Life in America as a Chinese Buddhist Monastic: An Interview with Venerable Guan Zhen
In ancient Chinese literature, “the West” refers to India—the birthplace of Buddhism. Nowadays, as in most cultures across the globe, the West for the Chinese points to North America and Europe.
Venerable Guan Zhen (冠振) represents the new generation of Chinese Buddhist sangha members who speak English and teach the Buddhadharma in the West. He was ordained as a Chan Buddhist monastic in 2001 and subsequently completed his BA in Buddhist Studies at the Buddhist Academy of China in 2005 and earned a Master of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy at the University of the West in California in 2013. Currently, he is pursuing his second master’s degree in Social Work at Columbia University in New York City. Besides his impressive academic record, Ven. Guan Zhen also served two and a half years in the US Army Chaplain Corps, becoming the first Chinese Buddhist monk to serve men and women in uniform in the United States.