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The City Of Ten Thousand Buddhas (萬佛聖城, Wànfó Shèngchéng) is an international Buddhist community and monastery founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
Hsuan Hua
Hsuan Hua , also known as An Tzu and Tu Lun, was a Chan Buddhist monk and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the 20th century....

, an important figure in Western Buddhism. It is one of the first Chinese Zen Buddhist temples in the United States, and one of the largest Buddhist communities in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

.

The city is situated in Talmage
Talmage, California
Talmage is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California, United States. Talmage is located east-southeast of Ukiah, at an elevation of 627 feet . The population was 1,130 at the 2010 census, down from 1,141 at the 2000 census...

, Mendocino County, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 about 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Ukiah
Ukiah, California
The average high temperature is 73.5 °F . Average low temperature is 46.1 °F . Temperatures reach 90 °F on an average of 65.6 days annually and 100 °F on an average of 14.4 days annually. Due to frequent low humidity, summer temperatures normally drop into the fifties at night. Freezing...

, and 110 miles (180 km) north of San Francisco. It was one of the first Buddhist monasteries built in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The temple follows the Guiyang
Guiyang school
The Guiyang school or the Guiyang house was one of the major sects of Zen Buddhism....

 Ch'an School, one of the five houses of classical Chinese Ch'an. The city is noted for their close adherence to the vinaya
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

, the austere traditional Buddhist monastic code.

History


The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association is an international, non-profit Buddhist organization founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1959 to bring the orthodox teachings of the Buddha to the entire world...

 purchased the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas site in 1974 and established an international center there by 1976.

Originally the site housed the Mendocino State Hospital founded in 1889. There were over seventy large buildings, over two thousand rooms of various sizes, three gymnasiums, a fire station, a swimming pool, a refuse incinerator, fire hydrants, and various other facilities. A paved road wound its way through the complex, lined with tall street lamps and trees over a hundred years old. The connections for electricity and pipes for water, heating, and air conditioning were all underground. Both the architectural design and the materials used for the buildings were state of the art. The heating and air conditioning were centrally controlled.

Considering the natural surroundings to be ideal for cultivation, Hsuan Hua personally visited the valley three times and negotiated with the seller many times. He wanted to establish a center for propagating the Buddhadharma throughout the world and for introducing the Buddhist teachings, which originated in the East, to the Western world. Hsuan Hua planned to create a major center for world Buddhism, and an international orthodox monastery for the purpose of elevating moral standards and raising people's awareness.

The city comprises 488 acres (2 km²) of land, of which 80 acres (0.3 km²) are presently developed. The rest of the land includes meadows, orchards, and forests. Large institutional buildings and smaller residential houses are scattered over the west side of the campus. The main Buddha hall, monastic facilities, educational institutes, administrative offices, the main kitchen and dining hall, Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant, and supporting structures are all located in this complex.

In 2009, the walls of the Long Life Hall was subject to structural damage caused by an electrical fire. However, no major damage occurred to the altar, artwork or statues inside the hall.

Sites of interest


  • The Jeweled Hall of 10,000 Buddhas: Finished in 1982, the hall is adorned with streamers, banners, lamps and is graced in the center by the presence of an 20-foot (6 m) statue of a thousand-handed Avalokiteśvara
    Avalokitesvara
    Avalokiteśvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is one of the more widely revered bodhisattvas in mainstream Mahayana Buddhism....

     Bodhisattva
    Bodhisattva
    In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

    , popularly known as Guan Yin in Chinese and Chenrezig in Tibetan. Rows of yellow bowing cushions are lined upon the red carpet. Walls are adorned with 10,000 images of the Buddha, molded by Master Hsuan Hua himself.
  • Hall of No Words: This is where Master Hsuan Hua often held classes for his disciples in the early years of the city. The abbot's quarters, where the Master dwelled, were on the second floor. This was also where Master Hsuan Hua lay in state during the 49-day mourning period. Now, it is a memorial hall that contains relics of the Buddha, Master Hsu Yun
    Hsu Yun
    Hsu Yun , born Xiao Guyan 萧古巖, 26 August 1840 – 13 October 1959) was a renowned Zen Buddhist master and one of the most influential Buddhist teachers of the 19th and 20th centuries. He is often noted for his unusually long lifespan, having lived to age 119.-Early life:Hsu Yun was born on April 26...

    , and Master Hsuan Hua. It is closed off to the public and opened on special days.
  • Dharma Realm Buddhist University: In order to raise the level of education among Sangha members and train people to propagate Buddhism, Master Hsuan Hua founded the Dharma Realm Buddhist University in 1976. The university aims to educate students to become wise and virtuous leaders in the world. Instead of merely transmitting academic knowledge, it emphasizes a foundation in virtue, which expands into the study of how to help all living beings discover their inherent nature. The university is working for accreditation in the near future, though no specific timetable has yet been announced.
  • Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant: The university canteen, which serves only vegan
    Veganism
    Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only...

     food. The goal is to serve healthful nutritious food full of the good karma
    Karma
    Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

     of non-harming.
  • Tathagata (Rulai) Monastery: The dorm rooms for monks (left home persons) and male lay persons persuaded toward the monastic lifestyle.
  • Great Compassion Courtyard: Dorm rooms for guests and visitors.
  • Bell and Drum House: Houses the instruments that are played daily to ready monastics for daily practice.
  • Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts: This facility was active in the early years at the city as a center for translation and as a residence hall for nuns and laywomen. The Institute has since moved to Burlingame, California
    Burlingame, California
    Burlingame is a city in San Mateo County, California. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula and has a significant shoreline on San Francisco Bay. The city is named after diplomat Anson Burlingame. It is renowned for its many surviving examples of Victorian architecture, its affluence, and...

