In this shrinking world, the 1978 visit of the Asian Delegation of the Sino-American Buddhist Association and Dharma Realm Buddhist University to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong emerges as an event of far-reaching historical importance, whose impact will be felt for generations, and perhaps a millennia. Those two months of Dharma propagation form a watershed in the movement of the Proper Dharma: the first transmission of the Buddhadharma from the West to the East.
At the invitation of Southeast Asian Buddhists, ten delegates, under Dharma Realm Buddhist University’s chancellor, the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, brought a modernized, dynamic, and strictly reformed Buddhism into areas where the Proper Dharma had decayed to the point of virtual extinction. People’s hearts rose up in elated response to the message of revival and renewal. Questions of momentous import were raised and confronted, and conflicts of such magnitude as that between science and superstition were clarified and resolved. The drama of that encounter unfolds within these pages.
The Delegation was headed by the Venerable Master Hua, heir to the Dharma Eye Treasury of Shakyamuni Buddha, the Mind-to-Mind Seal of the Patriarchs. It was Chancellor Hua who first established the Proper Buddhadharma on American soil and made the West Coast of the United States its central source. By founding Gold Mountain Monastery and the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts in San Francisco, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Mendocino County, California, and Gold Wheel Temple in Los Angeles then establishing a campus of Dharma Realm Buddhist University in each of those locations, the Master planted seeds which now flourish in profusion.
In this trip to Asia, the Venerable Master Hua bestowed the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and all its represents upon all Buddhist disciples, to be a center for the Buddhadharma world-wide. The City is also bestowed upon all of whatever religion or belief who seek true principle, and who wish to embody it in virtuous and ethical cultivation. That astounding gift caused a profound revolution in the scope and quality of thought of all participants in the Delegation’s gatherings – the delegates as well as the huge crowds which thronged to each assembly.
In the face of such selfless concern for the Dharma, exemplified in so many ways, each person involved felt the highest part of himself or herself revive. Their minds were opened to the vision of the Proper Dharma flourishing on the widest possible scale, and their hearts were inspired to seek the goal of enlightenment for all living beings.
Bhikshuni Heng Hsien
B.A., Comparative Literature (1964), U.C. Berkeley
M.A., Mediterranean Studies (1965), Brandeis University
Ph.D., South & Southeast Asian Studies (1975), University of California, Berkeley