Our Style of Chan Retreat


Master Sheng Yen's Teaching on Chan Methods

“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

Our Style of Retreat

Dharma Drum Mountain offers meditation retreats in the style of the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism, balancing serious, strict practice with flexibility and gentleness. While maintaining the spirit of traditional retreats held in Chan monasteries of ancient China, these retreats also incorporate a variety of activities suited to contemporary people’s needs. We provide a variety of retreats to suit people’s different requirements. You can apply to those retreats which match your needs and interest

Beginners' Mind

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.

In addition to sessions of seated meditation, this retreat features interactive workshops such as: The Art of Sitting, The Art of Walking, The Art of Questioning, The Art of Self-Massage, The Art of Perception, and The Art of Listening. More on Beginners' workshop

Foundation Retreat

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.

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.

This is a non-intensive retreat; beginners are welcome.

More info on Foundation Retreats

Intensive Retreat

Intensive retreats are the entry point for serious Chan practice and study. They follow the traditional Chan monastery retreat schedule, starting early in the morning and making the most efficient use of time in intensive group practice. They are designed to allow you to wholeheartedly devote your energies to using the method, and minimize all potential distractions.

Intensive retreats are usually 7-10 days long, with numerous sitting periods each day. Participants should be mentally and physically prepared for the rigors of such a regimen. Daily interviews with the teacher are available for you to receive direct guidance regarding use of the method of practice, and Dharma talks are given daily to elucidate on the details of investigating one’s mind. More on Intensive Retreat

Extended Reading

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