    .
  • Tower of Blessings: Master Hsuan Hua allocated the Tower of Blessings as a home for the elderly monastics residing in the city.
  • Wonderful Words Hall: Site for daily gatherings to listen to the Master Hsuan Hua's taped lectures in the 10,000 Buddhas Hall.

  • Five Contemplations Dining Hall: Completed in 1982, it is where the monastics and resident lay community follow the formal monastic style in taking their lunch meal. Only pure vegetarian food is served here, and the hall can seat over 3,000 people.
  • Instilling Goodness Elementary and Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School is a private Buddhist school located in the town of Talmage, California, and also the first Buddhist high school founded in the United States....

    s:
    The elementary (kindergarten through 6th grade) and secondary (7th grade through 12th grade) schools were founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1976. The schools are divided into two divisions, Boys and Girls, and teach such classes as meditation, yoga, Buddhism, and World Religions. Many foreign and non-local students also reside on campus in school dorms for the duration of the school year (excepting Winter, Spring, and Summer vacations). As of Spring 2006, there were about 130 students in both divisions.

Traditions held at the monastery


Two of the distinguishing features of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are that unlike many other Chinese Buddhist monasteries, the monastics always wear their kasaya
Kesa (clothing)
Kāṣāya are the robes of Buddhist monks and nuns, named after a brown or saffron dye. In Sanskrit and Pali, these robes are also given the more general term cīvara, which references the robes without regard to color....

 sashes (long sashes that are worn outside the monastic clothing), and they eat only one meal a day and only before noon.

At night most of them sit up and rest, not lying down to sleep. Monastics at the city do not have any social lives, nor do men and women intermingle. Whereas many ordinary Chinese monks go out to perform rituals for events such as weddings or funerals, none of these monks do so. Some monastics even choose to maintain a vow of silence
Vow of silence
A vow of silence is a religious vow, usually taken in a monastic context, to maintain silence. Known as Mauna in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, the practice is integral to Christian and Islamic traditions as well...

. They wear a sign saying "silence" and do not speak with anyone.

There are monks and nuns who maintain the precept of not owning personal wealth and not touching money, thus eliminating the thought of money and increasing their purity of mind. Hsuan Hua often reminded his disciples,

"In cultivation, we have to stick to our principles! We can't forget our principles. Our principles are our goal. Once we recognize our goal, forward we go! We've got to be brave and vigorous. We can't retreat. As long as we are vigorous and not lax in ordinary times, we could become enlightened any minute or any second. So by no means should we let ourselves be confused by thoughts, and miss the opportunity to get enlightened."

Atmosphere


The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a strict Buddhist monastery adhering to the traditional Asian monastic culture although it is located in a liberal area of California. The organic farm and peaceful way of life appeals to most Westerners who want an alternate lifestyle. This creates an interesting mix of different ideologies. While the traditionalists are more drawn to the spiritual and devotional side of Buddhism, Westerners are often more interested in meditation. Some of the boarding school children are Westerners from the local community who want their children to grow up in a community-oriented place, while some of the children come from Taiwan and China, even from European countries, such as France, Belgium, and Holland, where parents think highly of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. The liberalism of Westerners and the strict traditionalism of Easterners may clash at times.

Unique to the City, the monastery houses both male and female Sangha, students from the boarding school, and is open to the public. Many monasteries in China, Taiwan, and in the West house only monks or only nuns but not both, and are closed to the public. However, males and females have separate campuses, with gender-neutral buildings in the middle of the campus.

Rules


Master Hsuan Hua set up six principles for all monastics and lay practitioners to follow. These six principles were "to not fight, to not be greedy, to not seek, to not be selfish, to not pursue personal advantage, and to not lie". Wherever Master Hsuan Hua went to propagate the Dharma, he always told people to follow these six principles. Master Hsuan Hua also uses a set of standard rules (shared by most temples and monasteries) for monastics and practitioners to follow:
  • No incense is ever offered personally by any of the lay practitioners and guests. Master Hsuan Hua believed that it was totally superstitious to insist on personally offering incense to the Buddhas, and that if many people offered incense, the Buddhas would not be able to handle the large amount of smoke. Master Hua also pointed out that quality incense is expensive and that poor incense can ruin the walls and statues. He also says that if one stick of incense is already burning in the censer, then the practitioner can simply just bow and pay respects.
  • During recitation, all practitioners must keep their hands in front of their chest during circumambulations, with their right hand on top of their left. Their hands can then be in prayer position when circumambulations are over. No one is allowed to look at anyone during recitations.
  • No one is allowed to eat before the monastics have begun eating.
  • Flattery is prohibited. All are to refrain from praising people and never to deliberately slander anyone.
  • No arrogance is allowed at the temple. A guest should feel that everyone else is better than him, and that he has much to learn from them. Guests are also only allowed to bow to the Buddha on one side, and not the center aisle, which is reserved for the abbot. However, the abbot's area is now usually reserved for the late Master Hsuan Hua, so it is usually empty or occupied by the master's portrait.

