The Donghua Chan Temple was built in 502 A.D. during the Emperor Liang's era in the Nan Dynasty. The Temple has been around for more than 1,600 years.
Originally it was called the Lingjiu Temple and was built by the eminent Indian Monk Zhiyao Tripitaka.
In 661 A.D., the Sixth Patriarch Huineng inherited the robe and begging bowl (a symbol of Dharma transmission from Fifth Patriarch Hongren) and came to Lingjiu where he meditated in solitude. The Sixth Patriarch then changed Lingjiu to Donghua Chan Temple. It flourished during the Tang-Song Dynasties but diminished in the Ming-Qing Dynasties.
In 1997, Master Wanxing, who previously meditated in solitude for four years, came to Mount Donghua to meditate in solitude again for three years in the cave and he became enlightened.
At the age of 30, he ended the meditation and decided to rebuild the Donghua Chan Temple and carry on the Chan teachings.
The temple did not exist back then so Master Wanxing began by creating the Donghua doctrines: love your country before practicing Buddhism, behave humanely before learning Buddhism, and learn to take vows before cultivating the Way.
At that time there was no housing, no land, except for a cave, a monk and a cassock.
Despite the harsh conditions, Master Wanxing vowed that it was his responsibility to contribute to the country’s prosperity and people’s wellbeing. He also vowed that it was his mission to save all the sentient beings. The universe may have borders, but fulfilling vows is borderless.
For the past twenty plus years, Master Wanxing has given over ten thousand lectures, written 13 books totaling over ten million words, created the Donghua Chan, pioneered a humanity-based Buddhist ideology, raised over 500 million Chinese yuan, built a temple occupying 50 thousand square meters, completed more than 30 Buddhist Halls. The temple can provide room and board to more than 1,500 people and has the capacity to host Buddhist seminars, conferences and other activities.
In 2008, more than 100,000 Buddhist believers came from all over China to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Donghua Chan Temple.
The temple is positioned as a Chan site, placing equal importance on farming and Chan Buddhism. One day without practice, one day without eating. In the temple [we] practice Chan Buddhism, and outside the temple [we] practice Chan Buddhism as well.
It’s been more than twenty years since Master Wanxing began the rebuild. While raising money for the reconstruction project, he insisted on giving back to the society. Master Wanxing also reminds us that one cannot wait for filial piety and good deeds.
The Donghua Chan Temple has donated more than 70 million Chinese yuan in cash and goods to the society in the past 20 years and has been recognized multiple times by the provincial and municipal authorities as the Model Religious Venue and National Harmony Temple.
The Donghua Chan Temple is the only temple in China with doctrines, the first temple to raise the national flag, the only temple to build a Buddhist Patriotic Hall, and the only temple with an Auspicious Hall for protecting the country. All the firsts and onlys show Donghua Chan Temple’s dedication to the society.
The Donghua Chan Temple is widely recognized among the public.
In 2012 during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party, the Central Communications Bureau highly praised Master Wanxing’s blog as a “Sunshine Weibo.”
In 2013 the China United Front magazine of the CPC’s United Front Work Department printed a special feature report on Master Wanxing.
The Donghua Chan Temple was recognized as the "Chan Culture Research Base" by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Guangdong Provincial Institute of Ethnic and Religious Studies recognizes the Donghua Chan Temple as the “Buddhist Culture Research Base.”
And the Chinese Ministry of Culture awards the temple as the “Traditional Chinese Culture Lecture Hall.”
Going forward, the Donghua Chan Temple will continue to shoulder the mission of Buddhism and traditional Chinese culture.
As Master Wanxing's vow manifests, the universe may have borders, but fulfilling vows is borderless.