As many as one hundred monks may have left the embattled Bliss and Wisdom organization, says an informed source. In a ten-thousand word letter detailing the problems plaguing the monks, Ven Xing Rong said:
Last year 14 monks left. At the start of this year, 4 or 5 have left. Many more people are making plans to leave, because we must take responsibility for our own lives. Nobody wants to die with regrets, so we must start fighting now.
Recently, two former abbots of Bliss and Wisdom’s Fengshan Monastery have left. They are the first abbot Ven Fan Yin, and the second abbot Ven Jing Ming.
Ven Jing Ming, who left the organization on 23 May this year, made an announcement through his brother Greg Hsieh’s Facebook page:
The announcement reads:
I prostrate to my teacher Avalokiteshvara:
Your disciples Jing Ming and Xing Kong have left the monastery to study elsewhere, and hereby take leave from you. As the vinaya says, “if there are disputes, and you have the strength to resolve it, speak to the monks and seek to resolve it; if not, leave.” It also says, “if disciples wish to study elsewhere, their master should allow it. But they should ensure that there is an attendant for their master.”
Thank you for your 17 years of guidance. We will practice well to repay your kindness. Please bless us so that our studies may go well. We pray for your good health, longevity, and may you remain long in this world to teach the dharma.
Your disciples Jing Ming and Xing Kong bow to you
23 May 2017
Ven Jing Ming maintained a low profile since leaving the monastery, but on 5 Aug he attended a meeting of senior Taiwanese monks at Nanputuo Temple, where they discussed Bliss and Wisdom’s recent scandals. That very day, Bliss and Wisdom issued an official statement declaring that Ven Jing Ming was expelled.
Bliss and Wisdom’s Taiwanese monks were originally housed in Dabei Vihara in Gukeng Township, Yunlin County, but moved to Hushan Campus in 2015. Hushan Campus formerly belonged to Transworld University. Currently, there are around 400 novice monks of elementary, middle and high school age living in Hushan Campus, with hundreds more in Prince Edward Island, Canada. According to Taiwanese education law, K-12 schooling is compulsory. Therefore, Bliss and Wisdom registered their young novices, who live in the monastery and do not attend school, as students in Bliss and Wisdom Edu Park, their K-12 school in Gukeng Township. This illegal practice worried Bliss and Wisdom for many years. After intensive lobbying, the Taiwanese legislature passed a law permitting alternative education programmes, which allowed Bliss and Wisdom to register Hushan Campus as “Bliss and Wisdom Institute”. Sources state that the novices are in the process of being legalized.
After learning of Ven Jing Ming’s departure, Bliss and Wisdom guru Mary Jin, then in Canada, held a video conference with the monks in Hushan Campus. Listen to the leaked audio recording (in Chinese):
Mary Jin told the monks that after she learnt of Ven Jing Ming’s departure, “my tears kept falling, I was really very sad.” Mary Jin expressed her bewilderment at Ven Jing Ming’s departure, which she claimed was very sudden, and declared, “no matter where he is, I will hunt him down”. In the video conference, Mary Jin interrogated the senior monks one by one, asking them if they were going to stay in the monastery for the rest of their lives. She told the monks that “we must journey together, all the way till the end”.