A YEAR-BY-YEAR RECORD OF THE LIFE OF VENERABLE MASTER HUA
1918. Age: 1
The Master was born on the sixteenth day of the third lunar month in Shuangchang County, Jilin Province (now Wuchang County, Heilongjiang Province). His lay surname was Bai and his first name was Yushu (and also Yuxi).
1928. Age: 11
He saw a dead infant and conceived the idea of leaving the home-life.
1929. Age: 12
In order to repent of and reform his faults, he began bowing to his parents and to all living beings every morning and evening.
1929-1932. Age: 12-15
He visited various teachers in search of the Way.
1932. Age: 15
He took refuge with the Triple Jewel, bowing to Venerable Master Chang Zhi of Three Conditions Monastery as his teacher and drew near to Venerable Master Chang Ren.
He attended a private village school (from the twelfth day of the third lunar month to the thirteenth day of the eighth lunar month.)
1933. Age: 16
He joined the Moral Society of Manchuria.
He began lecturing on the Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra, the Vajra Sutra, the Amitabha Sutra, and other Buddhist texts.
He attended one year of school.
1934. Age: 17
He attended one year of school.
1935. Age: 18
His mother became ill, so he quit school and stayed home to take care of her.
He started a free school and began to teach.
1936. Age: 19
His mother, Ms. Hu, passed away.
He left the home-life at Sanyuan (Three Conditions) Monastery in Harbin under Venerable Master Chang Zhi. After receiving the Shramanera (Novice) Precepts, he built a simple hut by his mother's grave and observed filial piety for three years. During that time, on the nineteenth day of the sixth lunar month he made eighteen great vows before the Buddhas.
1938. Age: 21
He completed his period of observing filial piety and went into seclusion in Amitabha Cave, which was on the eastern part of one branch of the Changbai Mountain range. He served as the senior-seated monk at Sanyuan Monastery in Harbin.
1945. Age: 28
During the Ullambana celebration on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month, he led disciples in burning incense and vowing before the Buddhas, if I live to be a hundred, I will burn my entire body as an offering to the Buddhas and in order to seek the unsurpassed Way.”
1946. Age: 29
In the middle of the eighth lunar month, he set out on a pilgrimage to Caoxi to draw near Ven. Master Hsu Yun. After passing through Changchun and Liaoning, he reached Tianjin and stayed in Dabei Temple. He listened to Dharma Master Tan Xu lecture on the Shurangama Sutra. Later he went by boat to Zhengjiao Monastery in Hubei, where he performed various austerities and chores.
1947. Age: 30
He received the complete precepts of a Bhikshu (monk) at Fayu Monastery at Putuo Mountain in Zhejiang Province, China.
Later he attended the Buddhist Academy at Lingyan Mountain to study the doctrines. In the fall, he went to Kungqing Mountain of Nanjing to at tend a ten-week Chan session through the winter and to bow to Venerable Master Ming Guan and Venerable Abbot Liao Cheng.
1948. Age: 31
In the first month he left for Shanghai, and later went to Nanhua Monastery to pay respect to Ven. Master Hsu Yun. Ven. Master Hsu Yun asked him to be a supervisor in the Nanhua Monastery Vinaya Academy. Soon he was appointed as Dean of Academic Affairs.
In the summer, he went to Nancheng in Jiangxi to lecture on the Amitabha Sutra. In the middle of the eighth month he returned to Nanhua Monastery.
In the middle of the ninth lunar month, bandits plundered Nanhua Monastery. Since the monks all wanted to leave, the Master taught classes and managed the Vinaya Academy alone.
He participated in the winter Chan session at Nanhua Monastery.
1949. Age: 32
On the lunar new year, he submitted a letter to Ven. Master Hsu Yun resigning as Dean of Academic Affairs of the Vinaya Academy. He lived in the Tripitaka Hall and read the Tripitaka (Buddhist Canon). After acting as a certifying acharya at the transmission of the precepts, he went with Ven. Master Hsu Yun to Dajian Monastery in Shaoguan. In the early part of the fifth lunar month, he went to Dajiao Monastery in Yunmen, where he acted as head of the assembly.
Later he bid farewell to the Ven. Master Hsu Yun and went to Guangzhou to recover from illness. Then he went to Hong Kong. In the seventh lunar month he returned to Guangzhou and stayed at Liurong Monastery, where Ven. Master Ming Guan asked him to be hall manager and assistant manager of the monastery. Shaoguan fell at the beginning of the eighth lunar month, and on the eighteenth he returned to Hong Kong, then went to Thailand to study Theravadan Buddhism.
1950. Age: 33
He returned to Hong Kong and went into seclusion in Guanyin Cave on Furong Mountain.
1951. Age: 34
He lectured on the Earth Store Sutra at Tongshantan Temple.
He worked on the construction of Western Bliss Gardens Monastery during the winter.
1952. Age: 35
Western Bliss Gardens Monastery held its opening ceremony on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month. In the summer he lectured on the Universal Door Chapter.
In the fall he lectured on the Vajra Sutra at Tongshantan Temple.
1953. Age: 36
In the summer, he lectured on Earth Store Sutra at Zhilian Jingyuan.
In the fall, he lectured on Amitabha Sutra at Kuanjiao Monastery.
He later lectured on the Shurangama Sutra at Western Bliss Gardens Monastery for fourteen months. He worked on construction of Cixing Chan Monastery.
1954. Age: 37
Cixing Chan Monastery held its opening ceremony.
1956. Age: 39
He received the Dharma-transmission of Ven. Master Hsu Yun and the Dharma name Hsuan Hua, becoming the ninth patriarch of the Wei Yang Sect, the forty-fifth generation since First Patriarch Mahakashyapa. He founded the Buddhist Lecture Hall in Happy Valley, Hong Kong. He began publishing the magazine Hsin Fa ("Mind Dharma").
1957. Age: 40
He visited Burma.
1958. Age: 41
In the fourth lunar month, his disciples in the United States helped establish a branch of the Buddhist Lecture Hall (headquartered in Hong Kong) in San Francisco's China town.
1959. Age: 42
In the seventh lunar month, he requested the greatly virtuous Sangha of the ten directions to bow, on behalf of Venerable Master Hsu Yun, the Jewelled Repentance of Medicine Master Buddha for Quelling Disasters and Lengthening Life, bowing to the Buddha Who Lengthens Life. On October 12 (the eleventh of the ninth lunar month at 1:45 P.M.) the Ven. Master Yun completed the stillness at Zhenru Chan Monastery on Yunju Mountain. On the fourth of the tenth lunar month, the Master sent two lay disciples, Xie Guofeng and Ma Guoxian, to Yunju Mountain to receive the Venerable Master Yun's sharira (relics) and bones in order to make offerings to them. He founded the Sino-American Buddhist Association in the United States (the predecessor of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association).
1961. Age: 44
He went to Australia to propagate the Dharma for a year.
1962. Age: 45
From Hong Kong, he travelled to Japan and Hawaii and then arrived by plane in San Francisco.