played the Dharma instruments and led the ceremony. Twelve Elder
Masters from various monasteries attended, including Chuhui, Yongling,
Zhikai, Daohai, Xulin, Yizhao, Xuanyang, Changhuai, Fayun, and
Jingzhen. Following the Incense Praise and recitation of the Buddha’s
name, Elder Master Yongxing eulogized the Venerable Master’s
accomplishments in cultivation.
The fourfold assembly
sincerely performing the Ceremony
for Passing Offerings and making the
The Ceremony of
Passing Offerings was performed by the Elder Masters and other Sangha
members. One hundred and eight dishes of delicacies, incense, fruits,
and jewels were passed one by one to the altar in the front. Dharma
Master Sure then read the eulogy. The meal offering ceremony began with
the Lotus Pool Praise, the recitation of Amitabha Sutra, and the Sangha
Jewel Praise. After the transference of merit, Dharma Master Sure
thanked the Elder Masters on behalf of the fourfold assembly. After the
guests had lunch at a restaurant, the Dharma Masters in the delegation
returned to the Buddhist Lecture Hall to speak Dharma for the laity and
to do their evening recitation.
in Praise and Recognition of the Venerable Master Kindness
was held at the Beijiao Auditorium in the evening. The program included
a slide presentation and an exhibition of the Venerable Master sharira.
The Ceremony in
Praise and Recognition of the Venerable Master’s Kindness was held at
the Beijiao Auditorium in the evening. The program included a slide
presentation and an exhibition of the Venerable Master’s sharira. The
disciples in Hong Kong, who had been away from the Venerable Master for
over thirty years, could not help but shed tears as they viewed the
slides and sharira.
On the first day
of the memorial ceremony, Elder Master Yongxing from the Bodhi
Association gave a speech. He recalled meeting the Venerable Master at
Nanhua Monastery in 1948 and spending about a month together. Although
they were both from Manchuria, they had not met each other before. In
Hong Kong they began to see each other more often. He said that the
numerous sharira remaining after cremation are a result of the
Venerable Master’s cultivation of precepts, concentration, and samadhi.
He also expressed concern that there might be no one to carry on the
lineage in the Dharma-ending Age after the Venerable Master’s passing
into stillness. He hoped that more laypeople would bring forth the
Bodhi resolve, leave the home-life, and protect the Buddhadharma.
Left-home people protect Buddhism internally. Without left-home people,
Buddhism would become extinct. After studying the Dharma, one should
put it into practice; practice and theory should go hand in hand. The
Elder Master spoke very sincerely and became choked by sobs several
times during his speech.
memorial ceremony proper on November 16, Dharma Master Yongxing said,
“It is with tremendous sadness that I host this grand Ceremony for
Passing Offerings for the Venerable Master Hua. I knew him for many
years. He was truly outstanding in propagating the Dharma and in his
own cultivation. In this day and age, the Venerable Master was able to
truly practice the precepts; he always wore his precept sash, took one
meal a day, and set a good example for the rest of us. He went through
many hardships in order to establish a large number of temples and
centers. He lectured on the Sutras without rest, determined to turn the
Dharma-Ending Age into the Proper Dharma Age. His passing is indeed a
great loss to Buddhism. On this occasion, all of you Elders are invited
to join in the passing of offerings; we are gathered here to
commemorate the Venerable Master. I hope you will not forget the
Venerable Master’s wishes, and will take up the responsibility to
propagate the Buddhadharma and strictly uphold the precepts in your
At the Beijiao
Auditorium, Dharma Master Heng Tso recited the lyrics of “To the Ends
of Space”—“Be open and fair, unselfish, and straightforward”—to
describe the Venerable Master’s selfless efforts to save living beings.
A letter written by the Venerable Master and stating the reasons for
establishing the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in America was read
during the memorial ceremony. Excerpts are given below:
...I believe that with China’s foundation in moral principles and
ethical values, it can produce a sage to lead the world… I wish to
spread Chinese culture and the principles of Buddhism throughout the
world in order to save mankind… China has survived for thousands of
years, because it has a unique cultural foundation based on the virtues
of filial piety, fraternal respect, loyalty, trustworthiness,
propriety, righteousness, incorruptibility, and a sense of shame. And
Chinese culture takes Buddhist culture as its foundation… Buddhism is
part of the Chinese cultural tradition. Instead of building tens of
thousands of temples in China, it would be better to build one temple
to serve as a base overseas. Buddhism is virtually unknown in America…
If a Chinese temple could be built here and Chinese ethics could play a
leading role in the world…
On the second
day, Dharma Master Heng Yi, the head nun of Hong Kong Buddhist
Lecture Hall, led forty-five people, including the members of the
delegation, to take the 7:00 a.m. ferry and visit Cixing [Kindness and
Prosperity] Monastery on Lantao Island. Cixing Monastery is one of the
three Way-places set up by the Venerable Master in Hong Kong more than
forty years ago. At 1:00 p.m., disciples from Cixing Monastery and the
Buddhist Lecture Hall held a ceremony for liberating lives. The
ceremony was led by Dharma Master Heng Tso. Nearly a thousand birds,
ferried across the straits from Hong Kong in the morning, were set free
in the protective light of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as people
recited the Great Compassion Mantra.
At seven o’clock
in the morning on November 17, some of the members of the delegation
visited two elderly nuns, Guo Li (92 years old) and Guo Liang (91 years
old) at the Zhilian Hermitage. Both of them had left home with the
Venerable Master many years ago in Hong Kong. The old folks’ home at
the hermitage accommodates more than two hundred women averaging
eighty-seven years of age. The living environment is comfortable, and
the elderly are well taken care of.
last stop was Macao, where a memorial ceremony was organized by
laypeople from the Earth Store Temple.
ceremony was held at the Youth Center Performing Arts Theater on
November 17. The program began with the Incense Praise and recitation
of the Amitabha Sutra and the Buddha’s name. The Master of Ceremonies
recounted the history of the establishment of Earth Store Temple.
Dharma Master Sure mentioned in his speech that the Venerable Master
had advocated using ethics and virtue, rather than spiritual powers, to
propagate Buddhism to Westerners, because Westerners are scientifically
oriented. Dharma Master Sure encouraged the young Buddhists at the
temple to emphasize virtue, to adopt a vegetarian diet, and to practice
Master gave a brief account of the Venerable Master’s life in
Cantonese, after which the assembly lined up to view the Venerable
Master’s sharira. After the transference of merit, there was a slide
show that presented many old, documentary materials to the public for
the first time. More than five hundred people gathered at the theater
to watch the show and to reflect on the Venerable Master’s teachings.