From June 15 to 17, 2018, Woodenfish Foundation hosted the second iteration of the interdisciplinary Buddhism and science conference. Changing its official name to “Buddhism, Science, and the Future,” the conference focused on innovations in biological sciences and their ethical implications. Shenzhen was chosen as the conference venue because it was the first city to be designated as a Special Economic Zone in China. This vibrant city is considered the rising “Silicon Valley” for its drastic urban landscape development and rapid economic growth. At the conference, Woodenfish invited 26 scholars, entrepreneurs, and Buddhist practitioners from China, U.S., Thailand, U.K., Egypt, and Denmark for this intellectual engagement. This international team constituted of scholars from Stanford University, Peking University, MIT, Chulalongkorn University, entrepreneurs, and Buddhist practitioners. More than 350 international audience attended the conference. The event was live streamed and receiv...

Zhaoming Temple in Fuding hosted the 2018 edition of the Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program. Over seventy students from 18 different countries decided to partake in the demanding experience of living in a rural monastery, engaging with Chinese culture, scholarly study and Buddhist monastic principles. At the end of the month we travelled to Putuoshan, boddhisattva Guanyin’s sacred mountain (bodhimanda), where we performed a pilgrimage.

   When I was asked to write up this post, I found myself looking at the blank page trying to figure out how to best write a text that would be true for all. Both staff and students have a core common experience, but each of us brought home a different treasure from it. One of the most beautiful aspects of HBMLP is finding it finished, or in other words, finding you’re thrown back to what you considered was your real life.

   Reminiscing this experience, some of us might talk about the generosity of Zhaoming’s abbot, Master Jie Kong, and how...

Zuyue Yue 

Hi, my name is Zuyue Xie and it is really a great honor to have this opportunity to be a member in the group. I’d like to start the school; I’m currently a senior of University of Delaware with statistics and computer science major. The school is in Newark of Delaware which is not fancy and fashion as New York, but it has its own taste of the college life and I had so much joy in the past three years. I like the class of computer
programming and mechanical build, I like spent several hours coding and building models. Other than the study life, I put a lot of effort to seek out my limit, learning time management, teamwork, leadership, etc. Other than the academic life, I like to play video games, watch comics and fitness training. There are so many things I’d like to try and there is so many things I can do. I’m really excited about this internship
since I’ve never attend such big organization before, meet new fellows who is also eager as me and doing group projects. I’ve neve...

"For me, the artistic approach is the middle ground to pull the academic and faith together. "

Maxwell Holden's Woodenfish Story

In 2012, I was a graduate student in region and studio art. My advisor recommended this workshop to me. I participated in the BIC (Buddhism in China) program in Shanghai, and visited about 20 temples. I I loved how Yifa packed so much into each day. I am really interested in Chinese Buddhism and want to get back to China and see Buddhist Art at a whole new level. I am planning to go back to China soon to do research on Han Dynasty religious art from 1965 onwards.

Memorable Moments from the Program 

We met many abbots of the temples. They talked to us about the cultural revolution, and the artworks at the temples. The program changed my view on Chinese art. It might just be me, but I found it fascinating to see the deterioration of temples – how they rot in certain ways that look fascinating in layers. These artworks provided me with so many inspira...

Want to hear what Woodenfish alums have said about their experiences in our programs and their spiritual/professional paths? Alumni Spotlight will introduce you to our alums and their insights!

Spencer Ballantyne's Woodenfish Story

I heard about HBMLP from a Professor at Davidson College. My father passed away a year before. I had many questions and kept asking why. I wanted answers. Through the program, I learned about living in equanimity instead of having polarized emotions, and to have this state of appreciation.

One Take-away from the HBMLP (Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program)

I learned mindfulness and to extend emotional awareness and have equanimity. This emotional awareness is particularly helpful in my career path in the entertainment industry where things are often unpredictable. I try to focus on the present and retain a calm mind.

How Has Buddhism Played into Your Career?

I loved reading Zen Koans and the book The Art of Happiness. The book helps me to deal with...

