The first Fo Guang Shan temple in the Philippines – FGS Chu Un Temple – was established in Cebu in 1989 under the direction of Ven. Yung Guang, the current Abbess of Fo Guang Shan in the Philippines. Over the years, branch temples were constructed in three more cities – FGS Yuan Thong Temple in Bacolod City, FGS Mabuhay Temple in Manila and Fo Guang Yuan in Ilo-ilo.
In Manila, a Dharma Center was first put up in Aranque Street in Chinatown. To accommodate the increasing number of devotees, the center was transferred to a historical building in Pablo Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz St.) that was occupied previously by the Russian embassy and it was renamed as Fo Guang Shan Manila Lecture Hall.
Following the guidelines of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the Fo Guang Shan Manila Lecture Hall propagated the Dharma through activities that emphasized the promotion of education and culture such as youth summer camps, children’s classes and Dharma lectures. With the assistance of the local Buddhist community, it was able to hold a seven day exhibition of Buddha statues at the Century Park Hotel, a pioneering undertaking in the history of Philippine Buddhism that attracted a huge number of people, including non-Buddhists. In 1995, Fo Guang Shan Manila hosted the board meeting of Buddha’s Light International Association. It also led relief operations during times of calamities. Through these efforts, Fo Guang Shan Manila has successfully integrated itself into Philippine society and has become a regular participant in cultural and religious exchanges.
In 2002, the foundation was laid for a ten-story multi-functional building right beside the old lecture hall that now houses Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple – the main branch temple of FGS in the Philippine. Headed by its Abbess, Venerable Miao Jing, and guided by the Abbess of Fo Guang Shan in the Philippines, Ven. Yung Guang, FGS Mabuhay Temple continues to hold programs and activities that follows the four pillars of Fo Guang Shan:
- To propagate Buddhist teachings through cultural activities
- To foster talent through education
- To benefit society through charitable programs
- To purify human hearts and minds through Buddhist practice