Ven. Guo Huei, the sixth Abbot President of Dharma Drum Mountain

Venerable Guo Huei(果暉)was born in Yunlin, Taiwan, in 1958. A PhD from Japan’s Rissho University, he was ordained by Master Sheng Yen in 1985, and served as the Master’s attendant and secretary, Monastic Advisor of DDM Meditation Group, Director-in-chief of the DDM Sangha, President of Dharma Drum Sangha University, Vice Abbot-President of Dharma Drum Mountain, and Director of the Buddhist Studies Department of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts. He was selected by the Master to become one of his Dharma heirs in 2005.

Born and raised in a farming family in Dounan, Yunlin County, the venerable started to explore the meaning of life during his time in high school. Studying at National Taiwan University, he participated in Chan practice activities at the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Culture in Beitou, Taipei, led by Master Sheng Yen, and subsequently confirmed his aspiration and direction of life. During his military service, whenever he had days off, he often attended Chan retreats at the Institute of Buddhist Culture, or worked as a volunteer to help with retreatants. These experiences in Buddhist practice strengthened his resolution to become a Buddhist monk. After he was discharged from military service, he first moved into Nung Chan Monastery to join the novitiate as a postulant, and then officially became a monastic in the following year, when he was given the Dharma name Guo-Huei Zheng-Yuan(果暉正遠).

After starting his monastic life, the venerable’s first assigned duty was growing vegetables. Afterwards, he consequently served as a member of the General Affairs Department, disciplinary monk, and secretary, as well as monastic advisor for DDM Meditation Group and Engineering/Maintenance Office. He believed that each and every duty assigned by the Sangha was a refresh experience and could be taken as a bodhisattva practice of benefit for self and others.

Following Master Sheng Yen’s instruction, the venerable went to Wat Phra Dhammkaya in Thailand to study for a year. After returning to Taiwan he was appointed the position as director-in-chief of DDM Sangha. In 1997, with the encouragement and the support of the Sangha, he went to Japan for further study at Rissho University. He obtained the master’s in 2000 and the doctorate in Buddhist literature in 2005, with the dissertation entitled “A Study on the Path of Meditation Practice: Focus on the Foshuo Da Anban Shouyi Jing T602 (修行道之研究——以《佛說大安般守意經》為中心).” After returning to Taiwan, the venerable was appointed to a new position dedicated to Buddhist academic education, nurturing younger generations of Buddhist talent, and has since served as President of Dharma Drum Sangha University, Director of the Buddhist Studies Department of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, and Vice Abbot-President of Dharma Drum Mountain. His specialized areas include the studies of dhyana concentration, An Shigao, Chinese translated sutras on dhyana completed in early Han dynasty, as well as life and death.

As one of the first group of monastic disciples of Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, and a first-generation DDM Sangha member, Ven. Guo Huei could deeply relate to the Master’s foresight in founding Dharma Drum Mountain to benefit people and society with its ideas and facilities, reflecting his compassionate mind in practice by completely giving of himself. In the process the venerable has learned and realized that Buddhist practice requires one to develop the mind of gratitude and compassion; the former helps dissolve one’s ego and the latter compels one to act for the benefit of self and others.

“Compassion takes practice. The Master told me that I usually had a serious look on my face, giving people an unfriendly impression. So he advised me to look into the mirror more often, to learn the way Guanyin Bodhisattva smiles and emulate his compassion. Start off by practicing to smile, we can thereby change the manner of our speech and attitude, and eventually internalize joy and develop a tender heart. This is also about the practice of contemplating compassion.”

“By arousing compassion within ourselves we will know to treat anyone and all sentient beings with an equal and caring mind of tolerance, empathy, and sympathy, instead of harboring opposition, hatred, harmful intentions, doubt, fear, and jealousy.”

Ven. Guo Huei is grateful to Master Sheng Yen for his tireless guidance, to his fellow monastics for their support, and to society for their willingness to accept and practice Buddhist teachings, bringing peace, health, and happiness to themselves and others. The venerable has a pure practice of the precepts, a strong mind for the Path, and is a person of modesty and prudence. He works in harmony and with respect for people, and cultivates good relationships with others. He firmly upholds the ideals and mission proposed by Master Sheng Yen and practices them earnestly. Loyal and committed to the DDM Sangha, the venerable has won the recognition and reverence from DDM’s monistic members and followers.

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