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14-Day Bi-lingual Chan Retreat at DDM World Center

Group 7 is an international group with 2 members from England, 1 from USA, 1 from Australia, 2 from Malaysia, 1 from Singapore and 1 fashi. Some members attended the first session of the 14-Day Retreat from 14 – 21 March 2011 and some members stayed on to attend the full retreat. At the end of the retreat all participants were divided into groups to share their experience at the retreat.

Our members expressed that due to language, Chan is almost inaccessible to people who live in western countries. At this retreat, however, they can see hope for Chan Buddhism, especially the method taught by Master Sheng Yen, to be brought to the international world.

A few members have been meditating for years but did not really know what they were doing until they attended this retreat. They were overjoyed to have come across the teachings of such a great master and found the Chan method easy, lively, simple and enjoyable.

Everyone is extremely impressed with the short discourse by Master Sheng Yen on the DVD. Even though the dharma talks were short, the content is concise. Members also expressed that they are very happy with the diversity of the program which also includes outdoor Chan, walking meditation, yoga exercise and listening to the water by the creek where we can feel that nature and the self are in harmony. In particular, everyone found the free activity at the end of the retreat most enjoyable, doing nothing, thinking nothing, just feeling immensely happy.

One member said that she was so calm and relaxed that she felt as if water was going through her whole body from head to toe while listening to the small waterfall. Another member expressed that she has wandering thoughts for the entire seven days and cannot apply the method except when cleaning the toilet! She found cleaning the toilets an enjoyable task as she wanted to ensure that the toilets are very clean so that her room mates can use it with pleasure.

Members would like to thank to Guo Yuan Fashi for his dharma talks and elaboration on Shifu’s talks, especially the talk on “catching the feather on a fan” is a timely reminder of the attitude we should adopt towards our practice. As the pace of modern day life is so fast, we are always in a rush and want to obtain good results quickly, we lose sight of the need to use the method in a gentle way and with patience. Female members would also like to thank the female interview fashi (males have their interviews with male fashi) for her clear guidance, making it much easier to practice the method in a correct manner.

(by Agnes Chow. DDM Australia)

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