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World’s Famous Bhikkhunis

China

Bhiksuni Guo Zheng, China_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Guo Zheng

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Guo Zheng is the Abbess of Puzhao Temple, a women’s temple in Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province, China. In 1992, she decided to ordain, and in 1993 she received full ordination at Donglin Temple, Mount Lu, Jiangxi Province. Upon her return to her root temple of Puzhao in Sichuan, she was endorsed by many monastics to immediately become the Abbess, and so she did. At present, Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Guo Zheng is the Assistant Secretary General of the Buddhist Association of Sichuan Province. Also, she is the Vice-President of the Buddhist Association of Chengdu Province, and President of the Buddhist Association of Dujiangyan City. Upon accepting the position of Abbess, she then had to plan and repair the historic temple. She proceeded step-by-step until complete and then in 2008 an earthquake brought the temple to ruins. Fortunately, all the Most Venerable Bhikkhunis rescued themselves, and they slowly began the rebuilding process once again. She notes that when in a desperate situation, people are often inspired by firm willpower. After three years with support from the communist party, Chinese government, and believers, Puzhao Temple’s reconstruction was completed, and it is radiant now. Puzhao Temple’s style is simple, Zen. Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Guo Zheng brought unity to her city by organizing a Buddhist Association, with the purpose of developing Buddhism. Then she set up a Cultural Center in Chengdu Province for bringing Buddhism into the community. This was her response to the Chinese government’s mandate to promote cultural development, cultural confidence, and cultural power. Eventually, she created three cultural centers in Chengdu Province for the promotion of Chinese culture.

Currently, she is preparing the construction of the Puzhao Cultural Park to enrich traditional culture in Sichuan Province. She edited materials to create a number of monastic albums, meditation books and compiled Buddhist literature. Each month she creates a peaceful and quiet atmosphere at Puzhao Temple for the study of Dhamma. She offers public talks upon invitation repeatedly. Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Guo Zeng also carried out public welfare and charity projects for more than ten years, offering scholarships to poor college students, assisting the elderly, and providing assistance to those affected by natural disasters. In 2013 she was honored by the Maha Buddha Temple of Jiangsu Province, as a Senior Most Venerable Bhikkhuni who practices Pure Land Buddhism and innovates new models of Chinese Buddhism.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Yang Li - China_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Yang Li – China

Bhikkhuni Dr. Yang Li of China is the Abbess of Pau Chi Temple. She is the 50th successor of the Caodong sect of Zen, and is the first Bhikkhuni Abbess of the Cao Shan Temple in its thousand year history. She was born into a Buddhist family in the ancient city of Changan which has a deep Buddhist root. She began learning the art of acupuncture from her ancestors when she was only 4 years old and started treating and helping patients when she was just a child. As a laywoman, she was devoted to undertaking charity work. Since 1986, she served as the Acting-Deputy Director General of the Hong Kong Gracious Glory Foundation. During this time, she devoted herself to medical charity work. She once raised 50 million dollars for the treatment of persons with congenital heart disease. She cured 1093 persons. Also, she enabled those living in remote areas to receive vaccinations for infectious diseases.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Ming Dao – China

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Ming Dao was born in Xuhui District of Shanghai, China. As a child she always helped poor children who faced discrimination. She grew up confident, the daughter of a university professor, and attended high school. Upon graduation she went onwards to study in Japan. She returned to China and married. After eight years she became exposed to Buddhism, found it to be of profound cultural heritage, and realized that the basis of Buddhism is benevolence. In April 2004, she, a wealthy pampered wife went to Wutai Mountain on a pilgrimage that changed her life. By the time she reached the mountain peak, she decided to leave the householder life. She decided this for three reasons: (1) She wants to alleviate the suffering of others, (2) She could use her character to be a good role model for girls, and (3) She wanted to show that it is good for successful, affluent women to ordain.

Singapore

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Fa Xun, Singapore_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Fa Xun – Singapore

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Fa Xun was born in Singapore in 1965. She ordained in 1992 in Taiwan with Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Wu Yin of the Luminary Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Sangha, where she also went through five years of monastic training in the Institute. Upon completion of her monastic training in 1997, Venerable Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Fa Xun returned to Singapore and began conducting Dharma classes in English and Mandarin for both children and adults in Sagaramudra Buddhist Society. In 2001, Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Fa Xun continued to pursue her education by doing a Bachelor of Arts and Education degree at the University of Western Australia. In 2009, she completed her Honors Degree and wrote a thesis entitled, The Other Path: Bhikkhunis’ Quest for Liberation. In 2014, as part of her Master’s Degree, she designed a Mindfulness program, “Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness in Education,” and conducted research to explore how mindfulness and loving kindness (M.I.L.K.) help young children to develop their emotional intelligence. Thereafter, she was appointed as the Vice-Principal of the Nuns’ Campus of the Buddhist College of Singapore. Since then, Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Fa Xun has been teaching at various Buddhist centers in Singapore, Malaysia and Western Australia while contributing articles to Buddhist magazines. She is also the author of One Life, Five Precepts Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Fa Xun is passionate about Education and takes delight in designing programs and games to address the emotional and developmental needs of young children. Recently, she published a series of Buddhist jigsaw puzzles to help children play mindfully while staying focused. She is active in running camps for young children during school holidays.

