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Woodenfish Foundation is an organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2016

"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...

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...

An International Community in a Monastic Setting

At the 1200-year-old temple, Jin'e Temple founded by an influential Zen master, Huaihai, in the historical city Ningbo in China, undergraduate and graduate students from 23 countries gathered to experience the Buddhist monastic life. Woodenfish’s signature program, the Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program (HBMLP), celebrated its 16th year while the program took place from July 1 to July 28, 2017. Many of the participants had hoped to gain a deeper understanding of the Chinese and Buddhist culture, and thus they went on this journey to the east, to hear wood block knockings, Buddhist chanting, the voices from this international group of participants, and from the depth of themselves.

Buddhist Discipline

From the moment the participants put on their white linen Zen uniforms designed by Ven. Yifa, founder and President of Woodenfish Foundation, our participants took on the manners and mentalities of Buddhist monks...

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