Venerable JianYing, Abbot
An ordained Dharma Master for over a decade, Ven. JianYing first came to the U.S. from Taiwan as a graduate student at The Ohio State University. After receiving a doctorate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University, he worked for two years in developing medical instruments using signal processing technology. Latent with affinities to Chan (Zen) Buddhism from his early life and deeply inspired by Grand Master WeiChueh's teachings, he made a decision to turn his life onto a path fully devoted to Buddhism and the pursuit of a more meaningful existence. Under the auspices of the Grand Master at Chung Tai Chan Monastery, Ven. JianYing was ordained in 1998. He then received a Master’s degree in Buddhism from the graduate division of Chung Tai Buddhist Institute for Monks in 2001.
After serving as the Director of Dharma Activities of Chung Tai Chan Monastery for a short period, JianYing Shifu responded to the Grand Master’s vision of establishing a Chung Tai Research Center and accepted the Grand Master’s call to return to the U.S. for further study. From 2002 to 2003, he studied Sanskrit at the University of California at Berkeley. In 2003, he entered Rice University to conduct his doctorate research in religious studies while also serving as a Dharma teacher at the Chung Tai Zen Center of Houston. He obtained a PhD degree from the Department of Religious Studies at Rice in May, 2010, with a concentration on Buddhism. After a brief stay at the Zen Center of Sunnyvale, he returned to Chung Tai Chan Monastery last October where he served as a Vice Abbot and completed a secluded retreat for 6 months. In October 2011, he joined the Zen Center again as Vice Abbot. In January 2012, the Grand Master WeiChueh and Ven. Master JianDeng, Abbot of Chung Tai Chan Monastery, appointed Ven. JianYing as the new Abbot of the Zen Center of Sunnyvale.
A Dharma Master with a perennial warm, welcoming smile and a relaxed demeanor, Ven. JianYing teaches meditation and Buddhism in both Chinese and English and helps administrating the various Dharma activities of the Center. In the spirit of “without attaching oneself to any perspective,” Ven. JianYing, a scholar and a practitioner, strives to bringing theories and practices together so as to embrace all but reify none.
Venerable JianXie, Vice Abbot
The Zen Center of Sunnyvale welcome our Vice Abbot, JianXie Shifu, in April 2011. Incidentally, the word “Xie” means, “to assist or cooperate,” it is also part of the term “harmony.” An experienced Dharma Master, he had served as a vice abbot at The Zen Center of Sunnyvale in February 2005 and a vice abbot at The Zen Center of Houston in October 2010. He also had served as the Liturgy Master, Managing Director, as well as Abbot at various Chung Tai Zen Centers in Taiwan.
Back in his school days, JianXie Shifu had a fondness of Confucianism for its philosophy on improving oneself and social order. He also liked Chuang Tzu, a sage advocating the joy and freedom of soaring above material things and being one with nature. Unexpectedly he came across “Notable Words of Shakyamuni Buddha,” and was deeply drawn to the encompassing wisdom and truth he found that are more profound and complete than Confucianism and Taoism.
Upon entering college, JianXie Shifu decided to seek a greater understanding of the Dharma. In the summer of freshman year, he participated in a seven day Buddha Recitation Retreat. On the last day, amid the continuous solemn chanting, he tasted for the first time the indescribable joy of the vast stillness and emptiness of body and mind. Nonetheless, he could not yet comprehend the true meaning of liberation. In pursuit, he attended a Chan Seven Retreat presided by Grand Master WeiChueh at a Chung Tai monastery. After immersing in the Grand Master’s sweet dew of the Dharma, he experienced a deeper appreciation and firmer faith in the meaning of the original true mind in Chan (or Zen) Buddhism.
After completing the draft duties , JianXie Shifu joined the monastic order under Grand Master Wei Chueh, one of the living legend in Chan Buddhism. He completely dwelt in the study of the Dharma and received full ordination later that year.
As the Vice Abbot, JianXie Shifu has been supervising the entire development and renovation process of the new Zen Center of Sunnyvale that celebrated the grand opening in April 2007. He is well respected for his dynamic teaching, unceasing stamina, versatility, and organizing skills.
In addition to teaching the Dharma, JianXie Shifu continues to oversee general operations and building development and maintenance. He also looks forward to working in cooperating with all disciples to radiate the essence of Zen Buddhism to all sentient beings in the West.
