DDM Global News

Online One-day Retreat for Volunteers

Dharma Drum Mountain San Francisco Bay Area Center held an online One-day Chan Retreat in Mandarin for volunteers on September 7. Some 30 participants expressed how, thanks to the retreat, they had obtained a state of lightness and calmness in the body and mind.

The event started at 9 a.m. and concluded at 5 p.m. Ven. Chang Xing personally gave demonstrations and instructions on sitting meditation, massage, the Eight-form Moving Meditation, and standing yoga, for two periods of incense-burning in the morning and in the afternoon, respectively. The lunchtime break lasted for two hours, allowing participants enough time to prepare lunch both for themselves and their families. The retreat was so enjoyable that everyone felt the time had gone by surprisingly quickly.

Ven. Chang Xing expressed his care by advising people to keep a regular daily routine, and, if possible, do some exercises in their backyards. To shed light on the methods of Chan practice, the Venerable shared Master Hanshan Deqing's way of“letting go”. As Ven. Chang Xing explained, letting go is not about resisting, but about relinquishing our worries; always drawing our attention back to the method without caring too much about our wandering thoughts; returning to the method regardless of our physical and mental state; returning to the method by letting go of both internal and external circumstances; letting go of the past and the future, by first returning to the present moment, after which one relinquishes everything that is currently happening; and, last but not the least, letting go of the method itself, so that a unified state of mind can be achieved.
Ven. Chang Xing also explained how to use the commonly used methods, such as counting breaths, silent illumination, direct contemplation, and reciting the Buddha's name. Using the wearing of glasses as analogy, he described how naturally using the method feels:“After wearing glasses for some period of time, you won't feel you are wearing them.”

All participating volunteers were committed to their practice. During the 40-minute Q&A session, they exuded enthusiasm when asking Ven. Chang Xing questions. After the retreat, they hoped to continue to apply the methods of Chan practice in their daily life, for a calm and stable body and mind.  
Text:  Shi,Xiao-Ying (史曉瑛)
Photos:  Dharma Drum Mountain San Francisco Bay Area Center
Translation:  Hsiao, Chen-An (蕭宸安)
Editing: Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠); Keith Brown