Buddhist Abess Brings Vision to Zen Monastery in CA

April 29, 2004

Source: The ContraCosta Times


On April 29, 2004 The ContraCosta Times reported "Jian Pin Shi had her whole life mapped out in front of her. Born and raised in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, she obtained bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature from two of the nation's top universities. English literature was her passion; she longed to share her knowledge through teaching. But a visit to Ling Chuan Monastery changed all that. Fresh from graduate school, she accompanied an old high school friend to the majestic monastery in northern Taiwan. Suddenly, her life as it was -- her social status, education and career prospects -- didn't seem so appealing. Today, she stands, not more than 5 feet tall and dressed in dark-brown robes, surveying the 17 acres on a Lafayette hill that make up Buddha Gate Monastery. At 39, she is the new abbess of the Zen center, the first U.S. branch of the Chung Tai Chan Monastery, the fourth largest Buddhist temple in Taiwan. More than 300 people from the East Bay, South Bay and San Francisco attend Dharma services and take meditation and Zen Buddhism classes in Chinese and English at the center."