Wildlife



Many animals roam the grounds of the City, including peacocks, deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, squirrels, and many other different species. The peacocks are generally quite accustomed to the presence of people and are tame. Peacocks pose a large problem on the farm, so countermeasures have been taken against the peacocks, including covering the plants, moving the peacocks to a walnut farm, and planting extra food based on the assumption that a significant fraction will be eaten or damaged by peacocks.
During special Dharma Assemblies, a Liberating of Life ceremony is held where many animals - especially pheasants and chukar
Chukar
The Chukar Partridge or Chukar is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. It has been considered to form a superspecies complex along with the Rock Partridge, Philby's Partridge and Przevalski's Partridge and treated in the past as conspecific particularly with the first...

s - bought from hunting preserves are set free.

Morning

  • 4:00-5:00: Morning Recitation
  • 5:00-6:00: Universal Bowing
  • 6:00-7:00: Meditation / Self-study
  • 6:15-6:45: Breakfast
  • 7:00-8:00: Avatamsaka Sutra
    Avatamsaka Sutra
    The is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras of East Asian Buddhism. The title is rendered in English as Flower Garland Sutra, Flower Adornment Sutra, or Flower Ornament Scripture....

     study
  • 8:00-10:30: Classes, study or work
  • 10:30-12:00: Meal Offering / Lunch

Largest Temple in the Western Hemisphere


Another temple known as Hsi Lai Temple
Hsi Lai Temple
Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple is a traditional Chinese Buddhist mountain monastery in the United States. It is located on the foothill region of Hacienda Heights, California, USA, a suburb of Los Angeles County...

, located in Hacienda Heights, a city in Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

, has claimed since 1988 that they are the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere. However, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has over 80 acres (323,748.8 m²) of built-up land on 488 acres (2 km²) of property as compared to Hsi Lai Temples' 15 acres (60,702.9 m²), but rather than a temple complex as is Hsi Lai Temple, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is more of an entire community with several large buildings clustered together. Therefore, it is unclear which is the largest, as there is a significant difference between the structure and location of the two Buddhist organizations.

See also

  • Buddhism in America
    Buddhism in the United States
    Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the United States behind Christianity, Judaism and Nonreligious, and approximate with Islam and Hinduism. American Buddhists include many Asian Americans, as well as a large number of converts of other ethnicities, and now their children and even...

  • Hsuan Hua
    Hsuan Hua
    Hsuan Hua , also known as An Tzu and Tu Lun, was a Chan Buddhist monk and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the 20th century....

  • Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
    Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
    The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association is an international, non-profit Buddhist organization founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1959 to bring the orthodox teachings of the Buddha to the entire world...

  • Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School is a private Buddhist school located in the town of Talmage, California, and also the first Buddhist high school founded in the United States....


External links


39.13312°N 123.1645°W

The City Of Ten Thousand Buddhas (萬佛聖城, Wànfó Shèngchéng) is an international Buddhist community and monastery founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
Hsuan Hua
Hsuan Hua , also known as An Tzu and Tu Lun, was a Chan Buddhist monk and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the 20th century....

, an important figure in Western Buddhism. It is one of the first Chinese Zen Buddhist temples in the United States, and one of the largest Buddhist communities in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

.

The city is situated in Talmage
Talmage, California
Talmage is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California, United States. Talmage is located east-southeast of Ukiah, at an elevation of 627 feet . The population was 1,130 at the 2010 census, down from 1,141 at the 2000 census...

, Mendocino County, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 about 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Ukiah
Ukiah, California
The average high temperature is 73.5 °F . Average low temperature is 46.1 °F . Temperatures reach 90 °F on an average of 65.6 days annually and 100 °F on an average of 14.4 days annually. Due to frequent low humidity, summer temperatures normally drop into the fifties at night. Freezing...

, and 110 miles (180 km) north of San Francisco. It was one of the first Buddhist monasteries built in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The temple follows the Guiyang
Guiyang school
The Guiyang school or the Guiyang house was one of the major sects of Zen Buddhism....

 Ch'an School, one of the five houses of classical Chinese Ch'an. The city is noted for their close adherence to the vinaya
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

, the austere traditional Buddhist monastic code.

History


The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association is an international, non-profit Buddhist organization founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1959 to bring the orthodox teachings of the Buddha to the entire world...

 purchased the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas site in 1974 and established an international center there by 1976.

