Ven. Master Chengyi, the clan of Qutang Town, Taixian County, Jiangsu Province, was born on February 28, 1914 in China with the surname Wang. He became a novice monastic at the age of 13, and went to study at Buddhist Institute of Guangxiao Temple.
In 1940, he ordained as a Buddhist Monk to undertake ascetic life. He passed the examination to enter Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine next year and graduated in 1947. During the period, he gave Buddhist teachings at the Jade Buddha Temple where he also opened a free Buddhist Clinic.
Because of the civil war in China, he moved to Taiwan in 1948 and committed to the circulation of Buddhist scriptures to Taiwan. Four years later (1952), he joined Ven. Master Nanting to found Huayen Lotus Society (HLS) in Taipei.
He also established Qiáo ài Buddhist Hall in 1962 and Chih-Kuang Vocational High School of Business & Technology in 1964. In I972, Ven. Master Chengyi became the Abbot of HLS. In 1975 he set up Hua-Yen Buddhist College (HYBC) and later in 1983, its graduate school, the Institute of Hua-Yen Buddhist Studies (IHBS) .
Since 1968, Ven. Master Chengyi was not only involved in Buddhist activities in Taiwan but also around the world. He attended international Buddhist conferences and received an honorary doctorate from USA Oriental University in 1984.
In December 1984 when Ven. Master Chengyi visited Bay Area in California to preach Buddhism, he promised the local Buddhists to build up a temple. The temporary Buddha Hall was set up in South Bay. The devotees have been gathering more and more gradually. In the autumn of 1986, a formal Buddha Hall was established in the same city. In August 1989, the board of directors of ABLS was founded, then purchased a land in Milpitas in the autumn. The construction took groundbreaking in 1990 and was completed in January 1992. In August 2004 an expansion project of ABLS kicked off and finished in September next year.
In 1988, Ven. Master Chengyi went back to Guangxiao Temple after 40-year separation of the Chinese Civil War. He worshiped the ancestors and started to rebuild the temple. The construction was finished in 1996 and then the Buddhist Institute reopened.
Ven. Master Chengyi devoted himself much to propagate Huayen theories. Besides the routine ceremonies held in Huayen Lotus Society, he gave Huayen courses in Lianhua Buddhist club of Yongming Temple and THBC. Ven. Mater Chengyi taught the meaning of Avatamsaka Sutru in public monastic ceremonies. His lectures were continuously published in Ten Thousand Journey magazine. He also has a long list of publications on his study of Huayen school.
When he was in charge of Huayen Lotus Society, he emphasized on monastic education. He set up Huayen Buddhist College to focus on Huayen theoretical research. He enhanced HLS to become a temple of cultivation with education. He opened the enrollment of graduation for 10 monastic students every year. The system promoted the Buddhist monastic learning in Taiwan.
Ven. Master Chengyi retired from HLS in 1999 because of health condition. He went back to Guangxiao Temple where he became a monk in 2010 and passed away the following year at the age of 98.