Master Hsing Yun, born in 1927, is the founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order as well as the affiliated Buddha’s Light International Association, one of the largest international Buddhist organizations in Taiwan and in the Buddhist world. Hsing Yun is a forty-eighth generation lineage holder of the Linji Chan (Rinzai Zen) school through Master Zhi Kai, his teacher. He served as the first, second and third term director and abbot of the order before voluntarily resigning his position in 1985 in favor of his disciple, Hsin Ping (Source: Wikipedia).
In his younger days, during the Cultural Revolution, he was arrested by the communist in China and forced to work in the fields. Five of his friends attempted to runaway but was caught and later shot dead.
After he was released, he boarded a ship to Taiwan. When he reached Taiwan, he was homeless and often slept by rubbish dumps. He owned only the robe he was wearing and walk for miles and miles until he came to a temple which a monk took him in out of sympathy. He had to work very hard in the temple, doing menial tasks like cleaning, cooking and washing the laundry. Despite the long hours working, he still set aside time to study and learn the Dharma. He slept very late, staying up late to chant and transfer merits to all suffering beings.
One day, Kuan Yin appeared to him. She was radiating a bright light and surrounded by stars and accompanied by arahants and other Bodhisattvas. Kuan Yin reached out and touched his forehead at the spot between his eyebrows (third eye center) and ever since then, he became very intelligent and could remember everything that he had learnt. He spent every waking moment learning the Dharma. He subsequently wrote over three hundred Buddhist books which became best sellers.
One day, while traveling in a bus with about two hundred students in the south of Taiwan, he had a vision of a Dhamapala on a plot of land and he heard voices calling out to him to build his temple there.
He subsequently approached his temple committee to request for funds to build a temple there but was rejected. Therefore, he decided to fund the temple on his own. He gave speeches and raised donations for the temple and was eventually successful.