Simon E. wrote:' Well known ' to whom ?
Well I know that you will not consider Master Hua to be a master based on other people's opinion of him, but since you asked. There are the thousands upon thousands of people who support the 20 or so monasteries
associated with the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, the people
who were able to draw near to him (I find Tim Testu's writing particularly interesting), Luang Por Sumedho
who has connections with Master Hua not just in this life but also past lives, Elder Master Hsu Yun (perhaps the most influential Chinese Buddhist master in modern Chinese history) who conferred recognition and transmission
to Master Hua, and so on.
Regardless of Master Hua's eccentricities, I think it would be a loss for people to dismiss the great body of his commentaries and teachings which have been published based on small, trivial matters. Things such as the translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra with commentary into English are part of his amazing legacy. No highly respected teacher out there is perfectly aligned with everyone's sensibilities, and it is not difficult to dig up strange or problematic statements made by them. Nevertheless, to turn our back on them as a teacher based on such minor things is to miss a great opportunity.
More generally, there is a strong link between Buddhism in East Asia and a vegetarian diet that excludes the five pungent vegetables and eggs. The development of a distinct Buddhist cuisine occurred in China (素食, 齋菜), Korea (사찰음식), Japan (精進料理) and Vietnam based not only in monastic but also lay communities. Pure vegetarianism was so strongly associated with Buddhism in China that Christian missionaries would consider meat-eating as a sign of conversion. In Chinese culture, vegetarianism is inextricably linked to Buddhism (or Buddhist offshoots). It is almost assumed that if you are Buddhist, you are vegetarian (though this is not actually the case) and that if you are vegetarian, you are Buddhist. My own Korean grandmother, while not a full-time vegetarian, would abstain from meat and the five pungent vegetables for three days prior to going to a temple (and this is despite Korean Buddhism's lax adherence to the precepts on all levels). Even the term vegetarian in Chinese implies that you do not eat garlic or onions.
As for the Shurangama's standing in East Asia, it is not simply the domain of a few Chan masters, it is considered orthodox in the mainstream Buddhist culture. The verses and mantra of the Shurangama Sutra are recited every morning in almost all major Chinese monastic communities (Master Jing Kong's Pure Land centers, and Fo Guang Shan's use of simplified morning ceremony are prominent exceptions). Even those communities which do not recite the Shurangama mantra on a daily basis accept its authenticity (interestingly enough, the Shurangama mantra is actually the long Sitatapatra mantra which is recited in translation for most sections in the Tibetan tradition). The Shurangama Sutra is part of the basic monastic curriculum of the Jogye order (the one to which the majority of Korean Buddhists belong). Despite the rhetoric of the Chan masters, their monastic institutions have continued to follow the vegetarian diets.