Woodenfish: HBMLP accepts applications from students of any country and any academic major. Applicants from diverse academic disciplines and religious backgrounds are encouraged to apply. While a majority of participants are working toward an undergraduate or graduate degree, Woodenfish also encourages anyone involved in academic work or with an interest in Buddhism to apply. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of monastics, academics, and alumni of the program. Approximately 60 students will be offered admission to the 2013 program. The final application deadline is May 15th. Applications will be reviewed on a ROLLING BASIS, and decisions will be made within two to three weeks after the submission of one’s application. Since the selection is competitive, applicants are highly encouraged to apply early to have a better opportunity for admission.
The temple was built along the mountain, occupying a land area of approximately four Chinese acres. The whole temple was constructed with brick and wood. Inscribed on the temple gate is a vertical, antithetical couplet which reads: "Ancient Monastery of the Six Dynasties" and "Monastery of the 7th Patriarch." The horizontal scroll reads "Dharma Court of the World", showing the significant status of the temple in Chinese Buddhist history.
At the back of the temple is Hupao (Running Tiger) Spring. Outside the rightmost gate of the temple, there is an old gingko tree, which is 1,400 years old. According to the legend, it once was initiated into monkhood by Master Huisi. The tree has been well preserved in the temple.
Hengshan Mountain, named the Southern Mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains, is located in Hengyang County, the middle part of Hunan Province. It has 72 p
Besides marvelous temples, the mountain also boasts 9 ponds, 9 wells, 9 pools, 10 caves, 15 rocks, 25 streams and 38 springs, in harmony with green forests and fragrant flowers and grass. Grand, graceful, sequestered and culturally abundant, Hengshan Mountain leads the five sacred mountains by its gracefulness.eaks and extends 150 kilometers, with 800 miles in circumference. The Huiyan Peak is the south end of the peaks, Yuelu Mountain in Changsha City is the north end, and the Zhurong Peak is the highest, with 1,290 meters above sea level. On the top, the Shaolin Temple and the Watching Sunrise Platform are the best scenic spots.
For more info, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Heng_(Hunan)
Woodenfish: HBMLP is designed to immerse Westerners in Buddhist monastic life, and give them a first-hand experience with Chinese Buddhism that would likely be unavailable to them in their home countries. This year’s Woodenfish Program is divided into three main segments:
Segment I (14 days) – Orientation, Monastic Lifestyle & Classes
This part of the program begins with an orientation to intensive immersion in the monastic lifestyle: Group assembly; appropriate greetings to monastics, teachers and other monastic residents; shrine, meditation and dining hall etiquette; dormitory rules; and basic standards of Buddhist monastic ethics. The students will be exposed to the same disciplinary expectations as the monks and nuns at the monastery. The daily schedule which follows is based around morning meditation and evening chanting, along with the three formal meals in the main dining hall — for which instruction is provided.
After this orientation, Segment I focuses on a range of classes. Morning classes cover a wide range of Buddhist subjects. These classes follow the formation of Buddhist traditions, from early Indian and Mahāyāna, into classical Chinese Buddhism, culminating in modern Humanistic Buddhism. These classes provide participants with opportunities to ask questions and begin discussions in an academic setting. Afternoon sessions focus on applied Buddhism and Chinese culture, such as calligraphy, Buddhist music or mindfulness and psychology. Some afternoons will also feature additional meditation instruction and practice, and / or community service such as gardening, cooking, dining hall service, and so on. In the evenings, group discussion will be held or senior monastics will give talks in regards to their areas of expertise.
An example of a typical day:
|6:00 - 6:50 AM
||Morning Meditation and Tai-chi
|7:00 - 8:00 AM
|8:00 - 11:00 AM
||Classes: Buddhist Doctrine and Thought
|11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
||Lunch and Walking Meditation
|1:30 - 3:30 PM
||Classes: Applied Humanistic Buddhism
|3:30 - 5:30 PM
||Community Service / Meditation
|6:00 - 6:30 PM
||Medicine Meal (Dinner)
|7:30 - 9:00 PM
||Group Discussion / Sermon / Q&A
|9:00 - 9:30 PM
Segment II (7 days) – Chan Meditation Retreat
With the basic monastic etiquette and lifestyle in hand, the students will now be prepared to enter the meditation hall for a Seven Day Chan Meditation Retreat. The retreat will be led by monastics who are meditation specialists. The retreat is held in silence, and involves alternating sessions of sitting, walking and standing meditation, and students shall stay in the meditation hall quarters. The culmination of the retreat is a “three steps one prostration” pilgrimage through the monastery grounds.
Segment III (5 days) – Cultural Tour of other Temples and Historical Sites
At the end of program we will take tour to the other Buddhist or Daoist temples or historical sites in the Heng Shan mountain area. Detailed information will be provided later to those who are selected.
Room and board at the temple will be provided free of charge to participants for the duration of the program. Students will live in guest housing on the monastery grounds. Most meals will be taken in the main dining hall with the assembly of monks and nuns, and students will be taught proper monastic dining etiquette. Due to the intensive nature of the program, dependents (spouses, children, and/or partners) will not be able to accompany participants.
Unfortunately, the Woodenfish Project is unable to provide participants of this year’s Woodenfish with a stipend to help offset travel costs and other expenditures. Students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and/ or grants from their home university as well as other foundations. Also, students may consider consulting their financial aid office about taking this program for undergraduate course credit through University of the West.
Participants in the Woodenfish: HBMLP program are responsible for securing their own transportation to and from China.
In addition, participants will be required to purchase two sets of uniforms and a bag which will be worn throughout the program. The cost for the uniforms is $200 (USD) and these are the property of the participants.
Shared rooms and all meals are included with the program.
Students may if they wish receive college credit for the program through the University of the West (Los Angeles). The undergraduate course will be REL 427 Chinese Buddhism: Philosophy and Practice for 3.0 credits and the graduate course will be REL 638 Seminar in Chinese Buddhism: Philosophy and Practice and please check the website of the University of the West for the updated enrollment fee. Participants are able to enroll in this course and upon completion of the program may be able to transfer the credits from the University of the West to the academic institution they attend. Enrollment in a credit course is not required to participate in this program. This option is provided for those participants who wish to also earn college credits for their time. Upon completion the student will receive a letter grade for the class. Please check with the academic institution/department you attend beforehand to see if it will accept the credits.
- The Woodenfish Project is not responsible for securing visas for participants, and each participant should confirm specific requirements for his or her country.
- All meals served in the monastery are vegetarian. Meat products are strictly prohibited on the monastery grounds. Meals cannot be adjusted for those with food allergies or special dietary needs.
Alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs are strictly prohibited on the monastery grounds. Violation of these prohibitions may result in expulsion from the program.
Participants are expected to observe basic Buddhist etiquette while on the monastery grounds — i.e. the Five Precepts (No killing, No stealing, No lying, No sexual misconduct, No taking intoxicants).
Fuyan Temple is an active monastery; participants are expected to act appropriately and modestly in this environment. Please be mindful of interactions with the opposite sex.
Participants are not required to shave heads or wear monastic robes as monastics-in-training.
Participants are expected to keep a clean appearance. Women are asked to keep hair tied back. Men who do not already have beards on arrival are asked to keep clean shaven.
Participants are responsible for bringing personal care products, and appropriate and modest summer clothing. Insect repellent is recommended.
Participants are also asked to limit as much as possible their use of technology such as iPods, laptops, cellphones etc. We ask for participants to cherish four weeks without such distractions.
For more information about the program, consult the FAQ
How to Apply
Please send completed application form, personal statement and transcript to
For more information on Woodenfish, please contact us at