Dharma Master Yin Shun (印順法師), who is credited leading a renaissance in Chinese Buddhism, passed away in Hualian's Tzu-Chi Hospital on Friday, aged 100.
Yin Shun was a mentor to Master Cheng Yen (證嚴法師) the founder of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation, and was honored by Tzu-Chi members as their "Shih Kung" (Teacher Patriarch).
He was a pioneer in developing the concept of "humanist Buddhism," the need for the monastic community to engage with the mundane world.
At a press conference yesterday, Master Shih Chao-hui (
Chao Hui said Yin Shun was a harsh critic of the superstition and idolatry into which Mahayana Buddhism had sunk, and abhorred the conflicts between various sects within the faith.
Although Yin Shun is closely associated with the Tzu-Chi Foundation, he has had a decisive influence on others of the new generation of Buddhist masters such as Master Sheng Yen (聖嚴法師) of Dharma Drum Mountain and Master Hsin Yun (星雲法師) of Fu Guang Shan, who are active in humanitarian aid, social work, environmentalism and academic research.
Yin Shun was born in 1906 in Haining County, Zhejiang Province. He became a monk in 1930 and pursed his religious studies at the Nantuo Temple in Xiamen, developing into a formidable scholar.
His is credited with raising the status of Mahayana Buddhism through his extensive writings and his insistence on theoretical rigor. In 1972, with the publication of his History of the Chinese Ch'an School (
Yin Shun traveled widely in Asia and lectured at many academic and religious organizations.
In March last year, he was awarded the Order of Propitious Clouds Second Class, for his contributions to the revitalization of Buddhism in Taiwan.