About This Institute Our Founder
Our Founder

Master Sheng Yen founded the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education, gave Dharma talks and meditation retreats, and raised awareness of Chinese culture worldwide. Growing up during the Chinese Civil War and WWII, Master Sheng Yen could not receive a proper education. Other than the two years in a Buddhist Institute, he educated himself constantly. After he joined the army and finished his military service, he took refuge under Master Dongchu to resume his monkhood. He got accepted into the graduate program at Rissho University in Japan with all his publications and an equivalency certificate. After six years, he received a MA in Literature and a Ph.D. degree in Literature. As a Buddhist erudite, he always kept his master’s exhortation in mind, “Be a great religious leader rather than a Buddhist educator!” Master Sheng Yen published nearly a hundred academic and popular books on Buddhism. With both Linji and Caodong Chan heritages, Master Sheng Yen gave meditation retreats all over the globe for decades and became a world-renowned meditation teacher. Master Sheng Yen is a bona fide master monastic and great thinker who is an expert in both teaching and practicing.

When Master Fongchu passed away in 1977, Master Sheng Yen came back to Taiwan to found the Chung Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies and Dharma Drum Mountain. Master Sheng Yen laid out the grand plan for a comprehensive educational system to help all of us to protect our spiritual environments, to practice common ethos in daily life, and to extend loving care to all to achieve our goal, to “uplift the character of humanity and to build a pure land on earth.”Dharma Drum Mountain’s vision has been very well-received by the general public and politicians in Taiwanese, as well as the Chinese and international Buddhist circles.

The thought of “so few people know how great Buddhism is” pushed Master Sheng Yen to study Buddhism, give Dharma talks, and establish Buddhist higher education institutes. Furthermore, his grand vow and the sense of urgency of “If I do not establish a school today, then there will be no tomorrow for Buddhism” inspired him to create a higher education system to cultivate excellent Buddhist educators. Therefore, Master Sheng Yen paid a great deal of attention to the scope and outlook of the Buddhist education system he designed, He pointed out that “My wish is to transmit the wisdom of Chinese Buddhism by exerting all my might to introduce the most modern academic standards, research modes, educational systems, and pedagogies that Taiwanese Buddhist research can become internationally competitive.”In accordance with the Master’s intention, the CHIBS serves as the foundation to offer comprehensive Buddhist studies with important Buddhist languages from Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, and Japanese to English, an extensive collection of Buddhist texts and literature, and frequent international Buddhist conferences and workshops, and to establish international ally institutes to promote interactions with fellow Buddhist scholars.

Since our founder, Master Sheng Yen left this world on Feb. 3, 2008, his ground-breaking inspiration contribution to Chinese Buddhism research led modern Taiwanese Buddhist education and academic research to the international platform. Master Sheng Yen reminded the students that one of the goals of the Institute is that “Our roots are Chinese, our branches are global.” We find our sturdy foothold in Chinese Buddhism with a strong foundation in Indian Buddhism and a tight connection To Tibetan Buddhism to unfold a grand arena of Chinese Buddhism with a global perspective. Hopefully, we can demonstrate and inspire all intellects and academia to value and respect Buddhism, and to further influence the humanity of the 21th Century to identify and accept the trend to uplift the character of humanity and to build a pure land on earth.

For more detailed introduction about Master Sheng Yen, please visit this website ▶▷ http://www.shengyen.org