Message from the Abbot

The First Opium War that began in 1840 was the beginning of modern Chinese history. At that time, the people who’ve suffered from the constant war with foreign invasions flooded into Hong Kong, which brought a great deal of human resources to Hong Kong. Buddhism and Buddhist clergies also moved to Hong Kong, they began to build huts and meditation rooms in the mountains and woods, several small huts and meditation rooms were constructed successively, and then they lived simple monastic and agricultural life. According to the statistics of Ven. Yong Ming in the Buddhism and Monasteries in Hong Kong, until the fall of Hong Kong in 1941, there were 94 huts and meditative rooms, among them, the "Big Thatched Hut" established by Ven. Da Yue, Dun Xiu and Yue Ming was the most well-known one.

In 1924, Ven. Ji Xiu come to Hong Kong from the Jinshan Temple of Zhen Jiang. Under the requests of the monks, he became the chief incumbent of "Big Thatched Hut", and renamed the hut as Po Lin Monastery. Ven. Da Yue, Dun Xiu and Yue Ming were later known as the founders of Po Lin Monastery, and Ven. Ji Xiu as the first Abbot of Po Lin Monastery.

The first Abbot, Venerable Ji Xiu turned the desolate place into arable land and with his calling attracted devoted monks and laymen and established the rustic style of Buddhist Ch'an (Zen) life in Hong Kong. During the war and tremulous times, Venerable Fat Ho, the second Abbot, committed his exceptional vision and enormous effort in building and expanding the monastery, establishing rules and disciplines for the monastic order, and raising funds and building schools for education whilst spreading Buddha teachings. His enormous contribution laid a solid and unshakable foundation for the subsequent progressive development of Po Lin Monastery. The third Abbot, Venerable Tsang Sau devoted to spreading the Dharma and developing the sangha, achieving many merits and delivering many sentient beings. Venerable Wai Ming, the fourth Abbot, had great foresight in establishing active communication with the Buddhist order in Mainland. At his time, the monastery was presented with a treasured copy of Qianlong Tripitaka, bridging a communication gap of 30 years between the two places, also paving the way for Chinese Buddhist order's generous support and donations to the building of the Tian Tan (Altar of Heaven) Big Buddha Statue in Po Lin Monastery. Venerable Sing Yat, the fifth Abbot, led the monastic order in seeing to the building and opening of the Big Buddha Statue, raising Hong Kong Buddhist order's profile at the international level, establishing its position in the international cultural and art arena. Venerable Chor Wai, the sixth Abbot achieved in organizing and delivering large-scaled talks and seminars, spreading Buddha's teachings to the general lay people, to the benefit of the wider community in the long term. Venerable Chi Wai, the seventh Abbot made great efforts to built the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas that echoes the Tian Tan (Altar of Heaven) Big Buddha Statue, made the Po Lin Monastery a integrated Buddhist resorts that gathers Buddhist cultures, garden landscape, sculpture art, tradition and modernization, and contributed towards the building of over 300 schools under the Project Hope in Mainland China.

The Po Lin Monastery has a history of more than hundred years, and has been through the period of valuing both agriculture and Zen, giving higher ordination in the autumn, establish the monastic tradition, education the monks, public charity, Dharma preaching, building the Big Buddha Statue, the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas and so on. Today, the information era has come; the Po Lin Monastery will take this opportunity to develop Chinese Buddha Mooc based on the new concept and technologies, to explore the new model of Buddhist education, to propagation the Dharma, to establish the right view and make Buddhism flourish.

The development of Po Lin Monastery is part of Hong Kong history, which is inseparable from the support of the community. I hope the people of Hong Kong will continue to support us in spreading the Dharma and in contributing to the continuous development of education, cultural and community services, to join us and create greater glories for the benefits of Hong Kong and all the sentient beings.

I wish you all good health and well being. May you be blessed with auspiciousness.


Sik Jing Yin