The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (萬佛聖城, Wànfó Shèngchéng) is situated in Talmage, Mendocino Country, California, about 180km north of San Francisco, and about 2 miles east of Ukiah. It is the first international Buddhist monasteries established by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in the United States. It occupies an area of 488 acres (about twenty-five the size of the grounds of the White House), of which 80 acres are presently been used, and the rest of the land includes meadows, orchards and forests.

Initially, this had been the site of a large state hospital established by the California government in 1930’s. However, the hospital was forced to close down due to insufficient water supply. Having a great vow to promote Proper Dharma to the West, the Venerable Master had purchased the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. The Master used his wisdom eyes to locate a water source and tapped his cane on the ground and then he hired workers to evacuate a well. A miraculous things happened. A prolong water crisis that the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas suffered had solved with this inconceivable event.

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has its lateral meaning. “(Wàn)” represents
infinity, “
(fó) represents Buddha, while “聖城(Shèngchéng)means a sanctuary city. “萬佛(Wànfó)”does not mean present Buddhas, but future Buddhas-Buddhist disciples who have made the resolve for Bodhi, are making it now, or will make it in the future. These ten thousand future Buddhas will come to accomplish Buddhahood at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

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The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua (宣化上人)underwent countless hardships to establish the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. The Master upholds Six Great Principles that is to stop all thoughts of fighting, greed, seeking, selfishness, pursuing personal advantage and lying as well as promoting harmony and peace among religions. Venerable Master had once said: “Education has been my lifelong ambition.”

Seventy large buildings were constructed here with over 2,000 rooms of various sizes that can accommodate 20,000 persons, three gymnasiums, a fire station, a swimming pool, a refuse incinerator, fire hydrants, and various other facilities. A paved road wound its way through the complex, lined with tall street lamps and trees over a hundred years old.

Some of the main features at the City

    • Yellow roof tiles and red brick walls were distinctive hallmarks of the Mountain Gate at the entrance to the City. The surrounding grass fields provide ample space for an audience of over ten thousand people.

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    • The verdant green trees inside the City provide the shade. There are dozen or so cottages with gardens along the road. The City really lives up to its name as the Venerable Master said, “Don’t come to the mountain treasures and return empty-handed.”
    • A majestic and adorned statue of the Thousand-Handed, Thousand-Eyed Guanshiyin Bodhisattva in the hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas is nearly twenty feet high. It is crowned with transformation Buddhas, with thousand hands in the front and back, each with a compassionate eye in its palm. By reciting the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva with pure mind and full concentration, one’s wishes may come true.

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    • The interior walls of the Jeweled Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas are lined with compartments, each containing a Buddha image. There are a total of more than one thousand large and small Buddha images.

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    • There are four twenty-foot high Murals of Great Heavenly King adorned the corners of the Buddha Hall: Heavenly King Virupaksha (“broad eyes”) of the West, Heavenly King Dhrtarastra (“one who upholds the country”) of the East, Heavenly King Virudhaka (“increasing”) of the South and Heavenly King Vaishravana (“widely learned”) of the North.
    • One can see mirrors on all four sides when one walks into the Ordination Platform Hall. The endless reflections make one feel as if one has entered the Flower Adornment state.

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    • Instilling Goodness Elementary and Developing Virtue secondary schools at the City of Ten thousand Buddhas offer bilingual education in English and Chinese. Students learn to be filial to their parents and respectful to their teachers and elders, and to be good citizens of the world, and thus benefiting all of humankind.

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    • Dharma Realm Buddhist University emphasizes on humaneness, righteousness, the Way, and the Virtue. The university aims at educating students to become wise and virtuous leaders in the world. A course of Chinese brush calligraphy is also offered to members of the local community in the university.
    • Dharma Realm Buddhist University library at the City is the largest library in Mendocino Country. It is opened to all students, teachers, and the residents of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. It has large collections of scriptures, books, periodicals, publications and general works on Buddhism in English and Chinese.
    • International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts is an active translation center at the City. More works of Buddhist texts are translated from Chinese into English, French, Spanish, Vietnamese and Japanese.
    • Tower of Blessings is allocated by Master Hsuan Huan as home for elderly monastics. Every fall, virtuous elders are honored in the celebration of Respecting Elders Day. This celebration promotes the spirit of respecting elders.
    • All the flowers, grasses, trees, peacocks, squirrels, deer and other animals are speaking Dharma.
    • Junkang (“To your Health”) vegetarian restaurant serves pure vegetarian and healthful nutritious food free of MSG.

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    • One can see Three Sages of the Pure Land: Amitabha Buddha, Guanyin Bodhisattva, and Great Strength Bodhisattva at the Rebirth Hall.

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    • There is a big Buddha and large censer on the north end, outside the Jeweled Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Also seen are brass bells, each one cast with a Sanskrit syllable for a magical mantra.

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