Thailand

Bhikkhuni Anula, Thailand_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Anula – Thailand

Bhikkhuni Anula was born in 1959 in Udon Thani, the eastern part of Thailand adjacent to Laos. On her ninth day of birth, her family moved to Laos. And, her life was lived between these two cultures for years. Her family took refuge in Buddhism with male family members becoming ordained. So, there was a natural path for her to one day ordain. Since her youth Bhikkhuni Anula was always interested in helping others. She had the opportunity to study to grade 4 primary school formally. At the age of 17, she entered into the volunteer soldier services during the time of the communist infiltration into Thailand and Laos. She trained in military operations including riflery. Eventually, she felt that she was helping others as she was trained as a medic and made her way through the mountainous jungles to assist the young communists who were in need. She served for seven years, and she had the opportunity to study to grade 3 high school through nonformal education. During this time, she participated in many training workshops, including those organized by UNICEF. She was also assigned to serve as a nursery-school teacher. Her life took a turn and she went to Bangkok. She married briefly. She became discouraged. She decided to leave and followed a popular movement to a monk in Kanchanaburi. She returned to nature.

She became a Maechee. She travelled and studied Dhamma with many Bhikkhus far and wide. After three years of wandering, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer; it had spread throughout her body. So, she returned home to Udon Thani. Her doctor said that she had only one month to live. She took herbal medicines and meditated. She returned to Kanchanaburi and prepared to die. She entered a cave for one month and meditated. She tried not to sleep at all. She started to improve and her pain reduced. She improved and then contracted malaria. So, she travelled to stay at the temple of her relative in Nong Khai on the border of Laos. After a total of 18 years of being a Maechee and wandering to forest temples while struggling with cancer and malaria, she made her way to ordain as a Samaneri in Chiangmai. Then she went to take care of a nuns’ temple in Sawan Dan Din, Sakorn Nakorn, Buddha-Dhamma Satri. She ordained again as a Samaneri in Rayong at the International Women’s Meditation Center, and later took Bhikkhuni ordination. She sojourned to India to trace Maha Paja Bodhi’s roots in Vesali and took ordination yet again. Finally, Bhikkhuni Anula returned to Udon Thani to establish a Bhikkhuni Temple for women and girls in her village. At present Bhikkhuni Anula is struggling with cancer in its later stages.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Patama - Thailand_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Patama – Thailand

Bhikkhuni Patama was born on November 25, 1946. Her mother and father were rice farmers and had four children. She was the youngest child. She had 2 older brothers and one older sister. While her siblings were able to attend school until Primary School grade 4, Bhikkhuni Patama studied until she received her B.A. in Business Management from Ramkhamhaeng University in 1977. She enjoyed to study, and her mother always encouraged her. Both her mother and father worked to raise funds for her education, and she earned several scholarships. Upon graduation, she worked in Management & Finance at the Thai Government Highway Department for 33 years. When she reached the age of 55, she early retired in order to follow her youthful wish to study Dhamma and ordain. She began to read the Tipitaka. Upon the death of her mother she received 43 rai of land. She gave her three nieces 8 rai each.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Vimala - Thailand_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Vimala – Thailand

Bhikkhuni Vimala was born in 1964 in Thailand, married and bore children. She departed her family life to become a Maechee, and then as a Thilashin, a nun in the Burmese tradition, followed by ordaining as a Samaneri and then as a Bhikkhuni in 2012. Along with her Master, Bhikkhu Luang Por Tee Vichitadhammo, she established temples throughout the northern part of Thailand, particularly near the border of Myanmar in Mae Hong Son province. She is the author of numerous Dhamma books, including Words Used to Encounter the Dhamma a 7 book series, and CDs. Her books contain her insightful Dhamma reflections and eloquent poetry. Bhikkhuni Vimala is a highly-trained and practiced meditation master with many Bhikkhuni and Samaneri students, as well as, hundreds of laywomen practitioners. Dwelling in the forest in meditation for 8 – 14 hours per day is very natural for her and her disciples. She travels into Burma, throughout Thailand, and Laos teaching meditation with her Master who is now more than 100 years old. Her devotion and faithfulness to her Master over the decades has gained her great wisdom for teaching the Dhamma. Bhikkhuni Vimala specializes in teaching about: anicca (impermanence), dukkha (unsatisfactoriness/suffering) and anatta (non-self). These three characteristics are an essential teaching in Buddhism, which indicates that everything is in the flow of transience, suffering, and non-self. Thus, Nibbana is considered the only form of existence which knows not transience, decay or death..

