The founder of Fo Guang Shan(F.G.S.), Venerable Master Hsing Yun, abbess Hsing Tin and three members of the religious comity of F.G.S. – venerables Tzu Zuang, Tzu Hui and Tzu Jung -, had decided to found a new temple. They had consulted Venerable I-Chao for taking the position of abbess to this new temple, and she accepted this assignment.
Founding of this temple has been done according to the basics and aim of F.G.S.:
- spread the Buddhist concepts, also by means of cultural exchanges and activities;
- help to develop talents, skills and good qualities of people by means of good education;
- stimulate positive developments in society by means of charity projects;
- purify heart and soul of all people by giving them the opportunity of learning to practice Buddhism.
With assistance of Mr. Jian Ji-Ming, gentlemen H.F.W. Lo, F. Man and M. Chen made the request to F.G.S. for cooperation in building a temple in Amsterdam. In 1994 the gentlemen had officially permission of the Municipality of Amsterdam for founding a temple on the playground at the Zeedijk. The same year, Venerable Master Hsing Yun paid a visit to The Netherlands. He has been invited to attend the “Overseas Chinese Annual Convention”. After this convention he visited the playground and he granted the request to found a temple on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam.
On September 15th, 2000, Her Majesty Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands, opened the temple in person. Globally this has been an unique event for Buddhism, because she has been the first statesman ever, who supported Buddhism in public. The queen did not solely had the opinion of supporting other religions and cultures, but she also proved this with her physical appearance. On this occasion devotees from several countries attended: like Taiwan, France, United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. The entire Liondance Society performed in front of Her Majesty the Queen and the other attendants.
A long lease agreement has been made with the Municipality of Amsterdam for a period of hundred years. The ground-area measures 508 m2 and the living and working area of this temple measures 1659 m2. The Guan Yin Shrine, the main hall, is the entrance hall of the temple. One level below you will find the Jade Buddha Shrine. The temple also has a Ch’an hall (meditation hall), a hall for honoring ancestors, a meeting room, classrooms, a library, a dining room and bedrooms.
This temple has been designed by Fred Greven, a Dutch architect. The construction company Sikking has built the temple. Venerable I-Chao has been the very first abbess of this temple.
Our special gratitude goes out to Wei-Jeng Lai, A-Jaw Lee Lo, Huai-Jen Gu Jaw, Fred Man, Henry F.W. Lo, Pamela Chen, Munan Chen, Kelly C.C. Lam, John Fong, Rob Fens and relatives — they have made an extraordinary contribution — and all the other donors.
The name of our organization: Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple means: Giving us hope, being a blossoming lotusflower for Buddhism in the Netherlands.