Huatou in Chinese, literally means "the origin of words," or that which precedes words and language. This refers to the state of the mind before the arising of conceptualization or, more precisely, before the arising of a single thought. Thus, huatou is the source of all words and of all thoughts, the fundamental nature of the mind.
But, it is also a method that we use to point directly at this mind while putting aside all other concerns. When we investigate huatou, we utilize questions such as: "What is my original face?" and "What is Wu?" These puzzling, seemingly illogical questions produce a deep sense of self-questioning which is called "the doubt sensation." If you can succeed in penetrating this doubt, you will discover that which you have always had.
The huatou method will be taught in the context of daily life activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, sleeping, working, and eating. Chanting and gentle yoga exercises further harmonize the body, breath, and mind. The retreat also includes daily lectures, meditation instruction, guided meditation, and personal interviews.
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.