Originally the site housed the Mendocino State Hospital founded in 1889. There were over seventy large buildings, over two thousand rooms of various sizes, three gymnasiums, a fire station, a swimming pool, a refuse incinerator, fire hydrants, and various other facilities. A paved road wound its way through the complex, lined with tall street lamps and trees over a hundred years old. The connections for electricity and pipes for water, heating, and air conditioning were all underground. Both the architectural design and the materials used for the buildings were state of the art. The heating and air conditioning were centrally controlled.

Considering the natural surroundings to be ideal for cultivation, Hsuan Hua personally visited the valley three times and negotiated with the seller many times. He wanted to establish a center for propagating the Buddhadharma throughout the world and for introducing the Buddhist teachings, which originated in the East, to the Western world. Hsuan Hua planned to create a major center for world Buddhism, and an international orthodox monastery for the purpose of elevating moral standards and raising people's awareness.

The city comprises 488 acres (2 km²) of land, of which 80 acres (0.3 km²) are presently developed. The rest of the land includes meadows, orchards, and forests. Large institutional buildings and smaller residential houses are scattered over the west side of the campus. The main Buddha hall, monastic facilities, educational institutes, administrative offices, the main kitchen and dining hall, Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant, and supporting structures are all located in this complex.

In 2009, the walls of the Long Life Hall was subject to structural damage caused by an electrical fire. However, no major damage occurred to the altar, artwork or statues inside the hall.

Sites of interest


  • The Jeweled Hall of 10,000 Buddhas: Finished in 1982, the hall is adorned with streamers, banners, lamps and is graced in the center by the presence of an 20-foot (6 m) statue of a thousand-handed Avalokiteśvara
    Avalokitesvara
    Avalokiteśvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is one of the more widely revered bodhisattvas in mainstream Mahayana Buddhism....

     Bodhisattva
    Bodhisattva
    In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

    , popularly known as Guan Yin in Chinese and Chenrezig in Tibetan. Rows of yellow bowing cushions are lined upon the red carpet. Walls are adorned with 10,000 images of the Buddha, molded by Master Hsuan Hua himself.
  • Hall of No Words: This is where Master Hsuan Hua often held classes for his disciples in the early years of the city. The abbot's quarters, where the Master dwelled, were on the second floor. This was also where Master Hsuan Hua lay in state during the 49-day mourning period. Now, it is a memorial hall that contains relics of the Buddha, Master Hsu Yun
    Hsu Yun
    Hsu Yun , born Xiao Guyan 萧古巖, 26 August 1840 – 13 October 1959) was a renowned Zen Buddhist master and one of the most influential Buddhist teachers of the 19th and 20th centuries. He is often noted for his unusually long lifespan, having lived to age 119.-Early life:Hsu Yun was born on April 26...

    , and Master Hsuan Hua. It is closed off to the public and opened on special days.
  • Dharma Realm Buddhist University: In order to raise the level of education among Sangha members and train people to propagate Buddhism, Master Hsuan Hua founded the Dharma Realm Buddhist University in 1976. The university aims to educate students to become wise and virtuous leaders in the world. Instead of merely transmitting academic knowledge, it emphasizes a foundation in virtue, which expands into the study of how to help all living beings discover their inherent nature. The university is working for accreditation in the near future, though no specific timetable has yet been announced.
  • Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant: The university canteen, which serves only vegan
    Veganism
    Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only...

     food. The goal is to serve healthful nutritious food full of the good karma
    Karma
    Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

     of non-harming.
  • Tathagata (Rulai) Monastery: The dorm rooms for monks (left home persons) and male lay persons persuaded toward the monastic lifestyle.
  • Great Compassion Courtyard: Dorm rooms for guests and visitors.
  • Bell and Drum House: Houses the instruments that are played daily to ready monastics for daily practice.
  • Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts: This facility was active in the early years at the city as a center for translation and as a residence hall for nuns and laywomen. The Institute has since moved to Burlingame, California
    Burlingame, California
    Burlingame is a city in San Mateo County, California. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula and has a significant shoreline on San Francisco Bay. The city is named after diplomat Anson Burlingame. It is renowned for its many surviving examples of Victorian architecture, its affluence, and...

    .
  • Tower of Blessings: Master Hsuan Hua allocated the Tower of Blessings as a home for the elderly monastics residing in the city.
  • Wonderful Words Hall: Site for daily gatherings to listen to the Master Hsuan Hua's taped lectures in the 10,000 Buddhas Hall.

  • Five Contemplations Dining Hall: Completed in 1982, it is where the monastics and resident lay community follow the formal monastic style in taking their lunch meal. Only pure vegetarian food is served here, and the hall can seat over 3,000 people.
  • Instilling Goodness Elementary and Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School is a private Buddhist school located in the town of Talmage, California, and also the first Buddhist high school founded in the United States....

    s:
    The elementary (kindergarten through 6th grade) and secondary (7th grade through 12th grade) schools were founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1976. The schools are divided into two divisions, Boys and Girls, and teach such classes as meditation, yoga, Buddhism, and World Religions. Many foreign and non-local students also reside on campus in school dorms for the duration of the school year (excepting Winter, Spring, and Summer vacations). As of Spring 2006, there were about 130 students in both divisions.

