Jin Sheng Shi came from Mentakab City in the state of Pahang in Malaysia. Her ancestors immigrated from Yong-chun County of Fu-jian Province in China several generations ago, but her family still speaks the Fu-jian dialect at home. Her parents consider themselves Buddhist but practice Chinese folk worship. They offered meat dishes to ancestors and deities and prayed to them for protection.
When she was little, her father and grandmother used to take her to temples, where she always experienced a sense of familiarity for some reason. When she was in her teens, she noticed that people around her were always fighting with each other in order to make a living. She started feeling that life was full of disappointments and suffering. She was afflicted and longed for something to rely upon. Once her neighbor invited people from the local Buddhist Association to recite a Sutra for a funeral. She did not know what Sutra it was, but the soothing sound of recitation instantly calmed her heart. Later she learned it was the
Jin Sheng Shi is very quiet and could pass a whole day without uttering a single word. She did not become involved in the Buddhist Youth Association until high school. After studying Buddhism on her own for a while, she understood that life was indeed full of sufferings But she also found a way out—to leave the home life and cultivate the Way. She was only 18 at the time. Through a fellow cultivator in that Association, she learned about the Venerable Master Hua and after reading his
Instructional Talks and viewing the video “Cultivation in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas,” she found a path that was practical in cultivation. When she read about the Venerable Master’s requirements of eating only one meal a day at noon and always wearing the precept sash, she was elated because such a lifestyle appealed to her.
One day that fellow cultivator came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to study, and after one month she entered the monastic life. Jin Sheng Shi wanted to follow the same path, but with the exception of her younger sister, her family was strongly opposed. It would not have been appropriate for her to live off of them anymore, so she moved out, got a job and became independent. After work she would go to Prajna Guanyin Sagely Monastery to participate in Dharma assemblies.
In 1994 she moved into the Prajna Guanyin Monastery and then to Deng Bi An Temple. Before long she moved out of the Way-place and got a job again. During this time she felt like a corpse and her life was totally meaningless to her. One day she was overcome with emotion and rolled on the ground crying. She spoke to the air, seeking repentance before Guanyin Bodhisattva. She repented of the bad karma she had created in the past, which had so obstructed her path of cultivation.
The following day, a laywoman called and offered to help her apply for a visa to come to the United States. She obtained a ten-year visa. A year later, after she had saved enough money, she told her parents that she wished to leave the home-life. By that time her parents realized that they could not change their daughter’s mind and that she would never marry, so they signed the agreement to let her leave the home-life.
After she came to CTTB in 1997 and attended the Repentance Before Ten Thousand Buddhas, she stayed on and worked as a volunteer in the vegetarian restaurant. Two years later, on Sunday, November 24, 1999, the commemoration of Guanyin Bodhisattva’s and the Venerable Master’s leaving home day, her head was shaved with her parents’ consent, fulfilling her wish. She received the new name Chin Mao.
Afterwards she was trained at the City of the Dharma Realm and Gold Summit Sagely Monastery. She attended classes on the Shramanera [Novice] Precepts and Rules of Deportment and worked in between classes. After several years of training, she was particularly interested in studying the precepts further so as to understand their circumstances of establishment and their essence, so that she can better uphold and benefit from them.
Jin Sheng Shi is good-natured and easygoing. When asked where she would like to be at after she is ordained, she smiled and said, “Any place is fine as long as it is the Venerable Master’s Way-place.” She is currently living at Gold Sage Monastery.