Introduction: Building the Foundation of Buddhism in America

In the present Dharma-ending age, the Buddha's valuable teachings need people to propagate them so that living beings will be able to understand the Buddhadharma and follow it to walk the path of liberation. Seeing that Buddhism in China was only concentrating on superficial aspects and could not plant its roots deeply, and wishing to cause Buddhism to flourish, the Venerable Master said,

I knew that I was only an insignificant person whose words were of no consequence in China. I didn't have any status or position, and so even if I shouted until my throat was sore, no one would have believed me. So I made a vow to make a fresh start in the West by reforming Buddhism and causing it to flourish here, so that people would know what Buddhism is really all about. Why did I come to America to propagate the Buddhadharma? This country's history is not very long, and the people have not developed crafty habits. They are all very honest, so it's very easy for them to cultivate according to the Dharma and accept the principles of Buddhism. That's the reason I came to this country to propagate the Buddhadharma. I hope all the people will be able to understand the genuine principles of Buddhism.

- Excerpt from an article by Equal Wisdom,
p. 93, "In Memory of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, Vol. I"