President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) were among the thousands of people who gathered in Kaohsiung yesterday for the funeral of Buddhist master Hsing Yun (星雲法師), the founder of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist organization.
Hsing Yun, who died on Feb. 5 at the age of 95, founded Fo Guang Shan as a monastery in 1967 and gradually grew it into an international religious organization with influence in education, charity and the media.
Police had anticipated that about 30,000 people would attend the event, many of whom ended up watching the proceedings on large screens set up outside Fo Guang Shan’s Cloud Dwelling Building, where the funeral took place.
Photo: Lee Hui-chou, Taipei Times
During the ceremony, which began at 9am, Tsai awarded Hsing Yun with a posthumous presidential citation in recognition of his “far-reaching impact and contributions to the state, society and religious life” of Taiwan.
Other political figures attending the event included Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Minister of the Interior Lin Yu-chang (林右昌).
An attendee who gave her name as Lee (李) said she had taken the day off work to pay her respects to the late religious leader, whom she admired for his “contributions to society and efforts to bring people closer to Buddhism.”
Photo: Lee Hui-chou, Taipei Times
Hsing Yun’s funeral also included a procession around the Fo Guang Shan grounds, during which many of his followers pressed their palms together, knelt or prostrated themselves as the vessel containing his body passed.
Following the funeral, Hsing Yun’s remains were scheduled to be taken to Tainan’s Dasian Temple (大仙寺) for cremation and interred at Fo Guang Shan’s Wanshou Garden.
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