In l948, the Master parted from Elder Master Hsu Yun and went to Hong Kong to propagate the Dharma. He gave equal emphasis to all five schools--Teaching, Chan, Vinaya, Pure Land, and Esoteric--in order to discourage sectarianism. He also rebuilt monasteries, printed Sutras, and made holy images, separately founding Western Bliss Gardens, the Buddhist Lecture Hall, and Flourishing Compassion Monastery, causing Buddhism to flourish in Hong Kong.
In l962 he responded to an invitation from Buddhists in the United States and came alone to America where he established the San Francisco Buddhist Lecture Hall.
In l968 a Buddhist Lecture and Practice Summer Session was held during which the Master explained the Shurangama Sutra. Thirty-some students from the University of Washington in Seattle came to San Francisco to study the Dharma. Following that session, five young Americans sincerely requested to shave their heads and leave the home-life. That marked the first time in history that American Buddhism had fully-ordained members of the Sangha. After that, the number of American disciples who shaved their heads and donned the robes grew, and they have had a deep and far-reaching influence on the propagation of the Dharma and the translation of Sutras in the West.
From l962 until just prior to his passing, the Master often went abroad to propagate the Dharma, travelling to the Southeast Asian countries of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, as well as to Canada and parts of Europe. He also accepted invitations from Buddhist groups in other countries and led delegations to lecture on the Sutras and speak Dharma.
In l974, on the fourteenth of the first lunar month, he went to pay his respects on Elder Master Guang Qin at Chengtian Chan Monastery in Taiwan. In the conversation that transpired between them, the Elder Guang passed the judgment that "what he says has principle." A photo was taken as a remembrance while the two were holding hands.
The Venerable Master's lectures on the Sutras penetrated deeply, yet were easy to understand. He lectured daily for several decades, ascending the high seat more than ten thousand times. To date over a hundred volumes of English translations of Buddhist Sutras have been published, setting a record for translations by a single organization. The Master established the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts with the plan to translate the Tripitaka into all languages so as to transmit Buddhism to the entire world.
In l974 the Master purchased the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) and established the Dharma Realm Buddhist University to train specialists in Buddhist studies at an international level. CTTB's stern and lofty standards involve firmly upholding the Six Guiding Principles that the Master himself followed ever since he left home. They are: no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of self-benefit, and no lying. Based on the influence of the Venerable Master's own character and cultivation, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has become the most important Way-place in American Buddhism.
In l989, the Master visited Taiwan and hosted a "Guanyin Great Compassion Dharma Assembly for Protecting the Country and Dispelling Disasters." During that time he fasted for three weeks and transferred the merit to the people of Taiwan. At that time there was a massive earthquake in San Francisco, verifying the Master's earlier statement that "As long as I am in San Francisco, I will not allow earthquakes to occur there."
In l995, on the seventh day of June, the Master's conditions in this world came to an end. Gods and humans alike grieved. He lived to be 78 years old and his age in the Sangha was 60. The instructions in his will were: “When I came, I didn't have anything at all. When I go, I also do not want anything at all. I don't want to leave any traces in the world. I came from empty space, and I will return to empty space.” After the cremation ten thousand sharira were found, and there were sharira even on the Master's teeth (sixteen of them).
Throughout his life the Venerable Master set an example for others by holding the precepts strictly and undertaking ascetic practices such as taking one meal a day at noon and never lying down to sleep. For more than thirty years he transferred all the merit and blessings from his practice of asceticism to all sentient and insentient beings throughout the Dharma Realm. He founded twenty-seven domestic and overseas Way-places under the auspices of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.
At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas the Master once composed a verse that illustrates his resolve:
Freezing, we do not scheme.
Starving, we do not beg.
Dying of poverty, we ask for nothing.
We accord with conditions but do not change.
We do not change and yet accord with conditions.
These are our three great principles.
We renounce our lives to do the Buddha's work.
We shape our lives to create the ability to make revolution in the Sangha Order.
In our activities we understand the principles
So that our principles are revealed in our actions.
We carry out the pulse of the Patriarch's mind transmission.
To be continued