World’s Famous Bhikkhunis
Venerable Senior Bhikkhuni Dr. Jian Hui Shi
Abbess of Yuan Dao Chan Monastery
Venerable Senior Bhikkhuni Dr. Jian Hui Shi is the Abbess of Yuan Dao Chan Monastery. I was trained under the Venerable Monk Weijue following the Linchi Ch’an school. I’ve studied for more than 20 years to further my knowledge and deepen my understanding of Buddhist sutras. With Buddha’s teachings as the foundation, I have been interpreting Buddhism from a diversified perspective by integrating managerial, pedagogical, psychological, anthropological, philosophical, and scientific approaches with the ultimate goal to awaken general public’s appreciation of Buddha’s wisdom. In response to modern preference for self-learning, I established a cloud-based group-learning platform designed to promote Mahayana sutras such as Huayan Sutra (Sanskrit: The Avatamsaka Sutra) and Shurangama Sutra, with the hopes of helping everyone deeply connect with the source of the teachings and develop wisdom as profound as the ocean.
Education – In order to strengthen my abilities to integrate both the mundane and transcendental Dharma, I obtained a master’s degree of Strategic Management and Organizational Analysis, as well as a doctorate degree in Adult Education. Applying such knowledge to my daily duties, I am committed to become an effective Buddhist educator in order to help others and address their specific needs.
Sangha Education – For years I served as a professor and dean of a Buddhist college. With the goal of continuing sangha education and of spreading Buddha’s teachings, I established the “Yuan Dao Sangha Group,[DC2] ” which focuses on cultivating a full range of talents for Dharma dissemination.
Cloud-based Group-learning – Considering modern preference for self-learning, I created a cloud-based group-learning system to address such needs. With monastery masters leading the sessions, this system enables people to easily study Dharma every day, and in turn helps them create a habit over time. This cloud-based group practice model utilizes the convenience of the Internet. Our goal is to one day have a vast number of people around the world participate in the Dharma service of Huayan Sutra every day. I also established a Dharma learning website with systematically integrated learning materials and resources, plus a feedback feature to help people with tight schedules build a routine of studying Dharma at their own pace.
Multimedia teaching materials – To accommodate today’s fast-paced lifestyle, I adopted a short video approach in regard to Dharma teachings, supervised the production of short videos on several Mahayana sutras, including The Shurangama Sutra, The Huayan Sutra, The Altar Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, The Essence of Teaching and Meditation, and The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom. These videos serve as the daily Dharma study materials for people around the world. I also introduced a variety of audio and video clips with differing topics into these teaching materials in order to explain worldly phenomena from Buddha’s point of view. My goal is to foster an easy and effective learning environment by utilizing popular media resources and real-life elements.
Promoting Huayan Sutra – With activities ranging from typesetting, printing, circulation, distribution, to the promoting of sutra recitation, a diverse range of Huayan-practicing opportunities were formed, such that the participants can join in various ways according to their own background and preferences. I encourage people all over the world, ranging from four-year-old children to the elders, to recite and even memorize Huayan Sutras. As of today, we have successfully distributed 252,000 sets of Huayan Sutras globally.
Promoting the Diamond Pagoda – For years I have promoted “Vajra Prajna Writing Meditation” worldwide. I was fortunate enough to be able to teach people how to build the Diamond Pagoda by transcribing the Diamond Sutra. The purpose of this activity is to explain the essence of the Diamond Sutra to help people understand the concept of emptiness and to nurture an environment where people voluntarily support the building of Diamond Pagodas on their own.
Multi-faceted Activities – Lectures – I have conducted Dharma lectures all over the world for international entrepreneurs, senior managers, teachers, young students and the general public in an effort to show them ways to integrate Dharma into everyday life and work.
Documentary – I supervised the production of the documentary [Following the Avatamsaka Sutra on A Journey], based on the actual journey during the promotion of the Huayan Sutra. The documentary used real stories shared by the participants and inspired the public’s interest in the Huayan Sutra. As a result, many have recently joined the effort of sutra printing and sutra reciting. This documentary has won 13 awards at various film festivals internationally, including awards from the United States, Israel, Italy, Japan, Venezuela, Singapore, India, Bhutan and other countries. By participating in these awards, the Huayan Sutra was able to create good connections and planted wholesome seeds within the National Film Festival Jury and the audience.
