Master Ven. Jen Chun, founder of Bodhi Monastery, and his American Theravada scholar-monk student Bhikkhu Bodhi at monastery lecture's room

Ven. Jen Chun (“Shifu”), the founder and guiding teacher of BODHI MONASTERY, New Jersey, has passed away in Taiwan. Many have seen Shifu sitting in on the Sutra Study Class or at Saturday program lectures translated into English. His smiling face and jovial manner always provided a feeling of welcome to everyone who came to the monastery.

Shifu was born in Jiangsu Province in China in 1919 and entered monastic life as a novice at the age of seven. In 1949 he moved to Hong Kong, where he became a student of Ven. Yinshun (1906-2005), the foremost Chinese scholar-monk of modern times. He later moved to Taiwan with Master Yinshun and taught at Fuyan Buddhist Academy. He then moved to the U.S. in 1973.

Shifu had been for long the most senior Chinese monk in the greater New York area. Moreover, internationally, he was one of the most respected monks among the Buddhist populations of Taiwan, China, and Southeast Asia. He was deeply learned in many Buddhist traditions as well as in classical Chinese literature. His learning showed in his splendid Dharma talks and in his Dharma poems that served as the basis for his talks. He was also a vigorous cultivator who spent many hours each day in sitting and walking meditation.

I myself am deeply grateful to Master Jen Chun for inviting me to come to Bodhi Monastery shortly after I returned to the U.S. in 2002. Ever since I met him he has been an inspiring and caring “good knowing adviser” (shan zhi shi).

Let us all spend a few minutes over the next few days dedicating merits to him and wishing him a pleasant passage to his next existence, where he can continue to pursue the path of Dharma.