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One Day Chan Meditation Retreat

Guiding Dharma teacher: Ven. Chang Shih
Date: August 7, 2016 (Sunday)
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Venue: Meditation Hall, Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Centre Malaysia
The final one-day Chan meditation retreat in 2016 was wrapped up with a group photo session of 38 participants with splendid smile on their faces, reflecting the joy of Chan.

Adopting the outline for one-day Chan meditation retreat designed by Dharma Drum Mountain, this group practice activity comprised the Eight-form Moving Meditation, sitting yoga, standing yoga, relaxation in Shavasana, and sitting meditation sessions of the burning time of five incense sticks. Participants also watched a video Dharma talk by Master Sheng Yen, founder of DDM, to enhance their right knowledge and right views in Buddhist practice. Inspired by the Master’s enlightening teaching, they learned how to apply it in their sitting and experience the joy of Chan by living in the present moment. When practicing the method of counting and following the breath as taught by the Master, participants gained a further understanding and had a deeper experience of the method, by concentrating their minds on the breath while sitting in meditation.

This one-day retreat started off with the retreat director reminding participants to “give your body to the cushion, and lend your mind to the method”. Participants learnt how to let their minds calmly abide in every present moment by practicing Chan meditation that blends motion and stillness, and to experience how to “put your mind where your body is. Be aware of the relaxation, and relax your whole body.” This helps calm our mind that is often scattered and disturbed by our busy and hectic life. During the sharing session, participants expressed that they were able to remain aware of the relaxed sensation and feel the concentration, and thereby letting go of their accumulated stress.

In responding to a participant’s question that “by reading books about meditation practice, lots of strange thoughts would just pop up randomly while sitting in meditation,” the venerable urged everyone to immerse themselves in correct Buddhist teachings and right views, join group practice more often, and constantly practice letting go—letting go of deluded thoughts and illusory phenomena. The venerable also advised them not to practice meditation through the books, which can at most serve as a reference. Regarding bodily and mental reactions, sensations such as soreness, numbness, ache, and itchiness, are normal phenomena that reflect the physical body adjusting itself. One can ignore them by repeatedly returning to the method. However, when coming across unusual conditions such as severe headache and chest pain, one should put aside the method, take a break from meditating, and seek help instead.

The retreat was held at the meditation hall of Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Centre Malaysia on August 7, 2016, with a participation of 38 people. There was a limit of 50 people to make sure retreatants could go about the practice in a more comfortable setting that facilitates their concentration. Twelve of them were unable to show up for personal reasons.
Reporter: Tsou Weihua (鄒委樺)
Photographer: Kuo Tzuwei (郭紫薇)
Translator: Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Editor: Chiacheng Chang (張家誠)

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