The Passing of Master Sheng Yen’s First Western Dharma Heir, Dr. John Crook

The late Master Sheng Yen’s first western Dharma heir, the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan (Zen) Buddhism, Dr. John Crook, passed away on 15 July, 2011, at the age of 83.

Dr. Crook had inherited the compassionate vow of spreading Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhism to the world stage from the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain. Dr. Crook upheld this vow until the end of his life.

He assumed the responsibility for guiding and teaching European practitioners about the Dharma, and as a result of his hard work, Chinese Chan Buddhism has grown remarkably in Great Britain, as well as in Europe and the United States of America.

Dr. John Crook was born in 1930 and became a significant figure in primatology and socio-ecology in Great Britain. His first encounter with Buddhism was in the 1950s, and he retired early from the Department of Psychology from University of Bristol.

He started practicing Chinese Chan Buddhism as taught by Master Sheng Yen in New York. In 1993, Dr. Crook was granted the privilege by Master Sheng Yen to teach Chan meditation on behalf of DDM in the West.

In 1997, Master Sheng Yen bestowed Dr. Crook a Dharma name, Chuan-deng Jing-di. Dr. Crook formed the Western Chan Fellowship with colleagues and dedicated himself to the promotion of Chinese Chan Buddhism in Europe, having great influence in the UK and Europe.

Despite both Master Sheng Yen and Dr. John Crook having passed away, their inspirational vows will surely be passed down through the generations, letting the Dharma light to shine on every corner of the world.

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