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Chan Meditation Roadmap

Master Sheng Yen's Teaching on Chan Methods “I took a different approach to teaching Chan in the West, adapting it to the lives of my followers, laypeople who could only stay in retreat for a few days. […] My approach is different from the approach used in China's Chan Halls. In Chinese Chan, there is no exercise other than periods of fast walking to break up longer periods of still, silent sitting meditation. I have combined in my teaching this Chinese technique of fast walking with the Theravada practice of slow walking. I also use yoga from India and Taiji and massage from China in my teaching. Westerners seem to like and respond well to this variety and the mix of stillness and motion.”– from <Footprints in the Snow by Chan Master Sheng Yen>

Practice during the Pandemic 

Here we provide resources for Chan meditation and learning Buddhism. We hope these could help you create an environment to practice at home, with peace in mind.  See more 
Find out online practice events such as meditation courses, Dharma talks, Dharma services, etc here!    

New Free Books: Orthodox Chinese BuddhismCommon Questions in the Practice of Buddhism

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Great Dharma Drum

"His mild expression and spare figure reflect an untroubled character. His amusing and cordial talks make audiences feel wholly accepted and understood. His unconventional insights bring clarity, like a ray of light penetrating the darkness."

Great Dharma Drum presents Master Sheng Yen's talks on Buddha-dharma and various issues. To watch more, please visit here.
 

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Sutras Mahayana

The Heart Sutra 1. The Causes and Conditions of Expounding the Teachings  The Heart Sutra, which expounds the concept of emptiness in Mahayana Buddhism, is the most condensed and widely-ci...

Methods of Reading the Sutras

Preparation for Sutra Reading 1. Mindset Why do we read sutras? The main purpose of reading sutras is not to acquire Buddhist knowledge or for academic purposes. Rather, we take the sutra as a ...

Characteristics of Buddhist Sutras: Their Fundamental Structure

When we want to read a Buddhist sutra, as long as we grasp its basic structure, know its basic elements, and have a basic understanding of its characteristics, we should be able to realize its main...

How Were Buddhist Sutras Formed?

Buddhist sutras contain the Dharma as taught by the Buddha. Have you ever wondered how they were formed? Which sutra is the earliest? Before the introduction of paper, what were the sutras written ...

Receive and Uphold the Buddha’s Teaching by Reading Sutras

Buddhist sutras are the Buddha's teachings as compiled by his disciples. More than 2500 years ago, the Buddha preached the Dharma mostly in the areas along the Ganges River. By answering people...

Obstacle 6: The Conceit That Happy People Do Not Need the Buddha’s Teaching

Some people believe: “since I am living a happy and comfortable life, why learn Buddhism”? Actually, for many people, this is exactly the obstacle to engaging in Buddhist practice. &...

Obstacle 5: Doubt About the Benefits of Learning Buddhism

Some people might ask, “What are the benefits of learning Buddhism, and why do I need to practice Buddhism?” Most people want to find out why something is good, in what way it is benefi...

Obstacle 4: I'm Not Cut Out for Learning Buddhism

“Buddhist scriptures seem so abstruse, with so many baffling terminologies; perhaps I am just not cut out for learning Buddhism”. Many people presume that they are not intelligent enoug...

Obstacle 3: Doubts About Keeping the Precepts

Many people hesitate about learning Buddhism because they think that, after taking the three refuges, they also need to observe numerous precepts afterwards. However, the Buddha did not formulate t...

Obstacle 2: A Lax Attitude Stemming from the Belief in not Forcing Unripened Causes and Conditions

Buddhists often talk about “causes and conditions”, but what does this concept truly mean? One might find Buddhadharma to have struck a chord in one’s heart, yet still hesitate to...

Obstacle 1: Kindness in Mind is Sufficient

"Buddhism only advocates doing good deeds" is the stereotype held by many people, so it is their belief that as long as they have kindness in their mind, make frequent donations to charit...

Learning Buddhism with Delight, Without Lingering Doubts

Some may aspire to learn Buddhism, but then hesitate to take the leap of faith due to their psychological obstacles. So, why do we need to learn Buddhism, and how does it make our lives different? ...

