BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CHAN/ZEN DHARMA LINEAGE OF OUR SANGHA
Here one can find a small account of the Dharma lives of several masters essential to the Lineage of our DWZS/OZHY sangha.
One must note that the main Lineage of the “Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu-Yun”, in which Shi YaoXin is a transmitted priest of, is Linji/Rinzai. YaoXin Shakya was ordained by Ming Zhen Shakya, one of the early founders of the order, and Ming Zhen being of both the Linji/Rinzai and the YunMen/Ummon Chan/Zen Lineage, the following account presents both a small account of the Dharma lives of Shi Jy Din (founder of the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu-Yun) and Shi Fo Yuan (13th abbot of YunMen Si and inheritor of the YunMen Chan House).
Master Hsu-Yun (Deqing Yangche) (1840-1959)
Hsu-Yun (Empty Cloud) is a well known Chinese master of the 20th century. He is known for his arduous life work of revitalisation of the Chan Buddhism practice and ethics. From a Taoist family, he felt the need, after reading a “life of GuanYin” in his family library, to practice Buddhism. To be able to do so, he flee from home, leaving his two wives, and lived as an hermit in the nearby forests and grottos. After several years of ascetic life, he met Yung Ching master of Tientai Lineage who instructed him in Sutra study and Hua-Tou practice. After what he began his famous years long journey to several Chinese places linked to important Bodhisattvas such as Putuo Shan, Nan-Hai, Wutai Shan, and many others (bowing every three steps) to repay his filial debts and to deepen his understanding of Zen. From there he walked in pilgrimage through Tibet, India, Sri-Lanka and Burma.
He is said to have achieved enlightenment during a Chan retreat at Gaomin temple and since that time worked tirelessly to revitalise Chan Buddhism in China. He worked for the rest of his life at the reconstruction of the monasteries of the major schools of Chan who were in a ruins (such as the monastery of the 6th patriarch Huineng and the monastery of Yun-men). He also “re-established” the 5 traditional schools of Chan, transmitting the Dharma to his students and naming them abbots of these monasteries (He is known for example to have given the transmission of the Huiyang Chan Lineage to Master Hsuan Hua, the transmission of the Linji Chan school to Master WeiYin and the transmission of the YunMen Chan school to Master FoYuan). He is very well known for his teachings on the combined practice of Pureland and Chan, especially through the Huatou method of “Who is reciting the Buddha’s name. He also is known to have founded the Chinese Buddhist Association (he has been one of the chairmans along with the Dalai lama, the Panchen lama and the Grand lama of Mongolia). The great man is said to have died at the age of 120 years old.
Venerable Master Jy Din Shakya (Weimiao Jydin DaShi)
Master Ji Dyn was quite young when he met master Hsu-Yun for the first time. He lived near the monastery of the 6th patriarch, master Huineng, and had the habit to go there on visit. At that time, the monastery was partly in ruins and both Taoist and Buddhists monks and nuns used to live, and argue, on the monastery ground. He first met master Hsu-Yun at Nan Hua monastery as an adolescent and received ordination from him at the age of 20. For several years he served as the great master interpreter through the country, as the master gave incessant talks in these difficult times. He also spent several years studying Chan and making pilgrimage before coming back to Nan Hua monastery where he has helped master Hsu-Yun regulating the monastery ground, schools, and offices. As Master Hsu-Yun went to rebuilt the YunMen monastery and re-establish the YunMen Lineage, Master Jy Din became the head monk of Nan Hua monastery and and a committee member of the Chinese Buddhist Association. The war was at his highest and, long story short, Master Hsu Yun and Master Jy Din went to Hong Kong because of the highly dangerous situation. There Master Jy Din received the invitation of the Chinese immigrant community from Honolulu, Hawaii, to come share the Dharma in Hawaii. Having received the approval of master Hsu-Yun, by the famous and simple saying: “spread the Dharma to the West”, he and his disciples arranged everything to go to Hawaii.
In Hawaii, with the Chinese Buddhist Association of Hawaii, he founded what was to become the first Chan Buddhist Temple in the West. In honour of his great master, it was humbly named “Hsu-Yun Si”, the Temple of Hsu-Yun.
In order to help “spread the Dharma to the West”, he founded (with the help of the founders of the “Nan Hua Buddhist Society”, namely Ming Zhen Shakya formerly Chuan Yuan Shakya ) in 1997 the “ZEN BUDDHIST ORDER OF HSU-YUN”, a semi-monastic order of Western priests, to disseminate the Chan teachings and practices of Master Hsu-Yun to Westerners . This order has been the first Buddhist Order partially based on the Internet, and exist to this day. The Zen Buddhist Order of HsuYun is a secular community of Chan/Zen Priests. The Priests aren’t monks and do not follow the Vinaya rules. They are secular Dharma Teachers!
