BUDDHISM IN MALAYSIA: An Independent Information Center about Buddhist Activities in Malaysia.

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Latest Happenings
1998 IN REVIEW

The six most significant Buddhist happenings in Malaysia

(1) VEN. CHUK MOR HONOURED WITH A DATUKSHIP

The Founding Chairman of the Malaysian Buddhist Association, Ven. Chuk Mor, was awarded with a datukship by the Governor Of Penang in July 1998. This is the highest state honour ever awarded to any Malaysian Buddhist monk so far. Ven. Chuk Mor has made tremendous contribution towards the development of Buddhism in Malaysia in his younger days. Although some purists feel that a Buddhist monk should not accept any worldly title, most Buddhists agree that the award should be interpreted as the government's official recognition on the contribution of Buddhism in nation building.

(2) MASTER HSIN YUN CHARMS MALAYSIANS AGAIN

Master Hsin Yun, the internationally renowned Buddhist leader from Fo Guang Shan Temple in Taiwan made a Dharma tour to Peninsular Malaysia in early May 1998. He gave a total of five public Dharma lectures in Johor Baru, Penang, Ipoh, Seremban and Melaka respectively. In Penang, Master Hsin Yun's public Dharma lecture was jointly organized by 60 organizations from the northern region and attracted nearly 20,000 people. During his visit to Malaysia, Master Hsin Yun also had the honour to become the first international Buddhist leader to meet the Malaysian Prime Minister, YAB Datuk Sri Dr. Mahathir, at his office to exchange views on various current issues. As Master Hsin Yun's visit was widely covered by the local media especially the Chinese press, it has greatly aroused public interest on Buddhism.

(3) LAY BUDDHISTS LEAD YBAM AGAIN

The Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia, YBAM, was first formed in 1970. Under the able leadership of several lay leaders like Upasaka Tan Gin Soon and Upasaka Leong Kok Hing, it developed into the most influential leading Buddhist national body in Malaysia, uniting more than 350 Buddhist organizations throughout the country. Nevertheless, when Upasaka Leong Kok Hing retired on reaching 40 years old, the presidentship was first taken over by a Mahayana monk, Ven. Chi Chern and subsequently by Ven. Kai Sear. In May 1998, the National Convention of YBAM elected Upasaka Chong Hung Wang as President replacing Ven. Kai Sear who had to retire. The newly elected YBAM National Council also includes Upasika Hea Ai Sim (Deputy President) and Upasaka Ng Sai Kai (General Secretary). With this new leadership of lay Buddhists, the YBAM should be more successful in uniting all Buddhists from various sects, races and language groups.

(4) MALAYSIAN BUDDHISM LOSES A SENIOR MONK

The passing away of Ven. Xiu Jing in August 1998 is a great loss to Malaysian Buddhism. Thousands of devotees thronged the Than Hsiang Temple in Bayan Baru daily to pay their last respect. Ven. Xiu Jing was a highly respected monk who practised and taught a particular form of Mahayana meditation in a small temple in Penang Hill. His devotion, cultivation and self-discipline have set good examples to monks and lay Buddhists in Malaysia.

(5) MBA INHERITS TENS OF MILLIONS OF RINGGIT

The Malaysian Buddhist Association was quite surprised to find itself named as the beneficiary of tens of millions of ringgit worth of cash, deposits and properties left behind by Ven. Long Hua, a Mahayana monk who passed away because of sickness and old age on 5th July 1998. Ven. Long Hua was well known for the taking care of the aged and the disabled. Although his methods of fund raising to support his charity work looked controversial to some, his compassion towards the less unfortunate was highly respected and praised by all Buddhists. The MBA has vowed to make good use of the fund inherited and to continue the good work started by Ven. Long Hua.

(6) FO GUANG SHAN CHANGES CHIEF ABBOT IN MALAYSIA

In recent years the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist sect from Taiwan has made inroads into Malaysia and become a very influential force with nearly 15 centres set up in various parts of the country. It is undeniable that its Chief Abbot, Ven. Hui Hai, was the major driving force behind the success story of Fo Guang Shan in Malaysia. Ven. Hui Hai, a Sabahan, is a very learned and hardworking missionary monk.Nevertheless, as part of Fo Guang Shan's strategy to expand internationally, Ven. Hui Hai was transferred to Paris in April 1998. Luckily he was replaced with another equally energetic missionary nun. Ven. Man Ya received her post-graduate education in America. Although She arrived here only not long ago, she has drawn up plans to further expand Fo Guang Shan in Malaysia. This is of course good news to Malaysian Buddhists, who always welcome any opportunities for them to learn more about the Dharma, not bothering about from where or from whom these opportunities originate.

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