【Stories of Ven. Master Xuecheng】Chapter Two(5)

Chapter Two  The Pursuit of Dharma, a Period of Struggles and Rewards

 

Thus on the eighth day of the second month of the lunar calendar (March 15th), 1989, an inauguration was held and Master Xuecheng, only 23 years old, took charge of the prominent monastery. He became the youngest abbot with the highest degree in education in a Han Buddhist monastery. During his term of office as Abbot, Master had been persevering in his studies. He defended his postgraduate dissertation successfully and obtained a master's degree in November 1991. After graduation, he returned to Fujian, and was appointed as Vice President of Buddhist Academy of Fujian Province in December at the age of 25. 

 

In November 1990, at a meeting attended by the departments directors of BAC, Rev. Zhao Puchu commented, "Remarkable achievements made at Guanghua Monastery are attributed to its former Abbot, Ven. Master Yuanzhuo whose efforts laid a solid foundation. The incumbent Abbot, Master Xuecheng, who is still doing his postgraduate studies at Buddhist Academy of China, assumed the position when he was only 23 years old. At that time, there were people who thought that he might be too young to take on the responsibility. But I said that it does not matter. During the period of the Anti-Japanese War, some of our commanders were only in their twenties. What's wrong with having a young abbot now?" Then Rev. Zhao spoke of Master Xuecheng again at Baima Monastery in April, 1992, "There is a young abbot in Fujian, who was a postgraduate student of Buddhist Academy of China. When he was recommended as a candidate for abbotship, some people said he was too young. Why shouldn't we trust young people? This Master Xuecheng has in fact done a very good job."

 

On November 25th (the tweny-sixth day of the tenth month of the lunar calendar), 1997, Ven. Master Yuanzhuo passed away peacefully at Putian Guanghua Monastery. Master's sorrow was beyond description. He erected a stupa for the Elder Master and wrote the inscription. Master had relied on Ven. Master Yuanzhuo for studying Buddhism for 15 years. Under the careful guidance of the Elder Master, he had recited and learned many Buddhist scriptures and Confucian classics. Meanwhile, he had participated in and witnessed the Buddhist endeavors carried by the Elder Master, such as reconstructing the Monastery, printing and circulating scriptures, establishing the Buddhist academy, and cultivating monastics. Consequently, Master was deeply influenced by the Elder's example—his profound and compassionate vows, his patriotism to the nation and faithfulness to Buddhism, his modesty and calmness, his noble aspiration and unsullied behavior, and his self-restraint and lenience, all had laid a solid foundation for Master's future endeavors on benefiting the society and living beings.

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