You Benchang in The Final Victory Photo: Courtesy of Zha Wenbai
Almost 30 years ago, a hot Chinese TV drama Ji Gong turned the then 53-year-old You Benchang into a household name not just in his own country, but also in some foreign countries in Southeastern Asia such as Singapore and Malaysia. His vivid portrayal of the historically renowned Buddhist monk Ji Gong (1130-1207) of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) left audiences with a deep impression of a wild and eccentric monk who at the same time has a very compassionate heart.
Now You is bringing the image of another great Buddhist monk from history to audiences’ minds. The Final Victory, a stage drama about Master Hongyi (or Li Shutong, 1880-1942), just concluded two performances last weekend in Beijing. Since its premiere in 2009, the drama has toured China performing in many cities including Tianjin, Nanjing, Shanghai and Taipei.
“Since 2009, we have gone from Tianjin (the birthplace of Li), then to the southern cities of Nanjing, Shanghai, Hangzhou (where Li became a Buddhist monk when he was 38), and finally from Xiamen to Quanzhou (southeastern Fujian Province), the place he achieved Nirvana,” said You. “These cities actually mark all the footprints in Li’s life,” You told the Global Times. Continue reading