Taiwan

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Longmen (Kaishan) - Taiwan_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Longmen (Kaishan) – Taiwan

The Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Longmen (Kaishan) took refuge in Dharma at an early age. She enjoyed reading the sutras, and this offset the suffering which she experienced as her family was quite poor. The sutras and family poverty proved fertile ground for her to later become a Bhiksuni with great compassionate response to those in need of basic necessities. She took refuge in the Sangha and relied upon Venerable Haiyuen with whom she ordained. Then she created Sangha. She taught them the sutras, in particular, the Lotus Sutra, the Flower Adornment Sutra, and the Diamond Sutra which brought forth great joy to her and her students. Next, Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Longmen (Kaishan) began founding temples: Avalokitesvara’s Temple in Pingtung County in 1992, Huayen Temple in Taoyuan in 2000 and Yuantong Temple in Kaohsiung in 2006. By 2011 she was invited to take over Dharma Wheel Monastery in Pingtung. Equal to her efforts to provide temples, spiritual refuge, to her students and the community, she attended to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged by providing: food, medical care, scholarships for students, emergency care, and funeral assistance via foundations and centers which she established.

Pingtung Charity Foundation & Kaohsiung Charity Foundation in 1992, Pingtung Resources Center in 2013, Pingtung Food Supply Center & Free Food Delivery Station in 2017 which serves the homeless, elderly and poor. Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Longmen (Kaishan) uplifted the lives of many via Buddhist teachings and development of cultural resources, as well. In 1994 she established the Buddhist Forum of Taipei; in the same year she established the Culture and Education Foundation in Pingtung. She is currently President of the Pingtung Buddhism Association and Secretary of the Pingtung Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Longmen (Kaishan) Association. In 2010 she established a Buddhist school in Kaohsiung which offers classes in Buddhism, Buddha Image Painting, Japanese, English, etc. to benefit people in the neighborhood. In 2018 she took over an elementary school in Pingtung to set up a pilot program. By 2019 she established a Community Art and Culture Learning Center in Kaohsiung. Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Longmen (Kaishan) devotes herself to the propagation of Buddhism, social services, and the development of culture and art in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and China with great joy and delight in every step that she takes. She has only one motivation – to benefit all sentient beings.

bhikkhuni_cheng_yen_master_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Dharma Master Cheng Yen was born in 1937 in Qingshui, a small town in Taichung County, Taiwan. As her father's brother was childless, at a young age, she was adopted by him and his wife to raise as their own, a common practice in that era. When Dharma Master Cheng Yen was around seven, she experienced the air raids that the Second World War brought upon Japanese-occupied Taiwan. What she witnessed deeply imprinted upon her young mind the cruelty of war. Throughout her growing years, she had many questions about life and its meaning. In her town, the young Dharma Master Cheng Yen was known as a very filial daughter to her parents. When her mother needed surgery for acute gastric perforation, a very risky procedure in those times, the 15-year-old Dharma Master Cheng Yen prayed earnestly to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (the Bodhisattva of Compassion), offering to give up 12 years of her life in exchange for her mother's health. To express her piety, she undertook a vegetarian fast. When her mother later recovered without need for surgery, the young Dharma Master Cheng Yen, out of gratitude, chose to become a life-long vegetarian. The Spiritual Calling - When Dharma Master Cheng Yen was 21, an event happened that would change her life. One day, her father suddenly took ill, and he passed away the very next day. His death was a great shock to Dharma Master Cheng Yen and propelled her to seek many answers about life and death. That life could be taken away so precipitously made her reflect, "Why is life so transient? Where then lies its true meaning?"

At this time, Dharma Master Cheng Yen came into contact with Buddhism. Learning of the teachings, she gradually came to feel that one should expand the love for one’s own family to the entire society and all humanity. She aspired to take care of the great family of humanity, instead of one small family. With this outlook on life, Dharma Master Cheng Yen left her family home to embark on the spiritual path, giving up a relatively comfortable life. Not long after, however, her family found her and begged her to return home. She acquiesced, but with her spiritual convictions, she could not truly be content living her old life; in late1960, she again left her family to pursue spiritual cultivation. That year, she was 23. From western Taiwan, she traveled to eastern Taiwan and eventually settled down in Hualien, a small town in Taiwan’s relatively undeveloped east coast. Though life was very hard, it did not diminish her commitment to spiritual cultivation.

In late 1962, at the age of 25, Dharma Master Cheng Yen shaved her own head to formally renounce the lay life and start life as a Buddhist monastic. She was unaware that Buddhist rules required one to do so under a Buddhist master (a monastic teacher). Because of this, she could not qualify when she sought to receive full monastic ordination at Taipei’s Lin Chi Temple several months later. These circumstances brought her into a chance encounter with Venerable Master Yin Shun at a Buddhist lecture hall in Taipei. Having great respect for him, she asked if he would accept her as his disciple. He accepted, but as registration for ordination at the Lin Chi Temple would soon come to a close, there was little time for more than a simple instruction to the young novice, “Now that you are a Buddhist monastic, remember always to work for Buddhism and for all living beings.” He gave her the Dharma name, Cheng Yen.

The Founding of Tzu Chi – In 1966, at the age of 29, Dharma Master Cheng Yen founded Tzu Chi. At the time, the east coast of Taiwan, where Dharma Master Cheng Yen first settled, was undeveloped and impoverished. Dharma Master Cheng Yen and her monastic disciples supported themselves by sewing baby shoes, making concrete sacks into smaller animal feed bags, knitting sweaters, and raising their own vegetables. In the spring of 1966, while Dharma Master Cheng Yen was visiting a patient at a small local clinic, she saw a pool of blood on the floor. Dharma Master Cheng Yen was told that the blood was from an indigenous woman suffering from labor complications. Her family had carried her from their mountain village. They had been walking for eight hours, but when they arrived at the hospital, they did not have the NT$8,000 (then US$200) required fee. They could only carry her back untreated. Hearing this, Dharma Master Cheng Yen was overwhelmed with sorrow. She thought to herself: as an impoverished monastic barely supporting herself, what could she do to help these poor people?

