Seminar on Reading & Translating Buddhist Texts

 Back to the 2019 Seminar

Faculty Profiles


Brenda Li is a recent graduate of DRBU's Master's in Buddhist Classics. She completed her BA in Neuroscience and Behavior at Wesleyan University. Prior to coming to DRBU, she worked in mental health as a counselor and case manager. While working at a psychiatric crisis clinic, she had experience offering interpretation services for Spanish and Mandarin speakers. She is excited by the process of translating meaning across people and cultures.

José M.G. Vega, Ph.D., was formerly a researcher working for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (USA), the University of Nagoya (Japan), and the Council of Scientific Research in Oviedo (Spain). Later he was a novice in DRBA (2004-2008). He has co-authored dozens of scientific papers and patents, written about the origin of civilization (Sailors of Stonehenge, Voyage Zero), and received several literary awards in Spain. He has translated the Surangama Sutra and the Sixth Patriarch Sutra into Spanish (Sutra Surangama, Sutra del Sexto Gran Maestro) and is currently translating the Gandavyuha Sutra. His latest work is The Crown of the Zodiac, a novel. 

Bhikshuni Heng Yin grew up in Austin, Texas. She was ordained in 1992 under the guidance of the late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. She holds an MA in Translation of Buddhist Texts and an MA in Buddhist Classics from Dharma Realm Buddhist University, as well as an MA in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley. In addition to working on various translation projects for the Buddhist Text Translation Society, she served for twelve years as Girls’ Division Principal of the Instilling Goodness Elementary School and Developing Virtue Secondary School at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. She teaches Classical Chinese at Dharma Realm Buddhist University.

Justin Howe is a recent graduate of the DRBU Master's in Buddhist Classics program. He has a BA in Theater from Lehigh University. Following his undergraduate studies, he made theater for several years in Philadelphia, PA. He is the author of two plays. Justin is grateful for the opportunity to put his literary experience in the service of Master Hsuan Hua’s vows to translate the Dharma into every language. For the last year, he has helped BTTS on several English-language translation projects. He also served as a TA for the 2018 Translation Seminar. He looks forward to many more translation projects in the future!

Lina Verchery is a filmmaker and doctoral candidate in Buddhist Studies under the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. Her research centers on dynamics of agency, authority, and self-cultivation in contemporary Chinese Buddhist monasticism, especially throughout the Chinese diaspora. Lina holds a B.A. Honours in Religion from McGill University and an M.Div. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Her award-winning films range from documentary to experimental, including several films on religious topics, such as La Trappe/The Trap (National Film Board of Canada, 2008), The Outdoor Church (Harvard Film Studies Center, 2011) and In Ordinary Life (Sensory Ethnography Lab, 2013).

Michael Lu is a recent graduate of Stanford University Class of 2019 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Minor in German Studies. Prior to university, he attended Developing Virtue Boys’ School from 4th grade until graduation. He has been practicing to be a Chinese-English interpreter and translator since 6th grade, helping Dharma Master Jin Fan with Lotus Sutra translation on Monday nights, Dharma Master Jin Yan with translations of Water Mirror Reflecting Heaven, Venerable Master’s biography, and other texts, as well as Dharma talks given at the Buddha Hall. At university, he has been helping with miscellaneous Vajra Bodhi Sea (DRBA’s monthly journal) translations and occasional talks at Gold Sage Monastery. He attended the Translation Seminar as a TA in 2014 and 2016, and looks forward to rejoining this year. He will be working in San Jose after the seminar while doing a part-time master’s at Stanford.

Miguel Gracia-Zhang moved to CTTB 15 years ago with his parents and older brother and has attended the schools since kindergarten. Under the guidance of Dharma Master Jin Yan, he has helped translate the Venerable Master’s commentary of the Sixth Patriarch Sūtra for evening lectures. Prior to that, he also worked on the commentary of the “Pure Conduct Chapter” of the Avataṃsaka Sūtra. He attended the Translation Seminar in 2014, 2015, and 2018. He graduated from Developing Virtue Boys' School in 2018 but deferred his enrollment in Princeton University to participate in its Bridge Year Program in Bolivia, where he worked as a volunteer in Cochabamba.

Yang Liu holds a B.M. in Clinical Medicine from Beijing University Medical Center, and a M.S. in Biostatistics from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has worked on various translation projects for the Buddhist Text Translation Society, including Lotus Sutra, Avatamasaka SutraSong of Enlightenment, and Words of Wisdom. She teaches Chinese in the Instilling Goodness Elementary School and Developing Virtue Secondary School at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

Yi-Huan Shih holds a MA in Performance Studies from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts with a focus on Avant Garde theatre. Her fields of study include the intercultural and inter-disciplinary performing arts studies. She also holds a BA in Mass Communication with a focus on radio and TV production and newspaper and magazine publishing. An active volunteer in the Buddhist Text Translation Society since 2009, she has been participating in the weekly translation events of the Avatamsaka Sutra since 2011. An instructor of the Dharma Realm Buddhist University since 2014. 

Special Lecturers

Rev. Heng Sure was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1976. For the sake of world peace, he undertook an over six hundred mile pilgrimage from South Pasadena to Ukiah, repeatedly taking three steps and one bow to cover the entire journey. In the entire two years taken to make the pilgrimage, he observed a practice of total silence. Rev. Heng Sure has an M.A. in Oriental Languages from UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He serves as the Managing Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and has taught at the Graduate Theological Union, Bond University, and Dharma Realm Buddhist University. He lectures on the Avatamsaka Sutra and other sutras. He currently leads a team to translate the Avatamsaka Sutra. He is actively involved in interfaith dialogue and in the ongoing conversation between spirituality and technology.

Program Coordinator

Bhikshuni Heng Yi was ordained in 1995 under the guidance of the late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. She holds an MA in Asian Studies from California State University - Long Beach, and a PhD in Buddhist Studies from UCLA. Since 2011, she has been an Assistant Professor at Dharma Realm Buddhist University, teaching courses on Mahayana sutras and shastras. She has been a translator, reviewer, and translation team leader for the Buddhist Text Translation Society. She aspires to help develop a Buddhist Text Translation Institute as a space for those with talent in languages to be trained and to translate Buddhist texts as a form of spiritual practice.