DDM Global News

​CMC Hosted "Beginner's Meditation Class" to Teach Participants How to Integrate Chan into Everyday Life

On January 27th, from 9 AM to 5 PM EST, the Dharma Drum for Young People (DDYP) in New York organized a "One-Day Beginner's Meditation Class" at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC), which attracted nearly twenty participants. DDYP welcomed Venerable Yan She, a recent addition to CMC, as the class instructor. Through her dynamic and engaging teaching approach, Ven. Yan She shared the fundamentals of Chan meditation with the DDYP members, guiding them towards achieving tranquility and inner peace amid today's hectic lifestyle.

The Chan meditation curriculum covers "regulating the body," "regulating the breath," and "regulating the mind." It also includes practical tips for incorporating Chan principles into daily routines to enhance physical and mental harmony and stability, as well as to foster compassion and wisdom. The "regulating the body" segment focuses on correct meditation postures, relaxation techniques, pre-meditation breathing exercises, and post-meditation massages. In "regulating the breath," Ven. Yan She taught methods for breath observation and counting. "Regulating the mind" involves easing the mood and increasing mindfulness. Additionally, Ven. Yan She introduced the Eight-Form Moving Meditation, emphasizing the importance of the principles "be mindful of the present body movement" and "be clearly aware of relaxation, relaxation of the whole body."

Ven. Yan She explained that practicing "contemplation of the present moment" involves setting aside distracting thoughts and concentrating on the meditation method. She advised that if such thoughts arose during meditation, they should be neither followed nor resisted, but simply acknowledged before returning to the meditation method. This approach helps calm both body and mind. The Venerable also discussed typical physical and mental experiences during meditation, such as soreness, pain, itchiness, numbness, temperature changes, involuntary movements, and potential hallucinations. Understanding these reactions is crucial for developing correct perceptions and advancing in the practice.

In applying Chan meditation to daily life, Ven. Yan She offered insights on "how to sleep" and the practice of "eating meditation. She emphasized the Chan practice of focusing on one task at a time to improve mental clarity and awareness, contrasting it with the common habit of multitasking. The Venerable also encouraged participants to choose a focal point for self-observation, helping them to identify sources of stress and changes in their physical and mental states, which can aid in stress relief and relaxation.

Participant Freda Liang shared that the teachings on sitting meditation helped her understand the causes of her discomfort during previous sessions. By adjusting her posture with a cushion and focusing on key points, she improved her physical and mental response to sitting. Elena Chung, another attendee, reflected that the concept of "eating meditation" reminded her of the importance of mindfulness and living in the present. She plans to incorporate a morning sitting meditation session into her daily routine to regulate her body, breath, and mind. Volunteer Paul Yin, who recently completed a seven-day retreat, expressed that he still gained valuable insights from the beginner's meditation courses. He shared his experiences from the retreat and encouraged others to consider undertaking a similar journey.

CMC emphasized that practicing Chan meditation is a healthy, safe, and effective way to manage stress in modern life. At the class's conclusion, the Venerables reiterated Master Sheng Yen's "Four Steps for Dealing with Problems" – face it, accept it, deal with it, and let it go – thereby urging participants to apply these principles in their lives.

Text: Shing-Yi Wu (吳幸宜)
Photos: Yvonne Kao
Translation: Siang-ling Li
Ann (麗萍), Yong Ming (永銘), Keith Brown