Characteristics of a True Buddhist Lay Practitioner

Q: What are upasakas and upasikas? Upasakas and upasikas refer to the male and female lay Buddhist devotees which, together, constitute the two groups of lay Buddhists. Upasaka is a Sanskrit tra...

Cultivation for Lay Buddhist Practitioners

As lay practitioners, how do we go about engaging in Buddhist practices? In modern society, we never seem to have enough time, so how do we better manage our time  to engage in practice? Throu...

Dharma Instruments Used in Meditation Retreats

Speaking is prohibited throughout the entire course of meditation. In addition, Dharma instruments are used to signal the timetable, instructions and change of activities. When explaining the rules...

A Guide to Meditation Practice

How do we arrange a meditation practice activity suitable for ourselves? The DDM Meditation Center has designed a series of meditation practice activities, ranging from a few hours to several days ...

What are the Regulations in the Meditation Hall?

Reasons Behind the Rules in the Meditation Hall: While attending a seven-day Chan retreat in the meditation hall, we are expected to lead a vastly different lifestyle. What regulations are to be f...

Five Basic Trainings for Meditation Practice

Regulating our Diet, Sleep, Body, Breath, and Mind Before starting our meditation practice, we first need to adjust and relax our body, to make sure our mind is sufficiently calm before adopting...

Q&A for Meditation Beginners

What are the rules to follow when practicing in the meditation hall? Should we keep silent all the time? Is it difficult to adapt to communal practice? Ven. Chang Cheng, experienced in guiding Chan...

The Buddha’s Statue

Where is the Buddha?  Buddhists often say that the Buddha is in our mind, and the Buddha is everywhere.  If this is the case, then why should there be images or statues of the Buddha fo...

Buddhist Mala

The Buddhist Mala is one of the most common tools for Buddhist practice. It is used for counting the times of Buddha’s name recitation or mantra chanting. According to Supplement to the Biogr...

Incense and Incense Burner

“Burning incense” is considered an extraordinary and sacred offering made to the Buddha. Making this offering represents one of the rituals to show the reverence and devotion of the Bud...

​Lit Lamp

A lit candle or lamp is one of the six common offerings people make to the Buddha, besides water, perfume, flowers, food, and burning incense. These six common material offerings symbolize the Six ...

Buddhist Sutras and Scriptures

Many Buddhists recite the Heart Sutra, the Great Compassion Dharani, and the 'Chapter on the Universal Gate of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva' in the Lotus Sutra, when they encounter difficulti...

​Dharma Quote

How much power can a single word have? How can a few simple words move one's heart and give people unwavering courage?   We often hear the word "motto". When we were young, our...

​Dharma Assembly Attendee Etiquette

Those who are new to learning the Dharma are encouraged to attend group practice in temples, to ensure that they are practicing in the right direction, using the right methods. Learning with other ...

The Contents of Dharma Services

Understanding the contents of a Dharma service and its meaning helps practitioners concentrate on the practice when attending the assembly. Contemporary Dharma services focus on reciting sutras and...

What Should We Bring to a Dharma Assembly?

To attend a Dharma assembly, we need to bring a Buddhist cassock, a tumbler, reusable foodware, and some personal belongings (wallet, train ticket, keys, clothes for warmth, etc.). Yet, remember th...

​Attending Dharma Assemblies: Prepare Well, Avoid Hasty Effort

Does attending Dharma assemblies alone qualify as engaged practice? If we don't practice regularly before attending a Dharma assembly, we may find sutra chanting boring because we don't und...

​​A Brief Introduction to the Development of the Dharma Assembly

The Dharma assembly refers to the various kinds of gathering events, which can include Dharma talks, offerings to the Buddha, offerings to monastics, and providing alms. The primary essence of the ...

​Ten Most Commonly Seen Dharma Assemblies in Chinese Buddhism

The following sections describe the origins and main features of the ten most attended Dharma assemblies in Chinese Buddhism.   Guanyin Dharma Assembly In devotion to Guanyin Bodhisattv...

