2020 Chan Meditation Center Passing on the Lamp 7-Day Chan Retreat

2020 Chan Meditation Center Passing on the Lamp 7-Day Chan Retreat

In memory of our late Master Sheng Yen, the Chan Meditation Center in New York held a 7-Day Passing on the Lamp Chan Retreat from February 1 through 7, 2020. The retreat was led by the Director of CMC, Venerable Chang Hwa (常華法師), with audio lectures by
Master Sheng Yen. The schedule included sitting, walking and sleeping meditations, yoga exercises, vegetarian lunch, and summaries, instructions, talks and Q & A sessions led by Venerable Chang Hwa. 110 participants attended this a week-long retreat.

Morning audio talks were comprised of instructions by Master Sheng Yen on the method of Silent Illumination which include the basic level of relaxing the body, being aware of the totality of the body to moving onto more advanced levels such as including the environment as the self. Afternoon audio talks focused on the Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi. Master Sheng Yen talked about the subtle and intimate nature of transmission from master to student, and the analogy of the mirror to describe Buddha mind. The ordinary mind is like a mirror covered in so much dust that one does not even know that it is a mirror. We are like a person who straps a mirror onto ones back, not even knowing that one is carrying a mirror all along.

Although I was only able to attend two of the seven days due to my work schedule, I feel the lightness and bliss of prolonged sitting practice, and feel that many of my wandering thoughts and vexations have lessened. Because many of our volunteers, including myself, devote our time to volunteer, we are unable to participate in events. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to practice.

This retreat is our one and only week-long retreat at CMC. Because we were open for the whole week, people were able to drop in for even a day to pay respect to the master and practice. It is very precious for us to be able to practice, especially during these difficult times with the coronavirus epidemic, to transfer merit, and experience calmness, face this problem, and take care of our minds.

Text: Chen Xi Shou from Chan Meditation Center in N.Y.
Photos: Venerable Chang Zhai (常齋法師)

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