Since Master Jy Din passing in 2003, Like many Buddhist families, the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun lived a split in 2003. Today, there are therefore two Zen Orders coming from the same source.
Both orders count direct heirs of DaShi WeiMiao JyDin and other Dharma heirs of GrandMaster HsuYun. All trying to practice and teach Chinese Zen (Chan) sincerely in our Western context.
We can appreciate the work of dissemination of the Zen teachings by these two orders but we are only linked to the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun (ZBOHY – ZATMA.org). We are childrens of Shakyamuni, Huineng, Hanshan, Hsuyun, Jydin, Fo Yuan and Mingzhen and this is our only teaching lineage.
Venerable Master Fo-Yuan Shakya (MiaoXin FoYuan) (1922-2009)
Master Fo Yuan became ordination as a monk at the age of 18 in the Chinese Vinaya tradition (Yi Yang) at the Qi Jia Temple. He studied and practiced extensively the precepts and classical Buddhist meditation methods for years. He travelled extensively to practice and study the Dharma under several master, several wishing him to become their followers, but he kept refusing and travelling. Master Fo Yuan was astonished and terrified by the lack of practice and dedication of a lot of monks of his time. In these very difficult civil war years, the Dharma was getting difficult to practice and he felt that the study of the Vinaya was what lacked to many monks. Having heard of the “saintity” of master Hsu-Yun, he looked for him and finally found him rebuilding the YunMen monastery. At YunMen Si, he studied arduously with master Hsu-Yun and because of his dedication to the practice and his knowledge of the Dharma, became the “Guest Master” of the YunMen monastery.
There he received the name Fo Yuan and Miao Xin from Hsu-Yun and was transmitted the re-established Chan Lineage of the YunMen House, thus becoming the 13th generation inheritor of the YunMen Chan School since the founder of this Chan Lineage, Wenyan YunMen (the Lineage being extinct for several hundred years). Since then, assumed the abbacy of the monastery with sincerity and arduous work, renewing the Chan tradition of “agricultural and spiritual Chan work”, making the saying “a day without work is a day without food” more true than ever! He also continued the re-construction of the monastery, which is now a big complex with various Buddha and relic halls, Chan halls, monk halls and a library. He also assumed temporarly the head of the Nan Hua monastery after the passing of his friend, and Hsu-Yun’s disciple, Master Wei Yin.
Venerable Dharma teacher Ming Zhen Shakya
Venerable Ming Zhen Shakya (formerly Chuan Yuan Shakya), was a Chan/Zen Priest and Dharma Teacher, a writer, an artist and the main Dharma teacher of Shi Yao Xin Shakya from 2007 to 2016.. She was the first American to be ordained in Mainland China since the communist revolution. She has been fully ordained and authorized to teach the Dharma to Westerners by both Master WeiYin Shakya of the Linji/Rinzai lineage and by Master Fo Yuan Shakya of the Yunmen/Ummon lineage of Chan/Zen Buddhism. She founded her first sangha as an authorized Dharma Teacher, the NanHua Zen Buddhist Society, in the early nineties when finally coming back from China.
She then co-founded the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun in 1997 with Grandmaster Master Jy Din Shakya. She has helped Master Jy Din Shakya spreading the Chan Dharma in many many ways, such as founding the Zen Buddhist Order of HsuYun or helping him write the « Empty Cloud: The Teachings of Hsu Yun« .
She has been the editor of the “Zen Buddhist Order of HsuYun” until recently, and has written articles and books on the Zen practices for more than 25 years. Our “Old Sun” entered Nirvana in November 2016, leaving her Dharma Heirs with all her teachings and the Light of the Loving presence.
Yao Xin Shakya
Shi Yao Xin is a Fully Ordained and Transmitted Zen Priest in the Linji/Yunmen Lineage of the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun. He was a direct disciple of Ming Zhen Shakya (co-founder of our Zen Order) for many years and is honored to serve the Abbatial Council of the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun as « Co-Prior of the Order ».
As a Senior Dharma Teacher (Master) in the lineage of the ZBOHY, he founded DWZS/OZHY and serves as « Prior » of the Sangha.
Shi Yao Xin has also been honored by receiving full ordination as a Zen Priest and Dharma Holder in the Order of Engaged Buddhists (OEB) . He has been authorized to teach the Dharma as represented by OEB’s Prior ordaining lineage which is both Ch’an and Soto Zen, by Rev. Shi Shen-Xi Astor, and was conferred with the dharma name of Chang-Yao. He is also honored to serve as Sub-Prior of the Order of Engaged Buddhists.
Shi Yao Xin is also honored to deepen his study of Soto Zen Buddhism under Master Taigu Turlur, founder and guiding teacher of « Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage« .