Yuan Miao grew up in Mainland China during the Cultural Revolution. She had two very different lives - a public life, dominated by worldly pursuits, and a private spiritual life, filled with mystery, wisdom and compassion.
In her private life, she was trained from infancy by her enlightened Tibetan grandmother whose father was a high Tibetan Rinpoche. Grandma, whose name was Yeshe Tsuomu, meaning “ocean of wisdom”, taught Miao the power of mantra. Since her birth she heard Grandma singing all the time. But she didn’t know that Grandma was singing mantras. She only thought her grandmother liked to sing. Later she realized that while singing mantras Grandma was transmitting her precious lineage to her.
Grandma’s husband was a Zen Master, who due to Grandma’s influence, became interested in Vajrayana Buddhism. By 1949, her grandparents had become the center of spiritual life in their community, and had acquired many followers.
When asked in an interview whom she considered her masters, Miao replied, “My first master was my Grandmother, and then came everyone who gave me guidance, whether intentionally or not.” In 1989, while calmly asleep, Grandma entered Nirvana, at the age of 99.
This is Miao’s lineage.
In her public life, Miao achieved great material success as a director of television documentaries. Her shows on environmental and cultural issues ran in prime time on CCTV, the most prestigious channel in China. With that success came fame, a handsome husband and an affluent lifestyle. Most precious of all was her lovely daughter the arrival of whom made her life wonderful and deeply rich.
Miao’s spiritual background was catapulted into the forefront when her beloved daughter died of leukemia at age nine, and she was plunged into the deepest despair.
Suddenly, all the worldly gifts that she had received could not shield her from the worst kind of suffering imaginable; a mother’s loss of her only child. Miao’s life was shaken to its foundation. She lost her faith, her hope and even her desire to live. After several failed attempts at suicide, her strong spiritual background revealed itself, and showed her the way to transform suffering into joy. She discovered the meaning of life; that the spiritual path is not a refuge, but a form of service to others.
In her passage through despair, forged in the fire of her intense suffering, Miao awakened to a deep and profound joy that beckoned to be shared. And she received a wonderful gift the ability to share that infinite joy with others through her voice.
Shortly thereafter, leaving everything behind, she traveled from China to the West to begin the work of creating the New Century Foundation. She devotes her life to sharing joy and peace through spiritual cultivation and balanced living.
Singer, dancer, artist and author, Miao does not consider herself to be a spiritual teacher but rather a transmitter of joy. Although her spiritual roots are in Vajrayana Buddhism, Miao’s approach is not Tibetan Buddhist. She imparts a universal wisdom that embraces people of all faiths, as well as those who consider themselves non- religious.
She shares this knowledge freely and without judgment.
© 2012 Susan Sattler