1970年來美，就讀於肯塔基的史堡丁大學 (Spalding College) 藝術系。1975年因妹妹〔即現在之比丘尼恒文師〕沒膽進三藩市金山禪寺大門，所以陪她一塊去。哪知進入寺中一見宣公上人的面，塵心頓消即想捨俗出家，事奉三寶，幫助上人弘揚佛法。
Bhikshuni Heng Ze’s lay surname was Yan; she was from Taipei, Taiwan. She grew up in a Buddhist family. Her parents were sincere Buddhists and vegetarians. When she was twelve, she took refuge with the Triple Jewel. She had twelve brothers and sisters, and her family was very well off. Ever since she was little, she was cared for by an old housemaid who had worked in the family for generations. She never had any idea of what suffering was in this world.
With a carefree personality, she spent money lavishly. When she dined out, she always ordered the most expensive dishes; when she went shopping, she chose the most expensive clothes. When mother wished that she would leave home to concentrate on spiritual cultivation, she sneered, “How could I possibly leave the home life? I don't even want to be a vegetarian.”
In 1970, she came to the United States and studied art at Spalding College in Kentucky. In 1975, because her younger sister (now known as Bhikshuni Heng Wen) was afraid to step inside the door of Gold Mountain Monastery, she went in with her. Unexpectedly, her mundane thoughts were purged the moment she met Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. She wanted to leave home, work for the Triple Jewel, and help the Venerable Master propagate the Buddhadharma.
After that, she moved to the women's residence at the International Translation Institute (then on Washington Street). Whatever chores there were to be done, such as cooking, she always did with heartfelt pleasure. When the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas just started, she was among the first to come and clean up the place.
In 1976, her head was shaved on the Birthday of Amitabha Buddha. She received full ordination in October 1979. After leaving home, Bhikshuni Heng Ze Shi changed completely. She ate simple food and wore simple clothes, and toiled diligently. She was even more vigorous in both her daily work and her spiritual practice, never minding how heavy or dirty the work was. Even when she was taking care of hundreds of guests, she could recite the Shurangama Mantra quite a few times; when she was cleaning, she also recited the Buddha’s name without cease. No matter how busy she was, she recited the Earth Store Sutra at least once a day. She took care of newcomers and earnestly encouraged them. Those who knew her will remember her humility and perseverance.
In 1983, she moved to Gold Wheel Monastery in Los Angeles and was manager for six years. In 1989, she went to Gold Buddha Monastery in Vancouver, Canada, and served as manager for two years. As the Venerable Master's attendant for many years, she attended upon him with all her heart despite all hardships.
On July 16, 1997, she passed away at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Her age in the precepts was 18 years. Over one thousand pieces of sharira (relics) were found in the ashes after her cremation, and they are kept in the Buddha Hall at the Tower of Blessings in the City.