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Our Faculty

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

Resident Teachers

Guo Yuan Fashi - Abbot

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.

Chang Xing Fashi - Director

Born in the township of Hualien, Taiwan, Chang Xing Fashi entered the Dharma Drum Mountain Seminary in 2002, and in 2004 received his full ordination. After his graduation in 2006, he served as Youth Department Director and counselor, Monks Affairs Department Director, as well as student counselor in Seminary. He came to DDRC in 2016 to be the Director. Currently, Chang Xing Fashi has a deep interest in areas such as the history of Chinese Buddhism, the Method of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Practice, and the Agama sutras. He speaks English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese.

Chang Sui Fashi

Chang Sui Fashi entered the Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha University in 2004, and in 2006 received his full ordination. Since 2008 he has served as teacher, student counselor, as well as Director of Male Students Affairs Department in Sangha University. Some of his papers were released at The International Buddhist Forum in China and The International Buddhist Conference in Thailand in 2009. In 2011, he began to serve as a Retreat Supervisor at DDRC, and in Poland, Germany, and England. With his experience of studying and leading meditation activities, he has devoted himself to researching Chan and has studied in Kyoto University for two years. He is fluent in Mandarin and Taiwanese, and speaks English and "simple Japanese."

Chang Hu Fashi

Chang-Hu Fashi first took the Three Refuges in 1988. In 2004, he was admitted into Dharma Drum Sangha University, where he majored in Chan Studies, with a focus on Chinese Chan. In 2006 he received full ordination. In 2010, Chang Hu Fashi graduated from Dharma Drum Sangha University and took on the role of Supervisor of the Chan Meditation Office, organizing various types of Chan events and teacher-training. Since 2006 Chang Hu Fashi has been involved in over 160 intensive Chan retreats, conducting individual interviews and amassing rich experience in overall retreat organization. He has studied and taught meditation in Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Singapore, and Malaysia. In January 2015 Chang Hu Fashi arrived at DDRC, where his current responsibilities are information technology. Chang Hu Fashi has a deep interest in areas such as incense-meditation, tea-meditation, Buddhist arts, photography, botany, contemplation of artistic renditions based on Buddhist scriptures. He is also studying English.

Chang Zhen Fashi

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Chang Zhen Fashi participated his first seven-day meditation retreat led by Master Sheng Yen in 2002. He entered the Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha University in 2008, and in 2011 received his full ordination. For three years, beginning in 2103,Chang Zhen Fashi was the instructor of primary doctrinal courses and basic meditation courses in Taiwan. Currently, he takes the duty of DDRC's kitchen supervisor.

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

Rebecca Li, PhD

Rebecca Li began practicing in 1995 when she was in graduate school in California, and attended her first seven-day intensive retreat in New York 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 serving as Master Sheng Yen's translator. 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, lead Chan practice and conduct one to five day retreats at Dharma Drum centers in North America. She has been training with Simon Child, one of Master Sheng Yen's Dharma heirs, since 2008 to conduct retreat interviews and has been assisting in his intensive Chan retreats since 2012. Rebecca also leads Chan practice at Rutgers University and Yale University and teaches on behalf of Dharma Drum in various practice communities in the tri-state area. She served on the organizing committee of the 2015 Generation X Dharma Teachers Conference hosted by DDRC. She taught a month-long online retreat for Tricycle in October 2015, contributed a piece to the premier issue of the Lion's Roar magazine in March 2016 and spoke at two panels at the Harvard Divinity School conference on Buddhism and Race in April 2016. Rebecca is a board member of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and a sociology professor at The College of New Jersey. She received Dharma transmission from Simon Child, one of Master Sheng Yen’s Dharma heirs, and is a Dharma heir in the Dharma Drum Chan lineage of Master Sheng Yen. Her Dharma name is Zhi-deng Fa-chuan (Wisdom Lamp, Dharma Transmitting).

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 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.




Instructors

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

Buffe began practicing meditation in 1966, at the age of 13. She became a disciple of Chan Master Sheng Yen in 1976, and attended the first retreats he led in America. Since then she has attended numerous intensive Chan retreats, including the forty-nine day retreat held at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in 2000. Since 2005 she has been on the staff of DDRC, serving as assistant to the director, webmaster, and retreat coordinator. She teaches beginner meditation classes and serves as timekeeper on intensive retreats. Buffe was a founding editor of Chan Magazine in 1977, and since 2012 again serves as the magazine's editor-in-chief.

Harry Miller

Harry Miller studied with Chan Master Sheng Yen for over 30 years, and currently leads the Westchester Chan Meditation Group in White Plains, NY. He teaches formal beginners and intermediate meditation classes at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC), and gives Dharma lectures at CMC and the Westchester Chan Meditation Group. Harry holds a BA in French and English literature from Sarah Lawrence, and an MA in Chinese Literature and an MPhil in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He was editor of the Chan Newsletter for over 10 years, is a frequent contributor to Chan Magazine, and is a board member of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC).

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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