In memory of the Sheng teacher Yen


Sheng Yen

taking the buddhism towards a new millenium


The Sheng teacher Yen has passed away the 3 of February from the 2009 to four of afternoon, at the age of 78 years. It had undergone problems of health in recent years and a kidney in the 2006 was extirpated him. It declined the suggestion of the doctors to carry out a transplant to him and insisted on accepting the natural result of the life.  Once it said to his disciples who already were too old woman and would be a loss to receive a kidney.

Sheng Yen was the 72 generational descendant of Bodhidharma, first patriarch of the Chan buddhism. It leaves a vitally important legacy us in the transmission of the buddhism during one of the convulsos centuries of the history of the humanity. The summary of this legacy takes shape in the accomplishment of one of the majors world-wide centers for the study of the buddhism, as well as in to have conserved and to have popularized the education of the Chan buddhism. The practice of the Chan buddhism - one of the two greater Buddhist traditions of China - has extended towards everybody modern to a great extent thanks to the activity of the Sheng teacher Yen.

Its activity been has centered in two aspects keys. First it has been the preservation of the material for the investigation and study of the buddhism, intention clarified in the complex of the mountain of the Drum of the Dharma; a selected enclave where the Sheng teacher Yen built a temple, a magnificent library and a monastery. With the years, this complex has become the academic reference for the most famous buddhism of all Asia, and where they have gone to work and to study lay monks and of all the Buddhist traditions, as well as independent academic investigators and of the most prestigious universities of the world.  The upset one of that library towards Internet with the creation of the Digital Buddhist Library & Museum supposes repositorio greater of Buddhist writings of all the Buddhist traditions available in the network.

In its work as masterful and guide of medical instructors, the Sheng teacher Yen always were very careful and precise at the time of transmitting the lessons of the patriarchs of the Chan.  In spite of his international fame and recognition, he maintained a deep respect to the preservation of the Chan transmission that inherited. He created a discreet number of Buddhist centers in the outside, only when there were people truly enabled to teach those who wanted to follow this way.  The respect to the tradition and the commitment with the ethics of the Buddhist compassion were not darkened by the impressive organizational profits and of modernity. In the mountain of the Drum of the Dharma one has take refugen in visitors of all parts, to which nothing has been requested them economically nor morally, like that writes these lines can testify. On the contrary, all the hospitality in the best Buddhist spirit has been offered us.

The life of the Sheng teacher Yen has constituted one of the efforts most shining in Buddhist history for the conservation and transmission of this one way. A effort realized in difficult times with results that are piece fundamental to have confidence in the future of the buddhism to the doors of a totally different era.  The vision of tradition and modernity, the impulse to the education and the creation of a great organization of the Dharma, accompanied to the spiritual accomplishments by Sheng Yen, whose explanations and explanations of the Buddhist writings are respected and studied so much at practical level as academic.  Their educative projects of humanitarian aid and, their untiring guide in the famous retirements of one week, their knowledge, erudition and compassion, make of Sheng Yen a teacher difficult to repeat. We will throw to him much of less.


“To wherever I was, I felt as if Yen had returned to house” - Sheng




Sheng Yen was born in 1931 in a humble family. In 1943 at the age of 13 years, it entered the monastery of Guam Jiao, located in hills of the wolves, in Nantung. To the 16 it was transferred from the field to the monastery of Ta-Sheng, in Shanghai. In Shanghai it initiated studies in the Buddhist Academy of the monastery of Ching-an, where one was influenced by the visits of the famous teachers Xu Yun and Tai Xu.

In 1949 it left the monastic practice and it entered a unit of the nationalistic forces to go to Taiwan, where it served as operator of telegraphs at the same time as it continued his studies. In 1956 it wrote his first book and numerous articles. To the 28 years first experience lived his on the true reality that was recognized later by teachers of both main lineages of the Chan buddhism: the lineage of the school Lin Ji (jap: Rinzai) and the one of the Cao Dong (jap: Grove), becoming thus heir of these two lineages.

In 1959, after 10 years on watch in the army, returned to in center Buddhist Cultural the monastic practice of Peitou, in Taipei. From 1961 to 1968, the Sheng teacher Yen practiced a retirement in solitude in the monastery of Ciao Yuan, located in mountains of Taiwan. Like educational of buddhism in the monastery of Shan Dao in Taipei, he traveled to Japan where the professor degree received in 1971 and 1975 the doctorate in Buddhist Literature in the university of Rissho. In 1975 he also received formally the transmission of the teacher Dong Chu of the tradition Cao Dong of the Chan buddhism, and in he received it to 1978 from the teacher Ling Yuan of the tradition Lin Ji. In 1977 he traveled to the United States where he served like abbot in the Temple of Illumination of New York.

In 1978 he was professor in the Cultural University China and president of the Buddhist Institute of Culture in Taipei. In 1979 the Sheng teacher Yen was abbot of the monastery of Nung Chan in Taiwan, where 100 monks and nuns reside near. The following year founded the Institute Chung-Hwa of Buddhist Studies on Taipei, a school of graduated and center as conferences; and in 1989 it created the Foundation the International of the Dharma for the Culture and the Education. In the year 2000 it created a Buddhist university and a monastery in the mountain of the Drum of the Dharma. At the moment, it has 3000 students in the United States and more than 300,000 in Taiwan.

The Sheng-Yen teacher has published more than 90 books, available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German and French. She has been lecturer in more than forty universities in the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe. He has lead more than 140 intensive retirements of Chan in the United States, England and Europe.

Person in charge of the Renaissance, dissemination and expansion of the Chan practice in China and the West, the Sheng teacher Yen has been also very active in the defense of the environment. In August of the 2000 he was one of the main interlocutors in the Summit of the Millenium for World-wide and Spiritual La Paz in the Assembly of the United Nations, as well as in the factory for the celebrated environmental protection in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. He has received many other international awards of governments by his humanitarian, cultural and academic activities.



Dharma Drum

- Web in Spanish of the Mountain Drum of the Dharma in Taiwan

- Dharma Drum in New York

- Digital Buddhist Library and Museum

- Gratuitous Books in Castilian of the Sheng teacher Yen

- Books in English published by the Sheng teacher Yen


the related news

- AFP press

- Buddhist Chanel News

- Taiwan News

- Information center by Internet of China 


Enlightenment site , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,