A short time later, three Catholic nuns visited Dharma Master Cheng Yen, and they had a discussion on the teachings of their respective religions. When Dharma Master Cheng Yen explained that Buddhism teaches love and compassion for all living beings, the nuns commented: Why have we not seen Buddhists doing good works for the society, such as setting up nursing homes, orphanages, and hospitals? The nuns’ message struck a deep chord with Dharma Master Cheng Yen. Buddhism, she responded, teaches people to do good deeds without seeking recognition. However, she knew in her heart that without organization, what could be accomplished was very limited. Dharma Master Cheng Yen considered: What if her disciples sold one extra pair of baby shoes per day? What if the thirty housewives that listened to her teachings could donate NT 50 cents (approximately US 1 cent) per day? In one year’s time, she calculated, they would have enough money to have saved that indigenous woman. A small concerted effort, she realized, over time could make an enormous difference!

Thus, Dharma Master Cheng Yen founded Tzu Chi. Fashioning coin banks out of bamboo, she asked her lay followers to drop a NT 50 cent coin into the bamboo bank every day before going to the market. “Why not simply donate NT$15 each month?” one follower asked. The amount was the same in dollars, Dharma Master Cheng Yen replied, but very different in spirit. Dharma Master Cheng Yen wanted each person to think of helping others every day, not just one day each month. As word spread and more people participated, there came to be Tzu Chi commissioners who were responsible for collecting donations. Commissioners traveled to villages to collect the savings in each of the bamboo banks. On one occasion, a commissioner complained that a particular donor lived so far away that the cost of the trip was more than the amount donated. Dharma Master Cheng Yen, however, replied that giving people an opportunity to participate was as important as the donation itself. By collecting donations from people, the commissioners were in fact nurturing seeds of kindness in each donor. This kindness, not the donation, was Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s true mission. Dharma Master Cheng Yen deeply believes that all people are capable of the same great compassion as the Buddha. True compassion, however, is not just having sympathy for another’s suffering—it is to reach out to relieve that suffering with concrete actions. In founding Tzu Chi, Dharma Master Cheng Yen wished to give ordinary citizens the chance to actualize this compassion, which will bring inner peace and happiness to the individual and pave the way for world peace and harmony.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Zi De - Taiwan_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Zi De – Taiwan

Bhikkhuni Dr. Zi De was born in Zhanghua County and graduated from the Graduate Institute of Natural Healing Sciences at Nanhua University and obtained her Ph.D. from Heilong University of Chinese Medicine. She loves to teach, and specialized in internal medicine and female infertility. A diligent monastic, she published several self-help books and audio books for free distribution, as an effort to foster cultural inheritance. Bhikkhuni Dr. Zi De offers counseling at prisons. She also assists disadvantaged groups by creating fun fairs and visits to nursing homes. She combines healing mind and body as a monastic and doctor. Bhikkhuni Dr. Zi De has engaged in numerous international medical exchanges, where she has explained the usefulness of Chinese medicine for Western medicine. She understands the role of natural medicine in modern global societies. Also, she organizes free clinics in remote rural areas. Currently, she is still in practice, and views treating patients as the first and foremost merit field.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Zhi Shan - Taiwan_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Zhi Shan – Taiwan

Born near the sea in Taichung in 1946, Bhikkhuni Zhi Shan as a child enjoyed reading, graduated 1st place from her Elementary School, and received the Provincial Prize. At the age of 19 she entered monastic life, and went to study at Ciming Buddhist College, where she served as the class leader. She excelled in being an interpreter and translator for many famous teachers. After that she began to teach the sutras and preach the Dharma widely. In addition, she served in ordination ceremonies as a preceptor and Karma master. Upon graduation from the Buddhist College, she became active in learning from the newly formed Chinese Buddhist Bhikkhuni Association, where she took courses without interruption. She worked to improve Bhikkhuni Education and enhance unity. In addition, Bhikkhuni Zhi Shan accepted leadership positions in various Buddhist associations: World Buddhist Sangha Congress, Chunghwa Buddhist Temples Association, Buddhist Association of Taichung County, etc.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Yen Ding - Taiwan_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Yen Ding – Taiwan

