Táiyuán 台源 (18?? - 1941)
Táiyuán 台源 (18?? - 1941) was a monk from northeastern China who was active in Běijīng 北京 in the 1920s. He turned to Esoteric Buddhism near the end of his life.
As a youth, Táiyuán received a traditional education but his father died before he was able to sit for the examinations, which forced his family into poverty. Táiyuán became a local police officer. Eventually, a retiree from Zhèjiāng 浙江, impressed by Táiyuán's potential, hired him to run a charity.
Táiyuán's job at the charity was short lived, and with the help of one Zhāng Jǐngnán 張景南, he met and took tonsure and ordination under Tánxū 倓虛 at Jílè Temple 極樂寺 in Harbin 哈爾濱 in 1924. When conflicts arose between Táiyuán and Dìngxī 定西 (another monk at Jílè Temple) later that year, Tánxū invited Táiyuán to come to Běijīng 北京 to run the Buddhist seminary 佛學院 that he was in the process of establishing at the Mǐlè yuàn 彌勒院. Within a short time, the layman Yáng Yǔtíng 楊宇霆 helped Táiyuán become abbot of Bǎilín Temple 柏林寺.
In 1929, Táiyuán, Zhū Zǐqiáo 朱子橋, and others established a Buddhist Studies Society 佛學研究社 at the temple, which Chángxǐng 常惺 was invited to run. The following year the Study Society as renamed the Bǎiín Institute 柏林教理院, and after the summer Tàixū 太虛 lent his support to the endeavor. The Institute was formally established in September of 1930, and Tàixū asked his disciple Fǎfǎng 法舫 to come to Běijīng from Wǔchāng 武昌 to help make the Bǎilín Institute a branch of the World Buddhist Studies Center 世界佛學苑 (which was based at the Wǔchāng Buddhist Seminary 武昌佛學院). Financial assistance and guidance was provided by Hú Zǐhù 胡子笏.
In April 1931, Táiyuán was elected to be a representative at the third meeting of the Chinese Buddhist Association 中國佛教會. In 1932, Táiyuán fled the growing instability caused in the north by the incursion of Japanese forces and headed to Jiāngsū 江蘇. In 1937, as the situation in eastern China deteriorated, Táiyuán fled to Chóngqìng 重慶. There he took up residence at Lóngxīng Temple 隆興寺 with the help of Nénghǎi 能海, under whom he began to study Esoteric Buddhism 密教. In May of 1940, Nénghǎi traveled to Tibet to study Tibetan esoteric Buddhism 西密 and transmitted to dharma to Táiyuán before he left.
In the spring of 1941, Táiyuán presided over an ordination ceremony at Jìncí Temple 近慈寺. He died in the fall of that year.