Videos – I supervised and recorded a Huayan Sutra chant video. This is currently the only recording with complete rituals of the Dharma service. It was recorded in a professional studio with the participation of the four Buddhist disciple groups. It has become an all-inclusive learning material for people worldwide to follow for their daily self-study or group practice. Additionally, in order to promote the Mahayana sutras and meet people’s specific learning needs, I recorded chants of the Huayan Sutra and the Diamond Sutra so that people can follow these videos in their own time.
Conducting Activity of Ten Cities and Ten Assemblies – During the pandemic period of 2020, in order to continue promoting the Huayan Sutra and praying for all people impacted by the pandemic, I organized and conducted the “Ten Cities and Ten Assemblies” events in ten different cities in Taiwan following the tradition of Seven Locations and Nine Assemblies in the Huayan Sutra. Combined with a new book signing, movies, music, paintings, and forums, these ten events were celebrated within two and a half months, each of which was enthusiastically participated by hundreds, sometimes over a thousand people, totaling more than 6,000 attendees.
Forum – I established the Huayan Forum and invited many recognized individuals, such as, but not limited to, entrepreneurs, scientists and doctors, to recite the Huayan Sutra and share their experience on how to combine their professional and family lives with the Huayan Sutra. With the influence of society leaders and social elites from all walks of life, I wanted to form a positive atmosphere for the general public to learn and adopt the Huayan Sutra into their lives.
Musical Concert – I invited performers to play the rhythm of Huayan alphabets with different instruments such as piano, electronic organ, guzheng, dongxiao, xiao, flute, bawu, and saxophone, and led the audience to sing along with the performance for everyone to experience the profundity of Huayan alphabets.
Drawing – I also invited an amateur artist to draw images of The Fifty-Three Visits of the Youth Good Wealth. The graphic explanations served as a guide for the public to learn about the famous story of the Fifty-Three Visits.
Books – Deeply captivated by the greatness of Mahayana Buddhism after over 20 years of disseminating Dharma, I published “Understanding Buddhist Scriptures in a Second Series: Huayan Trilogy”, to help today’s Buddhists understand the profound meanings behind Buddha’s teachings. I also published “Huayan Part One: An Eternal Thought, The Essence of Huayan” in September 2020. This is a collection of my Dharma talks during the cloud-based group practice sessions. The main content starts from Chapter 1 of the Eighty Huayan, “The Wondrous Adornments of the Rulers of the Worlds,” to Chapter 52 “The Tathagata’s Appearance.” It describes the practice, paths, and achievements of ten beliefs, ten dwellings, ten conducts, ten transferences, ten grounds, equal enlightenment, and wondrous enlightenment. This was my attempt to interpret the Huayan Sutra in a simple and easy-to-understand way to help today’s busy individuals face life audaciously and find courage to start anew.
Public Welfare – To foster the concept of compassion in young children, starting in 2013 I have been promoting and sponsoring the vegetarian lunch box project, which provides elementary and middle school children with vegetarian lunch when they visit the National Museum of Science and Technology. To this day, 36,859 vegetarian lunch boxes have been delivered. Considering this may be the first experience of many participating children to have a vegetarian meal, the food is carefully selected and prepared to make a good impression in order to increase the children’s acceptance of vegetarian food. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, I led 102 lay Buddhists to take the bodhisattva vows for the purpose of abstaining from killing and of accumulating good merits.
Meditation – Every spring and autumn I host the Seven Day Shurangama Meditation Retreat. With the Shurangama Sutra as the foundation of meditation, I lead Buddhist students to practice the three teachings of precepts, concentration, and wisdom according to the Linji Ch’an school. Furthermore, I am currently in the process of establishing the International Meditation Center in Zhi-Ben of Tai-Dong district in order to guide more people to experience Mahayana Meditation.
