Chan Meditation

  Sharing the Benefits of Buddhadharma The principle of Education through Public Outreach is to expand the influence of Buddhadharma in purifying the minds of the general public and on social customs. There are two major approaches: traditional Buddhist practices and contemporary cultural events.   Traditional practices are encompassed in a whole array of programs carried out at DDM, Nung Chan Monastery, CHIBC, and DDM branches and liaison offices. Activities include Chan meditation, Buddha name recitation, Dharma lectures, Dharma assemblies, study groups, Chan meditation classes, Chan retreats, spiritual environmental protection camps, bodhisattva precept transmission, blessing and taking refuge ceremonies, Buddhism classes, and the Eight-form Moving Meditation classes. Among those, Chan meditation has been the cornerstone of our public outreach education efforts.   Emphasis on Chan Meditation   A look at the semi-annual DDM calendar will show how much emphasis DDM places on meditation. There is an average of one seven-day retreat per month, with retreats suitable for all levels─beginning, intermediate, and advanced. The meditation methods practiced in the retreats have been expanded to include huatou, zhiguan (samatha-vipasyana), and Silent Illumination, as well as the Buddha's namerecitation. The locations could be Dharma Drum Mountain, Sanyi Education Center for Protecting the Spiritual Environment, and other venues. In 1987, upon returning from the US, Master Sheng Yen held the first DDM seven-day Chan retreat at CHIBC. Later, one-, two- and three-day weekend retreats were added to accommodate working people and to make the experience more widely available. Longer retreats of ten, fourteen and forty-nine days were also added later. The number of people participating in retreats has also increased, ranging from a hundred to more than a thousand. For example, the two-day retreat in fall 2003 had more than sixteen hun

  Stage 1 To balance :the development of body and mind in order to attain mental and physical health. Various methods of physical exercise for walking, standing, sitting, and reclining are used. They are unique exercise methods combining Indian Hatha Yoga and Chinese daoyin (exercises for channeling internal energy), and can bring physical health as well as results in meditation. Thus, one who practices Chan well will definitely have a strong body capable of enduring hardship. The mind will establish a state of self-confidence, determination, optimism, peace, and stability. Stage 2: From the sense of the small "I" to the large "I." When you practice the method of cultivation taught by your teacher, for example, huatou or silent illumination, you will enlarge the sphere of the outlook of the small "I" until it coincides with time and space. The small "I" merges into the entire universe, forming a unity. Since you have joined and become one with universe, the world of your own body and mind no longer exists. What exists is the universe, which is infinite in depth and breadth. You yourself are not only a part of the universe, but also the totality of it. Stage 3: From the large "I" to no "I." Chan is inconceivable. It is neither a concept nor a feeling. Because Chan is a world where there is no self, if there is still any attachment at all in your mind, there is no way you can harmonize with Chan. Therefore, Chan is the territory of the wise, and the territory of the brave. Not being wise, one would not believe that after abandoning all attachments another world could appear before him. Not being brave, one would find it very hard to discard everything he has in this life - careers, knowledge, and material things. In short, the purpose of Chan practice is to see your self-nature, and this insight is called "enlightenment." One might encounter all kinds of good

Advancement of Material Civilization? In modern times, the great strides of science have solved many problems deriving from the natural and social environments, as well as from human physiology and psychology. And yet, with the advancement of material civilization, the problems waiting to be solved have actually increased. In fact, until the day the Earth perishes, it will remain impossible to completely overcome the problems posed by nature. Similarly, until the day our physical bodies die, it will still be impossible to entirely control our bodily functions. If nothing else, human beings are incapable of preventing the gradual diminishing of the sun's thermal energy, so the weakening and eventual destruction of the Earth is inevitable. Again, as human beings cannot stop the aging of the physical organs, the death of the physical body is inevitable, too. However, as long as the Earth remains inhabitable, we should do what we can to improve our natural environment, so that it can become more favorable to human life and existence. Likewise, while we are still alive, we should do our best to improve our physical and mental health, so that we can live more comfortable and happy lives.   Mental and Physical Power of Mankind - Chan Modern science may help us with these tasks, but we should not leave the responsibility entirely to science. This is because the promotion of science depends on the mental and physical power of mankind, and the only method to bring out man's greatest intellectual and physical ability, hidden deeply within our bodies and minds, is through the practice of Chan (Japanese: Zen) meditation. Although the methods of Chan meditation trace their origins to the wisdom of the East, in reality, East or West, all great religious figures, philosophers, outstanding statesmen, scientists, and artists benefit to some extent from the power of Chan meditative concentration. Even if they do not assume the specific C

Chan Meditation Center, NY   (Article by Calvin Chu / Photos by Yin Ting) Breathe In.  Breathe Out.  Relax your body.  Relax your mind.  And may all sentient beings depart from suffering. This was the thought pattern that I tried to develop every Tuesday evenin