Fo Guang Shan, northeast of Kaohsiung city.

The head of one of Taiwan’s main Buddhist temples, Master Hsing Yun of Fo Kuang Shan, had a few words yesterday for the leaders of China:

The Dalai Lama’s envoys are due to fly to China from India on Saturday to meet their Chinese counterparts over the crisis in Tibet, the government-in-exile said, days after Beijing bowed to international pressure and agreed to fence-mending talks.

“It’s a very good thing the Dalai Lama’s envoys can come. It’s also a very good thing China is willing to accept (them),” Master Hsing Yun told Reuters during a visit to China.

Hsing Yun, abbot of Buddha Light Mountain temple in Taiwan’s southern port city of Kaohsiung, said China would be better off befriending the Dalai Lama, who has been demonized by Tibet’s hardline Communist Party boss and state media.

“The Dalai Lama is Tibet’s spiritual leader. Politically, (China) should turn (him) from an enemy into a friend,” Hsing Yun said in an interview.

Fo Kuang Shan is extremely politically well-connected and also heads a worldwide network of Buddhist temples. The head of the Buddhist Light Association in Taiwan is currently Wu Po-hsiung, the current Chairman of the KMT, who took it over from Hsing Yun in 1997. Some of you might recall the flap over Chinese donations to the Democrats in the US a few years back (senate report)…..

In 1996 after then US vice president Al Gore attended a fund-raising luncheon at the Hsi Lai temple, a Fo Kuang Shan branch in Hacienda Heights, California, a question was asked about whether the donations made during the luncheon were legal.

“Hsin Yun thought it was not a bad idea to know Al Gore, so he agreed to hold the luncheon in the temple. People who attended the luncheon were local Chinese Democrat members, and some without knowing gave away more than allowed by law to the Democratic Party,” Pu said.

“It was not done on purpose. Hsin Yin had fought long and hard to have the Hsi Lai temple built at that place, and after 10 years of wrestling with the local council, he knew not to break the law,” Pu said.

DPP officials have accused Fo Kuang Shan of being pro-KMT and in cahoots with Beijing. Hsing Yun himself was born in China and publicly supports annexing Taiwan to China. He has long commented on Tibet issues as well (Hsing Yun at Wikipedia).