Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM, 法鼓山) is an international Buddhist spiritual, cultural, and educational foundation founded by late Chan Master Sheng Yen. The international headquarters of the organization are located in the Jinshan District (金山區), New Taipei City, Taiwan (ROC). Aside from being the international headquarters of Dharma Drum Mountain, the Jinshan complex also serves as the campus for the Dharma Drum Sangha University (DDSU，法鼓山僧伽大學; a seminar for future monastics in training) and the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA, 法鼓文理學院). In addition to the monastery complex in Jinshan, Dharma Drum Mountain has a number of monasteries, centers and local branches throughout the island and abroad.
Dharma Drum Mountain is one of the most influential Buddhist organizations in modern Chinese Buddhism. In Taiwan, it is considered one of the “Four Heavenly Kings” or four major Buddhist temples (四大道場) of Taiwanese Buddhism, along with Tzu Chi (慈濟), Fo Guang Shan (佛光山), and Chung Tai Shan (中臺山). Its impact on Buddhist circles both Eastern and Western stems from the vision, charisma, and life experience of master Sheng Yen. This vision is summarized by the organization’s charter:
The Common Ethos of Dharma Drum Mountain (法鼓山的共識)
-Our vision: to uplift the character of humanity and build a pure land on earth.
-Our spirit: to give of ourselves for the benefit of all.
-Our direction: to return to the original intention of the Buddha and work for the purification of the world.
-Our approach: to promote comprehensive education and extend loving care to all.
Dharma Drum Mountain developed from Nung Chan Monastery (農禪寺) and the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Culture (中華佛教文化館), which were both founded by Venerable Master Dongchu (東初法師). Nung Chan Monastery, whose early residents dedicated themselves to the practice of Chan and grew their own food (hence its name, as “Nung” here means “to farm”), was established in 1975. At that time, Venerable Master Dongchu was devoted to promoting Buddhist culture in Taiwan, cultivating Buddhist human talent, and holding an annual winter charity event.
In 1978, Master Sheng Yen succeeded Venerable Master Dongchu as the abbot of Nung Chan Monastery and the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Culture, carrying on his master’s vocation and popularizing the Buddhadharma by converting it into concepts and methods that everyone can understand, accept and use. As the number of devotees at the Nung Chan Monastery and students at the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies continued to increase, in 1989 a plot of land in the Jinshan Township, Taipei County, was purchased. Master Sheng Yen named this land “Dharma Drum Mountain,” and the organization Dharma Drum Mountain was formally established. To learn more about the history and vision of Dharma Drum Mountain, please refer to this page.
A presentation of Dharma Drum Moutain’s headquarters in Jinshan: