Chan Garden

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“I took a different approach to teaching Chan in the West, adapting it to the lives of my followers, laypeople who could only stay in retreat for a few days. […] My approach is different from the approach used in China’s Chan Halls. In Chinese Chan, there is no exercise other than periods of fast walking to break up longer periods of still, silent sitting meditation. I have combined in my teaching this Chinese technique of fast walking with the Theravada practice of slow walking. I also use yoga from India and Taiji and massage from China in my teaching. Westerners seem to like and respond well to this variety and the mix of stillness and motion.”


– from Footprints in the Snow by Chan Master Sheng Yen

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Chan exists universally and eternally. There is no need for any teacher to transmit it; what is transmitted is just the method by which one can personally experience Chan. In China, the Chan school developed from Indian Dhyana Buddhism, which taught methods of meditative concentration aimed at the attainment of an absorbed, concentrated state of mind. This school later spread to other countries from China, and is called Zen in Japan, Son in Korea, and Thien in Vietnam.
Although the methods of tso-ch'an (sitting meditation) given above are simple and straightforward, it is best to practice them under the guidance of a teacher. Without a teacher, a meditator will not be able to correct beginner's mistakes, which if uncorrected, could lead to problems or lack of useful results.

In practicing tso-ch'an, it is important that body and mind be relaxed. If one is physically or mentally tense, trying to do tso-ch'an can be counter-productive. Sometimes certain feelings or phenomena arise while meditating. If you are relaxed, whatever symptoms arise are usually good. It can be pain, soreness, itchiness, warmth or coolness, these can all be beneficial. But in the context of tenseness, these same symptoms may indicate obstacles.
In a world of great uncertainties and alienation, in a life full of challenges and difficulties,we need an anchor, a compass, and a lighthouse to help us cross the choppy sea of life.

The key lies in our mind, in how much we know about our own mind and whether we can be the master of our own mind.

IMG shares with you the why and how of life as taught by Chan Buddhism, through which we can find true peace and wisdom, as well as the delight of life and the warmth in the world.

Come and join us in the meditation practice conducted regularly on Saturday morning. Please visit IMG for details.



A “beginner’s mind” is a mind open to experiencing life in the present moment, free from preconceived notions and expectations — a mind open to genuine understanding and self-realization. If you are new to meditation practice, or have never participated in a retreat, this is an ideal way to begin your spiritual journey.

Begins: Friday, August 11, check in 4:00-6:00 pm
Ends: Sunday, August 13 – 3:00 pm
Fee: $190

In addition to sessions of seated meditation, this retreat features interactive workshops: More details in DDRC, NY...



Dedicate your weekend to practice. On this retreat, you have the chance to engage in a relaxing schedule of mindful activity from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Harmonize your body and mind, by engaging in healthy living and meditation — balancing all of the five aspects of diet, sleep, body, breath, and mind. Either in stillness or in motion, cultivate a clear and stable mind amidst all that you do. This is the very essence of practice.

Settling into the weekend routine, you will experience greater relaxation of body and calmness of mind. Hear Dharma talks about meditation methods as well as basic principles of Buddhadharma. In this way, you’ll be able to establish a solid foundation of understanding both methods and concepts of practice. More details in DDRC, NY...


During this intensive retreat, the teaching will focus on the “ Lotus Sutra” and the “ Lotus Samadhi Penitence Rituals. “ In addition, participants will engage in “ Lotus Sutra” recitation and “ Lotus Samadhi Penitence” practices, while integrating these practices with Chan Silent-Illumination Method. Through active contemplation and practice, participants will systematically deepen their understanding and enter the profound meanings of “ Lotus Sutra.” Fulltexts:Lotus Sutra Repentance Retreat in DDRC, NY Registration at DDRC
Silent Illumination











A 21-day Chan meditation retreat, led by Ven. Chi Chern Fashi, will take place in August 2017, at the Plein-air House of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in Dluzew, Poland. The retreat will begin with a Dharma talk by the Master at 7 pm on July 30 (Sunday) and will end at 10 am on August 20 (Sunday).

The prerequisites for acceptance to the retreat are at least 6 months of experience in Buddhist meditation practice and participation in at least one intensive (i.e. at least 5-day) retreat. It is possible to participate in 7, 14 or 21 days of the retreat, providing one begins on July 30.

