Master Hsing Yun, one of most influential Chinese Buddhist passed away at 97

The founding patriarch of Fo Kung Shan (Buddha's Light Mountain), Venerable Hsing Yun, passed away Sunday afternoon at the age of 97. He has been hospitalized several times due to strokes in recent years, and in addition to his advanced age, his brain was showing signs of atrophy as well as degeneration.

Hsing Yun was a Chinese Buddhist monk, and the founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order as well as the affiliated Buddha's Light International Association.

Hsing Yun is considered to be one of the most prominent proponents of Humanistic Buddhism and one of the most influential teachers of modern Buddhism.

Master Hsing Yun's Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order focuses on “Humanistic” Buddhism, and Hsing Yun himself was the abbot of the order until his resignation in 1985.

Fo Guang Shan eventually grew to become one of the most significant social actors; the organization has established several schools and colleges, and runs orphanages, homes for the elderly, and drug rehabilitation programs in prisons. Fo Guang Shan has also been involved in various international relief efforts.

Fo Guang Shan entered mainland China in the early 21st century, focusing more on charity and Chinese cultural revival than on Buddhist propagation in order to avoid conflict with the Chinese government, which opposes proselytizing.

Fo Guang Shan's presence in China increased under the premiership of General Secretary Xi Jinping after he started a program to revive traditional Chinese faiths.

The order has several branches worldwide in at least fifty countries, and is also behind the establishment of some of the biggest Buddhist temples in Europe.

The news of the Venerable Hsing Yun’s passing has left many faithful devastated.