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Our Faculty

Resident Teachers

Guo Yuan Fashi – Abbot

Guo Yuan Fashi 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.

Chan Master Sheng Yen’s Heirs in the Dharma Drum Mountain Lineage

Chi Chern Fashi

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.

Zarko Andricevic

Zarko Andricevic, is founder of Dharmaloka Chan Buddhist Community and Chan Retreat Centre in Croatia. Zarko first encountered Buddhism 1975 and has been a martial arts and yoga teacher since the 1970s. In the mid-80s he started the first Buddhist study and meditation group in Croatia. In 1996 he meet Chan Master Sheng Yen and become one of his students. Zarko received Dharma transmission from Master Sheng Yen in June 2001. Since then he is teaching and leading Chan retreats in Europe, USA, Canada, Taiwan and Australia. He currently lives and teaches at Chan Retreat Center in Croatia.

Simon Child

Simon Child

Simon Child received Dharma Transmission from Chan Master Sheng Yen in 2000 and is the Guiding Teacher of the Western Chan Fellowship, a Chan organisation based in the UK. Resident in England he is married with two adult sons. His main career was as a family doctor with some work also 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

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 Chan 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.

Dharma Teachers

Rebecca Li

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.

David Listen

David Listen has been sharing Chan/Zen meditation and Buddhist teachings for over 15 years, leading intensive meditation retreats, classes, and activities at various monasteries, college campuses, and private institutions throughout North America, Europe, and East Asia. Previously known as Venerable Chang Wen (常聞法師), he was one of the few Western monastic disciples of Chan Master Sheng Yen. He had been a monk for over a decade, and has since returned to lay life to share the insights of the Buddha in his own creative way. David is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and has done extensive work translating the teachings of Chinese Buddhism into English, both on retreat and in published works. He holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies, a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling, and is currently a counselor at a clinic for people suffering from severe mental illness. He also has his own life mentoring/coaching practice, guiding people in their cultivation of wisdom and compassion on an individual basis.


Guo Gu (Dr. Jimmy Yu)

Guo Gu Dr. Jimmy Yu

Guo Gu is one of Chan 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 PhD 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

Hilary Richards

Resident in UK, has been practicing in the Chan tradition in the mid 1980s. She has trained with Chan Master Sheng Yen 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.


Rikki Asher

Dr. Rikki Asher

College, City University of New York (CUNY) with a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in painting, and a Doctorate in Art Education (EdD) from Columbia University, in her teaching style Rikki combines her art and education background with meditation, mindfulness and yoga techniques.

She teaches college classes for art education training, and works with inner-city teenagers and various adult and senior adult groups. Rikki teaches yoga and meditation classes in synagogues, churches, libraries, yoga centers and local community centers. She has taught yoga at the Chan Meditation Center, and the Dharma Drum Retreat Center since 1999, and formal beginners and intermediate meditation classes, as well as one and three day retreats, since 2004. She also teaches at the Omega Institute, including Memoir as a Buddhist Practice with Jim Kullander. She is retired and teaches Meditation and Art by the Bedside at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Nancy Bonardi

Nancy Bonardi

Nancy met Chan Master Sheng Yen in 1978, when he was a student in her English class, and she became his meditation student shortly thereafter. She has taught metta contemplation, beginners meditation classes, and led one day retreats at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC) in Queens. At the Dharma Drum Retreat Center she co-led the Beginner’s Mind retreat. She has been a guest speaker at the Insight Meditation Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Nancy lives in Virginia and Indiana.

Buffe Maggie Laffey

Maggie 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 PhD

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, and is a frequent contributor to Chan Magazine.

David Slaymaker

David Slaymaker PhD

David Slaymaker, PhD, began practicing Soto Zen in 1992 and began studying with Chan Master Sheng Yen in 1995. He teaches beginners meditation classes and beginner Dharma classes, leads one day retreats, and gives Dharma lectures at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC).

David also leads one day retreats, and co-leads the Beginner’s Mind retreat at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC). He 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

William Wright

Bill Wright began studying Chan with Master Sheng Yen in 1992. He teaches Dharma classes and gives Dharma lectures at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC). Bill holds an AB 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.