Venerable JianQi, Executive Director
A Bodhi seed germinating in college, JianQi Shifu tasted the sweet dews of the Dharma from participating in the Buddhist Club on campus and aspired to the life of a monk free of hindrances. In 1995, he attended a Seven-Day Meditation Retreat offered by the Grand Master WeiChueh. He was moved by the inspirational Dharma talks and resolved to expand his study of Buddhism. After college, amid a busy work life, JianQi Shifu continued to explore different ways in search of the true meaning of life. Eventually he realized that cultivating Buddhism is the ultimate way. As he returned to graduate study, he also turned to a Chung Tai Zen Center for regular classes. Guided by the Abbot, he volunteered as the leader of the Acolyte Group and put his learning in practice. Several years later, he was more convinced than ever that leaving home life to become a monastic cultivator is the most important matter in life.
Upon receiving a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Sun Yat-Sen University in 2006, he followed under the auspices of Grand Master WeiChueh and received his full ordination in 2008. Indeed he has followed his vow to attain Buddhahood and benefit all sentient beings at the same time.
He delved into the profound Dharma at the Chung Tai Buddhist Institute for Monks. Grasping the Grand Master’s teachings ever more, he deepened his realization of how the seemingly simple lessons, such as the Grand Master’s Four Tenets of Chung Tai, embrace the boundless compassion and wisdom of the Buddha. They are relevant to different aspects of life, be it of a student, at work, or a monastic person; they point to the path to enlightenment.
Venerable JianZong, Docent Director
Seeking a deeper understanding of the true meaning of life, JianZong Shifu started to frequent a local Chung Tai Zen Center in his native Taiwan. Under the compassionate guidance of its masters, he experienced the subtle and profound wisdom of the Buddha Dharma.
When at Chung Tai Chan Monastery, JianZong Shifu was deeply moved by Grand Master WeiChueh's great compassion and conduct, witnessing the Grand Master's tireless devotion to propagating Buddhism for the liberation of all sentient beings. With unwavering determination, JianZong Shifu joined the monastic order under the Grand Master to fulfill the great vows of "attaining the Buddha Way and liberating all sentient beings."
Soon after JianZong Shifu joined the monastic order, he immersed himself in the study of the Dharma at the Graduate Division of the Chung Tai Buddhist Institute. Since then, he has served as vice-abbot for Chung Tai Chan Monastery, abbot of Great Enlightenment Monastery of Keelong, director of student counseling and professor of Buddhist Studies at the Chung Tai Buddhist Institute, and abbot of Chung Tai Zen Center of Houston and Texas Pagoda Chan Monastery.
Happy to have this opportunity to serve the West, JianZong Shifu recognizes that our Zen Center's culturally rich and varied membership is a reflection of how great America is and of the broad appeal Buddhism has among individuals from all walks of life. His promise is to continue spreading Dharma joy everywhere.
Venerable JianAng, Docent Director & Financial Director
Since childhood, JianAng Shifu has had the good roots for encountering Buddhism, having followed his family to different temples to pay respect and prostrate to the Buddhas. After serving military duty in 2004, he suffered the sudden loss of a beloved family member. This incident deeply impacted him and caused him to realize the impermanent and fleeting nature of life. It also brought about in him a strong resolve to delve into the Buddha Dharma and to untangle the delusions of life and death.
As a result, JianAng Shifu began to attend classes frequently at the Pu Zhong Meditation Center in Zhongli City, Taiwan. Under the compassionate guidance of the abbess, he attended his first Zen-7 Retreat at Chung Tai Chan Monastery in July 2005. He listened to the Grand Master’s inspiring lecture and words of great wisdom, upon which his whole being opened up to absorbing the teachings, helping him develop a strong conviction in Zen Buddhism. During a month long trial residency and practice at Chung Tai, he further realized that cultivation is the most important goal in life. Moreover, his determination to support the Dharma and its propagation had become firm and unwavering.
In August 2005, responding to his true calling and finding his true “home” at Chung Tai, JianAng Shifu was ordained under the auspices of Grand Master WeiChueh. He attended the Chung Tai Institute for Monks, completing both the undergraduate and graduate programs.Since then, he has served as liturgy master and in other posts for various ceremonies at Chung Tai Chan Monastery. JianAng Shifu has a background in finance and has served as finance and docent director at Buddha Jewel Monastery in Seattle and as finance director at the Texas Pagoda Chan Monastery. Most recently, JianAng Shifu has been assigned to the Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale in March 2012 to serve as docent master and Dharma instructor.
“The bodhisattva, like the moon, sails in serene emptiness; when our mind water is lucid and pure, the Bodhi reflection will appear.” Upholding the Grand Master’s teaching, JianAng Shifu vows to liberate all sentient beings, enabling everyone to resonate with the wondrous Buddhist teachings and to be enriched by the sweet dew of the Dharma.