A Natural History of the Darchen Publisher
It was in April 1992, when the world was full of spring colors and excited by the vibrant moves of all kinds of new lives, that the Darchen Publisher was hatched.
This publisher is dedicated to the expansion of Buddhist culture and taking Buddhist education worldwide as its destiny, due to a very unique attachment to Buddhism by its founder and current Managing Director Liang Chong-ming.
Mr. Liang enjoyed early career successes when young, held the position of Creativity Director in a joint Sino-Japanese technical company. Loaded with heavy duties and almost traveling constantly, his life turned from “busy” into “out of control.” At the peak of his career, Mr. Liang’s most respected client died overnight, his most beloved working partner deceased suddenly, and, one by one, all important business partners of the company were stolen by former agents of the company. Pressed by these tragedies and treacheries, he felt disoriented and bitter. He was resolute, after cleared up his minds and gathered himself up, to uncover a reasonable explanation for this perplexed life.
After repeated explorations, Mr. Lian was convinced that Buddhism has answers for all philosophical and religious question, be it ancient, modern, oriental or non-oriental. Jumping with joy, he was exuberantly absorbed by this new-found truth. Indeed, he was so involved in studying and practicing it that he once isolated himself in meditation for three and half years. At this time, just as the collective expulsion of Buddhism from the mainstream society during the Song Dynasty in China, a collective rejection of his practicing it took place in Mr. Liang own family. Partly as an attempt to explain why he seemed almost blindly devoted to his religious pursuit, and partly to better prepare himself in the endeavor, Mr. Liang founded the Datung Canon Publishing House to publish sutras. The initial overheads of the publishing house was donated by exactly the same family members and close friends who were against his religious zealousness. This movement gradually attracted supporters from related organization and eventually gained nationwide backing.
Publishing sutras, especially in a modern society, actually offers only limited effects in expanding Buddhist culture, largely because these books cannot satisfy new demands made by general readers and Buddhists. People in modern societies live a fast-paced life, they need to be introduced to Buddhism efficiently via well-organized and readable readers. It becomes essential, accordingly, that a professional publisher should be established to meet this end, which was exactly how and why Mr. Liang created the Darchen Publisher on the basis of Datung Canon Publishing House.
During its initial years, Darchen published a series of theories and know-how hanbooks that centered on the Chinese tradition of Buddhism, such as “Explaining the Stages and Methods of Practicing Dhyanapaamita” and the “Prajna Series”. It proved to be a great success. Among others, the publication of the “New Translation of ‘A Commentary on the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra’” was a sensation both to the local and overseas Buddhists. Originally authored by Nagarjuna and translated by Kuma Raji Va over one thousand years ago, Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra contains 100 volumes and has always been respected by scholars and Buddhists as one of the most important and erudite sutras of all. Nevertheless, the ancient writing was extremely difficult to access by most modern audiences. A new translation, based on plain contemporary Mandarin, is in high demand. Taking this task as a mission, Darchen spent full 10 years, and overcame numerous obstacles, completed the translation and publication of the full 100-volume of Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra in 2006. “Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra in Plain Mandarin” was bundled into 50 volumes of hardcover books, vividly expressing itself as one of the greatest contributions to Buddhism by Darchen Publisher.
In 2003, Dr. Lin Kuangmin, General Manager of the Dodecyl Corp., invited Darchen Publisher to take part in the publication of “Complete Collection of Vijjamaya from Tripitaka.” In 18 volumes and costs nearly $50,000,000NT, publication of the Complete Collection of Vijjamaya constituted a new landmark to the publishing industry in Taiwan in general, and to publishers of Buddhist sutras in particular. In addition, Darchen has also cooperated with publishers from the Mainland China in publishing sutras series originally written in Tibetan language, which as warmly welcomed in both markets. The Vipasyana Series, published in cooperation with the Vipasyana Education Foundation, has become an important reader for all vipasyana learners.
To further satisfying market demands, Darchen Publisher initiated the “Popular Buddhism” series in 2002. This series aimed at introducing tathagatagarbha ideas. Deemed as yet another important contribution to the plain-Mandarin translation of Chinese sutras, the “Mahaparinirvana Sutra” in this series, was particular well received by the market.
Darchen Publisher has been taking the publishing of quality Buddhist readers as a self-proclaimed mission, in the hope that the audience may find their own way of life through their own beliefs generated by practicing the teachings offered by these great writings. To keep up with current trends, Darchen has set up its future mission as incorporating itself into globalization. To this end, its range of publication shall include all major three concurrent branches of Buddhism: Theravada, Tibetan and Chinese traditions.
The Theravada tradition excels in its vipasyana meditation techniques, in terms of its well-defined phases and spheres, which will be the focal point of introduction by Darchen. The eight major branches of the Tibetan tradition, by comparison, would be systematically presented in the future. The limelight would concentrate on the elaboration and translations of its doctrines, methods and religious heritages. As to enhancing the Chinese tradition, Darchen is planning on publishing major texts that addressing the issue of cultivation methods. Intended projects includes, but not limited to, the guidance of practicing yogacara in accordance with Chapter 21 (The state of completion of that which is practiced) of the Yogacarabhumi. Furthermore, the stages and methods of practicing Dhyanapaamita and the Mohe zhiguan (The record of a series of lectures given on meditation by Zhiyi, a major text for the Tiantai school) will be explored in depth.
It is our sincere hope that our books can facilitate your religious growth. To this end, your positive feedbacks and support will be an invaluable input for us. Let us further hope that this interactive process will enable a sustainable development of this publisher and a lasting existence of Buddhism among all societies that eventually may benefit all humans.