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Our Faculty

Resident Teachers  |  Monastic Dharma Heirs  |  Lay Dharma Heirs  |  Lay Dharma Teachers  |  Instructors

Resident Teachers

Guo Xing Fashi

Our abbot, Guo Xing Fashi, one of Chan Master Sheng Yen's Dharma heirs, was born in Taiwan in 1953. After studying yoga and meditation, Guo Xing Fashi began to study Chan under the guidance of Chan Master Sheng Yen in 1984, and became ordained under him two years later, in 1986. After years of service in the Dharma Drum Mountain sangha, he was sent to Thailand in 1991 to enter into solitary retreat, studying Theravadan meditation. Upon returning to DDM, he continued to assist the Master in leading meditation retreats in Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and the United States, for a period of 20 years, totaling over more than 50 retreats, including the first 49-Day retreat at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in 2000. He previously served for eight years as the counselor for the DDM Chan Meditation Group of Nong Chan Monastery, six years as the guiding instructor for the DDM Sangha University Chan practice curriculum, as well as two years as the director of DDM's Chan Practice Center, the Director of the Chan Hall, as well as the supervisor of the Department of Transmitting the Lamp. Guo Xing Fashi is now a new resident teacher at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center. He speaks Taiwanese, Mandarin, and English.

Chang Xiang Fashi

Born in the city of Gaoxiong, Taiwan, Chang Xiang Fashi entered the Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha University in 2004, and in 2006 received his full ordination. During this time, he attended over 20 intensive Chan retreats, as well as received training and gained extensive experience and familiarity with leading the Dharma Drum Lineage style of Chan practice. During this period, he also served as the Sangha University Student Services Health Services Manager, Planning Department Leader, as well as student counselor. He is fluent in Mandarin, Taiwanese, and speaks English.

Monastic Dharma Heirs

Chi Chern Fashi

Ordained by Master Zhu Mo in Penang, Malaysia, Chi Chern Fashi studied at the Fo Guang Buddhist College in Taiwan. Around 1980, he participated in several seven-day retreats and a period of fasting with Master Sheng Yen at the Institute of Buddhist Culture (Wen Hua Guan). During this time he had a profound experience. With Master Sheng Yen's confirmation, he returned to Malaysia to teach meditation. He received transmission from Master Sheng Yen in 1985, becoming his first Dharma heir. Chi Chern Fashi is currently the principal of the Malaysian Buddhist Institute, and is one of the most respected meditation teachers in Malaysia and Singapore.

Lay Dharma Heirs

Zarko Andricevic

Founder of the Buddhist Center in Zagreb, Croatia. Zarko first encountered Buddhism in 1975 and has been a martial arts and yoga teacher since the 1970s. In 1985 he started the first Buddhist study and meditation group in Croatia which in time grew into the first Buddhist community there. This community is known as Dharmaloka nowadays. In 1996, while seeking a new teacher, he met Chan Master Sheng Yen, attended his seven-day retreat and became one of his students. Seeing Chan as the very core of the Buddha Dharma and Master Shen Yen as the man whose teaching stems directly from the meditative experience, he has dedicated himself to the practice of Chan meditation and has attended Master Sheng Yen's retreats regularly. In June 2001, during a two-week retreat in the USA, Zarko received Dharma transmission from Master Sheng Yen, thus becoming one of his five Dharma heirs in the West.

Simon Child

Simon Child received Dharma Transmission from Master Sheng Yen in 2000 and is the principal Teacher of the Western Chan Fellowship, a lay Chan organisation based in the UK. Resident in England he is married with two adult sons. His main career has been as a family doctor and he now works part-time in Clinical Informatics. Simon started his training with John Crook in 1981 and trained with Chan Master Sheng Yen from 1992. His teaching approach uses the orthodox methods of Chan Master Sheng Yen and also some adaptations to help the Western personality engage with traditional practice.

Gilbert Gutierrez

Gilbert Gutierrez has over thirty-nine years of meditation experience, which includes his study of various martial arts as well as Chi Gong. In 2002, he received Dharma Transmission from Master Sheng Yen, making him the only western lineage holder currently residing in the United States. He conducts retreats and lectures throughout North America. His home base is in Southern California and he lectures regularly at the Los Angeles DDMBA chapter and with his own Riverside Chan Meditation Group in California. Gilbert teaches in a classical Chan style which inspires his students to investigate Chan through diligent practice.

Lay Dharma Teachers

David Listen

Previously known as Venerable Chang Wen, David Listen is one of our most experienced lay instructors, having over 10 years experience as a monk, leading Chan meditation practice and teaching Buddhadharma. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, he is one of the few people to serve as a western monastic disciple of Chan Master Sheng Yen, training for 11 years from 2004-2015. During this time, he first lived at the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education, Taiwan, and received a monastic education at the Dharma Drum Sangha University. After graduating from the University, he served as the counselor for the male students of the Chan Meditation Studies Department. During this period of monasticism, he led, attended and assisted with numerous meditation retreats in U.S., Taiwan, and Europe. As Director of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center from 2008 to 2014, he became well known for his ability to present the Chan teachings in a clear, simple, and accessible way, following the style of his teacher—making use of the theory of Buddhadharma as guiding principles to support the application of Chan practice on retreat and in daily life. Due to his fluency in spoken Mandarin and classical Chinese language, he has a keen ability to translate the teachings into a language that’s easily understandable to the Western English-speaking mind. He currently resides in New York and continues to be active teaching Chan meditation and Dharma theory. David holds a Bachelor's Degree of Science from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He is fluent in both English and Mandarin.

