Ven. Dr. Dhammadipa Sak (Fa Yao) is the president of U.S. Zen Institute in Germantown, MD, and the abbot of Amatavihāra in Boyds, MD, and Wisdom Temple in Billerica, MA. Dr. Dhammadipa Sak is also a scholar of early Mahāyāna and Theravāda Buddhism and specializes in the study of Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma and Theravāda Abhidhamma. He was/is a visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Additionally, he is a trustee member of the International Buddhist Association of America (IBAA) and the Parliament of World’s Religions (PWR).
Asides from conducting meditation retreats regularly in the centers, Ven. Dr. Dhammadipa is often invited to teach meditation in Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Maryland, Indiana, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and other locations. The main methods he teaches are Four Immeasurable Minds and Mindfulness of Breathing. Occasionally, he also teaches Insight Meditation.
Ven. Dr. Dhammadipa Sak was born to a Chinese family in Taiwan and brought up in East Malaysia, where Islam is a major religion. He was ordained as a monk in 1987 and had ten-year monastic training in several distinguished monasteries in Sri Lanka, which scarcely happened to an individual of Chinese descent. He also earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Buddhist and Western philosophies at two renowned universities in Sri Lanka.
Not long after leaving Sri Lanka for France to further his French and missionary works, he moved to Taiwan to teach Early Buddhist doctrines and comparative studies of Theravada Abhidhamma and Sarvastivada Abhidharmma to graduates and under-graduates in two esteemed Buddhist colleges in Taiwan. Later, he went to England to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Bristol. He achieved his Ph.D. degree in Theology and Religion seven years later.
Little did he know his arrival in America would bring him to another dimension of exploration. He had the rare opportunity to study under several professors at Harvard University where he learned different aspects of Buddhism in research fields including Logic, Middle Way, Yogacāra, and Anthropology in the Buddhist view. With this newly obtained knowledge and his previous expertise, Ven. Dhammadipa established a program called Massachusetts Bodhisiksa Educational Center in Quincy, Massachusetts.
While serving as an abbot of Chuang Yen Monastery, NY, he still tirelessly and passionately taught the entirety of “the Path of Purification” from Theravada tradition, “the Entrance of Abhidharma” of Sarvāstivāda, and several topics related to Buddhism in Western societies at CUNY AAARI (the City University of New York). In addition, he was also a visiting professor of anthropology and philosophy Departments at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. He is still a research fellow there even right now.
Ven. Dhammadipa is proficient in various languages such as Pāli, Sanskrit, English, Chinese, French, and Japanese, which helps him to expand his intellectual and cultural horizons. He also holds extensive curiosity not only in Brahmanism and western philosophy, but also in Christianity, Islamism, Hinduism, etc., in addition to his Buddhist practice. He enjoys communicating with people of different background, from scholars, religionists to laypersons. In an ever-changing global world with distinctive currents of beliefs and faiths, Ven. Dhammadipa's years spent in Europe and the United States have helped him better understand the complexities of Buddhism in relation to Western and global cultures.