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Yen Ding Born on March 1, 1951, Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Yen Ding earned her Nursing degree at Corning Nursing School, and her Buddhist degree at Kaiyan Zen College. From the stillness of a silent bright mind, she has illuminated the lives of millions offering improved health and well-being. She excelled at and integrated health care approaches and direct application of Buddhist teachings to alleviate human suffering. She provided health care services as a nurse for 5 years, and then became the Supervisor of the Buddhist College for one year. In 2004, she established the “Auspicious Guangyu Detoxification & Purification Center to help monastics and laity detox and achieve excellent health. She then began organizing detoxification courses in Southeast Asia. In 2008, she established the Lianhua Yuan Life & Health Center in Puli, Taiwan to train monastics and laity about holistic health. Next, she shared her teachings with Santi-Asoke of Thailand, and subsequently detoxification programs entered the grassroots and spread throughout Thailand. By 2012, Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Yen Ding established the Auspicious World Life Health Education Center in Yangmingshan, Taipei, which integrates: ancient and modern, Eastern and Western natural therapies, religious medicine, biochemical technologies, energy medicine, diet and nutrition approaches, and other healthcare knowledge and technologies. She simplified complicated medical science in order to easily apply it to everyday life in order to enhance the body’s self-healing power. Thus, she empowers every one of us to take care of his/her health and be one’s own doctor. In 2013, she organized the Chong Hua Maiojing Food Culture Association to promote, “A Plant-based Diet to Save the Earth,” by protecting health and minimizing the use of resources.

By 2015, Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Yen Ding became the Honorary President of the “International Naturopathy Association of China.” She recognizes that diseases mainly arise from a poor diet. Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Yen Ding is an invited speaker and conducts Detox & Rejuvenation courses and Healthy Vegetarian Cooking classes worldwide. In 2018, the World Vegan Organization appointed her as a Health Food Charity Ambassador, promoting a mindful plant-based diet to save the earth and all beings.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Shih Sheng Hua - Taiwan_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Sheng Hua – Taiwan

Bhikkhuni Sheng Hua was born in Changhua, Taiwan in 1955 and was given the name Zhuang Liangshu. When she was young, her family was extremely poor. Her father was a miner, and her family lived in a dilapidated house made of earthen bricks. A suitcase they found served as the family’s closet. At age 5 or 6 she scavenged for pieces of coal or scraps. She only wanted to earn money to help her family, even though children of the same age played freely. Her family was so poor that they did not have money to buy food. She couldn’t go to school, so she hid outside the classroom door to listen to the teachers teach their classes. The children at the school were very kind to her and often brought bread and milk for her to take home. None of this stopped her from building three monasteries and two educational charities: Putuoshan Temple in Shulin District of New Taipei City, Taiwan / Putuoshan Monastery in Tongluo, Taiwan / Putuoshan International Association / Putuoshan Monastery in Cambodia / Putuoshan Minghua Care Center in Cambodia. In fact, her deep understanding of her childhood coupled with life benefactors, positive people who arose in her life, allowed her to enter into a spacious domain of trust and make the journey from survival, to thriving, to flourishing and led many disciples on the transformative journey as well. In her youth, Mr. Jiang Shixi, a teacher at the school befriended her, and helped her to receive an elementary school diploma.

The old monk, Master Shang Wu Xia Ming of Haiming Temple received flowers that she picked while climbing the mountain to pay homage to Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. He encouraged her and offered her fruit from the Buddha offering table to take back to her family. He led her to become a Buddhist. Mr. Chen Yixing, the son of the landowner who accepted her humble down payment of NT $400 to purchase the land to build a house for Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, while others buyers present had cash and checkbooks. The landowner’s son also helped her build Putuoshan Monastery. Her many disciples were her life benefactors assisting in building and coming to hear her Dharma talks. And, her ordaining Master who tonsured her and the Chuang Tai Chan Monastery who fully-ordained her. Her loving students followed her lead and collectively made offerings to Cambodia, which reminded Bhikkhuni Sheng Hua of her challenging youth. So, in the footsteps of a Bodhisattva, she purchased land in Battambang Province, Cambodia and built Putuoshan Monastery Cambodia and Putuoshan Minghua Care Center in Cambodia. In addition, in 2005, she established Shi Fang Yuan Inc. which sells healthy food products to earn revenues for her charitable works.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Kuan Chien - Taiwan._bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Kuan Chien – Taiwan

Bhikkhuni Kuan Chien, 33 years in the robes, offers Dhamma talks around the world, including: the USA, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, and China. Her books, must-reads for Buddhist art historians, total 14, and a Buddhist art quarterly, the Chuefeng Quarterly. Since 2002 she set up a television channel airing 37 series, a total of 1,355 DVDs. She enjoys the relaxed and joyful path and leads Buddhist Art pilgrimages to China, India, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia, helping participants to verify what they read, develop a positive nature and nurture Buddhist artistic spirit. From 1999 to 2007 she was the Abbess of Fayuan Temple, and in 2007 she moved to Yongshiu Vihara and established the Chuefeng Buddhist Art Institute and Foundation which offers courses on location and via internet. In 2017 she established the Chuefeng Center of Hsinchu.

