In 1994 a few prominent Chinese entrepreneurs filed a request with the Amsterdam City Council to build a Chinese Buddhist temple on the playground at the Zeedijk. The plans for the temple were designed in collaboration with the International Buddhist Progress Society (IBPS) under the guidance of Venerable Master Hsing Yun.
The temple was officially opened by queen Beatrix on the 15th of September in 2000 and has been daily use since.
The temple, is one of the many branches of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, found throughout the world. “Fo Guang Shan” is Mandarin for “Buddha” (fo), “light” (guano), and “mountain” (shan). The order was founded in 1965 by Venerable Master Hsing Yun and has its international headquarters in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Fo Guang Buddhism is rooted in the Mahayana tradition that emphasises that Buddha hood is within everyone’s potential reach. Fo Guang followers strive to bring Buddhism into their daily life and aptly term their faith “Humanistic Buddhism”. The objectives of the Fo Guang Shan are:
The Chinese He Hua Temple is built on Amsterdam’s Sea Dike, to encourage both spiritual development and cultural exchange. With its Chinese origin, the temple undoubtedly provides Buddhists from a Chinese background with a religious centre in a familiar setting. Equally important is the Temple’s role in making Buddhism more accessible to people from other backgrounds.
Buddhists do not aggressively proselytise to gain converts. For many, one of the great appeals of Buddhism is its focus on individual thinking and self-realization. The founder of Buddhism, Sakyamuni Buddha, said that no one should blindly follow his words; rather one should come to know life’s truths through one’s own experience and discovery.
The Chinese He Hua Temple actualises Master Hsing Yun’s words: “May the Buddha’s light shine in all realms, and the Dharma water flow in the five continents.