Resident Masters

abbess_final4_whiteMaster Jianshu, Abbess

The Abbess, Master Jianshu, majored in math and engineering before she met Grand Master Wei Chueh. Soon after completing her first seven-day retreat, she already vowed to lead a more meaningful life dedicated to helping all sentient beings realize their inherent Buddha Nature. After leaving home life, Jianshu Shifu taught for many years in Chung Tai Buddhist Institute for Nuns; and then went on to earn a Doctorate in Religion from Columbia University in New York. Coming to the Philippines in late 2011, Abbess adapted immediately to our humid weather. And to the delight of our Filipino students, she quickly learned how to make simple greetings in the native language. The soft-spoken Abbess is also people-oriented and welcomes interactions with the students. She handles all meditation classes, both in Chinese and English, where she would challenge our minds by asking simple yet profound questions. She would then patiently listen to all answers, no matter how inane they might be. In addition to teaching 10 classes a week and presiding over all Dharma ceremonies, Shifu still finds time for many one-on-one Zen sessions and tea-times with lay people who like to consult with her. She has also set up many open forums for outsiders and academic scholars who are curious and mystified by Buddhist theories and practice. These discussions can last many hours; in the end, all participants walk away with a new understanding about Buddha’s teachings and are greatly impressed with the wisdom of the Sangha of Chung Tai. Master Jianshu said: “I have only been in the Philippines for half a year, but the students of Ocean Sky have already struck me with their diligence in wanting to understand Buddha’s teachings. They go out of their way to sincerely seek the Dharma, attending multiple classes each week, and having discussions and consultations before and after classes. I honestly feel that Ocean Sky is truly the Pure Land of the Philippines.” Like all true cultivators of the Buddha way, Master Jianshu has vowed: “I do not seek my own comfort and pleasure; I only wish that all sentient beings be free from sufferings. (但願眾生得離苦,不為自己求安樂。) When asked about her vision for the monastery, she said: “I hope to see a bigger Ocean Sky in the near future, so that more people can be accommodated when they come to seek the Truth in Buddhism, and attain true transformation. When more people apply Buddhist teachings in their lives, they can surely contribute greatly to the improvement of the Philippine society.”