The more than two-thousand-years long history of Buddhism development can be deemed as a history of Buddhism education. The successful continuation of the religion’s development up to the present day could never be separated from the devotion of the numerous generations of believers along history, who spared no efforts in the promotion of Buddhism education. As one of the earliest regions where Buddhism was introduced and preached, Guangdong received the first visits by Indian monks as early as in the Three-Kingdoms period, and since then on great Buddhist figures continued to come to the area to preach Buddhism. Especially after Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Zen lineage, received his ordination in Guangxiao Temple and started his teaching of sudden enlightenment, the region moved into a new era of Buddhism education as the school of sudden enlightenment, which was also called the southern school, gained great popularity across the country. Most of the Buddhist practitioners of the Guangdong area had then turned to the teaching of the southern school and, taking it as their basic reference, developed a great variety of teaching methods in accordance to the specific conditions of the people in different times.
However, the education of Buddhism in Guangdong has experienced much up-and-downs in modern history. According to literary records, Buddhism colleges had once been set up in different places like Meizhou and Guangzhou in the early years of the Republic of China, but soon died away for different reasons. Even the Lingdong Buddhism College, established by Master Tai Xu in 1933, had been stopped for several times. After the founding of the People’s Republic of
To integrate resources, in recent years the Guangdong Buddhism Society and the four Buddhism colleges are seeking to establish jointly the Guangdong Buddhism College. The headquarter of the College will be set up in the Society, which is to be headed by Rev.Mingsheng, director of the Society. There will be four branches below the College, i.e., the branches of Caoxi, Lingdong, Yunmen, and the branch for nuns. The Caoxi branch is to generate talents who will be engaged in academic research, cultural exchange, and teaching of the Chan tradition. The branch for nuns will cultivate qualified nuns who have due monastery management skills and the spirit of dedication. The Lingdong branch is to produce Buddhist personnel of Chaozhou dialect for the eastern area of Guangdong. Lastly, the Yunmen branch will emphasize on cultivating Chan (zen) practitioners.