Resident Teachers | Monastic Dharma Heirs | Lay Dharma Heirs | Lay Dharma Teachers | Dharma Teachers in Training
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 Wen Fashi
A native New Yorker and current Director of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center, Chang Wen Fashi is a western monastic disciple of Chan Master Sheng Yen. After his ordination as a novice in 2004, he 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 received full ordination in 2006, and then continued to serve as the counselor for the male students of the Chan Meditation Studies Department. Over this period of training, he attended and assisted with numerous intensive meditation retreats in the Chan Hall and abroad, as well as served as the leader for DDM's International Meditation Group in Taipei. Chang Wen Fashi holds a Bachelor's Degree of Science from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He is fluent in both English and Mandarin.
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.
Guo Ru Fashi
At the age of thirteen, Guo Ru Fashi became a monk under the guidance of Chan Master Sheng Yen (Shifu). For over 20 years, has been teaching Buddhist principles and Chan practice extensively throughout Asia. In 2005, he received Dharma transmission from Shifu, thus taking on the role of one of the Head Trainers at Dharma Drum Mountain's Meditation Hall in Taiwan. Guo Ru Fashi has carried on the style of Chan training that Shifu utilized in his early days of teaching, by making use of methods which are specifically characteristic to huatou practice-such as shouting, hitting, and pressing students in a dynamic and spontaneous manner. In this way, he helps huatou practitioners to suddenly put a stop to the mind's grasping consciousness, thus allowing the mind to be without any attachment. In this way, one opens up to the reality of life, experiencing completeness and freedom.
Lay Dharma Heirs
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.
Dr 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 works as a family doctor, and is married with two adult sons. 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 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 group in Riverside, California. Gilbert teaches in a classical Chan style which inspires his students to investigate Chan through diligent practice.
Lay Dharma Teachers
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.
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.
Dharma Teachers in Training
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.
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.
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.
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
Attended her first seven-day retreat with Chan Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Retreat Center, in 1996. Since then, she has attended numerous intensive Chan retreats and began translating for Master Sheng Yen in 1999. She teaches the Beginner's' Dharma Class and Beginner's Meditation Class at the Chan Meditation Center and leads short retreats at DDRC. Rebecca is a board member of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at The College of New Jersey.
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.