Hwa Tsang Buddhist Monastery 華藏寺

Library

The Monastery maintains a specialist Buddhist reference library with several thousand books and audio-visual material, in both English and Chinese, in our collection.

Membership and Loan

Library membership is open to the public for an annual subscription fee of $30.00, while it is free for our financial members, Young Bodhisattva Society, and the Youth Fellowship.

Each member may borrow up to a maximum of 4 books, 1 set of audio cassettes, 3 videos, and 1 CD/VCD at a time for 6 weeks. Only one extension for another 3 weeks will be permitted, with fines applicable for items that are overdue.

Opening Hours

12:00 am – 2:00 pm Monday to Friday
5:30 pm – 9:30 pm Saturday

Note: Due to Covid19 our opening hours have changed. Please refer to our Covid19 Update page for information.

History

The founding abbot, Venerable Tsang Hui, started his book collection when he was in Taiwan. He brought his collection with him when he arrived in Australia in 1977. These books then travelled around with him, wherever his temporary place of residence happened to be. Back when his room was too small, the books had to be stored in boxes. His disciples and students will help to distribute and house these boxes of books in their own homes. Venerable Tsang Hui always has a great appreciation of good books, largely on Buddhism but not exclusively. The Venerable took great pleasure frequenting his favourite bookstores, one will have great difficulty trying to get him to leave until he filled up a shopping trolley full of books. He will not turn down any good bargain when it comes to books! This is how the Hwa Tsang Monastery Library collection began.

For many years, repeated attempts were made to rally the devotees to sort the books systematically, but facing the mountain of books the task was too daunting and many walked away in “deep thoughts” with the task unaccomplished.

When the Venerable moved into a townhouse in Greenacre in the early 1980s, the book collection finally gained some respectability by being properly shelved. By the time the monastery was established in Homebush around 1986, the books lined every wall of every room in the house. They were unfortunately still far from being organised. A library system finally took shape when Miss Lim Lee Leng, after returning from Singapore around 1991, helped to start a classification system and organised the collection into a library.

The library moved to its present home in 1992, but a library subcommittee was not formed until 1994. While the main temple hall occupies the largest footprint in the new temple complex, the library wing is the second largest, reflecting its relative importance in the monastery’s endeavours.

Today, the Library holds what is easily one of the best collections of Chinese Buddhist texts in Australia. There is also a sizeable collection of texts in English, as well as audiovisual materials in various languages and Chinese dialects.