|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
|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
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.