Fulltexts:21 days intensive retreat

Information about the retreat is available on the Chan Buddhist Union website:
Intensive Chan Retreat


The Supreme Way
is not difficult
If only you do not pick and choose.
Neither love nor hate,
And you will
clearly understand.
Be off by a hair,
you are as far from it
as heaven and earth.


These vivid lines begin one of the most beloved and commented upon of all Zen texts, the Hsin Hsin Ming (Faith in Mind), a sixth-century poem by the third Chan patriarch, Seng Ts’an. The poem is a masterpiece of economy. expressing the profoundest truth of the enlightened mind in only a few short pages.

On this Chan retreat, Master Chi Chern will use Faith in Mind as the basis of his Dharma talks, leading us in understanding and applying the concepts of the poem to the methods of meditation. The methods will be taught in the context of daily life activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, sleeping, working, and eating. Chanting and gentle yoga exercises further harmonize the body, breath, and mind. Master Chi Chern will also give personal interviews to provide additional guidance.More details in DDRC, NY...
NOTE: Talks will be given in Chinese with English translation.
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Letting Go
What Methods of Spiritual Practice Do Buddhists Carry Out?

Letting Go
Ming dynasty Chan Master Hanshan Deqing (1546-1623) [not to be confused with Hanshan (ca. 800-900 CE), the Tang dynasty poet] taught people to practice by letting go of thoughts as they arise in the mind. Whenever a thought arises, immediately let it go. This does not mean resisting or rejecting the thought; it just means not letting it affect you. So, if you are not getting anywhere in your meditation, the reason is probably that you are unable to let go of your thoughts. Even when you are paying very close attention to your method, stray thoughts may appear. This is very common, especially in the beginning. But rather then letting it disturb you, let it be a cause of your working harder on the method. More...


The Gateless Gate
Is Practice Necessary?
Emptiness and Existence?

The Gateless Gate
Chan is often referred to as the gateless gate. The "gate" is both a method of practice and a path to liberation; this gate is "gateless," however, in that Chan does not rely on any specific method to help a practitioner achieve liberation. The methodless method is the highest method. So long as the practitioner can drop the self-centered mind, the gateway into Chan will open naturally. More...
Chan: Human Consciousness
Chan, Meditation, and Mysticism

Chan: Human Consciousness
Normally, the Chan tradition does not use the term “consciousness,” instead, using “mind.” The Buddha-mind they speak of refers to the true mind of wisdom, while the mind of ordinary sentient beings refers to the false mind of vexations. The purpose of Chan is to illuminate the mind and see “the nature.” What mind does one illuminate? What nature does one see? One illuminates the true mind, and sees Buddha-nature More...
The physiological and psychological benefits of meditation derive from concentrating the mind, either on an abstract or concrete object. This is best accomplished through seated meditation.
The Buddhadharma, as the term itself suggests, is the Dharma, or teachings, taught by the Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha taught the Dharma in this world for forty-nine years, and his teachings were not intended as a philosophy/field of knowledge to be researched, but as guidance for us to cease suffering and attain happiness. Therefore, the Buddhadharma is of practical value.