Guo Gu (Jimmy Yu, Ph.D.)

Guo Gu is one of Master Sheng Yen's senior lay teachers and translators, assisting with and leading activities at the Chan Meditation Center, Dharma Drum Retreat Center, and Dharma Drum Mountain, Taiwan. In 1982, while still quite young, he learned meditation from Master Sheng Yen, and began practicing Chan intensively in 1989. He was also the personal monastic attendant and assistant to Master Sheng Yen for almost nine years, and then in 1995, he was given permission by the Master to teach (inka) Chan. He has led retreats in various parts of the United States, Europe, and Asia. Guo Gu is now the guiding instructor for the Western Dharma Teachers at the Chan Meditation Center. He received his doctorate in Buddhist Studies in 2008 from Princeton University, and is now an Assistant Professor at Florida State University. Currently, he is the leader of the Tallahassee Chan Group which meets regularly at the Tallahassee Buddhist Community in Florida.

Hilary Richards

Resident in UK, has been practicing in the Chan tradition in the mid 1980s. She has trained with Shifu in the US and also with John Crook and Simon Child in the UK. She is past Chair of the Western Chan Fellowship and leads retreats for the Fellowship at Maenllwyd in mid Wales.


Rikki Asher, PhD

Since 1976, Rikki began practicing with Master Sheng Yen. She is a former member of DDMBA of North America Board of Directors, a certified yoga teacher, member of the California Yoga Teachers Association. As a graduate of Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY) with a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in painting, and a Doctorate in Art Education (Ed.D.) from Columbia University, she combines her background in art and education with meditation as Director of Art Education in Queens College CUNY. Mindfulness and yoga techniques tend to find their way into her college classes for art education training, in work with inner-city teenagers, and various adult and senior adult groups. She has led one day and three-day silent retreats, teaches yoga and meditation classes in synagogues, churches, libraries, local Y's, yoga centers, community centers, and at the Omega Institute, including Memoir as a Buddhist Practice with Jim Kullander. She has taught at the Chan Meditation Center, and the Dharma Drum Retreat Center since 1999, and formal beginners and intermediate meditation classes since 2004.

David Berman

Gongfu teacher in New York City - he represents the 8th generation of Wu Mei Pai, a martial art from the White Crane Buddhist Monastery in Hunan. He began meditating with T.M. (Transcendental Meditation) in 1969; he became Chan Master Sheng Yen's student in 1993 and went on his first Chan retreat in 1995. He has been teaching meditation and lecturing on behalf of the Chan Center since 1999, and was Editor-in-Chief of Chan Magazine from 2001 to 2012.

Nancy Bonardi

Meditation teacher, began practicing meditation with Shifu in 1978. She is a member of the Chan Meditation Center Board of Trustees. She teaches Beginners Meditation Classes and conducts One Day Chan Retreats. She also teaches Metta Contemplation at the DDYP College Retreat and Wellness Chan Retreat at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Bush, New York. She lives in Connecticut and teaches English to seventh graders.

Buffe Laffey

Disciple of Master Sheng Yen since 1976, Buffe is a regular leader of DDRC's Thursday Evening Meditation Group and teaches Beginners Meditation Classes. She is Assistant to the Director at DDRC, and is also Editor-in-Chief of the Chan Magazine.

Rebecca Li, PhD

Rebecca began practicing in 1995, and attended her first seven-day intensive retreat with Chan Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC), in the following year. Since then she has attended numerous intensive Chan retreats. In 1999 after moving to New Jersey she began translating for Master Sheng Yen. In the same year, she began her training with the Master to become a Dharma and meditation instructor. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes and gives public lectures at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC) and leads 1- to 3-day retreats at CMC & DDRC. She has been training with Simon Child since 2008 to conduct retreat interviews and has been assisting in his intensive retreats since 2012. Along with her husband David Slaymaker, Rebecca leads Chan practice at Rutgers University and the New Jersey chapter of DDMBA and teaches on behalf of Dharma Drum in various community activities in the NJ-NY area. Rebecca is a board member of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and professor of sociology at The College of New Jersey.

Harry Miller

Harry Miller studied with Master Sheng Yen for over 30 years. He was editor of the Chan Newsletter for over 10 years, is a frequent contributor to Chan Magazine, and a lecturer at CMC. He is a board member of Dharma Drum Retreat Center and a member of the Dharma Teachers in Training at CMC. He holds a B.A in French and English literature from Sarah Lawrence, and an M.A. in Chinese Literature and M.Phil. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

David Slaymaker, PhD

Began practicing Soto Zen in 1992 and began practicing with Shifu in 1995. He teaches Beginners Meditation Classes and Beginner's Dharma classes at the Chan Meditation Center in Queens, NY and conducts One Day Chan Retreats in Queens and at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Bush, NY. David has previously served on the Chan Meditation Center Board of Trustees, and currently resides in New Jersey where he is a professor of biology at William Paterson University.

William (Bill) Wright

Began studying Chan with Master Sheng Yen in 1992. He has been teaching Dharma classes and lecturing on Dharma topics for several years. Bill holds an A.B. degree from Cornell University and a law degree from Columbia University. He is a retired attorney and lives with his wife in New york City.

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