In 1976, Master Sheng Yen came to the United States to teach Chan Buddhism. He became a resident monk, and later abbot of the Temple of Great Enlightenment in the Bronx, New York City. In 1979, Master Sheng Yen established the Chan Meditation Center in Queens, New York

In 1994 Master Sheng Yen founded the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association and in 1997, the Dharma Drum Retreat Center was established in Pine Bush, New York. This 130-acre retreat center serves as a site for residential practice, as well as other events.