One-Day Chan Retreat for Prominent Professionals in Penang

Dharma Drum Mountain founder Master Sheng Yen once said, “Chan practice helps one know oneself, affirm oneself, and transcend oneself. By using the methods of Chan practice at any time and place, one becomes more aware of one’s thoughts, as well as one’s own strengths and weaknesses. This is ‘knowing ourselves.’ And through knowing ourselves, we are able to master our own mind, and come to affirm and transcend ourselves.” Meanwhile, stressing focusing our attention on each and every present moment, Chan practice empowers our mind to remain unmovable like a still lake and reflect like a bright mirror, clearly aware of what is happening around us while unaffected by external situations. But, how can busy urban people really stop or slow down for a while to experience the wonderful benefit of Chan practice, living such a fast-paced life?

On May 24, Ven. Chang Zao (常藻), director of Dharma Drum Mountain Malaysia Center, travelled to Penang to guide this retreat for participants and instruct them how to experience essential Chan practices while engaging in daily activities, such as eating and sleeping, thereby realizing the extraordinary significance in ordinary activities in life. The retreat attracted a participation of some 50 entrepreneurs and top managers.

Featuring the methods of Chan practice of “awareness, mindfulness, relaxation”, the retreat included the Eight-Form Moving Meditation, walking meditation, and sitting meditation sessions, which helped participants learn how to remain calm and serene under any circumstances by harmonizing their body and mind through a clear awareness of bodily sensation, whether in motion or stillness, and thus cultivating positive, flexible thinking, while developing techniques for spiritual self-defence.

The event also attracted a group of volunteers who attended the retreat at the same venue two years ago. With a mind to give back and share, they were happily preparing food in the kitchen and helping sort out things, sometimes even having to endure blazing sun. At the end of the retreat, they prepared a self-made gift for every retreatant, showing their aspiration to tread the bodhisattva path and to bring the practice of Chan in everyday life.

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