South Korea

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Soon O - Korea_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Soon O – Korea

Born in 1962, Bhikkhuni Soon O is ordained for 36 years. She is the Abbess of Jeongtosa Temple in Chungcheongnam-do, Korea. For 12 years she studied Buddhism at the University level, including at: Sam Seon Sangha University, Sam Seon Graduate School of Buddhism, Dongguk Graduate School of Buddhism, and Joongang Sangha University. She also received degrees in Social Welfare from the National Institute for Lifelong Education, and in Child Welfare from the same Institute. Bhikkhuni Soon O is the Director of the Sudeok Social Welfare Foundation and the Dangjin Social Welfare Foundation. She is the President of the Korean Bhikkhuni Association of Social Welfare of Chungcheong, and an Instructor of the Dangjin Police Department, as well as, a Commissioner of the Human Rights Committee of Dangjin. She was the Co-Chair of the Dangjin Environmental Movement Association and now is a member of the Executive Committee of the Nippo Cultural Forest Route Cooperative Committee.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Whajeong - Korea_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Whajeong – Korea

Bhikkhuni Whajeong, ordained half-a-century, was born in the year the Korean War broke out. She experienced poverty and the deaths were personal and many. When she became 16, she asked herself, “What is life?” She became a Buddhist monastic, and practiced asceticism for 3 years. After that, she took her full vows. Since then, she has researched and studied Buddhism–going to various traditional Buddhist schools and colleges for 10 years, graduating from Sam Seon Buddhist Sangha Graduate School. Subsequently, Bhikkuni Whajeong established a Student Union and Youth Group consecutively. She guided these early disciples and developed a small temple, which later grew into a large temple, Myungbubsa Temple of Pyeongtak, Korea. Her temple and subsequent Welfare Center (Children’s Day Care Center & Senior Welfare Facility) now have 1,000 volunteers. They are recognized as the foremost religious facility and welfare center of Pyeongtak, a city of 500,000 inhabitants.

Malaysia

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Sing Kan - Malaysia_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Sing Kan – Malaysia

At the age of 25, Venerable Bhikkhuni Sing Kan entered Sin Fook Tong Temple as a laywoman for 2 years and another 2 years as a Samaneri under the guidance of her great grandmaster Bhikkuni Sin Pooi and master Bhikkhuni Ku Chung. After 4 years of training, she took higher ordination as a Bhikkhuni in Kek Lok Si Penang in 1985 under the preceptorship of the late Master Bai Sheng from Taiwan. In 1996 she took a Diploma in Buddhism in the Buddhist Maha Vihara. She took her second Diploma at the Kelaniya University in Sri Lanka in 1999. She then studied at the International Buddhist College from 2001 – 2004. In between her studies, she served as a teacher and the vice-principal of Siang Lin Kindergarten. Bhikkhuni Sing Kan is currently the Abbess of Sam Poh Tong Buddhist Temple in Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia. She is active in propagating Buddhist education especially to the young.

Germany

Germany

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Phalanani – Germany

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Phalanani is the Abbess of Anenja Vihara, in Rettenberg, Germany. Her Buddhist journey began in 1982 when she attended a Zen retreat. By 2007 she considered ordaining and in 2008 her dream came true, as she became a brown-robed Maechee and resided at Suan Pa Temple in Amper Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, Thailand. While in Thailand she travelled to Rampoeng Temple in Chiang Mai to practice intensive vipassana meditation. Bhikkhuni Phalanani then travelled to the USA to receive her Samaneri and Bhikkhuni ordinations at Aranya Bodhi hermitage. She returned to Thailand to Rampoeng Temple to continue vipassana meditation training for 2 years and then departed for Sri Lanka. She travelled onwards to Australia and lived at Santi Forest Monastery. Her heart led her back to Chiang Mai, Thailand where she lived in the forest and served as the deputy abbot of Pa Mieang Khun Pang Temple, before accepting the position of Abbess of Anenja Vihara. Throughout her sojourn she has deeply taken refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

Cambodia

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Kammatthana Mahatheri_cambodia_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Kammatthana Mahatheri

Born in 1960, Taichung, Taiwan, Bhikkhuni Kammatthana is the Abbess of Panna Vihara, Maha Panna Vihara, and the Chairperson of Maha Panna Vihara Foundation Organization. She was taken tonsure in 1998 by Bhikkhu Chuan-Pu, and taught meditation in Taiwan from 1999. Petitioned by six Taiwanese Bhikkhunis and permitted by Bhikkhu Chuan-Pu, Panna Academy was founded in 2000 and relied upon Bhikkhu Guo-Qing. Along with Kammatthana moved to Cambodia in 2000, Panna Vihara was established. The Taiwanese followers restarted the meditation group in 2003 and invited Bhikkhuni Kammatthana back to Taiwan every year. Panna Vihara, as a precept-taking Bhikkhuni monastery in Phnom Penh, is consisting of 19 Bhikkhunis, 2 Sikkhamanas, 1 Sramaneri and lives together with almost 20 lay people. In 2007, Kammatthana became official recognized as Therevada Bhikkhuni by the Royal Government of Cambodia because of the devotion of Samdech Preah Sanghareach Bour Kry, the Supreme Patriarch of the Thammayut order of Cambodia. Furthermore, Kammatthana was appointed as preceptor and gave 6 novice nuns the double ordination ceremony with Samdech Preah Sanghareach Bour Kry in 2011, starting the Therevada Bhikkhuni line. Kammatthana was in charge of republication of Pali-Khmer Tripitaka. She petitioned to Samdech Preah Sanghareach Bour Kry for revision of Pali-Khmer Tripitaka, soon a professional team was founded by Samdech Preah Sanghareach Bour Kry in 2008. In 2011, Kammatthana was committed to undertake the task. With cautious retyping and proofreading, now the new Pali-Khmer Tripitaka is printed and circulated in monasteries and universities in Cambodia.

