上人皈依弟子，女鋼琴家陳毓襄居士，幼習鋼琴，天才洋溢，冠絕群倫。1993年，時年僅23歲，於洛杉磯參加「波哥瑞利奇鋼琴大賽」，一鳴驚人，以參賽者中最年輕之姿，榮獲首獎，自此成為最傑出之世界女鋼琴家，巡迴世界各地演奏。1995年，欲返台為某寺廟義演，籌募建寺基金，於途經洛杉磯時，由居士陪同至West Covina拜見 上人，上人告之曰：「何不為萬佛城之妙覺寶殿義演？」，陳居士欣然答應，因而與上人有「鋼琴義演」之約。如今事隔八年，上人早已示寂，而陳居士「感念師恩」之心，卻不曾一日或忘；今因緣成熟，妙覺寶殿已獲批准，興建在即，而陳居士義演之約，終得以實現。
After many years of diligent effort, sunlight is finally emerging from the clouds for the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in regard to the realization of the International Institute for Philosophy and Ethics (IIPE). Local government has approved the IIPE construction project, and architectural design is underway. Whether local or overseas, disciples of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua have been delighted to hear this news. One of the vows that Venerable Master Hua made during his life was to establish an international center of Proper Dharma to convening all religions for the purpose of promoting world peace. Through the collective efforts of the fourfold disciples (monastic and lay), the first laborious step has been achieved. The future is bright indeed.
Throughout his lifetime, Venerable Master Hua took on three great missions of propagating the Dharma, promoting education, and translating the sutras. He traveled from overseas more than forty years ago. With his bare hands he painstakingly prepared the way, bringing the Buddhadharma to the West, teaching and transforming living beings. In 1976, he bought a property near the city of Ukiah. It encompasses 488 acres of land with 80 buildings of Western architectural design scattered within. He designated this property a place of spiritual practice and named it the ‘City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.’ On its grounds, to encourage the development of outstanding talent in propagating the Dharma and benefiting living beings, he established Instilling Goodness Elementary School, Developing Virtue Secondary School and Dharma Realm Buddhist University. Throughout the ensuing decades, people have continuously joined the growing community of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Original structures that were non-functional were renovated for use. The Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas has a limited capacity, which is one reason for building the International Institute for Philosophy and Ethics.
Actually, the plan to build the institute was conceived more than ten years ago, when Venerable Master Hua was still alive. The chosen site, located on the eastern part of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas near Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain, comprises 14 acres and will be able to accomodate thousands of people. It will fulfill the multiple functions of religion and education, passing on the unwavering spirit of Buddhism and fostering world peace. Venerable Master Hua said, “The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has an image in heaven and has taken form on earth.” This means that the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has long since been complete in heaven, whereas the completion of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas here in this Saha world awaits the effort of living beings working together. Therefore, let us all roll up our sleeves and wholeheartedly extend our support in every possible way to bring this important project to an early completion.
Pianist Gwhyneth Chen is a lay disciple of Venerable Master Hua. She has studied piano since childhood and has developed her talent to its fullest potential, surpassing her peers. In 1993, at the age of twenty-three, she was the youngest contestant in the Pogorelich Piano Competition held in Los Angeles. Her music amazed the audience. She won first place and became a world-famous pianist, accepting invitations to piano concerts all over the world. In 1995, on her way home to Taiwan to give a benefit concert for the construction of a Buddhist temple, she stopped by Los Angeles and went to pay her respects to Venerable Master Hua. The Master asked, “Why don’t you do a benefit concert for the International Institute for Philosophy and Ethics?” Gwhyneth readily agreed and promised the Master to do so. Eight years have passed, and the Master has already manifested stillness. Nevertheless, Gwhyneth’s gratitude towards the Master stands firm. Never a day passes that she does not remember her promise. Now, the conditions have matured. The permit for the International Institute of Philosophy and Ethics has been granted. Finally, the time has come for Gwhyneth to fulfill her vow.
To assist Gwhyneth in fulfilling her promise, many lay disciples in Los Angeles have volunteered to take on the responsibility of making it happen. In preparing for this concert, tasks are divided among volunteers. Furthermore, to demonstrate the special meaning behind this concert, Gold Wheel Monastery Choir will participate in this auspicious event by singing two songs as prelude to the main concert. These two songs (The Dharma Realm Praise and Turning the Dharma Wheel) were written by Venerable Master Hua. The concert is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 18, 2003, at the City of the Dharma Realm in Sacramento. Venerable Master Hua gave instruction that this monastery should serve as an educational and cultural center to gather in living beings in the West. Now we can say that what we are doing truly matches our Master’s instructions. Indeed, this is the coming together of many causes and conditions.
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association has twenty-seven branch temples distributed among the five continents. The disciples of Venerable Master Hua number in the tens of thousands. With such auspicious causes and conditions, let us all render our full support. With united effort, we will reach our common goal. Let us do our best to ensure that all the tickets to the concert are sold out. If you can attend this wonderful event and savor the sounds of heavenly music, you will be experiencing one of the great delights of the Saha world. Moreover, the ability to contribute to the building of an institute such as this is a precious opportunity that is difficult to come by in thousands of years. Everybody is highly encouraged to participate enthusiastically in the great task of fulfilling the vow handed down by Venerable Master Hua—Let the Proper Dharma forever dwell on earth for the benefit of all living beings. That way we can repay a tiny fraction of the kindness of our Master. Let us all mutually urge each other onward!