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Chen : Since we all have worldly emotions and desires, and our attachment of them is the source of our suffering, how can the Dharma help us eliminate this attachment?
We are vexed most by the enemy within – our own minds. Our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and perceptions change constantly. We can move from arrogance to regret, from joy to sorrow, from hate to love, in a matter of seconds. As time passes, our point of view changes, so that we look at something old in an entirely new way. But when we are caught in turmoil of thought and feeling, we feel conflicted and powerless to make decisions. We worry about gain or loss, right or wrong. So much indecision throws us into a tumultuous, vexed state of mind. And though everyone suffers in this way, many people insist that they have no problems. Some even throw tantrums and work themselves into frenzies in their attempts to prove to you that their troubles have nothing to do with them.
At Dharma Drum Mountain meditation camp, I emphasize affirming and developing the self, but after we do that, we should dissolve the self and transcend our human character to perfect pure mind. We do not measure success or failure in terms of visible or invisible fame, fortune, power, or status. Who do you think will become a Buddha first? Will it be someone here in the audience, or will it be me? You might think it won’t be one of my disciples, but me. In fact, that’s not necessarily so. In a marathon, people who are ahead early may fall behind, and people who are behind at first may move ahead. People are continuously changing positions. Therefore, in practice, do not pay attention to whether others are running faster or practicing better than you, and don’t be concerned about who’s ahead and who’s behind. The most important thing is to give your best all the time.
People who cannot connect themselves with the outside world in terms of space and time, who do not understand cause and effect, and causes and conditions, will feel lonely.
Modern communication being so rapid causes people much anxiety and nightmares; they cannot feel relaxed as long as there is social disorder throughout the world. This is true whether one experiences this directly or indirectly, whether it concerns the self, family, society, country, political/economic life, or religious belief. As long as the situation affects one’s personal safety or peril, gain or loss, success or failure, people cannot sit back and relax
Even if you could live a hundred years, that is only 36,500 days. Within a single day the amount of work you can do is still very limited. If you wish to accomplish more and do better, it is almost impossible not to work swiftly. But if you have clear plans and work swiftly by following clear schedules and procedures, you won’t feel so nervous. Only those without clearly defined goals, and who rush through their workday will feel nervous. Therefore, I propose that you work swiftly but in an orderly way and not anxiously race against time.
Chan provides the methods and concepts to help people settle their minds. In his youth Shakyamuni Buddha witnessed the suffering of birth, aging, sickness, and death, but did not know how to gain liberation from these things. So, leaving home to practice, he became enlightened to the way of settling the mind. Then, he taught the Dharma for 49 years, all with the intent to help human beings settle their minds. He told us that though the body requires material aid and medical care, the mind needs the salvation of buddhaharma.
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Contents:
The Mind is Like the Sun Shining in Empty Space (by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
The Arising of Conditioned Appearance From the True Mind – Part 18 (by Abbot Venerable Guo Xing)
Shared Retreat Experience (by Buffe Maggie Laffey)
Completing the Circle (by Barry A. Wadsworth)
Making Friends with Discomfort ( by Anonymous)
Volunteering on Retreat ( by Anonymous)
Chan Meditation Center Affiliates




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Contents:
My Intellectual Autobiography–Life in the Army (by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
Don’t Think (by Gilbert Gutierrez)
The Arising of Conditioned Appearance From the True Mind–Part 11 (by Abbot Venerable Guo Xing)
The Past (from CMC, DDRC and DDMBA Worldwide)
The Future (retreats, classes and upcoming events)
Chan Meditation Center Affiliates





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Contents:
From the Editor
Reason and Emotion(by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
The Arising of Conditioned Appearance From the True Mind–Part 7(by Abbot Venerable Guo Xing)
Strong Determination(by Žarko Andričević)
Retreat Report(by Maria Balog)
The Past (from CMC, DDRC and DDMBA Worldwide)
The Future (retreats, classes and upcoming events)
Chan Meditation Center Affiliates




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Contents:
A Dream Narrative(by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
Butterfly Dream (by Zhuang Zhou)
The Arising of Conditioned Appearance From the True Mind-Part 3(by Abbot Venerable Guo Xing)
Training Story (by Guo Gu)
My Mother′s Last Gift (by Xueshan)
Retreat Report (by Mimi Yu)
The Contractor (by Harry Miller)
The Past(News from CMC, DDMBA and DDRC)
The Future(Retreats, classes and upcoming events)
Chan Meditation Center Affiliates



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Contents:
From the Editor
On Gong’ans(by Chan Master Sheng Yen, translated by Guo Gu)
When A Beautiful Woman’s Spirit Departs(by Guo Gu)
The Water Buffalo’s Tail(by Harry Miller)
Working with Gong’ans (by Simon Child)
Master and Student(by Gilbert Gutierrez)
The Past(News from CMC, DDMBA and DDRC)
The Future(Retreats, classes and upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates


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Contents:
From the Editor
World Crises and Fundamentalism(Dharma Talk by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
Hidden Assumptions, Fixed Views(Dharma Talk by Dr. Simon Child)
Leaving Home, Part Four(How David Kabacinski became Changwen Fashi by Ven. Changwen)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future (Retreats, classes and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates




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Contents:
From the Editor
In Retrospect(Early Lectures of Master Sheng Yen in America, Part 3)
Difficult Practice (Retreat Talk by Ven. Guo Ru)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future (Retreats, classes and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates




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Contents:
From the Editor
The Seven Factors of Enlightenment(The second of three articles by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
Ink and Water(Interview with Ven. Chi Chern by Buffe Laffey)
Huatou vs. Silent Illumination(Retreat talk by Guo Ru Fashi)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future(Retreats, classes and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates





Spring 2009
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Contents
From Dharma Drum Mountain(Official notification of Shifu’s passing)
Last Will and Testament
Transmission(Dharma teachers-in-training meet Shifu for the final time)
New Year Greetings(Master Sheng Yen’s final talks)
Gratitude and Vows(by Guogu)
The Noble Eightfold Path(The third of four articles by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future(Retreats, classes and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates
Spring 2008
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Contents
From the Editor
Chan Comes West(A selection of Chan Master Sheng Yen’s earliest teachings in America)
"Rising Compassion"(CMC’s 30th Anniversary Celebration)
Walking With the Buddha(Photo essay by Rikki Asher)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future(Retreats, classes, and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates





Spring 2007
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Contents
From the Editor
"How Do We Achieve Peace?"(Opening and closing remarks to the Young Leaders Peacebuilding Retreat by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
Hongzhi’s Silent Illumination Chan(Excerpts from the Extensive Record of Chan Master Hongzhi translated by Guogu)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future(Retreats, classes, and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates



Spring 2004
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Contents:
From the Editor
The Four Proper Exertions: Part Four(The last in a series of four articles by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
Like a Sound-Absorbing Board(An excerpt from"Master Sheng Yen teaches Guan Yin's Methods of Practice" by Master Sheng Yen, translated by Ocean Cloud)
Traveling with Shifu to Jerusalem(By Rebecca Li)
Everything is OK; Just Relax(Retreat Report by C.M.)
Why Yoga?(By Rikki Asher)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future(Retreats, classes, and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates
Spring 2005
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Contents
From the Editor Dharma of Teachings, Dharma of Mind
(The third in a series of lectures based on the Platform Sutra by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
In Memoriam(Professor David Chappell;Zen Master Seuhng Sahn)
“What Is Wu?”(Retreat Report by M.L.)
“Homage to Guan Yin Pusa”(Poem by Ernest Heau, Drawing by Rikki Asher)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future (Retreats, classes, and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates
Spring 2006
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Contents
From the Editor The Four Foundations of Mindfulness(The first of two lectures on the mindfulness practices by Chan Master Sheng Yen)
Hold Steady, Swirling(Poem by Mike Morical)
Hung-chou Chan(An article on the origins of Chan Buddhism’s unique style of practice and discourse by Dale S. Wright)
Retreat Reports(Reports from the retreats at DDRC)
The Past(News from the Chan Meditation Center and DDMBA)
The Future(Retreats, classes, and other upcoming events)
Chan Center Affiliates




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Question: In Buddhist works they say that nirvana is not an effect that can be attained through some kind of cause. If nirvana is supposed to be the state of true reality, it seems that someone who reaches this state is exempt from cause and effect. Is this so?
Sheng Yen: In actual fact the previous stage and what you are affirming now are not two different things. We say that vexations are just bodhi—that is, they are not two separate things. So “negation” is not saying that you have to detest or get rid of vexations before you give rise to wisdom. You cannot achieve nirvana by negating samsara—they are one thing. It is only that in the process of the practice one’s perception of it varies according to one’s experience.

An analogy used in the sutras is that of gold ore. Before it has been refined, the ore is still not in a form we would call gold, even though the essential content of gold is inside. By analogy, all of us here may have gold content but it has yet to be refined. What is vexation? Vexation is analogous to the impurities mixed with gold in the ore.
If people came together regularly to practice meditation, can that replace the teacher and student relationship?
We may experience joy by focusing on our breathing and walking, is it possible to elevate such joy into higher states?
Some people are filled with hatred and resentment; some may have been born that way, and some are influenced by the environment. If they do not meditate or know about practice, is there a way to make these people more enlightened?
The world is filled with unfair events about which we feel helpless, such as war which affects many innocent people. How can we possibly view these things as wonderful?
When we hear bad news we feel very sad, but when we get good news we are excited. However, you said that when we are walking or breathing, we should be filled with joy every minute. There seems to be some contradiction here.
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