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 1998 and 2003, Master Sheng Yen visited Saint Petersburg and Moscow respectively to give guidance for local Buddhist practitioners, introducing Chan teachings into Russia. Over the past 19 years, how have his Russian disciples helped spread the seeds of Chan Buddhism and progressed with their practice? This in-depth interview with Sasha and Rinya, leaders of Wujimen Martial Art School and Buddhist organization in Saint Petersburg, will give you a glimpse of how Chan practice already constitutes part of their daily life.
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.



For those who are new to Chan meditation. This workshop is based on Buddhist meditation, including instruction on methods of sitting, breathing, walking, standing, sleeping, yoga exercises, self-massage, theories and obstacles in meditation.
An opportunity for serious practitioners to sustain practice and receive guidance from meditation teachers. This retreat is open to people who have taken Beginners’ Meditation Class or already have an established meditation practice.

One Day Retreat in Chan Meditation Center

Time: Oct 28 (Sat) 9:00 am ~ 5:00 pm
Fee: :Free (Donation is welcome)
Led by
Dr. Rikki Asher




Silently and serenely, forgetting all words
Clearly and vividly, it appears before you.


The above verse comes from The Inscription on Silent Illumination, a poem composed by Master Hongzhi Zhengjue of the 12th century Caodong (Soto) lineage of the Chan school. This verse is a guideline for a method of practice, which he called silent illumination. With this simple method, one cultivates relaxation and awareness of the state of body, mind, and environment. With the settling of wandering thoughts and conceptualization, there is “silence”; with the emergence of clarity, there is “illumination.”

Begins: Saturday, October 21 – check in 4:00-6:00 pm
Ends: Sunday, October 29 – 1:00 pm
Fee: $560
Openings: Register Now
Deadline: October 18

Retreat Program

The silent illumination method 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. The retreat also includes daily lectures, meditation instruction, guided meditation, and personal interviews.More on Silent Illumination at DDRC, NY...



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(A).The Wealth of Chan Meditation I
(B). The Wealth of Chan Meditation II


The Wealth of Chan Meditation I
Chan is a school of Buddhist meditation that is found throughout East Asia. It is known as Zen in Japan, Thiên in Vietnam, and Sŏn in Korea. Its distinctive form first took shape in China some fifteen hundred years ago. The aim of Chan is to live life with wisdom and compassion through realization of our interconnectedness with all things. Chan involves active awareness, participation and engagement in daily life. The foundation of this goal is seated meditation. In this session, Master Sheng Yen discusses the benefits of seated meditation in the context of Chan practice and scientific findings about meditation. He does not elaborate the methods of practice in great detail because meditation cannot be learned by reading a book. Interested readers are encouraged to find a Chan meditation center and receive instruction on the actual practice from a qualified teacher.More...
(A). Letting Go
(B). What Methods of Spiritual Practice Do Buddhists Carry Out?
(C). Embarking on the Practice.
(D). Practice is like Tuning a Harp...
(E). Mindfulness of Breathing as Applied to Advanced Chan Methods ...


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...


(A). The Method of Chan is the method of Settling the Mind
(B). The Gateless Gate
(C). Is Practice Necessary?
(D). Emptiness and Existence?
(E). Suffering of Suffering

The Method of Chan is the method of Settling the Mind
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. More...

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...
(A). Scientist's view on meditation
(B). Ensuring a Healthy Body and Mind I
(C). Ensuring a Healthy Body and Mind II
(D). The Buddha Mind, Universe, and Awakening- A shocking experience - I.
(E). The Buddha Mind, Universe, and Awakening- A shocking experience - II.




Scientist's View on Meditation
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.

There have been many studies of the benefits of seated meditation in general and Chan specifically. According to Zen no susume (The Recommendation of Zen) by Dr. Kōji Satō, Professor of Psychology at Kyoto University in Japan, regular practice of Chan meditation produces the following ten psychological and physiological effectsMore...


(A). Chan: Human Consciousness
(B). Chan, Meditation, and Mysticism
(C). Chan Practice and Faith - I
(D). Chan Practice and Faith - II
(E). Open up to Nature



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...
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(A). Where does the feeling of a deep sense of loneliness come from?
(B).Chan and Anxieties in Modern Life: All is Well, as You Like it.
(C). Emotion Turmoil .
(D). Eliminating Attachment to Worldly Emotions and Desires.


Where does the feeling of a deep sense of loneliness come from?
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.

When I was in solitary retreat, I knew that I was together with all sentient beings in innumerable worlds. Even though I seemed to be alone in a small, enclosed room, actually I was in the company of many ants who found their way inside, and insects outside of the hut created all kinds of sounds in the evening. More...



(A). Affirming, Developing, and Dissolving the Self
(B). Cultivating a Strong Character

Affirming, Developing, and Dissolving the Self
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.More...
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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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