Overseas News


A Travel to Cambridge, England

By Chang-Chan 19/08/2015
At the invitation of DDMBA London and the Cambridge Oriental Culture Association (COCA), Ven. Chang Zhan and Ven. Chang Chan from Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha travelled to the UK to conduct a five-day Chan meditation retreat and give a lecture on Chan practice, from August 5 to 13.

The lecture on the subject of basic Chan practice took place in central London on August 6. Though there were only 10 participants due to the London’s Underground strike, the small audience nonetheless got to enjoy more question and answer time with the two Dharma teachers, who helped resolve doubts in their minds.

The retreat from August 7 to 11, held at the Cold Ash Retreat and Conference Centre, a rented Catholic retreat centre in Berkshire, saw a total of 13 participants, including locals, as well as people from China, Taiwan, Israel, and Turkey. In the retreat, Ven. Chang Zhan shared the concepts and methods of practice of Chan meditation in English, and guided walking and sitting meditation outside on a beautiful lawn. Despite the slightly chilly weather, everyone was able to exert patience and eventually relax, settle down in this rare opportunity for group practice. On the conclusion day when the retreat was formally finished, Ven. Chang Zhan led a simple Chan-in-tea ceremony, allowing them to experience the fragrance and taste of Chinese tea.

Organized by COCA, the lecture on Chan practice on August 12 featured Chan master Hongzhi Zhengjue’s teaching on silent Illumination. Most of the participants were students of Cambridge University, and they were interested in learning about the concept of silent illumination. Ven. Chang Zhan explained in English about Chan practice and responded to the participant’s questions with ease and spontaneity while accommodating to their respective needs. Towards the end, Ven. Chang Zhan also led offered them guidance on sitting meditation and the practice methods of silent illumination, enabling them to learn the knowledge and also experiencing the practice. Finally, contact information was exchanged to enable the Dharma teachers to respond to further questions.

People in the UK value their culture and natural environment, which is reflected in the numerous age-old buildings and trees everywhere. Yet Chan or Zen practice has just begun to flourish in past few decades. With potential practitioners of competence prevailing in this country, Dharma Drum Mountain expects to be able to widely share the Dharma and Chan teaching here to benefit the local people.

Translated by Sherry Lai / Edited by Chiacheng Chang

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