Xú Héngzhì 徐恆志 (1915-2007)
Xú Héngzhì 徐恆志 (1915-2007) was a prominent Chinese layman of the 1950s and 1990s. He taught in the Seal-Mind School 印心宗 as well.
Xú's father was a notes scholar, who's Cángzhuó zhāi bǐjì 藏拙齋筆記 was somewhat popular. His father began studying and practicing Buddhism in his fifties.
As a youth, Xú studied hard, but one we was ten suì 歲 his fahter died and his mother became ill and he had to stop studying as much as he had. In his 20s, he began studying Confucianism with an older cousin. His cousin later helped him get work in Shànghǎi 上海, but this taste of city life, with all its indeterminacy, helped strengthen in Xú a desire to study Buddhism and to transcend this world. With the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Xú fled to Chóngqìng重慶. There, he developed a case of neurasthenia 神經衰弱.
In 1938, Xú took the Three Refuges and Five Precepts from Nénghǎi 能海. He also began studying and meditating on his own. Through a friend's introduction, he exchanged letters with Wáng Xiāngliù 王驤陸, who was promoting Buddhism in Tiānjīn 天津. Through this he began to learn more about the truths of Buddhism and to devote himself more fully to his practice.
With the end of the war in 1945, Xú's work moved back to Shànghǎi. In 1947 he began writing the column "Occasional Jottings on Studying Buddhism" (Xué Fó suíbǐ 學佛隨筆) for the magazine Bodhisattva 覺有情. Around the same time Wáng Xiāngliù came to Shànghǎi to promote his 心中心法 of esoteric Buddhism. Xú had an interview with Wáng at this time and began to practice his method.
In 1952, Xú began giving lectures at the YMBA in Shànghǎi. Some of these lectures were published as serialized columns in Juéxùn yuèkān 覺訊月刊. Two of these series were published as separate monographs in 1953; these were 學佛是怎麼一回事 and 怎樣實踐佛法. These were both eventually translated into English. In 1954 he published Jìngzuò rùmén 靜坐入門 (Introduction to Seated Meditation), (1954), in which he argued that meditation was not for staying healthy, but for developing wisdom.
In 1996, Xú went to Los Angeles and San Francisco to lecture on the Heart and Diamond Sūtras. Some of the question and answer periods that he gave were included in the fourth edition of his Bōrě huà 般若花 (Prajñā Flowers).