Jimmy Yu

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Guo Gu, the teacher of the Tallahassee Chan Center

Jimmy Yu (born 1968), also known as Guo Gu (果谷 Guǒ Gǔ), is a Chan teacher and a scholar of Buddhism. He was the bassist for the American 1980s hardcore bands (the original) Death Before Dishonor and Judge. After his youthful days in hardcore straight edge, he returned to Buddhism and became a monk under Chan Master Sheng Yen. In 2000, he left monasticism to pursue academia. He received an MA degree in Chinese Buddhist studies from University of Kansas in 2002 and a Ph.D. from Princeton University's Department of Religion in 2008.

He is currently an Associate Professor of Religion at Florida State University, teaching courses in East Asian religious traditions, especially Chinese Buddhism and late imperial Chinese cultural history. His research interests include the cultural history of the body, Buddhist monasticism, Chan/Zen Buddhism, and popular religions within the broader context of fifteenth- to seventeenth-centuries China.[1]

Jimmy Yu is also a long-time practitioner of Chan; his Dharma name is 果谷 Guǒ Gǔ. He practiced with the late Chan Master Sheng Yen from 1982 until the latter died in 2009. Guo Gu was Sheng Yen's translator, attendant, and assistant in leading intense Chan retreats. He first received inka, a seal of approval for his experience of Chan, in 1995 by Sheng Yen, and subsequently received several inkas from him, the last one being in 2007. He is the founder and Dharma teacher of the Tallahassee Chan Center[2][3] in Tallahassee, Florida, and founder of the Dharma Relief[4] project. Additionally, Jimmy Yu is also the author of Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions. This book explores the religious aspects of self-inflicted violence, such as texts written in blood and the occasional practice of cannibalism during times of famine in late Ming and early Qing China.


  • Yu, Jimmy, Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions, 1500–1700, Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-984490-6
  • Guo Gu, Passing Through the Gateless Barrier: Kōan Practice for Real Life, Shambhala Publications, 2016. ISBN 978-1-61180-281-8
  • Guo Gu, The Essence of Chan: A Guide to Life and Practice according to the Teachings of Bodhidharma, Shambhala Publications, 2020 ISBN 978-1-61180-871-1 (first paperback edition); ISBN 978-0-8348-2843-8 (eBook edition, 2012)
  • Guo Gu, Silent Illumination: A Chan Buddhist Path to Natural Awakening, Shambhala Publications, 2021 ISBN 978-1-61180-872-8


  1. Ryan J. Downey "Biography: Judge." AMG Retrieved 19 May 2010
  2. Tim McMahon and Gordo of Double Cross "Parts I ~ VI." Retrieved 2 January 2011


  1. ^ "Jimmy Yu". Florida State University. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  2. ^ "Teachers". Tallahassee Chan Center. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  3. ^ "Guo Gu's Personal Website". Guo Gu. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  4. ^ "Dharma Relief". Retrieved 2020-10-27.