The Sangha has been endeavoring in construction of Maha Panna Vihara for past 10 years, where were planted almost 10,000 sandal trees in 220,000 square meters. Maha Panna Vihara is expected as a precept-taking Bhikkhuni Monastery in Cambodia as well as an international meditation center and life academy, which becomes another great story about the affiliation of Therevada and Mahayana.

USA

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Susila - USA_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Susila – USA

Bhikkhuni Susila is the Founder of Lotus Meditation & Education Center in Diamond Bar, California, USA. Her center serves not only Bhikkhunis, but also serves anyone who is interested in studying and practicing Buddhism. Bhikkhuni Susila encourages both children and adults, to learn the Buddha’s teachings. She directs them to practice Dana (generosity), Sila (morality) and Bhavana (meditation). Bhikkhuni Susila was a successful pharmacist before her renunciation. She received her higher ordination on 10th October 2010 at Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara. She spent 3 month, during the rainy retreat, at Bhanvana Society in West Verginia and practiced meditation. She creatively organizes assistance to those in developing countries of Vietnam and Sri Lanka. She has funded building a school, a bridge, water wells, hospital services of cataract surgery, and food relief.

Vietnam

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni D

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dieu Canh – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Dieu Canh, ordained 53 years, is head of social charity in Vietnam, Abbess of Bao Quang Temple, head of Bhikkhuni studies, and a permanent member of the Buddhist Sangha National Committee of Vietnam. She works at the Sangha Abbot Committee in Da Nang City, and every 3 months organizes a meeting of Bhikkhunis who belong to the 7 districts of Da Nang City. When Da Nang City opened the 1st Buddhist Studies College, she kindly offered her temple to receive Bhikkhunis from around the country to board and study. Six cohorts of Bhikkhunis have graduated from the college since 1992, a total of 123 Bhikkhunis. Some of these Bhikkhunis are continuing their studies in Vietnam, doing Buddhist service, or studying abroad. Bhikkhuni Dieu Canh, herself, graduated from Hue Buddhist Studies College and from the Sai Gon Kindergarten Teachers’ College. Thus, she has been active in promoting education and child rights in Vietnam.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dieu Nghia - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dieu Nghia – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Dieu Nghia is the Abbess of Bach Lien Temple in Bac Lieu Province, Vietnam. She was born in 1948 and left home to become a nun in 1966 at Long Duc Temple. She graduated from High School, and attended many training courses for Buddhist Sangha Officers, the course on Buddhist preaching, and several refresher courses for Abbesses and Abbots. Bhikkhuni Dieu Ngia is a pioneering woman who has shaped and managed the religious mission of Bac Lieu Province and built up the community of her province. Commissioner of the Managing Committee of the Bac Lieu Province Buddhist Sangha since 1997 with her tenure until 2021, she has grown the new generation of monastics for her province. She has spanned the decades guiding the education of the Buddhist Sangha, and ordaining and maintaining Bhikkhuni monastic legal training. She has established a committee to teach preaching skills and sought funds to support the Bac Lieu Provincial Buddhist College.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Huong Nhu - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Huong Nhu – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Dr. Huong Nhu, a lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy at Vietnam Buddhist University in Ho Chi Minh City, is one of the most famous high-technology Dhamma teachers in Vietnam, with her youtube videos reaching millions around the world. Bhikkhuni Dr. Huong Nhu holds a Ph.D. from India, with a doctoral dissertation topic of, Buddhist Psychotherapy: A Modern Perspective. For the past 12 years, she has taught Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus at the University and plans to continue onwards propagating Buddhism to Vietnam’s emerging young generation of monastics. She has focused on teaching Dhamma to college and high school students during summer retreats, meditation retreats, and recitation retreats. She has also made outreach to workers, officers, business people, intellectuals, Buddhist followers, and those of other faiths. Korea, France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, the USA, and Australia, are just some of the countries where she has taught.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Nhu Nguyet - (Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Nguyet) - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Nhu Nguyet – (Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Nguyet) – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Dr. Nhu Nguyet was born in 1966 and ordained at the age of 12 in 1974 at Giac Hoa Temple in Can Tho Province, Vietnam. From 1974-1981, she cultivated herself and studied primary and secondary school. From 1985-1997, she cultivated herself and studied at Phuoc Vien Temple. Then Bhikkhuni Nhu Nguyet went to Taiwan and studied Chinese at the Center of National Languages of Taiwan’s University of Education in Taipei, Taiwan (1997-2000). She continued for her Master’s Degree at the same university in the field of Oriental Thought and Humanities. Finally, she travelled to China, Phuc Kien Pedagogic University and earned her Ph.D. degree in Cultural Studies in 2008. By 2013, she co-founded and was secretary of “The Voice of Vietnamese Buddhist Women,” Bhikkhuni Dr. Nhu Nguyet from 2009–present is a permanent lecturer and Vice-Dean in the Faculty of Chinese Studies of Vietnam Buddhist University in Ho Chi Minh City.