Becoming a Buddhist Nun

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I had a strong desire to explore questions such as what the meaning of life is, and where humans come from and where they ultimately go. While my fellow students in junior high were working hard on preparing for the college entrance examination, I was so devoted to discovering the meaning of life that I saw the three words, meaning of life, printed in the sky when I wandered down the paths lined with coconut trees on campus. At parties, my friends discussed movies, food and boyfriends. I entered, asking them what the meaning of life was. They all said I was no fun. I was born and raised in a town named the North Port (Beigang) in Taiwan, where traditional worship of MaTsu was passed down from generation to generation. However, I did not identify with any religious beliefs.

Determined to become a judge and strive for social justice and fairness since I was little, I enrolled in the law school of National Taiwan University i...

Want to hear what Woodenfish alums have said about their experiences in our programs and their spiritual/professional paths? Alumni Spotlight will introduce you to our alums and their insights!

A Brief Introduction of Bhante Kusala

Bhante Kusala was born in Sri Lanka and decided to pursue the Buddhist monastic path when he was a teen. His keen interest in Buddhist Meditation has made him to be an ardent and devoted practitioner as well as a teacher in various disciplines of early Buddhist studies and meditation techniques for 9 years in Sri Lanka, Europe, and the USA. Currently, he resides at Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center in Missouri, USA and his temple in Sri Lanka.

Bhante Kusala's Woodenfish Story

Bhante Kusala participated in the Nirvana Sutra Seminar in China in 2015. His story with Woodenfish began while he was studying at the Harvard Divinity School, and was impressed with Venerable Yifa's charisma and was inspired by Venerable Yifa's speech at a conference there. Kusala...

On August 31st, Dr. Yifa was invited to visit the Gaozun Temple, located in Deyang, Sichuan province in China to meet with the Master Jijing, and to attend the annual meeting of the Fuhuideng Educational Group. In the speech she gave to the employees and volunteers of the the Fuhuideng group about Buddhist management, Dr. Yifa shared the management wisdom in Buddhism gained from running Buddhist groups in Taiwan and internationally.

A special arrangement was also made by the Fuhuideng group for Dr. Yifa to have an in-depth discussion with Master Jijing. Both are students of Master Xingyun, and advocates of science, technology and education. Dr. Yifa and Master Jijing shared their understanding about the ideas of Humanistic Buddhism  proposed by Master Xingyun and reached an agreement for future collaboration. Dr. Yifa emphasized that instead of any individual Buddhist master, Buddhist followers belong to the whole of Buddhist society, as well as non-Buddhist society. “The Buddhist pract...


After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Administration from Tilburg University, Netherlands and Masters’ Degree in Finance from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Sjoerd decided to step out his comfort zone and study abroad in Beijing, a mysterious destination abounded with exciting traditions and cultures. Sjoerd first heard about Buddhism in high school, during his world religion class. But he mentioned that his interest in pursuing the Buddhist faith didn’t arise until 2016—when he met a Woodenfish alumna, Sarah Rose. Sjoerd confessed that he absolutely enjoys the insightful and enlightening language of Buddhism. For example, a statement that truly touched him is “nothing exists eternally in this world.” Beyond his appreciation for the language, Sjoerd believes that Buddhism has helped him formulate and improve his standards of living. The hands-on cultural experience at HMBLP also helped him develop some healthy habits, for instance, sitting and standing wi...

Adhering to the principle of exposing China’s youth to traditional Chinese studies and preparing them to become responsible global citizens, Woodenfish’s third annual World CitiZen Youth Camp took place at the Aimer Building in Beijing. The program attracted a dozen of international instructors hailing from America, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Hungary, and El Salvador, and they currently work in a diverse range of professions as well: secondary school teacher, current students at Duke University and Smith College, athlete, movie producer, actor, interpreter, and IT engineer. The team was truly diverse, helping the youth learn from different cultures and cultivating virtues of awareness, inclusivity, diligence, and tranquility in them.

To better facilitate teaching and activities, participants were divided into different age groups. The younger ones played various get-to-know-you games, such as “hand-shoulders-knees-toes,” with our instructors, while the older teens participated in...

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