Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

May 23rd
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Home Our Founder The Mentor of Master Cheng Yen In Memory of My Master, a Mentor for All Buddhists

In Memory of My Master, a Mentor for All Buddhists

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In Memory of My Master, a Mentor for All Buddhists
Encountering my master
A moment of eternity
Perpetual peace of mind
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Two thousand five hundred years ago, Sakyamuni Buddha, the fundamental teacher for all Buddhists, attained enlightenment and began teaching people about the truth of the universe. After the Buddha entered nirvana, his disciples assembled to compile his teachings into scriptures. They asked Ananda, the Buddha's attendant noted for his excellent memory, to recite by heart all the lectures that the Buddha had delivered before he passed away. These sacred teachings were originally passed orally from generation to generation, and they were later collected and written down in formalized scriptures called sutras. Eventually, monks brought the sutras from India to China and translated them from the original Sanskrit into Chinese.

Because our language and culture have changed so much since the sutras were written, they have become too esoteric for ordinary people to understand. To help people in modern times comprehend and use these classic texts, we must rely on wise and knowledgeable Buddhist teachers to translate them. Master Yin Shun, widely known as "the Mentor," was exactly this type of teacher. He possessed the wisdom and ability to translate the original sutras into plain language that all could understand. In this way, he promoted a humanized understanding of Buddhism that could benefit all people.

Master Yin Shun was born in China a century ago. Although he lived in a turbulent and chaotic time, he persistently focused on studying and understanding the true nature of Buddhism. Not only did he make the sutras accessible to all, but he also profoundly incorporated his own wisdom into the interpretation of the Buddha's teachings and successfully promoted a new understanding of Buddhism. For close to eighty years, the Mentor shed light on the path of Right Thought and helped lead people suffering from delusion and ignorance onto the correct path of enlightenment. The Mentor was like a spring that nourished our wisdom-life, fed our hearts, and purified our minds. He opened up a clear path for those seeking the Way and kindled the light of wisdom for numerous Buddhists.

The Mentor kindly accepted me as his disciple over forty years ago. At that time, he instructed me to be committed to Buddhism and to all living beings. Ever since, I have endeavored to bring the Buddha's teachings into peoples' everyday lives, to show everyone that they can emulate the Buddha's compassionate behavior by rolling up their sleeves and helping the needy, and to help them become living bodhisattvas through the daily concrete practice of humanized Buddhism.

The laws of nature will always take their course. Although the Mentor had led a long life of 100 years, his passing was still natural and inevitable. My heart was heavy and I grieved over his death. However, I was also very grateful to my master, who used his life to promote humanized Buddhism and teach us to work for all living beings in a positive and constructive way. Although we bid good-bye to his mortal, physical body with utmost sincerity, we ought to welcome with a joyful heart the eternal spirit and wisdom of the Mentor that continues to guide us. I trust he will be reborn into this world soon.