Filed in Zen (Chan)

The Wanderer

Master Sheng Yen

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Master Sheng Yen has dedicated his life to spreading the teachings of Chan Buddhism in China and in the West. In this excerpt from his new autobiography, Footprints in the Snow, Master Sheng Yen tells the story of his arrival in New York and how he learned to live without a home.


AFTER I RESIGNED from my post as an abbot in Taiwan, Dr. C. T. Shen [a cofounder of the Buddhist Association of the United States] brought me back to New York to spread the dharma there. My return to the United States did not restore me to my former position of strength, however. There was no room for me to live at the Temple of Great Enlightenment, which was occupied by nuns. I stayed at Shen’s villa, named Bodhi House, on Long Island and traveled back and forth to the city. But I wanted to move out because I was too far away from my students. Shen told me, “If you move out, I can no longer take good care of you.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “I will wander.”

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