Bhikkhu Dr. Dhammadipa Sak (Fa Yao) is the Abbot of US Zen Institute and Wisdom Temple, Vice President of Buddhist Association of United States, Trustee of the Parliament of World’s Religions, Trustee of Chue Feng Buddhist Art Foundation (Taiwan), Chairman of the Board of the Chinese Bhavana Association (Taiwan), and Former Abbot of Chuang-Yen Monastery and Temple of Enlightenment. Dr. Dhammadipa Sak is also a scholar of early Mahāyāna and Theravāda Buddhism and specializes in the study of Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma and Theravāda Abhidhamma.
Ven. Dhammadipa, besides conducting meditation retreats, also has been invited to provide meditative instructions mostly on Four Immeasurable Minds and partly on Mindfulness of Breathing and Insight Meditation in Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Maryland, Indiana, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc.
He was born to a Chinese family in Taiwan and brought up in East Malaysia, where Islam is the major religion. After being ordained as a monk in 1987, he obtained his training in several distinguished monasteries in Sri Lanka that scarcely happened to a Chinese. During a course of nearly nine years, he went on numerous trips to study meditation in Thailand and Myanmar; at the same time, he also earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees specializing in Buddhist and Western philosophies etc. in two separate universities in Sri Lanka. Not long after leaving Sri Lanka for France to further his French and missionary works, at the age of 31, he moved to Taiwan in 1997 to teach early Buddhist philosophy and comparative Abhidharmas of two traditions for graduates and under-graduates at Yuan Kuang Institute of Buddhist Studies and Fuyam Buddhist Institute. Later, he went for further academic studies in England where he obtained his Ph.D from the University of Bristol. Little did he know his arrival of America would bring him to another dimension of experiencing new kinds of scholarship and institutions. Formally, 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, Yogacāra and anthropology etc. Subsequently, Ven. Dhammadipa established a program called Massachusetts Bodhisiksa Educational Center in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Even after seven years of serving as an abbot of Chuang Yen Monastery, NY, he still tirelessly conducts classes that went through the entirety of ‘the Path of Purification’, ‘the Entrance of Abhidharma’ of Sarvāstivāda, and several topics related to Buddhism in Western societies at CUNY AAARI (The City University of New York). He was a visiting professor of anthropology and philosophy Departments at Sun Yat-sen University and was a lecturer at University of Chicago Divinity School.
Ven. Dhammadipa has acquired command of various languages such as Pāli, Sanskrit, English, Chinese, French, Japanese etc., which help him to expand his intellectual and cultural horizons. He also possesses extensive interests, in addition to Buddhist practices, in Western Philosophy, Christianity, Islamism, Hinduism, etc., and he has engaged in conversation with scholars and laypersons alike in North America, Europe, the Near East, and East and Southeast Asia. Especially his years spent in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States allowed him to understand the complexities of Buddhism in the West and in relation to Western culture, and the distinctive currents of beliefs and faiths in a changing global world.