Hsi Lai Introduction
Hsi Lai Temple encompasses 15 acres and a floor area of 102,432 square feet. The temple's Ming (1268-1644 C. E.) and Ching (1644-1911 C.E.) dynasty architecture is faithful to the traditional style of buildings, gardens and statuary of traditional ancient Chinese monasteries. The ten-year planning and construction was completed in 1988. Hsi Lai means "coming to the West" and signifies the dedication of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order to spread the teachings of the Buddha to those in the West. The International Buddhist Progress Society, a nonprofit organization, is the chartered name for the temple. The organization's headquarters is in Taiwan.
In 1967, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the founder, established the Fo Guang Shan (Buddha's Light Mountain) Buddhist Order, which is the largest monastery in Taiwan, encompassing over 600 acres. Fo Guang Shan is a Mahayana Chinese Buddhism monastic order. Mahayana in China has separated to 8 different schools: Tian-tai, Pure Land, Ch'an, Hua-yen (Avatamsaka), Fa-Shiang (Yogacaran), Sanlun (Madhyamikan), Dhyana, and Esoteric (Tantra). Fo Guang Shan belongs to Lin-Chi Ch'an School. For the past 30 years, the Master has been instrumental in expanding religious freedom throughout Asia. The Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, through a Humanistic Buddhist orientation, works to unite all Buddhist schools and sects; it also fosters and promotes inter-religious dialogue among all spiritual traditions through symposia, conferences and services. The objectives of the Order are to provide confidence, joy hope and convenience to people. The Order has also established more than 100 temples worldwide. More than 1,300 monks and nuns serve in the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order.
Hsi Lai Temple was built to serve as a spiritual and cultural center for those interested in learning more about Buddhism and the Chinese culture. It is the idea of Venerable Master Hsing Yun to propagate "Humanistic Buddhism" and to create a Pure Land here on earth. Hsi Lai Temple is built to fulfill these goals in the United States. The temple's objectives are to nurture Buddhist missionaries through education, to propagate Buddhism through cultural activities, to benefit society through charitable programs, and to edify the populace through Buddhist practices.