I was startled to learn that the Venerable Hsuan, Noble Hua, peacefully manifested the stillness in Los Angeles on June 7, 1995 (the tenth day of the fifth lunar month in the year of yihai). All the disciples in the fourfold assembly at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and all those who have seen, heard, or known the Venerable Master, without exception, must sigh and wish that he has reached the other shore of ultimate bliss.
The Venerable Master Hua was the ninth generation patriarch of the Weiyang Sect, one of the five branches of the Chan School. In order to uphold the lineage of the Chan teaching and keep it from declining, he left mainland China, passed through Hong Kong, and travelled far away to America to found the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, whose affiliated monasteries are now spread across North America. As the first Chinese to propagate the Dharma in the West, his merit was as great as that of Patriarch Bodhidharma, who left India and came to China, where he revived the Chan School and propagated it widely so that it could benefit the world and people’s minds.
The Weiyang Sect is characterized by ascetic practices and quiet cultivation. The Venerable Master inherited both of these traditional attributes, taking only one meal a day of unseasoned food cooked without oil. It was this way every day for many decades, but he didn’t mind. He concentrated on the cultivation of wisdom, realizing the spirit of Manjushri Bodhisattva, who attained wisdom long ago. Thus he was one of great wisdom. At the same time he made vows to propagate the Dharma, realizing the spirit of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, who is endowed with the myriad virtues and whose vows and conduct are vast and great. Therefore he was one of great conduct. With this great wisdom and great conduct expanded to become the Bodhisattva conduct, he attained the ultimate state in the perfection of giving, the perfection of upholding precepts, the perfection of patience, the perfection of vigor, and the perfection of concentration. He also used wisdom to guide the practice of these five perfections, and used these five perfections to adorn wisdom. In this age, he was able to enlighten both himself and others, to rescue those who were in suffering and hardship, and to extensively save living beings.
I cherish memories of the Venerable Master as being one replete with the myriad virtues, a great Master of this age. He suddenly turned the boat of compassion around and went back. Although his physical body entered Nirvana, his spirit will be here forever. We students who come after him should inherit his work in the Way and make it flourish. A verse says,
“The Dharma wheel turns constantly; the Thus Come One is inexhaustible.” Where did he come from in the East? Where has he gone to in the West? He perpetuated the lineage of the Chan School so that it would continue for endless generations.