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Beginner's Mind Retreat - August 8-11, 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 August 11 - check-in 4:00-6:00 pm
Ends: Sunday August 13 - 3:00 pm
Fee: $190
Openings: Registration opens in May
Deadline: Tuesday August 8

Rebecca Li PhD

Rebecca Li, a Dharma heir in the lineage of the Chan Master Sheng Yen, started practicing meditation in 1995. She attended her first intensive retreat with Chan Master Sheng Yen in 1996 and began serving as his interpreter in 1998. She started her teacher's training with Master Sheng Yen in 1999 and started teaching as Dharma and meditation instructor in 2002. Later on, she trained with John Crook and then Simon Child, both Dharma heirs of Master Sheng Yen, to lead intensive retreats and received full Dharma transmission from Simon Child in 2016. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures and leads retreats at Dharma Drum centers, university meditation groups and Dharma practice groups mostly in northeastern United States. Some of her talks and writings can be found at www.rebeccali.org. Rebecca is also a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at The College of New Jersey.

Nancy Bonardi

Nancy met Chan Master Sheng Yen in 1978, when he was a student in her English as second language (ESL) class. She soon began practicing meditation with him. Over the years she has attended numerous intensive Chan retreats, eventually serving as timekeeper and retreat supervisor. At DDRC and the Chan Meditation Center (CMC), she teaches beginner's meditation classes and metta contemplation, and conducts one-day Chan retreats. She is a member of the Chan Meditation Center Board of Trustees and teaches English to seventh graders in her home state of Connecticut.


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