Traditions held at the monastery


Two of the distinguishing features of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are that unlike many other Chinese Buddhist monasteries, the monastics always wear their kasaya
Kesa (clothing)
Kāṣāya are the robes of Buddhist monks and nuns, named after a brown or saffron dye. In Sanskrit and Pali, these robes are also given the more general term cīvara, which references the robes without regard to color....

 sashes (long sashes that are worn outside the monastic clothing), and they eat only one meal a day and only before noon.

At night most of them sit up and rest, not lying down to sleep. Monastics at the city do not have any social lives, nor do men and women intermingle. Whereas many ordinary Chinese monks go out to perform rituals for events such as weddings or funerals, none of these monks do so. Some monastics even choose to maintain a vow of silence
Vow of silence
A vow of silence is a religious vow, usually taken in a monastic context, to maintain silence. Known as Mauna in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, the practice is integral to Christian and Islamic traditions as well...

. They wear a sign saying "silence" and do not speak with anyone.

There are monks and nuns who maintain the precept of not owning personal wealth and not touching money, thus eliminating the thought of money and increasing their purity of mind. Hsuan Hua often reminded his disciples,

"In cultivation, we have to stick to our principles! We can't forget our principles. Our principles are our goal. Once we recognize our goal, forward we go! We've got to be brave and vigorous. We can't retreat. As long as we are vigorous and not lax in ordinary times, we could become enlightened any minute or any second. So by no means should we let ourselves be confused by thoughts, and miss the opportunity to get enlightened."

Atmosphere


The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a strict Buddhist monastery adhering to the traditional Asian monastic culture although it is located in a liberal area of California. The organic farm and peaceful way of life appeals to most Westerners who want an alternate lifestyle. This creates an interesting mix of different ideologies. While the traditionalists are more drawn to the spiritual and devotional side of Buddhism, Westerners are often more interested in meditation. Some of the boarding school children are Westerners from the local community who want their children to grow up in a community-oriented place, while some of the children come from Taiwan and China, even from European countries, such as France, Belgium, and Holland, where parents think highly of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. The liberalism of Westerners and the strict traditionalism of Easterners may clash at times.

Unique to the City, the monastery houses both male and female Sangha, students from the boarding school, and is open to the public. Many monasteries in China, Taiwan, and in the West house only monks or only nuns but not both, and are closed to the public. However, males and females have separate campuses, with gender-neutral buildings in the middle of the campus.

Rules



Master Hsuan Hua set up six principles for all monastics and lay practitioners to follow. These six principles were "to not fight, to not be greedy, to not seek, to not be selfish, to not pursue personal advantage, and to not lie". Wherever Master Hsuan Hua went to propagate the Dharma, he always told people to follow these six principles. Master Hsuan Hua also uses a set of standard rules (shared by most temples and monasteries) for monastics and practitioners to follow:
  • No incense is ever offered personally by any of the lay practitioners and guests. Master Hsuan Hua believed that it was totally superstitious to insist on personally offering incense to the Buddhas, and that if many people offered incense, the Buddhas would not be able to handle the large amount of smoke. Master Hua also pointed out that quality incense is expensive and that poor incense can ruin the walls and statues. He also says that if one stick of incense is already burning in the censer, then the practitioner can simply just bow and pay respects.
  • During recitation, all practitioners must keep their hands in front of their chest during circumambulations, with their right hand on top of their left. Their hands can then be in prayer position when circumambulations are over. No one is allowed to look at anyone during recitations.
  • No one is allowed to eat before the monastics have begun eating.
  • Flattery is prohibited. All are to refrain from praising people and never to deliberately slander anyone.
  • No arrogance is allowed at the temple. A guest should feel that everyone else is better than him, and that he has much to learn from them. Guests are also only allowed to bow to the Buddha on one side, and not the center aisle, which is reserved for the abbot. However, the abbot's area is now usually reserved for the late Master Hsuan Hua, so it is usually empty or occupied by the master's portrait.

Wildlife



Many animals roam the grounds of the City, including peacocks, deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, squirrels, and many other different species. The peacocks are generally quite accustomed to the presence of people and are tame. Peacocks pose a large problem on the farm, so countermeasures have been taken against the peacocks, including covering the plants, moving the peacocks to a walnut farm, and planting extra food based on the assumption that a significant fraction will be eaten or damaged by peacocks.
During special Dharma Assemblies, a Liberating of Life ceremony is held where many animals - especially pheasants and chukar
Chukar
The Chukar Partridge or Chukar is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. It has been considered to form a superspecies complex along with the Rock Partridge, Philby's Partridge and Przevalski's Partridge and treated in the past as conspecific particularly with the first...

s - bought from hunting preserves are set free.

