The former chancellor of the University of
California at Berkeley, Prof. Chang-lin Tien, passed away on
October 29, 2002, due to pneumonia after a second stroke at
the age of 67. His family invited the chairperson of Dharma
Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA), Dharma Master Heng Sure
and nuns from the International Translation Institute to
recite The Buddha Speaks of Arnitabha Sutra and the Rebirth
Mantra at his funeral on November 4.
There are many Buddhists among Prof.
Tien's extended family. He declared himself to be a Buddhist
before a gathering of 10,000 people at UC Berkeley. He also
invited the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, founder of DRBA,
and the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, to
UC Berkeley. The Chinese Consulate once even threatened not
to issue him a visa due to his invitation of the Dalai Lama
to UC Berkeley.
Prof. Tien made great contributions in
his scientific research and won numerous awards. He was a
member of the United States National Science Foundation.
During his term as chancellor of UC Berkeley, he overcame a
budget crisis, hired more faculty members, and elevated UC
Berkeley's academic status to that of the best university in
the United States, surpassing even Harvard and Stanford in
After his resignation in 1997, he was
invited to serve on the boards of many organizations and
governmental agencies on top of his teaching job at UC
Berkeley. He frequently flew between the US and the Pacific
Rim countries. He promised his wife, Di-hua Tien, that he
would quit all his positions and retire in 2001. Who would
have known that he would be diagnosed with brain cancer and
suffer a stroke from biopsy infections in September 2000. He
was bedridden and could not move or talk thereafter .
Before falling ill, Prof. Tien loved
seafood and salt-preserved duck eggs. Fresh oysters were his
favorite. His successful career and hectic lifestyle left
him no time to study Buddhism. It was only after he was ill
that he had the opportunity to listen frequently to the
recitation of the Great Compassion Mantra and Guanyin
Bodhisattva's name. This surely helped him to plant good
roots for studying Buddhism in his next life.