Our Founder

Master Sheng Yen

Born in 1931, Master Sheng Yen lived through floods, droughts, and years of war while growing up in China. At the early age of twelve, he left home and became a monk. In order to flee from a chaotic China in 1949, he joined the army and left for Taiwan, later re-entering monastic life under Master Dongchu in 1960.

Master Sheng Yen was the 57th generational dharma heir of Master Linji Yixuan (d. 866) in the Linji school (Japanese: Rinzai) and a third-generation dharma heir of Master Xuyun (1840-1959). In the Caodong (Japanese: Sōtō) lineage, Master Sheng Yen was a 52nd-generation Dharma heir of Dongshan Liangjie (807-869), and a direct Dharma heir of Master Dongchu (1908–1977).

Throughout his life, Master Sheng Yen vowed to teach Buddhism in common language so that people can understand and apply in daily life. As Master Sheng Yen has noted, “The Dharma is so good, yet so few people know about it, and so many people misunderstand it.” 

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Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism 

In order to address the needs of people from both East and West in modern times, Master Sheng Yen established the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism. The Dharma Drum Lineage has inherited the teachings of Indian Buddhism while being firmly grounded in the foundation of Chinese Chan Buddhism. In addition, this lineage refers to and incorporates the strengths of the major Buddhist traditions in the world.

Our Teacher

Venerable Chang Wu

Venerable Chang Wu is the Abbess of Dharma Drum Mountain(DDM) Toronto Centre and Vancouver Centre.

Venerable Chang Wu began practicing Chan Buddhism with Master Sheng Yen in 1993, while she was a business professional in New York holding an MBA. In 2000, she joined the DDM monastic sangha while continuing to deepen her practice and understanding of Buddhism. Later, during her four-year stay in Taiwan, she gained new experiences through the publication and translation of Buddhist books.

Since over a decade ago, she has been actively leading retreats and giving Dharma talks in various cities in Canada, the United States, England, and Switzerland. In addition, she has often been invited to participate in inter-religious panels, end-of-life care dialogue, and some academic conferences.