The Most Venerable Xue Cheng
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Master Xuecheng was born in August of 1966, in Xianyou, Fujian Province. As a child, he was encouraged by the Grand Master Xuanzang to, "inherit the Buddha Dharma from the past and illuminate Buddha' s teachings from now on." So, in February of 1982, he renounced his secular life and became a novice monk. Since that time, he has diligently worked, and dedicated his life, to serve all living things and increase the compatibility of Dharma with modern society. Following his ordination, he began to study the practices of Buddhism. In 1984 he attended the Buddhist Academy of China, and in 1988 pursued his master’s degree focusing on the study of Consciousness Only and Dharma-Character. In 1989, after being nominated by the general deacon masters, Master Xuecheng, at the age of 23, became the abbot of Putian Guanghua Monastery, and in 1995, he assumed the role principal of the Buddhist Academy of Fujian.
During his career, Master Xuecheng has advocated the merger of the three language systems and Buddhism, the dissemination of all the eight schools of Buddhism, and the development of a Han Buddhist system of study and practice. He also advocated and presented the Four Transformations of “The monastery becoming academic, the academy becoming monastic, the study and practice becoming integrated, and the management becoming scientific". He designated five criteria for Sangha education: "aspiration, direction to enlightenment, merit, talent, and learning". At Fujian Buddhist Academy, he not only lectured, but also arranged for the student monks to participate in the services held by Guanghua Monastery. This arrangement included the daily management of the deacons as well. In the monastery, he also led the chanting of the Precepts semi-monthly as per the vinaya system, held Dharma Assemblies, presided seven-day continuous Buddha name chanting ,and operated Buddhism training classes. In 1996, he held a 108-day standard precept transmission Dharma Assembly. This was the first time since 1949 that such an assembly had taken place. In addition to these many accomplishments, Master Xuecheng has also published many works and articles in the Voice of Dharma. Some of his writings have included, On Life and Respect in Plain Words, Trends in Study, and Discussions on Talent Development in Buddhism.
In order to increase the compatibility of Dharma with modern society, and to better serve all living beings, Master Xuecheng actively organizes and participates in cultural education and philanthropic activities. Since 2003, in Fujian Guanghua Monastery, he held ten "Trip to Bliss and Wisdom" camps for young intellectuals. In July 2006, he began to hold "Light of Famen (Dharma Gate)" summer camps in Shanxi Famen Monastery. Here he encourages young people to ask questions about the meaning of life and to attain methods of self-cultivation. Toward the end of 2006, led by Master Xuecheng, a number of Buddhist laymen in Beijing established the Beijing Ren Ai Charity Foundation to carry out community services including educational assistance for orphans, clothing donation, and to assist impoverished mountain regions and distressed areas. These efforts included relief for the south China snow disaster in January 2008 and the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008.
To better represent the religious circle of China, especially the Buddhist circle, and in order to better integrate Buddhism into society, Master Xuecheng currently holds concurrent public posts and participates in many international conferences. By doing so, he influences society while serving and repaying the country. Posts taken by Master Xuecheng include:
• Member of the National Committee of 9th and 10th CPPCC (Chinese People' s Political Consultative Conference)
• Member of the Standing Committee of the 11th CPPCC
• Assistant Secretary of Chinese Religious Committee for Peace (held in March 2004)
• Director of the China United Front Theory Research Association held in July 2005
• Vice Chairman of Government Office of Youth Coalition (elected September 2005)
• Vice Chairman of the China Religious Study Conference (elected in December 2006)
• Director of United Nations Association of the People‘s Republic of China (appointed in November 2007).
Currently, Master Xuecheng oversees Longquan temple in Beijing along with serving at the Buddhist Association and the many other positions that he holds. Although Master Xuecheng is very busy, he never neglects his studies or practice of Buddhism. He makes time to study scriptures and treatises while still learning from and exchanging views with eminent monks. He says, "Past achievement is our enemy; current achievement is our friend; achievement yet obtained is our teacher. What we do today is the preparation of tomorrow; what we do this year is the preparation for next year; what we do lifetime after lifetime is the preparation for being Buddha. The present is not the best. The best is to attain Buddhahood!" Perhaps it is such attitude that makes immeasurable and limitless merit possible.