Venerable Tsang Hui
Venerable Tsang Hui was born in Taiwan and grew up under the care of foster parents. After junior secondary school, he went to Taipei to be reunited with his father. Their life was difficult and uncertain, and the young Venerable lived day to day, not knowing what his future would hold.
Some years later, while mountain climbing, he came upon the Yuan Jue Monastery in Nei Hu District. The venerables there worked with great mindfulness and harmony. He loved the environment there and began attending after work every day.
After four months he requested and was granted the Master’s permission to stay at the Monastery on the condition that he learned the Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Mantra of Great Compassion (“Dai Bei Zhou”). He memorised it on the first night.
At age 17, Venerable Tsang Hui took his vows and became a monk.
Although life on the mountains was hard, the Venerable was determined to make full use of his time. Every day he recited the Da Bei Zhou (The Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Mantra of Great Compassion) 108 times and read to improve his understanding of Buddhism.
Four months after taking his vows, the Venerable attended the San Zang Buddhist College conducted by Venerable Bai Sheng. At the completion of his courses at the Buddhist College, he went to Fu Yuan Vihara (Monastery) in Xin Zhu province, to study under Venerable Yin Shun.
About three years later, Venerable Tsang Hui served his mandatory national service, still in his monk’s robes.
After national service, he completed his senior secondary school in order to study education and mathematics at the Taiwan National Normal University.
The Venerable hoped that through his training in education, he would be more skilful in helping people.
After he graduated from University, Venerable taught at Zhi Guang College, investing the time to help facilitate communications between students and their parents.
Coming to Australia
In 1977, Venerable Tsang Hui left Taiwan and migrated to Australia. He was initially appointed abbot of the Prajna Hall, in Dixon Street, Sydney. Venerable spent some time studying English. At the same time, he tried his best to help the many war refugees that had arrived in Australia from Indo-China to overcome their spiritual and financial difficulties.
Some of these refugees had come to Australia with little more than the clothes on their backs. They knew no English and had very few skills by Australian standards. But these migrants came to Australia with high hopes of contributing to Australian society. Venerable Tsang Hui started a tuition class program to assist these refugee high school students. This tuition class has continued to today.
In 1981, with help of a few members, the first Buddhist Society at a NSW university was founded – the University of New South Wales Buddhist Society (UNIBUDS). Since its establishment, Venerable Tsang Hui together with Chao Khun Samai [from Wat Pa Buddharangsee Temple in Lumeah] has been appointed the patrons of the Society.
Together, they have tried to help the students distinguish Buddha’s teachings from the many cultural traditions and rituals that are far removed from the Four Noble Truths and the Three Universal Characteristics. The Society has now grown into a strong society at UNSW and continues to benefit many students.
In May 1985, the Hwa Tsang Monastery was formally founded with Venerable Tsang Hui as the Abbot. The Monastery aimed to promote Buddhism in Australia, as well as promote education, mutual understanding and friendship among Buddhists, and members of other religions. In addition, it hoped to provide welfare services to those in need and to provide a better learning environment. Venerable also considered, that with the establishment of the Monastery, more monks and nuns might be encouraged to study English in Australia. This would assist in spreading the Bodhi seeds to every corner of the world.
Buddhism in a modern world
Venerable Tsang Hui places great importance on cultivating the youth and providing a modern education. He believes that the understanding of modern science and society can help everyone keep up to date with developments in the world, as well as promote an understanding of all cultures. In this way, we may communicate effectively with all members of the society, and assist all sentient beings more effectively.
In the Venerable’s mind, everywhere is a practising field. Besides studying the Buddhist Tripitaka sutras, and the Chinese Mahayana Canon, the Da Zheng Zang, he has tried to realise the truth of Dharma in everything he encountered in life. The Venerable likes to use real-life examples in his Dharma talks. This allows the audience to understand that the teachings of the Buddha are related to our lives. It is not beyond the world where we live. Venerable is able to explain the profound teaching in simple language, so that all may understand and accept the teaching. When listening to the Venerable’s talk, we can feel both at ease, and joyful.
Since establishing the monastery with Main Hall, library, and monks and nuns quarters, in 1992, Venerable has set up various committees with devotees to assist in running the monastery properly. He regularly travels throughout Asia and Australia, giving dharma talks, holding retreats, providing support, encouragement, and guidance at many temples, and overseas university Buddhist societies. These overseas activities have also brought considerable support back to the Hwa Tsang Monastery.
Venerable Tsang Hui is the Vice President of the World Sangha Organisation. This organization provides a forum for Sangha representatives from all countries, as well as trying to support and encourage the promotion of the Buddha’s Teachings. Venerable Tsang Hui hopes that an Australian Sangha College will be established in Sydney, with the support of both local Australian, and overseas monks (and nuns).
In view of the scarcity of Mahayana resources in English, in 1994, Venerable Tsang Hui encouraged the formation of the Editing and Translating Committee at HTM to assist with translating the Miao Yun Collection, a valuable collection of “mini Tripitaka” written by late Venerable Yin Shun. Since then, 8 volumes of Selected Translations of Miao Yun have been published.
Venerable Tsang Hui has is the author of the following books:
Dharma and the Daily Life (English)
Zucchini and Tofu (English)
Dharma and Daily Life Part 1 &Part 2 (Chinese)
Discourse on the Sutra of the Buddha’s Bequeathed Teachings (Chinese)
Unhindered Mind – An Exposition on the Heart Sutra (Chinese)
Discourse on Chapter on Gratitude of The Mahayana Sutra of Mind Contemplation (Chinese)