Morning

  • 4:00-5:00: Morning Recitation
  • 5:00-6:00: Universal Bowing
  • 6:00-7:00: Meditation / Self-study
  • 6:15-6:45: Breakfast
  • 7:00-8:00: Avatamsaka Sutra
    Avatamsaka Sutra
    The is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras of East Asian Buddhism. The title is rendered in English as Flower Garland Sutra, Flower Adornment Sutra, or Flower Ornament Scripture....

     study
  • 8:00-10:30: Classes, study or work
  • 10:30-12:00: Meal Offering / Lunch

Largest Temple in the Western Hemisphere


Another temple known as Hsi Lai Temple
Hsi Lai Temple
Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple is a traditional Chinese Buddhist mountain monastery in the United States. It is located on the foothill region of Hacienda Heights, California, USA, a suburb of Los Angeles County...

, located in Hacienda Heights, a city in Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

, has claimed since 1988 that they are the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere. However, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has over 80 acres (323,748.8 m²) of built-up land on 488 acres (2 km²) of property as compared to Hsi Lai Temples' 15 acres (60,702.9 m²), but rather than a temple complex as is Hsi Lai Temple, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is more of an entire community with several large buildings clustered together. Therefore, it is unclear which is the largest, as there is a significant difference between the structure and location of the two Buddhist organizations.

See also

  • Buddhism in America
    Buddhism in the United States
    Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the United States behind Christianity, Judaism and Nonreligious, and approximate with Islam and Hinduism. American Buddhists include many Asian Americans, as well as a large number of converts of other ethnicities, and now their children and even...

  • Hsuan Hua
    Hsuan Hua
    Hsuan Hua , also known as An Tzu and Tu Lun, was a Chan Buddhist monk and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the 20th century....

  • Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
    Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
    The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association is an international, non-profit Buddhist organization founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1959 to bring the orthodox teachings of the Buddha to the entire world...

  • Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School is a private Buddhist school located in the town of Talmage, California, and also the first Buddhist high school founded in the United States....


External links


39.13312°N 123.1645°W

The City Of Ten Thousand Buddhas (萬佛聖城, Wànfó Shèngchéng) is an international Buddhist community and monastery founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
Hsuan Hua
Hsuan Hua , also known as An Tzu and Tu Lun, was a Chan Buddhist monk and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the 20th century....

, an important figure in Western Buddhism. It is one of the first Chinese Zen Buddhist temples in the United States, and one of the largest Buddhist communities in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

.

The city is situated in Talmage
Talmage, California
Talmage is a census-designated place in Mendocino County, California, United States. Talmage is located east-southeast of Ukiah, at an elevation of 627 feet . The population was 1,130 at the 2010 census, down from 1,141 at the 2000 census...

, Mendocino County, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 about 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Ukiah
Ukiah, California
The average high temperature is 73.5 °F . Average low temperature is 46.1 °F . Temperatures reach 90 °F on an average of 65.6 days annually and 100 °F on an average of 14.4 days annually. Due to frequent low humidity, summer temperatures normally drop into the fifties at night. Freezing...

, and 110 miles (180 km) north of San Francisco. It was one of the first Buddhist monasteries built in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The temple follows the Guiyang
Guiyang school
The Guiyang school or the Guiyang house was one of the major sects of Zen Buddhism....

 Ch'an School, one of the five houses of classical Chinese Ch'an. The city is noted for their close adherence to the vinaya
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

, the austere traditional Buddhist monastic code.

History


The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association is an international, non-profit Buddhist organization founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1959 to bring the orthodox teachings of the Buddha to the entire world...

 purchased the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas site in 1974 and established an international center there by 1976.

Originally the site housed the Mendocino State Hospital founded in 1889. There were over seventy large buildings, over two thousand rooms of various sizes, three gymnasiums, a fire station, a swimming pool, a refuse incinerator, fire hydrants, and various other facilities. A paved road wound its way through the complex, lined with tall street lamps and trees over a hundred years old. The connections for electricity and pipes for water, heating, and air conditioning were all underground. Both the architectural design and the materials used for the buildings were state of the art. The heating and air conditioning were centrally controlled.

Considering the natural surroundings to be ideal for cultivation, Hsuan Hua personally visited the valley three times and negotiated with the seller many times. He wanted to establish a center for propagating the Buddhadharma throughout the world and for introducing the Buddhist teachings, which originated in the East, to the Western world. Hsuan Hua planned to create a major center for world Buddhism, and an international orthodox monastery for the purpose of elevating moral standards and raising people's awareness.

The city comprises 488 acres (2 km²) of land, of which 80 acres (0.3 km²) are presently developed. The rest of the land includes meadows, orchards, and forests. Large institutional buildings and smaller residential houses are scattered over the west side of the campus. The main Buddha hall, monastic facilities, educational institutes, administrative offices, the main kitchen and dining hall, Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant, and supporting structures are all located in this complex.

In 2009, the walls of the Long Life Hall was subject to structural damage caused by an electrical fire. However, no major damage occurred to the altar, artwork or statues inside the hall.

Sites of interest


  • The Jeweled Hall of 10,000 Buddhas: Finished in 1982, the hall is adorned with streamers, banners, lamps and is graced in the center by the presence of an 20-foot (6 m) statue of a thousand-handed Avalokiteśvara
    Avalokitesvara
    Avalokiteśvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is one of the more widely revered bodhisattvas in mainstream Mahayana Buddhism....