​Into the Venue of a Dharma Assembly

As the Buddha's statue1 symbolizes the Buddha's presence in a Dharma assembly, we pay our respect to the Buddha by bowing to the statue or join our palms with the upper body bending when ...

​The Arising of Conditioned Appearance from the True Mind (I)

by Venerable Guo Xing   This is the first in a series of articles taken from Dharma talks given by Ven. Guo Xing at the Shurangama Sutra Retreat in August 2012. The talks focus on the first ...

​Pilgrimage

To go on a pilgrimage is to visit, and pay homage to, sacred sites or holy relics of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. This practice method takes after ancient masters' journeys to seek Dharma or worshi...

​Enjoy One Step at a Time

Living in today's fast-paced society, we hurry to work or to meetings every day. We are always on the move to arrive somewhere. Though our legs are moving, we are not aware of it; we do not foc...

Being Mindful of Where We Are: The Practice of Walking Meditation in Daily Life

When using the method of walking meditation, we neither intentionally speed up nor slow down. Instead, we walk at the same speed as we normally would, while trying to be aware of the movements with...

​Slow Walking Meditation

Practitioners normally perform walking meditation between sitting sessions during a retreat, in limited-sized spaces. Alternating practicing sitting and walking meditation helps us harmonize the bo...

​Fast Walking Meditation

Fast walking meditation, also known as pao-xiang (跑香) in Chinese, is a practice method unique to the Chinese Chan tradition, which is not taught in other traditions such as Theravada, Tibetan and...

​Buddhist Circumambulation (Walking Meditation and Buddha Name Recitation)

Circumambulation, originating in early Buddhism, was the ritual of circling around the Buddha to express respect. After Buddhism was introduced to China, Buddhists continued the tradition of circum...

Practice Walking Meditation to Experience Chan in Motion

Can walking be a method of Buddhist practice? When one thinks of Buddhist practice, what often comes to mind is either sitting meditation or reciting the Buddha's name. In fact, Buddhist practi...

​What Introductory Practices are Available for Working People?

It is better to conduct regular practices with fixed contents and duration. If we are too busy to set specific practice periods we can conduct our practice based on a fixed number of times, such as...

​Carry out Daily Dharma Practice However Busy We Are

Living in modern society, we have been so busy paddling in the whirl and turmoil of busy daily life that over time we hardly notice our deeply ingrained self-centeredness. When we don't reach a...

​Start Your Buddhist Cultivation with Regular Practice

To do regular practice is to set aside a fixed  period each day to do the same practice, such as reciting a sutra, sitting in meditation, and prostrating to the Buddha. Regular practice help...

​{Dharma Talk} Discover the True Mind

by Abbot Venerable Guo Xing From a talk given at the Chan Meditation Center on Februrary 13, 2011. Translated by Echo Bonner, transcribed by Lingyun Wang and edited by Buffe Maggie Laffey.  ...

{Dharma Talk} How to Overcome Difficulties in Meditation

by Žarko Andričević Žarko Andričević is a martial arts and yoga teacher since the 1970s, Zarko first encountered Buddhism in 1975. Ten years later he started the first Buddhist study and m...

Chan and Modern Life

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The Second Thought Cannot Come into Contact with the First Thought

Chan in Daily Life Motion Picture Series Chan represents the concepts and methods to calm and settle our body and mind. It is especially suitable for people living in today's hectic and st...

Abiding Nowhere, Give Rise to the Mind

There are two lines from the Diamond Sutra on the wall at Nung Chan Monastery: "Abiding nowhere, give rise to mind."  "Abiding nowhere" refers to the mind without...

Greedy, anger, and arrogance

  Greedy people are usually unaware of their own greed. The same is true of people filled with anger, arrogance and pride. But sooner or later, practitioners will recognize that they...

Depend on yourself to open up your own road

  Life is much the same as making and projecting a movie. Film moves at about ten images per second. When the movie is completed, it can be projected at the same speed that it was taken...