Precept Burns

Forum: Traditions > East Asian Buddhism > Chinese Buddhism > Chan
Date: Aug 23 2008, 12:06 PM
Thread title: Title “Reverend” in the Chinese Chan Tradition, for lay or ordained practitioners?

Forum member:

The Order of Hsu Yun has a page with photos of disciples, some whom appear to be monks and nuns and others who appear to be lay teachers:

I was wondering if Chinese Ch’an has orders that are more along the Japanese style of clergy with married people holding minesterial roles and considered ordained clergy.

I was a little confused because from reading what is available of the late Master Hsu Yun’s writings in English, it seemed he was a staunch advocate of monastic Vinaya.

Huifeng E-sangha Founding Member

Hello brother

Having a look over that link, a couple of thoughts:

1. It does say “clerical” members. Also, they have a couple of upasikas at the bottom. This tends to imply that the rest are members of the Samgha (in the old fashioned sense that means monastic samgha).

2. They use “Reverend” and not “Venerable”, but a few groups do that, so nothing out of the ordinary at all.

3. Most seem to be ordained (what sort of ordination, it doesn’t say, see below) in the last 10 years or so.

4. The abbot, co-abbot and directors were only ordained within the last 10 years. That is not very long, usually. Apparently the abbot became the abbot as soon as he was ordained! hmmm…. But most of them seem in their middle age, so they could have been practicing for quite some time. I guess.

5. It states explicitly (as if making a strong point about it), that one of them received “10-master ordination”. Well, in the Vinaya of any school, Chinese Chan included, basically any bhiksu/ni ordination requires “ten acaryas”. So, lucky for that person. But … what does that say about the other ordinations? hmmm….

6. A few of them have a lot more hair than I have seen on monastics before.

7. Some are wearing a “green” robe. Yes, a kasaya which is green. I have never heard of that, let alone seen that, before. Quite … special.

8. I can’t see any “precept burns” on the head. However, the PRoC has since banned these. They do them in Taiwan and HK though, also Singapore, Malaysia, etc. and at the CTTB, still.


2 Responses to “Precept Burns”

  1. eric johns 星力 Says:

    I am a “cleric” in this order, it is a broad international organisation, we hold ten precepts seriously, a bit like the Japanese style. some of us are ex monks (I have the incense scars & more severe burns, souvenirs from Hong Kong) Where my teacher late Master Sing Yi encouraged me to go & practice with other westerners & teach Chan theory. One Cleric in Sweden is an abbot with branch temples, many are very active and some are quiet hermit like practitioners like my self. We were authorised by Master Dr Din who was sent by Master Hsu Yun to plough new soil in the West. Our creation was his idea.
    Is there anything you wish to know? I can try & find out.
    With palms together, most respectfully, Upasika Sing Li-^-

  2. eric johns 星力 Says:


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