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A gentle breeze of Chan :

Ven. Guo Xing led a seven-day Chan retreat in Russia

To sustain Master Sheng Yen’s endeavors on guiding the Chan methods in Russia, Dharma Drum Vice Abbot Ven. Guo Xing Fashi (果醒法師) led a Seven-Day Chan retreat again during April 30 and May 7th, 2018, at the sincere invitation of Alexander Jitomirsky, the chairman of Wujimen Martial Arts School. This was to enable the Dharma teaching to further flourish after firstly initiated by Master Sheng Yen 15 years ago.

The retreat venue was in Zubcov, about two-and-half hour’s drive from Moscow, located in the beautiful woods, near a lake with great tranquility. 20 native Chan practitioners attended, coming from various backgrounds such as psychiatry, academia, sales management and law.

Ven. Guo Xing Fashi stressed that in practices we should have neither preference on the favorite conditions nor refusal to the unfavorable ones. Besides, the relaxing sensation of the body is the first also the essential step to be fully aware, then preparing for the”no-self”experiences in between the exhalation and inhalation.

In regard to the resolution for the vexations, Ven. Guo Xing Fashi shared his approach of “being willing”. As our vexations mostly come from our “unwillingness” to people or the worldly affairs we encountered, “being willing” can be a method for the “Four its", shared by Master Sheng Yen - face it, accept it, deal with it, and let go of it.

Other than expounding Four Fundamental Mindfulness, Silent Illumination, and Hua-Tou Chan, Ven. Guo Xing Fashi further introduced the concepts and methods of Buddha’s Name Recitation; he also led the practitioners to experience “Buddha Name Recitation Chan” afterward.

Several practitioners gave feedbacks of their blissful sensation, for they experienced inner peace and a tranquil mind even during a short session.

According to the participants, the teachings of Chinese Chan Buddhism were very rare in Russia. Therefore, this Chan retreat became very precious and newly experiences for Russian practitioners; hoping there can be continuous chances to experience more of Chinese Chan Buddhism.

Texts: Venerable Yan Jian (演建法師) Venerable Yan Guang (演廣法師)
Translation: Huang, Elenda (頤嵐達)
Editing: DDM Australian Editorial Team

Extended Readings

My experience of Silent illumination Retreat in Russia

Master Sheng Yen said it's necessary to let go everything – self, mind, universe, all thoughts –only then can one separate reality from illusion.

If we ignore this, then there is a great risk that we can’t even attain a unified mind. As Master Sheng Yen said, without correct instruction, there is very little chance to attain real enlightenment.

Coming into the Light: A Sharing from the Retreat in Moscow

So far, my understanding of Chan was basically literary and theoretical, even though I had been taking the refuge to the treasures of Buddhism and been a Buddhist from an early age. It didn’t dawn on me that I was rather inexperienced in practice until I was actually IN the retreat for the first time, so it was a significant breakthrough for me! More...

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

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). More...

Life is such an amazing and colorful game of reflections

Life is such an amazing and colorful game of reflections. Wherever we are, we carry out the experiences from within ourselves, painting everything with various colors. Do you notice that the mind, even in its most beautiful, magical places, can bring an unpleasant sense of complaints, past grievances and sufferings? More...

The first great encounter with Ch'an Buddhism

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!More...

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Ven. Guo Xing led a seven-day Chan retreat in Russia