Guo Gu is one of Master Sheng Yen’s senior and closest disciples, and assisted the master in leading activities at the Chan Meditation Center, Dharma Drum Retreat Center, and Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan, and other parts of Europe and Asia.
Guo Gu first learned meditation when he was four years old in 1972. He studied with one of the most respected Chinese meditation masters and ascetics living in Taiwan, Master Guangqin (1892-1986). In 1980, due to his family’s relocation, Guo Gu moved to the United States.
In 1980, he began learning meditation from Master Sheng Yen, who was residing in New York at the time. Beginning in 1987, Guo Gu began to attend intensive Chan retreats with him. After the first retreat Master Sheng Yen gave him the Dharma name, Guo Gu, which means, “results from being the valley.” In 1991, after college, Guo Gu was ordained as a monk and became Master Sheng Yen’s first personal attendant who traveled with the master. In 1995, he had his first Chan experience, and was given permission by the master to teach Chan independently. He has received several affirmations of his subsequent experiences in 1996, 1997, and 2007. In a chance meeting in June 2007, his experience was verified by the Rinzai Zen master, Roshi Noritake Shunan, of the Myoshin-ji Zen lineage.
In 2000, Guo Gu left monasticism and re-entered the world. In 2008, he received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Princeton University and began teaching Buddhism and East Asian religions academically as an Associate Professor at Florida State University. In 2009, he founded the Tallahassee Chan Center. He is the guiding teacher for the Western Dharma Teachers Training course at the Chan Meditation Center in New York and the Dharma Drum Lineage.