1 2 3 4 5

Return to Founder's Page
Biographical Sketch of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

By Disciple Yi Guorung

The Venerable Master, a native of Shuangcheng County of Jilin Province,
was born on the sixteenth day of the third lunar month in the year of Wu
Wu at the beginning of the century. His family surname was Bai and his
name was Yushu. He was also called Yuxi. His father, Bai Fuhai, was
diligent and thrifty in managing the household. His mother, whose maiden
name was Hu, ate only vegetarian food and recited the Buddha's name
every day throughout her life. When she was pregnant with the Master,
she prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The night before his birth,
in a dream she saw Amitabha Buddha emitting brilliant light. Following
that the Master was born.
As a child, the Master followed his mother's example and ate only
vegetarian food and recited the Buddha's name. The Master was quiet and
untalkative by nature, but he had a righteous and heroic spirit. At the
age of eleven, upon seeing a neighbor's infant who had died, he became
aware of the great matter of birth and death and the brevity of life and
resolved to leave the home-life. At the age of twelve, he heard of how
Filial Son Wong of Shuangcheng County (later known as Great Master Chang Ren) had practiced filial piety and attained the Way, and he vowed to
follow the Filial Son's example. Repenting for being unfilial to his
parents in the past, the Master decided to bow to his parents every
morning and evening as a way of acknowledging his faults and repaying
his parents' kindness. He gradually became renowned for his filial
conduct, and people called him Filial Son Bai. At fifteen, he took
refuge under the Venerable Master Chang Zhi. That same year he began to
attend school and mastered the Four Books, the Five Classics, the texts
of various Chinese schools of thought, and the fields of medicine,
divination, astrology, and physiognomy. During his student years, he
also participated in the Moral Society and other charitable societies.
He explained the Sixth Patriarch's Sutra, the Vajra Sutra, and other
Sutras for those who were illiterate, and started a free school for
those who were poor and needy. When he was nineteen, his mother passed
away, and he requested Venerable Master Chang Zhi of Sanyuan (Three
Conditions) Monastery to shave his head. He was given the Dharma name An
Tse and style name To Lun. Dressed in the left-home robes, he built a
simple hut by his mother's grave and observed the practice of filial
piety. During that period, he made eighteen great vows, bowed to the
Avatamsaka (Flower Adornment) Sutra, performed worship and pure