Our History

A Buddha’s Gate Opens in the WestPicture6

As Buddha’s teaching comes West,
Regardless of age and race,
With a direct mind one enters Reality.

The Gate opens far and wide,
With many Dharma paths,
All who follow will reach Spiritual Peak.

Many thousands of years ago, the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. He realized that all sentient beings possessed an inherent Buddha nature but could not attain it because of their attachments and defilements. He devoted his life to helping others to understand his realization. Following the Buddhist teaching tradition, on October 10th, 2000, Venerable Master Wei Chueh established Buddha Gate Monastery in Lafayette, California. Since then, Buddha Gate has attracted local Buddhists as well as people of all ages who are interested in Buddhism and meditation.

Master Jian Sheng, Abbess of Buddha Gate Monastery, devotes her life toward helping all those who aspire to practice and incorporate Buddhism into their daily lives. She conducts classes in Buddhism and Chan (Zen) meditation, both in English and Chinese, holds Buddhist liturgical ceremonies and meditation retreats, with the aim of purifying and calming preoccupied minds, and helping people to realize their true self-nature.

Venerable Master Wei Chueh has also established Zen centers and monasteries across the United States, as well as in Italy, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan. Currently, other U.S. monasteries and Zen Centers are located in Sunnyvale, Pomona, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle and Oklahoma City. In addition there are over 90 similar facilities in Taiwan.

Venerable Master Wei Chueh

Picture7In the early 1970’s, Venerable Master Wei Chueh began a secluded, austere practice, living under extremely primitive conditions, but practicing the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) with joy. Some twelve years later, he was discovered by some passersby; soon, he had many followers. He therefore established Ling Chuan Monastery, where his disciples could gather to study Buddhism and Chan meditation. There, the Venerable Master gave Dharma lectures and conducted many consecutive Chan seven-day meditation retreats. He was known as the master who revived the Chan (Zen) tradition in Taiwan. In time, Lin Chuan Monastery was no longer able to accommodate all who wished to practice. The Master then felt it was time to build a new monastery.

Chungchungtaichan Tai Chan Monastery opened in 2001 in Puli, Taiwan, where it has become a hub for the study of Buddhism and Chan meditation. Establishing the monastery was a long and arduous task, but many offered financial assistance and volunteered their time, energy, and expertise.

In 1993, the Venerable Master founded the Chung Tai Buddhist Institute and the Pu Tai Schools in 2004. The Buddhist Institute consists of a Graduate School, College, and High School to educate monastic disciples and prepare them to teach the Dharma to others. The Pu Tai Elementary, Middle, and High Schools provide an all around education for youth, with an emphasis on compassion and wisdom.