Born in Banqiao, Taiwan as the second oldest child, Bhikshuni Jin Han was skinny and sickly at birth. Because she was from a poor household, her medical bills took up half of their living expenses every month. Although she nearly lost her life several times, she never felt that her sickness caused her suffering. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t have clear childhood memories that memories of the pain caused by her illnesses have also blurred and faded away.
While her parents struggled to make a living, her grandmother raised her and her brothers. Her grandmother was a vegetarian and recited the Buddha’s name every morning. Deeply influenced by her grandmother, Jin Han Shr felt an indescribable closeness with the Guanyin statue on her family altar.
While studying at Taipei Commerce College, she chanced to hear a lecture at the college’s Buddhist Society and felt a sense of belonging, of connection there. Upon seeing the peaceful and solemn Buddha Hall and the adorned statue of the Buddha, her heart was filled with joy. The harmonious, uplifting sounds of the Fivefold Recitation of the Buddha’s Name drifted by, and she was deeply moved, so she joined the Buddhist Society. From then on, she often studied Buddhist texts and felt spiritually at peace, filled with Dharma joy.
In 1989, one of her teachers in Buddhist Society announced, “A prominent monk from America has come here; hurry up if you want to take refuge with him.” With that encouragement, she hurried to Taipei’s Baojie temple to take refuge, and it was during final exams too! The prominent monk turned out to be the Venerable Master Hua, who gave her the name of Gwo Bi. Such luck! At that time she didn’t know to make an offering after taking refuge, so when she was bowing to the Master, her teacher – who was beside her – urged, “Make an offering!” “An offering of what?” “Here, I’ll lend you a hundred Taiwanese dollars.” In this way, she completed her taking refuge ceremony.
When she returned, she wanted to better understand the Master that she had taken refuge with, so she went to the library to look up some information. After finding some of the Master’s instructional talks, she was happy to discover that the Master had monasteries in both Taiwan and America. After graduation, she hurried to the Buddhist Academy at Liugui, Kaoshiung to study. She had assumed that all you had to do was study Buddhism. Only later did she find out that you also had to put the principles you study into practice. Without enough mental preparation, she backed out after half a year. But her affinities with Buddhism weren’t cut off; she continued to study and read the Master’s lectures. When he went to Taiwan in 1993, she took the Five Precepts with him in the Banqiao Auditorium.
Leaving the Buddhist academy, she worked for six years, during which she thought deeply about the meaning of the sutras. She began to experience that this life held no meaning, no purpose, and the suffering of not being able to control one’s birth and death, and realized the importance of cultivating. She went a bit irresolutely to the Taipei Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Society to attend the Emperor Liang Jeweled Repentance, and then, despite her sickness, to Amitabha Monastery in Hualian for the Amitabha session there. After these Dharma assemblies, she felt like she was returning home when on temple grounds, and her heart was filled with light and clarity. She decided to come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, successfully applied for a visa, and settled in the United States.
Ten years after she had taken refuge, on October 24, 1999, which was Guanyin Bodhisattva’s leaving home day, she left home at the City. Her Dharma name is Chin Hui, Jin Han. After the Master passed away, it is fortunate that the Master’s temples are still here, and there are fellow nuns to guide the younger nuns in their practice. During her free time, Jin Han Shr memorized the entire Shurangama Sutra. She took the full precepts in the summer of 2002. She has experienced the hardships and trials of life, understands how rare it is to encounter the proper Dharma. She vows to work for the sound of Proper Enlightenment in the sea of wisdom, with no fear of waves or wind.