Author  DRBU Staff

Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

My name is Sophie Wu and I graduated from the DRBU MA program in 2018 and the Translation Certificate program in 2020. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, I began my journey to experience different educational systems by attending schools in various parts of the world, across China, US, and Europe at the age of fifteen.

I was so curious about different education systems around the world, both East and West, and searched for the kind of education that would speak to my heart.

When I was a child, I had many opportunities to visit Buddhist sacred sites all over China and Southeast Asia, and felt drawn to Buddhist practices, culture, chanting, and monasticism. It was my sophomore year at college, while enrolled in a Buddhism course, I had a profound realization that Buddhism will become a central part of my life.

I also have a special relationship with music. I started taking piano lessons when I was a kindergartener; however, piano was never easy or felt natural to me though I spent most of my childhood and teenage years with piano. Guided by my high school music teacher, who was dedicated to supporting my music journey, I found classical singing as my true instrument, which led me to a more professional training in classical vocal performance at college. Throughout the journey, I discovered what deeply inspires me is Buddhist chanting and music, and I hope to bring music, education, and Dharma together.

What are you currently up to?

Currently I work at DRBU and teach Music and Virtue Studies at the Instilling Goodness and Developing Virtue Girls’ School, both located within the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah, California. I trust in the power of music and the power of music education to cultivate people’s beautiful inner qualities, which continue to inspire me to create meaningful music programs. You can check out the recording of our last concert here: Infinite Light Winter Concert.

Right now I’m working on a few exciting music projects with several friends. An innovative one is the Mendocino International Summer Music Academy, which will be launched in July. This is a unique summer music program, where professional music training meets wellness practices. The curriculum focuses on both the inner and outer development of a musician. Our artist faculty consists of world-renowned, award-winning musicians, who, at the same time, are dedicated teachers. The wellness practices will be led by a team of experienced and certified instructors. It is a rare opportunity for music students and musicians who are interested in refining their skills and looking for balance in life.

Another upcoming event is the Ukiah Youth Concert on Friday, May 12. This concert brings together the entire Ukiah community by featuring local and international young musicians from various schools and music studios in Ukiah, including musicians from DRBU. It also features world-recognized master musicians who are passionate about supporting local music education.

Dress rehearsal for the Infinite Light Winter Recital 2022

What inspires you to work at DRBU?

DRBU’s founder, the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s vision on education. He once said, “We teach, teaching the underlying principles of being human… and while we teach worldly knowledge, it is done as part of a process of laying a firm foundation for becoming a person; and upon that foundation enable people to be in the world but not of the world.”

Since I was little, I have always trusted that each individual is powerful, wise, and bright inside. I was not easily convinced by the conventional educational systems, so I decided to study abroad at a young age. I was so curious about different education systems around the world, both East and West, and searched for the kind of education that would speak to my heart. I believe that DRBU originated from Master Hua’s vow so I am grateful to be working in the energetic field of his vow.

What motivates you as an individual? 

  1. My faith in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
  2. The sound of sacred chants. Mantra recitation lays a foundation for my daily life and brightens my heart.
  3. Kindness. Imagine how beautiful a world of kindness will be!

Do you have any spiritual practices you really like? If yes, would you like to share with us?

Reciting mantras and bowing. Bowing connects me with mother earth and the universe. The small self is transformed in those moments. Gratitude and humility arise. “Everything is okay.”