Venerable Yifa to be Honored for Her Interfaith Work, Leadership

September 11, 2006

Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune

On September 11, 2006 the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported, "Being a Buddhist nun is a far cry from what the Venerable Yifa had set out to do in her younger life. She wanted to be a politician. 'I was very ambitious,' Yifa remembered. 'I wanted to shake up the system.' But her priorities changed dramatically during a summer retreat she took at the age of 20. There, Yifa learned to meditate, discovered the lessons of Buddhism and found a new path. 'The teaching of Buddhism is the teaching of wisdom,' Yifa, now 47, said. In 1979, Yifa started a career as a nun at Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan. She was one of the monastics the Venerable Master Hsing Yun recruited in the late 1970s to bring a much-needed infusion of young people into the Buddhist faith. Before that time, many monks and nuns were elderly, having waited to commit their lives to Buddhism after their children had grown, she explained. 'At that time, I recognized that to help Buddhism, you need people who are well-educated and from a younger generation,' Yifa said. 'I think that well-educated and young \ could really attract people to look at Buddhism differently.' Yifa, who has a law degree from the National Taiwan University, a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Hawaii, and a doctorate in religious studies from Yale University, is set to be honored Oct. 18 for her work over the years as a Buddhist nun and a leader in the interfaith movement."