True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall
Retreat Center for Chan Enlightenment
True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall is located in the serene and beautiful town of Daxi, Taoyuan County, Tawian. Its construction was completed on April 15, 2007. The hall was established to commemorate Chan Patriarch Yuanwu Keqin. The location is also the bodhimanda (retreat center) for the 3 days Chan retreat (精進禪三) of the True Enlightenment Practitioners Association. Many Buddhist practitioners attained enlightenment (明心) and saw their Buddha Nature (見性) at this location by realizing their True Mind and following the sequential practice on the path of a bodhisattva, respectively. Furthermore, True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall carries on Buddha Sakyamuni’s teaching of the Three-Vehicle Bodhi and continues to propagate the Dharma of Chan School. It is a contemporary Buddhist center for selecting future buddha candidates, also known as Xuanfo Chang (選佛場) in Chan School where candidates deepen their cultivation and advance to awakening via Chan contemplation in the 3 days enhancement program.
Below is a description of True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall from the records of the “Ceremony of Enshrining the Buddha Statue in the True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall.”
Chan Hall is a tall, wide, and bright hall that is very different from ordinary shrines. It is adorned with the sacred statues of Buddha Sakyamuni, Bodhisattva Avalokitêśvara, and Bodhisattva Maitreya. Directly in front of the entrance to the hall, the statue of Bodhisattva Skanda is enshrined to protect the propagation of True Dharma and the Buddhists of the four assemblies in the hall where future Buddha candidates will be selected.
True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall in Daxi continues to witness the transmission of the Three-Vehicle bodhi lineage. Currently, more than six hundred Buddhist disciples have personally realized the True Mind, tathāgatagarbha, and continue to follow Venerable Pingshi to share the task of propagating Buddha Dharma of the Tathagata. More Buddhist disciples will attain enlightenment via Chan contemplation at the Patriarch Hall in the future.
Bodhisattva Yuanwu Keqin, Dongshan Chan Patriarch
The statue of Dongshan Chan's (東山禪) Patriarch Yuanwu Keqin (克勤圜悟祖師) is enshrined on the right-hand side of the hall facing the central altar. This is one of the reasons why this bodhimanda for the 3 days of Chan enhancement for enlightenment is called "True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall" as during the 3 days retreat for Chan enlightenment program at the hall, candidates and participants in the program can also resort to Patriarch Keqin for help through praying in front of the statue.
Venerable Pingshi often remembers the beneficence and grace of Master Keqin in one of his past life. To pay for deferential respect for Master Keqin, Venerable Pingshi commissioned the carving of the statue of Chan Patriarch Keqin by enshrining statue of Patriarch Keqin at the hall so that the Chan practitioners of the four assemblies can personally feel the aura of Patriarch Keqin.
Master Yuanwu Keqin was born in the eighth year of the Jiayou period of Emperor Renzong, Northern Song dynasty (1063). He entered parinirvana in the fifth year of the Shaoxing period of Emperor Gaozong, Southern Song dynasty (1135). He was highly respected by Emperors Gaozong and Huizong of Song dynasty who granted him the title "Yuanwu", in reverence of his achievement in enlightenment. He was also summoned by the emperor to be the abbot of Zhenru temple at the Yunju Mountain in Jiangxi Province, China. Countless relics of him were left behind after his cremation. He was granted a posthumous title of the Chan Master of True Enlightenment. Yuanwu Keqin was well known at all levels of society for his eloquent rendition of the profound meanings of the Flower Garland Sutra and other essential teachings of the Chan School. He authored the ten volumes of the Blue Cliff Record, which gives clear instructions about the correct approach to koan and is hailed by later generations as the number 1 text of the Chan School.
Background of the True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall
The term “Patriarch Hall” was originally used in the Chan School. The main hall of True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall in the town of Daxi is dedicated to the worship of Buddha Sakyamuni, Bodhisattva Avalokitêśvara, and Bodhisattva Maitreya. The statue of Bodhisattva Skanda is located near the entrance to the main hall. The sacred statue of Dongshan Chan Patriarch Yuanwu Keqin is located inside the main hall on the right side of the altar where statue of Buddha Sakyamuni is located. This arrangement is different from that of other ordinary Buddhist temples and hence the name “Patriarch Hall”.
Venerable Pingshi specifically enshrines a statue of Grand Master Yuanwu Keqin in the Chan Hall because he had realized the True Mind and seen the Buddha nature as a student under the master in a past life. To commemorate and pay deferential respect to his teacher, and continue the lineage of Dharma transmission, he called the retreat center “Patriarch Hall."
The Venerable Pingshi stated: “One’s loss of memory about the past life due to rebirth does not hinder the cultivation path. One will attain enlightenment on one’s own accord if the condition for Dharma is present. The prajna (wisdom) cultivated and realized in the past lives will manifest and one will continue to practice with a realization even better than those in the previous lives. I used to be a monk in India in my past life. I was only able to realize the True Mind then and was unable to see the Buddha Nature. About nine hundred years ago, I was able to realize the True Mind and see the Buddha Nature as a student under my teacher, Chan Master Keqin.”
After the official opening ceremony of the Patriarch Hall on April 15, 2007, Venerable Pingshi announced the following at the members’ meeting in the afternoon: “Master Keqin’s kindness to me is very difficult to repay. All my propagation activities and promotion of the correct teachings of the Buddha in my entire life or this statue made to worship him can never be enough to express my admiration for and gratitude to him. I am still moved by his grace, and my hair still stands on its edge whenever I think about it. Although I do not know where Master Keqin had vowed to be reborn to protect and promote the teachings of the Buddha at the present moment, to repay the beneficence and grace of the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and patriarchs, our association needs to have more enlightened people to expand the power and majestic dignity of True Dharma. In fact, a thousand years ago, Grand Master Keqin already reminded his students that the strength of True Dharma depends upon having more enlightened people.”
Views of True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall
We are open to visitors on certain dates only and we welcome Buddhists from all over the world to visit our True Enlightenment Patriarch Hall on open days. Please invite your friends and relatives to come here for Buddhist rituals and make connection with the Dharma. You can arrange your own day trip to nearyby town of Daxi and Yingge for your trip after visiting the Hall.
Address: No. 235, Lane 650, Xinyi Road, Meihua District, Daxi City, Taoyuan ( The main access road is Provincial Highway No. 3, enter at the slope opposite Myohoji Temple.)
大溪鎮美華里信義路650巷坑底5之6號(台 3 號省道 34 公里處，妙法寺對面斜坡道進入)
Open Day: Due to Covide-19 pandemic, please double check with the Headquarter Office for the re-opening hour first. Thank you!