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Beginner's Mind Retreat - May 5-8, 2017

A "Beginner's mind" is a mind open to experiencing life in the present moment, free from preconceived notions and expectations -- a mind open to genuine understanding and self-realization. If you are new to meditation practice, or have never participated in a retreat, this is an ideal way to begin your spiritual journey.

In addition to sessions of seated meditation, this retreat features interactive workshops, including:

The Art of Sitting
Quintessential instructions on seated meditation in the Chan tradition, also teaches various ways to massage the body. An opportunity for students to ask questions and difficulties relating to practice.

The Art of Walking
Teaches three forms of walking meditation methods: slow walking, fast walking, and natural walk. Very often we take walking for granted. But the art of walking can show us how to open up new possibilities in our experience of the world.

The Art of Questioning
Explores the fundamental question of who we are as human beings through an introduction to the Chan Gong'an (Japanese: Koan) method, which confronts the most fundamental questions of our existence. The quest for meaning is the drive behind all Buddhist practitioners. The format of this workshop is dialogue and discussion.

Sample Schedule

5:30 am Wake-up boards
6:00-6:30 Yoga
6:30-7:30 Guided Sitting Practice
7:40-8:20 Breakfast
8:20-8:50 Mindful Work
9:30-10:45 The Art of Sitting
11-noon Optional Sitting Practice
12:00-12:50 pm Lunch
12:50-1:20 Mindful Work
1:20-1:50 Rest
2:00-3:00 Sitting Practice
3:00-5:30 The Art of Perception
5:40-6:20 Supper
6:20-6:50 Mindful Work
6:50-7:20 Rest
7:30-8:00 Chanting Meditation
8:00-9:00 Dharma Talk
9:00-10:00 Personal Interview

Begins: Friday May 5 - check-in 4:00-6:00 pm
Ends: Monday May 8 - 3:00 pm
Fee: $260
Openings: Available register online
Deadline: Tuesday May 2

Guo Yuan Fashi, a Dharma Heir of Master Sheng Yen

Guo Yuan Fashi, one of Chan Master Sheng Yen's Dharma heirs, is a Buddhist monk trained in Chan Buddhism. In 1985 he first encountered Master Sheng Yen's teachings while attending a seven-day retreat in New York. He then decided to become a disciple before finally leaving his job in Toronto, Canada, to become a monk in the Chan tradition. He was ordained in 1987 in Taiwan. For over twenty years, he accompanied and became translator to Master Sheng Yen in various Chan meditation retreats in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and Mexico.

He studied Theravada Buddhism for a year in Thailand in 1991. Upon returning from Thailand, Guo Yuan Fashi was elected abbot of both the Chan Meditation Center (CMC) in Queens and the Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC) in Pine Bush, New York. His responsibilities included attending interfaith services, teaching meditation, and giving lectures on Buddhism. In 2006 he became the director of the International Chan Retreat Center in Dharma Drum Mountain, Taiwan. In 2016 he returned to Pine Bush to become once again the abbot of DDRC. Fluent in Mandarin, Vietnamese, and English, he leads Chan retreat in many countries around the world.

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