The Venerable Tripitaka Master Hua was the Founding President of the Sangha and Laity Training Programs and former Chairperson of Dharma Realm Buddhist Association’s Board of Directors. The Venerable Master was born in Manchuria in 1918. At age eleven, he became aware of the phenomenon of death and upon questioning people about it, learned that Buddhism teaches a method for ending birth and death. From that moment on, the Master became intent upon achieving that goal for himself and all living beings.
By the time the Master was sixteen, he was able to explain the Buddhist Sutras to adult members of the Sangha. During his teen years he devoted his time to prolonged meditation, concentrated study, and continual social service. Then in his early twenties, after fulfilling his filial duties by meditating beside his mother’s grave for three years, the Master made eighteen great vows that have served to guide his practice and attainment. He received the Complete Precepts and became fully ordained as a Bhikshu at Pu To Mountain and than went to Nan Hua Monastery to study with the Venerable Elder Hsu Yun. After more than a year as head of the Nan Hua Vinaya Institute, the Master studied and mastered the entire Buddhist Tripitaka.
In 1949, the Master went to Hong Kong where he meditated in a cave for over a year before going on to establish three temples to provide places for the Sangha members leaving the Mainland to continue their practice. For a decade the Master propagated the teachings by lecturing Sutras and conducting recitation and meditation sessions in Hong Kong.
In 1959, prior to the Master’s coming to America, he founded the Sino- American Buddhist Association (which later became the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association) at the Buddhist Lecture Hall in San Francisco in order to provide a place of study and practice for his disciples in America. In 1962, he came to the United States where he continued his practice and propagation of the Dharma.
In the summer of 1968, the Master began a series of lectures on the Shurangama Sutra. In the fall of 1968, he finished that Sutra and began nightly lectures on the Dharma Flower Sutra. Soon he began weekly noon lectures on the Earth Store Sutra, Vajra Sutra, Heart Sutra, and the Dharani Sutra.
After that he lectured on the Sixth Patriarch’s Sutra, the Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra, the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections, both National Master Ch’ing Liang’s Preface and Prologue, and the Chapter on the Conduct and Vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva from the Avatamsaka Sutra, as well as the Hundred Dharmas Shastra, and Shastra on the Awakening of Faith, and the Shramanera Vinaya.
In 1972, the Master began explaining the Avatamsaka Sutra. The lecture series on this King of Sutras was completed on September 9, 1979, at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Shortly thereafter, the Venerable Abbot explained the Shurangama Mantra, composing a verse commentary for each line of the Mantra. Over the years, the Abbot has given Dharma talks at Chan meditation and recitation sessions, composed verses in praise of the high Sanghans in the patriarchal lineages, written innumerable poems and short essays to teach and transform beings as conditions arise, and encouraged his students to lecture on the Sutras and speak Dharma on a regular basis at all facilities of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.
Moved by Master Hua’s tireless teaching and selfless giving, hundreds of men and women have left the home-life under him in America since 1968. After his passing, his disciples are continuing to receive men and women into the monastic life based on the traditions established by Master Hua in his decades of teaching.
During his life, he lectured over 20 Mahayana Sutras and left behind an audio archive containing over 2500 tapes of Dharma lectures. In 1969 Master Hua, in accord with his vows to help see to the translation of the Mahayana Buddhist Canon into the major Western languages, established the Buddhist Text Translation Society, which is continually publishing Sutras, Shastras, and Vinaya texts, and other Buddhist literature, including texts for young children, that have been prepared in Chinese, or translated into English and other Western languages. This on-going system of transcribing, translating, publishing, and distributing Buddhist canonical and modern-day commentarial material is an entirely voluntary effort being made by committed members of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association to help fulfill the Abbot’s vow that “the Proper Dharma dwell forever in the world.”
In 1970 he established Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco. In 1973 he founded the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts and Instilling Goodness Elementary School. In 1976, the Abbot founded the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and Dharma Realm Buddhist University at Talmage, and Gold Wheel Monastery in Los Angeles in compliance with his vows to bring the Dharma to as many students as possible and to lay the foundation of the Buddha’s teaching on Western soil. In 1979, the Venerable Abbot established Developing Virtue Secondary School and on July 4th of 1980, announced that all educational institutions under the auspices of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association would be tuition-free as a gift to young people in America in commemoration of the country’s Independence Day, a policy that remained in effect for several subsequent years.
The Venerable Abbot also founded the Buddhist Council of Refugee Rescue
and Resettlement at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas which, contracted
by the United States Government, provided job training, English instruction,
and resettlement services for Indo-Chinese Refugees (1980-1986); the
Sangha and Laity Training Programs (1982); Snow Mountain Monastery,
In 1989, the Master became the Founder and Director of the International Translation Institute, Burlingame, California; Founder, Long Beach Sagely Monastery, Long Beach, California; Founder, Avatamsaka Hermitage, Potomac, Maryland; Founder, Proper Dharma Buddhist Academy for Women, Hua Lien, Taiwan, 1989; Founder and Director of Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
In 1991, he founded Mi Two Temple, Hua Lien, Taiwan; and Tze Yun Tung Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 1992, the Master established the Women’s Translation Institute and Archive Center in Burlingame, California. He founded Dharma Realm Sagely City, West Sacramento, California, in 1993.
The Venerable Master Hua’s purpose is to transmit the entirety of the Buddha’s teachings to the West, so that all people have the opportunity to understand and actually practice Buddhism in their daily lives. Many of his followers are working on the translation of the Buddhist canon into English and other Western languages. Above all, he has overseen the creation of a genuine Buddhist monastic community in America: properly and fully ordained Buddhist monks and nuns who can continue the traditional Sangha order. In this work he has been guided by the understanding that Buddhism is not an Asian religion, but a teaching for all living beings. Its principles of compassion, selflessness, and wisdom are venerated by people from all countries throughout the world. Many come to recognize this truth keenly, and have found the opportunity to study the Buddha’s great principles at the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association’s teaching centers to be a source of joy and inspiration.
In June, 1995, not having paused to rest his entire life, the Venerable Master Hua entered Nirvana.