Chan Master Sheng-yen (1930-2009) is recognized by the Buddhist community as the foremost and most influential cleric in contemporary Chinese Buddhism. For the past 30 years, the impact of his writings, social engagement, and revival movement, have been felt throughout Asia and the West.
Born in Shanghai and ordained as a Buddhist monk at an early age, the journey of his self-actualization culminated at age 28 in an awakening experience followed by a six-year long solitary retreat in the mountains of Taiwan. His subsequent attainment in Japan, his receiving a master's degree and a doctorate in Buddhist literature within six years, has placed him as one of the most important contributor to Chinese Buddhism's intellectual resurgence. In late 70's he also received two "Dharma Transmissions" (recognition of spiritual authority) from both existing schools of Caodong and Linji lineages of Chan (Zen).
Among his many achievements is his establishment of Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education in Taiwan. The combined Sangha and lay person university has a graduate institute for Buddhist studies and includes monasteries and meditation facilities. Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education embodies Master Sheng-yen's vision: "To refine the character of humankind and realize a Pure Land on Earth." As one of the few responsible for the revival of Chinese Buddhism, Master Sheng-yen is now internationally recognized for his achievements.