     Bodhisattva
    Bodhisattva
    In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

    , popularly known as Guan Yin in Chinese and Chenrezig in Tibetan. Rows of yellow bowing cushions are lined upon the red carpet. Walls are adorned with 10,000 images of the Buddha, molded by Master Hsuan Hua himself.
  • Hall of No Words: This is where Master Hsuan Hua often held classes for his disciples in the early years of the city. The abbot's quarters, where the Master dwelled, were on the second floor. This was also where Master Hsuan Hua lay in state during the 49-day mourning period. Now, it is a memorial hall that contains relics of the Buddha, Master Hsu Yun
    Hsu Yun
    Hsu Yun , born Xiao Guyan 萧古巖, 26 August 1840 – 13 October 1959) was a renowned Zen Buddhist master and one of the most influential Buddhist teachers of the 19th and 20th centuries. He is often noted for his unusually long lifespan, having lived to age 119.-Early life:Hsu Yun was born on April 26...

    , and Master Hsuan Hua. It is closed off to the public and opened on special days.
  • Dharma Realm Buddhist University: In order to raise the level of education among Sangha members and train people to propagate Buddhism, Master Hsuan Hua founded the Dharma Realm Buddhist University in 1976. The university aims to educate students to become wise and virtuous leaders in the world. Instead of merely transmitting academic knowledge, it emphasizes a foundation in virtue, which expands into the study of how to help all living beings discover their inherent nature. The university is working for accreditation in the near future, though no specific timetable has yet been announced.
  • Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant: The university canteen, which serves only vegan
    Veganism
    Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only...

     food. The goal is to serve healthful nutritious food full of the good karma
    Karma
    Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

     of non-harming.
  • Tathagata (Rulai) Monastery: The dorm rooms for monks (left home persons) and male lay persons persuaded toward the monastic lifestyle.
  • Great Compassion Courtyard: Dorm rooms for guests and visitors.
  • Bell and Drum House: Houses the instruments that are played daily to ready monastics for daily practice.
  • Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts: This facility was active in the early years at the city as a center for translation and as a residence hall for nuns and laywomen. The Institute has since moved to Burlingame, California
    Burlingame, California
    Burlingame is a city in San Mateo County, California. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula and has a significant shoreline on San Francisco Bay. The city is named after diplomat Anson Burlingame. It is renowned for its many surviving examples of Victorian architecture, its affluence, and...

    .
  • Tower of Blessings: Master Hsuan Hua allocated the Tower of Blessings as a home for the elderly monastics residing in the city.
  • Wonderful Words Hall: Site for daily gatherings to listen to the Master Hsuan Hua's taped lectures in the 10,000 Buddhas Hall.

  • Five Contemplations Dining Hall: Completed in 1982, it is where the monastics and resident lay community follow the formal monastic style in taking their lunch meal. Only pure vegetarian food is served here, and the hall can seat over 3,000 people.
  • Instilling Goodness Elementary and Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School is a private Buddhist school located in the town of Talmage, California, and also the first Buddhist high school founded in the United States....

    s:
    The elementary (kindergarten through 6th grade) and secondary (7th grade through 12th grade) schools were founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1976. The schools are divided into two divisions, Boys and Girls, and teach such classes as meditation, yoga, Buddhism, and World Religions. Many foreign and non-local students also reside on campus in school dorms for the duration of the school year (excepting Winter, Spring, and Summer vacations). As of Spring 2006, there were about 130 students in both divisions.

Traditions held at the monastery


Two of the distinguishing features of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are that unlike many other Chinese Buddhist monasteries, the monastics always wear their kasaya
Kesa (clothing)
Kāṣāya are the robes of Buddhist monks and nuns, named after a brown or saffron dye. In Sanskrit and Pali, these robes are also given the more general term cīvara, which references the robes without regard to color....

 sashes (long sashes that are worn outside the monastic clothing), and they eat only one meal a day and only before noon.

At night most of them sit up and rest, not lying down to sleep. Monastics at the city do not have any social lives, nor do men and women intermingle. Whereas many ordinary Chinese monks go out to perform rituals for events such as weddings or funerals, none of these monks do so. Some monastics even choose to maintain a vow of silence
Vow of silence
A vow of silence is a religious vow, usually taken in a monastic context, to maintain silence. Known as Mauna in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, the practice is integral to Christian and Islamic traditions as well...

. They wear a sign saying "silence" and do not speak with anyone.

There are monks and nuns who maintain the precept of not owning personal wealth and not touching money, thus eliminating the thought of money and increasing their purity of mind. Hsuan Hua often reminded his disciples,

"In cultivation, we have to stick to our principles! We can't forget our principles. Our principles are our goal. Once we recognize our goal, forward we go! We've got to be brave and vigorous. We can't retreat. As long as we are vigorous and not lax in ordinary times, we could become enlightened any minute or any second. So by no means should we let ourselves be confused by thoughts, and miss the opportunity to get enlightened."