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Nhu Nguyet - (Nguyen Thi Thu Ha) - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dr. Nhu Nguyet – (Nguyen Thi Thu Ha) – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Dr. Nhu Nguyet escaped from her family at the age of 14 and took refuge in Hue Lam Temple in Ho Chi Minh City for the purpose of spiritual learning and cultivation. She attended the College of Basic Buddhism 1989-1993, the first batch after Sai Gon’s independence. She continued onwards to the College of Advanced Buddhism and earned a B.A. in Buddhism in 1997. Next, she head to India to pursue a M.S. in Buddhist Studies, 1997-1999. Ultimately, she attained a Ph.D. from the Department of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi, India, with a doctoral dissertation entitled, The Origin and Development of the Bhikkhuni Sangha in Vietnam, 1999. With heroic accomplishments in hand, in 2000 she established the Department of Western Buddhist History at Vietnam Buddhist University in Ho Chi Minh City, where she is a permanent lecturer and Vice-Head of the Bhikkhuni Dormitory.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Hue Duc - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Hue Duc – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Hue Duc of Vietnam has organized activities across Vietnam to assist poor patients, students and local people. Her awards for these efforts are from Ho Chi Minh City, Kien Giang Province, Tien Giang Province, Vinh Long Province, Ben Tre Province, Binh Dinh Province, Quang Nam Province, Thai Binh Province and Quang Binh Province. Drilling wells, disaster relief, building houses, roads and bridges, offering school fees and school equipment, and assisting the visually impaired are all part of her social work commitment. Also, her work to protect the environment is notable and has received numerous honors. She teaches people to recycle, plant trees, not use plastic bags, and teaches children and the young to protect the environment. Born in 1977, she ordained at age 12, attended high school, graduated from the Vietnamese Buddhist Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, and the English Language University in the same city.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Hue Tu - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Hue Tu – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Hue Tu, ordained 53 years, is a member of the Executive Board of the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha. She is also the Vice-President and Secretary of the Vietnamese Bhikkhuni Committee. At the age of 14 she ordained with Bhikkhuni Huyen Hue, former Secretary General of the Northern Vietnamese Bhikkhuni Sangha. She flourished in the compassionate teachings of the Buddha and in viewing the Buddha’s image and gained clear direction to, “Serve human beings.” Bhikkhuni Hue Tu taught primary and secondary school and holds a B.A. degree. At the age of 24, she returned to Dong Nai province and built a small monastery, where she taught poor children and poor students. Step-by-step sweet fruits ripened and a long-term path of social activities developed. In the 1980s she developed a co-operative for making rattan and fine art handicrafts for export. The Thanh Cong Co-operative prospered into a factory winning provincial and national awards for years.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Hue Tuyen - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Hue Tuyen – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Hue Tuyen’s life is all about Buddhism. In the temple since the age of 5, An Phu Temple with Bhikkhu Tu Bach as Abbot, she witnessed and experienced a compassionate environment where her teacher cared for old and sick monks. Thus, she vowed to nurse the old, sick, homeless and incapacitated. Her life is a special story because her mother, 4 older brothers and 2 older sisters all became Buddhist monks and nuns. Today she cares for 150 people in her small temple where she is the Abbess, Lam Quang Temple, No.301/117H Binh Dong Wharf, Ward 14, District 8, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She takes care of and protects the elderly and releases society of burden. She has made charity trips around the country, mobilized donors, guided disciples, received awards, and praise from newspapers. Mostly, she recalls as a young girl, many years living in the temple, growing up with the scriptures, the sound of the temple bell.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Nhu Uyen - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Nhu Uyen – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Nhu Uyen was born in 1966 in Ben Tre Province, Vietnam. In 1980, she ordained with Bhikkhu Le Chon. In 1994, she received full ordination at Vien Giac Temple in Ben Tre Province. In 1997, she graduated from the Basic Buddhist Studies Program at Vinh Nghiem Temple (3 years of study). In 2001, she graduated from the College of Buddhist Studies at Vinh Nghiem Temple, Ho Chi Minh City (4 years of study). In 2003, she graduated with a B.A. in Law from Hanoi University of Law (5 years of study). In 2007, Bhikkhuni Nhu Uyen was nominated to be the Abbess of Tu Hue Temple in Chau Thanh District of Ben Tre Province; subsequently, she was invited to join the Provincial Buddhist Sangha. She has served Ben Tre Province Buddhist Sangha development by applying her knowledge and leadership skills.

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Tu Nhan - Vietnam_bhikkhunis_magazine

Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Tu Nhan – Vietnam

Bhikkhuni Tu Nhan was born in 1943, and has been ordained for 45 years. She is the Abbess of Phuoc Vien Temple in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her constant inner wish has remained the wholesome acts of giving and offering. Bhikkhuni Tu Nhan understands that birth, ageing, sickness and death are normal stages of life, and that she is no exception. In 2002, she contracted cancer. She had frequent fevers that common medicine could not cure, and an examination revealed non-Hodgkin lymphoma of the 3rd stage. She did not fear death; and was concerned about charitable plans yet to be carried out, that her students were not mature enough to complete without her. So, she changed her thinking. The disease was normal. If she had one day to live, she would live it to her best and live to help those in need.

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