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Reflection as the in-charge for the seven-day retreat arrangements in Russia

I was one of the in-charge for the seven-day retreat arrangements, working with Guo Xing Fashi (果醒法師) from the 30th of April until the 7th of May. It was the first time for me to take care of so many things like location (Chan Hall, participant rooms, toilets, kitchen and so on), special issues of some participants, rearrangements after the arrival of Venerable Guo Xing Fashi and two other monks (Venerable Yan Jian Fashi (演建法師), Venerable Yan Guang Fashi (演廣法師)), who helped him to conduct the retreat.


Rearrangements were necessary because I didn’t take into account some really important things, but hopefully we have enough time before the retreat and the staff understood enough to make these changes for us. Although my mind was full with little deeds before and during retreat, I didn’t feel like a volunteer, but like I fully participated. Moreover, I was happy to do this extra job.

Venerable Guo Xing Fashi and the monks adjusted the retreat schedule to our environment. As a result, it was not too difficult to wake up and so we could listen to the Dharma-talks as well as putting the essence of the lectures to my own practice. I was amazed again how Guo Xing Fashi endeared him to participants and everyone wanted to ask questions and listen to his speech because it was always pointing towards something profound.

During these retreat, I got clear and simple instructions about the main methods of Chan (Huatou (話頭)and Mozhao (默照)), which I never used for my practice. I realized that they are easier to use as I thought and they are effective (mostly about Huatou; just asking myself a “right question”, mind will calm down gradually).

In the end, the retreat has gone and left behind only experience of my practice, new connections with people who helped with arrangements. What the intangible feeling of life!

After the seven day retreat, Guo Xing Fashi conducted two one day retreats and gave one lecture at the Institute of Confucius (Russian State University for the Humanities) under the title “Chinese Culture and Chan”, where students of the institute and guests could get in touch with the Chan tradition, hear main concepts of Chan which are necessary to practice meditation.

I hope that Fashi will come again to Russia and share with us their teachings, I hope that senior monks will visit us too, I’m sure that we will grow and will be able to provide a better environment for the monks and participants of retreats, and lectures about Chan.

I sincerely thank the monks for their kindness.

Written by: Ivan Kapalin
Editing: Huang, Christine



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