Process is Most Rewarding: Chan Run at Nung Chan Monastery

Compete neither against yourself, nor with others!

At 8 a.m. on November 4, Nung Chan Monastery kicked off its first “Water-Moon Chan Run” at the booming sounds of the drum. This event, which included sitting meditation session and walking meditation activity, also attracted participants from Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, who made a special trip to join and witness this innovative way of “meditation in sports” in Taiwan. The some 600 runners found the process a most rewarding experience in itself.

Ven. Guo Yi, director of Nung Chan Monastery, pointed out that Chan Run, as opposed to mere running, requires one to keep one’s mind from being distracted by the external environment. Therefore, the Monastery had arranged four preliminary group training sessions, during which many indeed found it hard not to compare and compete, as people often involuntarily want to catch up with the pace of others, and thus become affected by the surroundings, losing track of their own state of body and mind.

The venerable reminded participants that Chan practice involves the process of collecting the mind, guarding the mind, pacifying the mind, and letting go of the mind. Whether one is engaged in running, sitting or walking in meditation, it all comes down to regulating the body, mind and breathing. With an aim to introduce the idea of Chan teaching into sport, this event inspired sports enthusiasts to use the methods of Chan to keep mentally focused, relaxed, and stable while doing sports.

As prior road race experience was a prerequisite for signing up to run at the event, the Monastery for the first time witnessed more men than women participating. Around half of them had never taken part in any Buddhist temple activities before. The event’s coach, Wang Renhong, who had once completed the Triathlon by applying the methods of Chan, advised participants to take every step as if the first step, and encouraged them to tap into their potential. He also stressed that Chan Run is about maintaining focused and at ease by completely letting go of a comparing mind, while simply running with mindfulness and relaxation.

Liu Liqun from Hong Kong said she had once taken part in 10 road runs within a single year, all for the sake of racing. Chan Run was different, in that she could run in a relaxed and easy manner, fully enjoying the process without feeling exhausted. She said she would certainly adopt this mentality in her future runs. Drawn by the Chan atmosphere of the Monastery, Terumi Nagai flew all the way from Okinawa, Japan, particularly for the sitting meditation session. She expressed that the Eight-Form Moving Meditation and the walking meditation activity were a new experience to her, which she would definitely recommend to others.

Before setting off for the 108-minute run, participants first warmed up by doing the Eight-Form Moving Meditation, a set of Chan exercises designed by DDM’s founder, Master Sheng Yen. For lunch, an opportunity to practice “eating meditation,” veggie burgers, pizzas, French fries, pita bread, and black tea were served to help replenish participants’ energy. Towards the end, every runner was awarded a certificate of participation as a memorabilia for this wonderful experience.

The Monastery said that the Chan Run event had proved to be well received. In many ways, the essentials of Chan practice speak to the spiritual aspect of sports. For example, the “fast-walking meditation” method has the effect of physical exercise as well. Moreover, Chan can actually be practiced in daily life, when one is walking, standing, sitting, lying down, or even running.

Nung Chan Monastery events inquiry line: +886 2 2893 3161, Nung Chan Monastery (in Chinese)
Nung Chan Monastery (Brief Introduction)

Texts: Chang, Yao-Chung (張曜鐘)
Photos: Wang, Yu-Fa, Nung Chan Monastery (王育發、農禪寺)
Video: Chang, Tian-Pei (張田沛)

Translation: Chang, Cheng-Yu (張振郁)
Editors: Belinda Li (李詩影); Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠)_


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