The founder of True Buddha School, Living Buddha Lian-sheng (birth name
Sheng-Yen Lu), is considered to be an accomplished cultivator of modern
practices. He was born in Chiayi, Taiwan in 1945, and graduated from the
Land Survey Department of Chung Cheng Institute of Technology. He has
been propagating the True Buddha Tantra through literary and artistic
works, as well as Dharma talks and other means. He has over 5 million
disciples worldwide, including many well-known Tibetan tulkus.
There are two reasons why He is revered as a ‘Living Buddha’:
5 million disciples worldwide all revere and respectfully address Him as
The State of Washington, USA, has also accorded Him with an award for
Renowned Persons and respectfully addresses Him as Living Buddha.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng was originally a Christian, before studying
Taoism, and afterwards, Exoteric Buddhism. Lastly, He dived into the study
and cultivation of Tantric Buddhism. After moving to Seattle, USA in 1982,
He began to formally turn the great Dharma wheel of Tantric Buddhism to
deliver sentient beings, distilling and integrating the key teachings of
complicated and obscure ancient Tantric Dharma into unexcelled Dharma
practices that are easy to learn, understand, and practice in these modern
times — the True Buddha Tantra.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng was a devout Christian and Sunday school teacher in high school. Later, His divine eye was opened by Golden Mother of the Jade Pond, and subsequently He was taught by Mr. Three-Peaks-Nine-States (San-shan-jiu-hou-xian-sheng), as well as Taoist Master Qing Zhen of the Qing Cheng Taoist School (Reverend Liao-ming). He learned Taoist practices, internal alchemy and talisman practices, Early Heaven School of Geomancy, Tantric Buddhism, the five major classes of knowledge in Buddhism (pañcavidyā), and many more.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng first took refuge in Reverends Yin-shun, Le-guo, and Dao-an. He then received the Bodhisattva Precepts at Nantou’s Bi-shan-yan Temple with Reverends Xian-dun, Hui-san, and Jue-guang as His preceptors. His liturgy teachers for sutra recitation were Reverends Shan-ci and Shang-lin.
As for Tantric Buddhism, He received lineage transmission of the Kagyu School from His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and the Twelfth Tai Situ Rinpoche; lineage transmission of the Gelug School from Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye; lineage transmission of the Sakya School from Vajra Acharya Sakya Zheng Kong (His Eminence Dezhung Rinpoche); lineage transmission of the Nyingma School from Reverend Liao-ming and directly from lineage guru Padmasambhava (during meditation). He also received empowerment from Master Pu Fang of Zong Chi Temple. (Note: The Twelfth Tai Situ Rinpoche only gave refuge empowerment and not empowerment for all tantric practices)
Living Buddha Lian-sheng is a true practitioner of Tantric Buddhsim who has cultivated the Four Classes of Tantra (Action Tantra, Performance Tantra, Yoga Tantra, and Highest Yoga Tantra) to become one with the supreme consciousness, merging into the Ocean of Vairocana (all-encompassing ocean of dharma nature). He has genuinely accomplished the Eight Outer Practices and the Eight Inner Practices. Thus, many Tibetan tulkus and eminent Sutrayana masters have also taken refuge in Living Buddha Lian-sheng. Around the world, the number of disciples who have taken refuge continues to increase each day.
As Living Buddha Lian-sheng has already attained enlightenment, He has authored more than 285 books pertaining to spiritual cultivation (as of October 2021), which have been translated into Japanese, English, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Spanish and many other languages. The full series of His books are in the collection of the United States Library of Congress. The Japanese publishing industry also praised Him as "an immortal of contemporary China." Living Buddha Lian-sheng is unparalleled in disseminating Dharma through written text in this modern age. He also uses painting as a means to propagate Dharma, and to date, his artworks have been compiled into 11 painting catalogues, published and distributed. Living Buddha Lian-sheng gives Dharma teachings every day, and from 1990 till today, countless Dharma talks have been compiled and distributed in the form of books, audio tapes, video tapes, and DVDs.