On Nov. 4th our China delegation visited Bailin Monastery (柏林禪寺）and Abbot Minghai. Bailin Si is a large Chan Monastery close to Beijing; in recent years many Western Dharma-friends have joined cultivation sessions there. Master Minghai has opened the doors to foreigners seeking to learn the Dharma through actual practice. He is a graduate of Beijing University, and his fellow alumni, Mr. Han Song, editor of China Religions magazine encouraged us to pay a visit. Master Minghai welcomed us warmly; we paid reverence to the tall Zhaozhou Pagoda, saw the Chan Hall, had lunch then drove to the world-famous Zhaozhou Bridge. On our return Master Minghai invited us to speak Dharma to his Buddhist Studies Academy students.
We learned that Minghai has traveled to Europe to teach Chan in English; further he sponsors a Summer Session for Beijing University students and other youth each year. We look forward to future collaboration between DRBA and the Sangha at Bailin Monastery.Chinese Press report on DRBA visit to Bailin Si.
Master Minghai mentioned that when he first began to study the Dharma seriously, he was still a college student at Beijing University. During the early 90s it was not safe to advertise religious belief publicly, so he read mimeod versions of Master Hsuan Hua's commentaries quietly, in his own room. He then became the first Beijing University graduate to leave the home life and cultivate as a monk. Now Beijing University students can practice Dharma openly, and following his example, many students have ordained after their graduation.