Education – National Kaohsiung Normal University, PhD of Adult Education / Chung Tai Buddhist Institute, Master of Buddhism / University of Sydney, Australia / Master of Management (Strategic Management & Organizational Analysis) / National Taiwan University, Anthropology.
# Crown Wood International Film Festival – Award Winner
# Los Angeles Film Awards – Award Winner
#World Film Carnival – Singapore – Award Winner
# Druk International Film Festival – Award Winner
# Picasso Einstein Buddha International Film Festival – Award Winner
# Festigious Los Angeles – Monthly Film Competition – Award Winner
# New York Film Awards – Award Winner
# Florence Film Awards – Finalist
# Near Nazareth Festival ( NNF) – Semi-Finalist
# Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival – Selected
# Prime Documentaries Monthly Screening-Wildlife & Environmental – Selected
# Rome Independent Prisma Awards – Selected
# Five Continents International Film Festival – Selected
The documentary [Following the Avatamsaka Sutra on A Journey] is about a year and half long journey. From the dessert of Dunhuang to Mount Zhongnan of Xi’an, from the city of Nanchang of Jiangxi province to Korea, this documentary is not about when to depart or arrive during a trip, but it records a group of special people, sharing the same aspiration and walking on the path of Bodhisattvas. It is about how the Avatamsaka Sutra changed people’s minds, as well as people’s lives.
By believing in and reading the Avatamsaka Sutra with faith, this journey begins. In 2014, Yuan Dao Chan Monastery began promoting the Avatamsaka Sutra to Buddha’s disciples. The objective is to chant one chapter a day and complete a set in a quarter of a year so that this Sutra can bring about wonderful changes to the follower’s life.
However, promoting the Avatamsaka Sutra is not an easy task. Not only do many different versions exist, the set itself is considerably large. In addition, the text contains many archaic Chinese characters and virtually no punctuation, making reading difficult. Most people know about the Heart Sutra, Vajracchedika (Diamond) Sutra, or Bhaisajyaguru Sutra, yet not many people are familiar with the Avatamsaka Sutra. As a result, Yuan Dao Chan Monastery decided to make promoting and offering the Avatamsaka Sutra their lifelong ambition and decided to redo the typography of the Avatamsaka Sutra in order to improve readability.
During the 2015 Sangha Offering Ceremony, Yuan Dao Chan Monastery offered twelve thousand sets of Avatamsaka Sutra to all Venerable Masters and accepted applications from all Monasteries across Taiwan. After receiving applications from Korea, Yuan Dao Chan Monastery decided to start a series of travels to monasteries across the world in order to offer and promote the Avatamsaka Sutra.
In October 2017, Yuan Dao Monastery organized a group of 60 people to Xi An, China to offer the Avatamsaka Sutra. In addition to eight sects’ ancestral temples, Yuan Dao Chan Monastery traveled to a very remote city called Dun Huang. Yuan Dao Chan Monastery made an Avatamsaka Sutra offering to Leiyin Temple – the temple where Xuan Zang Master had previously been stationed. In December, Yuan Dao Chan Monastery traveled to Nanchang City of Jiangxi province to offer the Avatamsaka Sutra to new monks who had finished the Ordination Ceremony. Each new monk received a set of Avatamsaka Sutra.
As of 2021, Avatamsaka Sutra has reached the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia, as well as across more than ten countries around the world. A total of over two hundred and sixty three thousand (263,000) sets of Avatamsaka Sutra have been offered as of today. In China, Yuan Dao Chan Monastery travels to almost every province and makes offerings to many monks. Yuan Dao Chan Monastery hopes to someday offer one million sets of Avatamsaka Sutra so that everyone involved can enter the rich, spiritual world of Avatamsaka. According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, the most respectful act of giving is to offer Buddhist dharma. Offering the Avatamsaka Sutra is considered an offering of the highest regard. In this documentary, there was a father who wanted to build merits for his daughter who passed away at the age of eighteen. Understanding the significance of the Avatamsaka Sutra, this father decided to financially contribute to the further printing and offering of future copies of the Avatamsaka Sutra as the ultimate gift to his late daughter.
