The Origin of Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale
Many thousands of years ago, the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. He realized that all sentient beings possessed inherent Buddha nature but could not attain it because of their attachments and defilements. Venerable Master Wei Chueh, considered one of the greatest living Chinese Zen Masters, felt that it was his duty to pass on Buddha's teachings in order to lead all beings to enlightenment.

In the early 1970's, Master Wei Chueh began his secluded, austere practice. He lived under extremely poor and primitive conditions, but practiced the Dharma with joy. Some twelve years later, he was gradually discovered by some passersby and soon had many followers. He then established Ling Chuan Monastery, where his disciples could gather to study Buddhism and Chan meditation. Here the Master gave lectures and conducted many 7-day meditation sessions every year. Soon he was known as the master who revived the Chan tradition in Taiwan, and Lin Chuan Monastery was no longer able to accommodate all the people who wanted to practice there. The Master then felt that it was time to build a new monastery.

The new Chung Tai Chan Monastery would become a center for the study of Buddhism and Chan meditation. Other Chan centers would also be established so that people from far and near could all have the opportunity to follow in the steps of the Buddha. It was a long and arduous task, but many helped the cause by contributing financially and giving of their time and energy.

On September 1, 2001, after ten years of planning and construction, Chung Tai Chan Monastery celebrated its grand opening.  Located in Puli, Taiwan, the monastery building is 150 meters tall and sits on a lotus hill of sixty acres. Its architecture embodies modern day technology and artistry, serving to unify religion, academic research, culture, and the arts. Chung Tai not only preserves the tradition of Zen Buddhism, but also serves as an international center committed to elevating and furthering the study of Buddhism as well as Buddhist art, culture and history.

The tireless Master was equally committed to spreading Zen Buddhism to the West. In October 2000, Venerable Wei Chueh sent five bhiksus across the Pacific Ocean to establish Buddha Gate Monastery, the first overseas branch of Chung Tai Chan Monastery. Located on 17 acres of land on top of a scenic hill in Lafayette, across the bay from San Francisco, Buddha Gate Monastery now offers different levels of Zen Buddhism and meditation classes in English and Chinese as well as various Buddhist services and celebrations.

In response to the overwhelming demand of for the teaching of Zen Buddhism in the Silicon Valley area, the Grand Master Wei Chueh established another Zen Center in the South Bay, namely the Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale. Master Jian Hu, who served as the first Abbot of Buddha Gate Monastery from inception through March 2004, now heads the Sunnyvale Zen Center.  In replacement, Master Jian Pin, formerly the Dean of the Nun’s Division of the Chung Tai Buddhist Institute in Taiwan, serves as the new Abbot of Buddha Gate Monastery.

For more about Master Jian Hu and the other Dharma Masters at the Zen Center, please click here.

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