Shandong Culture

Art Special: Spiritual quest

By Wang Qian (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-09

Nearly blind, Buddhist master Hsing Yun continues to create calligraphy that inspires, reports Wang Qian.

A month-long exhibition of one-stroke calligraphy works by Buddhist master Hsing Yun at Shandong Provincial Museum attracted disciples, art enthusiasts and collectors from across the country.

The exhibition from June 8 to July 6 displayed more than 100 fine Chinese calligraphy works, scripts and pictures from Hsing Yun, founder of Taiwan's influential Fo Guang Shan Temple.

Hsing Yun was born in 1927 in Jiangsu province. His original name is Li Guoshen.

He devoted his life to spreading humanistic Buddhism, which emphasizes on the integration of spiritual practices in people's daily lives and aims to promote peace and harmony among all human beings.

He has established more than 200 Buddhist temples across the world including the Fo Guang Shan Temple built in 1967.

Suffering from diabetes for more than 40 years, retinal detachment and other eye conditions, Hsing Yun can barely see.

But he continues creating calligraphy by using his shaking hands in a distinctive one-stroke calligraphy style.

The one-stroke calligraphy style means that every work is done in one swift brushstroke. A pause makes it difficult to continue to the next character due to Hsing Yun's poor eyesight.

Traditional calligraphic theories and techniques are not applicable when viewing Hsing Yun's works.

His works are considered rich in Buddhist thought. They bring viewers in touch with the great mind of a Buddhist master, as well as his blessings and teaching.

"The show provides us a rare chance to feel the Buddhist master's reflections on life and the spiritual inspiration in his unique artwork," Yan Shiyuan, head of Shandong United Front Work Department, said at the exhibition's opening ceremony.

"I hope it can also build a cultural exchange and cooperation platform between Shandong and Taiwan," he added.

Hsing Yun, present at the opening ceremony of the exhibition, donated one of his writings to the Shandong Provincial Museum.

"Shandong is the hometown of Confucius, whose thought is a key part of traditional Chinese culture. Confucian creeds have inspired me since I was a child," Hsing Yun said.

Hsing Yun has donated about $1 million since 2008 to establish a public education trust fund.

The fund supports charity programs by using the income he receives from his artworks.

His finest works have toured the United States, China and Europe to help sustain the charitable endeavors.

On the Chinese mainland, Hsing Yun's calligraphy exhibitions have been held in more than 10 cities including Beijing, Tianjin and Hainan.

In 2013, he won the You Bring Charm to the World Award sponsored by a dozen Chinese media to honor those who have great influence and make outstanding contributions to Chinese communities.

Contact the writer at

 Art Special: Spiritual quest

Locals practice Hsing Yun's style at the Shandong Provincial Museum. Ju Chuanjiang for China Daily

 Art Special: Spiritual quest

Although Hsing Yun can barely see, he continues creating calligraphy by using his shaking hands in a distinctive one-stroke calligraphy style. Provided to China Daily

Art Special: Spiritual quest

(China Daily 07/09/2014 page7)