This past September, Venerable Yifa flew from Taipei to New York City for an extended visit to the United States. In addition to visiting old friends and making new ones, she made steps towards developing future Woodenfish activities, attended an academic forum at Yale and had dinner at Oprah's house!
Yifa landed in New York on the 7th of September and almost immediately set to work on Woodenfish matters. Over the course of three days, she had daylong meetings with newly-hired Woodenfish employees Julia and Jordan to go over short and long term plans for the Foundation. During this period, the Woodenfish team also paid visits to Religions for Peace and the UN.
On the 12th, Yifa returned to her alma mater to take part in a symposium entitled Text and Context in East Asia, held in honor of her advisor and renowned scholar Stanley Weinstein. She presented on the current relationship between the Chinese government and Buddhism. On the 13th, she made her way to Boston to meet with friends and take part in the Boston Woodenfish reunion.
After arriving on the West Coast on the 16th, Yifa visited the home of Oprah Winfrey for the screening of a new week-long documentary series, "Belief," which details the people with a wide range of faith backgrounds search for deeper meaning and connection with the world around them. On the following day, a small Woodenfish gathering was held in downtown Santa Barbara.
On 9/20, Woodenfish had a large reunion at Columbia University. Pizza was followed by a discussion about the next steps of Woodenfish and how alumni could get involved in the planning of new programs.
Yifa departed from the US on the 22nd for a week-long stay in the UK, where she made trips to York, Oxford and London. While in Oxford, she met with Oxford professors Richard Gombrich and Stefano Zaccheti. After a month in transit, she left the UK on October 2nd for Beijing via Taipei.
If you missed our reunions in September, worry not! Ven. Yifa will be returning to the US in November to visit NYC, Boston, and the Bay area. Reunions are planned for 11/13 (NYC) and 11/15 (Boston), so mark your calendar and look out for upcoming details about these events.