僧眾教育 – 長年於佛學院擔任教授師及教務長，後建立「圓道僧團」，著重僧格養成及培育全方位弘法人才，祈使僧種不斷，傳佛心燈。
雲端共學 – 著眼於學法者之需求與特性，尤其是當代人自主學習的特質，運用現代科技，建立雲端共學體系，由法師領學伴學，帶領現代人養成每日親近學習佛法的習慣。同時，善用網路便利特性，建構每日上線參與網路共修華嚴經的雲端共修模式，每日帶領全球各地超過五百人參與線上華嚴法會共修。並且建立學習網站，系統整合學習教材，建立學習回饋機制，讓忙碌的學習者於緊湊的日程中養成聽法的自主學習習慣。
多媒體教材 – 弘法過程中細察民眾學法需求及特性後，發展出短視頻弘法模式，監製楞嚴經、華嚴經、六祖壇經、教觀綱宗、大智度論等大乘經典之短視頻，做為學法民眾每日用功親近佛法的教材。於教材中適時引入不同主題音頻或視頻為教材，以佛法闡釋世間法，融入社會大眾熟悉旳媒體素材及生活元素為媒介，幫助學習者觸類旁通，提升類化學習效果。
推廣華嚴經 – 從排版、印刷、流通、供養，乃至推動受、持、讀、誦，發展出多元行門，讓發心者可依其根性有不同形式參與。至今於全球已供養25萬2千套華嚴經，並且推動世界各地民眾讀誦甚至背誦華嚴經，年齡層下至四歲幼兒上至耄耋長者。
推廣金剛塔 – 長年於世界各地推動「金剛般若寫禪」，教導民眾抄寫金剛經後建立金剛塔，講解金剛經要義，使學法民眾契入空性，並且發展出由民眾自發推廣抄寫金剛塔的習法風氣。
多元活動 – 講座 – 針對國際企業家、高階管理人、教師、青年學子及社會大眾等不同對象，於世界各地開設佛法講座，教導其將佛法融入生活與職場。
紀錄片 – 將供養華嚴經及推動受持讀誦之過程監製成為紀錄片【跟著華嚴經去旅行】，藉由自然演員真實分享，帶動民眾對華嚴經的興趣，近而加入助印經典及受持讀誦之列。此紀錄片於世界各影展已獲得13項大獎，包括美國、以色列、義大利、日本、委內瑞拉、新加坡、印度、不丹等國家的獎項殊榮，更藉由參展，讓該國影展評審團及民眾藉此因緣與華嚴經結緣，以種善根。
影片 – 監製錄製華嚴經梵唄唱誦影片，此為目前唯一具備完整儀軌之法會形式，且由四眾弟子共同參與於專業錄音室內錄製完成，成為世界各地民眾上網跟著影片進行每日自修或共修的完整教材。另為滿足學法者聽聞經典的需求，錄製華嚴經與金剛經的念誦影片，使民眾可跟著念誦經文，以推廣大乘經典。
辦理「十城十會活動 – 疫情期間為持續推廣華嚴經，並為疫情祈福，依據華嚴經七處九會形式結合新書發表、電影、音樂、畫作、論壇等形式，於台灣的十個城市辦理「十城十會」活動，二個半月之中辦理十場活動，每場皆有數百計甚至千人參與，總計超過六千人參加。
論壇 – 建立華嚴論壇，邀請社會賢達誦讀華嚴經，將自身專業與生命經驗與華嚴經相結合，於論壇中分享，帶動領導者學習大乘經典及聽經聞法，更藉由各行各業領導者與社會賢達之影響力，形成「風行草偃，上行下效」的效果，以影響社會大眾學習華嚴經之風氣。
音樂表演 – 廣邀表演者以鋼琴、電子琴、古箏、洞簫、簫、笛、巴烏、薩克司風等不同樂器演奏華嚴字母，並帶領民眾唱和，以初窺華嚴字母之堂奧。
畫作 – 邀請素人畫家繪畫善財童子五十三參，配搭圖文解說，帶領民眾以繪圖認識五十三參。