The first great encounter with Ch'an Buddhism

I am very glad that I visited this retreat! For me it was the first great encounter with Ch'an Buddhism. Of course, I was a little interested in this before. When I was reading the book "Wisdom of Chan" of Master Sheng Yen, I was attending a retreat only for a half day. Also, I heard something somewhere in conversations, but I did not really understand their meaning. And I'm glad that I become more familiar with this tradition in such an atmosphere and with such a leader.

About the retreat

I realized that this form of retreat has been mastered for a long time by Guo Xing Fashi and his assistants. One could feel in his own experiences, in everything they did. I have an opinion that they have carried out such retreats many times before. I noticed that the organizers did a lot of work from "our" side. The location was chosen perfectly. All organizational issues, I think, were perfectly resolved!

About myself

I went to the retreat with a heavy heart. It is very hard for me to be alone with my thoughts. It often plunged me into depression. So I was worried about it. During the first days, my attitude to this was gradually changing. And my mind was gradually calming down. I think that the week is the minimum that is needed to begin to understand what this is all about, because one day or one lecture would only bring confusion to the brains. And then, when you are in a retreat, you cannot escape. You are too far from home, delicious food and a beautiful place attracts you.

I am delighted with the master of Venerable Guo Xing Fashi and his assistants. I liked how they behaved. I realized that I would like to learn more from him.

About my practice

In practice, as I see it, I moved forward in understanding that my thoughts are moving incredibly fast, they are chaotic, even if they are fixated on several things. I can return them to a calm state for a very short time. I thought before that I was thinking something I did not want to think. And what it is what I want to think, I don’t know. And this is my last best conclusion in this topic. Here I got the method for working with this.

For myself, I consider it a great success that I have learned briefly how to calm down my body. I've always had a problem with this, my body is often tense: its movements are sharp and neurotic. On the retreat, I realized more strongly that my body lives its own life, like the mind. With the control of breathing, I failed, and I was continuing to control it, maybe once, it seemed to me, I managed not to control it.


What Fashi said was very convincing. I felt behind his back a thousand years of reflection. Although I listened calmly to his words, and found no contradiction in this, I realized that I could not accept everything. I cannot help thinking that something is missing.

Written by: Ivan Kuznetsov
Editing: Christine Huang

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