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...

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