Atmosphere


The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a strict Buddhist monastery adhering to the traditional Asian monastic culture although it is located in a liberal area of California. The organic farm and peaceful way of life appeals to most Westerners who want an alternate lifestyle. This creates an interesting mix of different ideologies. While the traditionalists are more drawn to the spiritual and devotional side of Buddhism, Westerners are often more interested in meditation. Some of the boarding school children are Westerners from the local community who want their children to grow up in a community-oriented place, while some of the children come from Taiwan and China, even from European countries, such as France, Belgium, and Holland, where parents think highly of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. The liberalism of Westerners and the strict traditionalism of Easterners may clash at times.

Unique to the City, the monastery houses both male and female Sangha, students from the boarding school, and is open to the public. Many monasteries in China, Taiwan, and in the West house only monks or only nuns but not both, and are closed to the public. However, males and females have separate campuses, with gender-neutral buildings in the middle of the campus.

Rules



Master Hsuan Hua set up six principles for all monastics and lay practitioners to follow. These six principles were "to not fight, to not be greedy, to not seek, to not be selfish, to not pursue personal advantage, and to not lie". Wherever Master Hsuan Hua went to propagate the Dharma, he always told people to follow these six principles. Master Hsuan Hua also uses a set of standard rules (shared by most temples and monasteries) for monastics and practitioners to follow:
  • No incense is ever offered personally by any of the lay practitioners and guests. Master Hsuan Hua believed that it was totally superstitious to insist on personally offering incense to the Buddhas, and that if many people offered incense, the Buddhas would not be able to handle the large amount of smoke. Master Hua also pointed out that quality incense is expensive and that poor incense can ruin the walls and statues. He also says that if one stick of incense is already burning in the censer, then the practitioner can simply just bow and pay respects.
  • During recitation, all practitioners must keep their hands in front of their chest during circumambulations, with their right hand on top of their left. Their hands can then be in prayer position when circumambulations are over. No one is allowed to look at anyone during recitations.
  • No one is allowed to eat before the monastics have begun eating.
  • Flattery is prohibited. All are to refrain from praising people and never to deliberately slander anyone.
  • No arrogance is allowed at the temple. A guest should feel that everyone else is better than him, and that he has much to learn from them. Guests are also only allowed to bow to the Buddha on one side, and not the center aisle, which is reserved for the abbot. However, the abbot's area is now usually reserved for the late Master Hsuan Hua, so it is usually empty or occupied by the master's portrait.

Wildlife



Many animals roam the grounds of the City, including peacocks, deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, squirrels, and many other different species. The peacocks are generally quite accustomed to the presence of people and are tame. Peacocks pose a large problem on the farm, so countermeasures have been taken against the peacocks, including covering the plants, moving the peacocks to a walnut farm, and planting extra food based on the assumption that a significant fraction will be eaten or damaged by peacocks.
During special Dharma Assemblies, a Liberating of Life ceremony is held where many animals - especially pheasants and chukar
Chukar
The Chukar Partridge or Chukar is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. It has been considered to form a superspecies complex along with the Rock Partridge, Philby's Partridge and Przevalski's Partridge and treated in the past as conspecific particularly with the first...

s - bought from hunting preserves are set free.

Morning

  • 4:00-5:00: Morning Recitation
  • 5:00-6:00: Universal Bowing
  • 6:00-7:00: Meditation / Self-study
  • 6:15-6:45: Breakfast
  • 7:00-8:00: Avatamsaka Sutra
    Avatamsaka Sutra
    The is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras of East Asian Buddhism. The title is rendered in English as Flower Garland Sutra, Flower Adornment Sutra, or Flower Ornament Scripture....

     study
  • 8:00-10:30: Classes, study or work
  • 10:30-12:00: Meal Offering / Lunch

Largest Temple in the Western Hemisphere


Another temple known as Hsi Lai Temple
Hsi Lai Temple
Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple is a traditional Chinese Buddhist mountain monastery in the United States. It is located on the foothill region of Hacienda Heights, California, USA, a suburb of Los Angeles County...

, located in Hacienda Heights, a city in Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

, has claimed since 1988 that they are the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere. However, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has over 80 acres (323,748.8 m²) of built-up land on 488 acres (2 km²) of property as compared to Hsi Lai Temples' 15 acres (60,702.9 m²), but rather than a temple complex as is Hsi Lai Temple, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is more of an entire community with several large buildings clustered together. Therefore, it is unclear which is the largest, as there is a significant difference between the structure and location of the two Buddhist organizations.

See also

  • Buddhism in America
    Buddhism in the United States
    Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the United States behind Christianity, Judaism and Nonreligious, and approximate with Islam and Hinduism. American Buddhists include many Asian Americans, as well as a large number of converts of other ethnicities, and now their children and even...

  • Hsuan Hua
    Hsuan Hua
    Hsuan Hua , also known as An Tzu and Tu Lun, was a Chan Buddhist monk and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the 20th century....

  • Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
    Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
    The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association is an international, non-profit Buddhist organization founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1959 to bring the orthodox teachings of the Buddha to the entire world...

  • Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School
    Developing Virtue Secondary School is a private Buddhist school located in the town of Talmage, California, and also the first Buddhist high school founded in the United States....


External links


39.13312°N 123.1645°W