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. More...
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.
Dharma Drum’s Eight-Form Moving Meditation is a set of easy-to-learn exercises that can be practiced almost anywhere and at anytime. This system of “meditation through motion” is beneficial to both body and mind, and once acquired through diligent practice, can be performed whether walking, standing, sitting or reclining, so that you are always mindful of being relaxed in body and mind. By practicing the Eight Forms, you will always be composed and at ease, and at every moment enjoy the bliss of meditation and the joy of the Dharma
Introduction:

In 1997, Master Sheng Yen led the first Chan retreat in Croatia at the invitation of Zarko Andricevic, founder of Dharmaloka. By following the Master’s footsteps, Zarko started to regularly guide Chan practice in Europe and American, as well as take part in cross-religion dialogues, ever since becoming a Dharma heir of the Master in 2001. After many years of collective efforts, they finally bought the land and built the Dharma practice center, a Buddhist community in Europe focusing on Chan Practice. Now Andricevic is sharing how all this was made possible as follows.
Harmonize with purity

Be polite to those who are good to you.
Have sympathy for those who are suffering.
Be respectful toward virtuous people.
Extend your compassion toward those who are bad.
When your mind's capacity is this large, you harmonize with purity.
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.

International Meditation Group, 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.
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What does Pusa (Bodhisattva) Mean?

The Chinese word pusa is an abbreviated transliteration of the Sanskrit word bodhisattva. The complete transliteration should be putisadou. “Bodhi” means “awakened” or “enlightened” and “sattva “ means “sentient being refers to any form of life that can feel love and other emotions, mainly animals. Bodhisattvas are enlightened sentient beings who are aware of all sentient beings’ sufferings, feel sympathy for others’ plight, and act to succor them. Therefore, we often speak of a person who is altruistic and helps those in difficulties as “having the heart of a bodhisattva.” More...
The Wealth of Chan Meditation I & II
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...
Full-text Contents:
Letting Go
What Methods of Spiritual Practice Do Buddhists Carry Out?
Embarking on the Practice.
Practice is like Tuning a Harp...
Mindfulness of Breathing as Applied to Advanced Chan Methods ...
Bitter Practices...

Brief Reading
Bitter Practice
Many of the names by which we know Chan masters are not their family names but Dharma names, bestowed often by followers. Often they were names of mountains where the master settled. These names often reflect the wintry environment of the places where they practiced. Very rarely do we find names associated with summer. Winter, symbolized by falling snow, represents the spirit of Chan, whereas the spirit of summer is quite different. In hot weather it is very easy to feel sleepy and dull-minded, while cold weather, especially in the mountains, is very good for meditation. To give a few examples, one master’s name was “Snowy Peak,” another was named “Snow Cave,” then there was “Snow Ravine,” and “Snow Cliff.” These Chan masters sought out places where there was a lot of snow. More...
Full-texts Contents:
Is Practice Necessary?
Emptiness and Existence?
Suffering of Suffering
The Method of Chan is the method of Settling the Mind
The Gateless Gate
Sudden Enlightenment and Gradual Enlightenment

Brief Reading
Sudden Enlightenment and Gradual Enlightenment
Chan Buddhism is a synthesis of the wisdom of Indian Buddhism and the cultivation of meditative concentration. In India, wisdom manifested through meditative concentration, but from the very beginning, the goal of Chan has been the direct cultivation of wisdom. If we can successfully generate wisdom, then it will be more than an intellectual understanding; it will also help us realize that emptiness is universal, and that is the function and vision of Chan. But Chan is also comprised of two paths- that of sudden enlightenment and that of gradual enlightenment, both leading to the same destination. While some people might suddenly experience enlightenment or discover wisdom, for the vast majority the cultivation process proceeds gradually. More...
This article is excerpted from a forthcoming book by Master Sheng Yen titled Common Questions in the Practice of Buddhism, which was originally published in Chinese as “學佛群疑” (Xue fu qun yi) in 1988. It was considered by him to be a companion volume to his book Orthodox Chinese Buddhism, which was published in 1965. Chan Magazine thanks Venerable Guo Chan and the Sheng Yen Education Foundation for permission to print this article. The article was translated by Dr. Hueping Chin, with bilingual reviews by Dr. Jerry Wang and Dr. Wei Tan, and English editing by Ernest Heau. The research cited in this article is a bit dated, but Master Sheng Yen’s message is still highly relevant today.

Question:
What is the view of women’s place in Buddhism?
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Full-texts Contents:
Where does the feeling of a deep sense of loneliness come from?
Chan and Anxieties in Modern Life: All is Well, as You Like it
Emotion Turmoil
Eliminating Attachment to Worldly Emotions and Desires
Eliminating Anxiety and Fear

Brief Reading

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...



Full-texts Contents:
Affirming, Developing, and Dissolving the Self
Cultivating a Strong Character

Brief Reading

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 Place of Women in Buddhism by Chan Master Sheng Yen
Return to Shawangunk by Venerable Guo Yuan
Mindfulness of Breathing as Applied to Advanced Chan Methods by Venerable Guo Huei
Buddhism and Race by Rebecca Li
Chan Meditation Retreats
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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Is There Gender Discrimination in Buddhism?

In the Theravāda tradition, because of its emphasis on bhiksus [fully ordained monks], unconsciously there arose a tendency to discriminate against women. This tendency can be seen from the Buddha’s frequent warnings about the fearsome threat posed by the female body, which was compared to Māra and to a snake. In fact, treating men as superior to women might not have been the Buddha’s original intention, judging from the fact that both men and women have sexual desires. If we say the female body is to be detested by male practitioners, shouldn’ t we also say the male body is to be detested by female practitioners? In terms of their ability to achieve the fruits of enlightenment, men and women are equal. The only exception is that a female must transform her body into that of a male before she can become a Buddha. Other than that, men and women have equal potentials, and both can become arhats or bodhisattvas. For example, the bodhisattva Guanyin often manifests in a female body. And the characteristic disposition of women is closer to the compassionate bodhisattva spirit. What women often lack is strong, decisive vitality, and therefore the sūtras say that a universal sage-monarch (S. cakravarti-rājan) who unifies and rules the world will not be a woman.

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