Uniting the Northern and Southern Traditions
Although sudden and gradual are different,
At the time of achievement they are one.
Why distinguish between north and south?
Sages and commoners temporarily differ,
But their basic natures are the same
Whether they are from the east or the west.
~ Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
traveled to Thailand and Burma in his youth to investigate into the
Southern Tradition of Buddhism, the Venerable Master was set to heal
the two thousand year old rift between the Northern (Mahayana) and
Southern (Theravada) traditions. In America, the Venerable Master
encouraged cordial relations between the Sangha communities from both
the Northern and Southern traditions. As always, he would set an
example by leading the way. For example, on the occasion of the opening
ceremony for the Dharma Realm Buddhist University, he presented
Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda of the Southern Tradition with an honorary
Ph.D. The Master would also invite Bhikshus from both Traditions to
jointly conduct the High Ordination. The Master's noble efforts in this
area culminated in the historic meeting of Sangha members from both the
Northern and Southern traditions at the Amaravati Buddhist Centre in
England in 1990.
During the various
ordination ceremonies held at the City, the Venerable Master would
extend special invitations to distinguished Bhikshus from both the
Northern and Southern traditions to jointly conduct the Ordination
Sangha members from both the Northern and Southern traditions unite at the Amaravati Buddhist Centre in England, 1990.
In May 1991,
the Amaravati Buddhist Centre in England sent senior monk Ajahn Amaro
as a representative to make offerings of robes and almsbowls to the
Sangha led by the Venerable Master. This ritual symbolized an exchange
between the Northern and Southern traditions, writing a new page in the
history of Buddhism.