In 1985, our abbot, Guoyuan Fashi, encountered Master Sheng Yen’s teachings while attending a seven-day retreat in New York. He became 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. Then, for over twenty years, he accompanied and worked as translator to Master Sheng Yen in various Chan meditation retreats around the world. In 1991, he studied Theravada Buddhism for a year in Thailand. Upon his return, 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 include 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.
Director of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center, Changyuan Fashi manages the center and is a meditation teacher with over ten years of experience. He first entered the Dharma Drum Sangha University in 2002, where he studied a formal Buddhist education. In 2006, he received full ordination. After graduating from DDSU, for the next four years he devoted himself to the education and administration of a youth group. From 2010-2014, while at the Dharma Drum Mountain organization meditation center, Changyuan Fashi managed an administration unit to promote meditation, including training courses, meditation classes, and short-term retreats. During that time, he ran two large and remarkable meditation events for 10,000 people. From 2010-2017, at DDMO, he completed his meditation training in a meditation hall and became a meditation teacher. He then spent several years teaching and spreading meditation in Taiwan, holding many retreats.
Although he is a teacher, he still schedules meditation retreats for himself, including long-term retreats, several times a year to further his own practice. In 2019, he became a resident monastic in the United States. He continues to teach meditation.
Ven. Yanwu joined Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC) in August 2021 as a Buddhist minister. Prior to DDRC, he was a monastic advisor at Dharma Drum for Young People (DDYP) at the Degui Academy in Taipei. During his tenure at DDYP, Yanwu Fashi taught Chan meditation with a systematic and methodical approach to educating and helping young people in the art and science of stillness. He also led meditation, taught Buddhist chanting, and supported activities for meditation camps. A graduate of Dharma Drum Sangha University, he majored in Buddhist studies and Chan meditation practice, a four-year seminary program.
Chan Master Sheng Yen's Heirs In The Dharma Drum Mountain Lineage
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.
Simon Child received Dharma Transmission from Chan Master Sheng Yen in 2000 and is the Guiding Teacher of the Western Chan Fellowship, a Chan organization based in the UK. A resident of England, he is married with two adult sons. He is a family doctor and also does work in Clinical Informatics. Simon started his training with John Crook in 1981 and trained with Chan Master Sheng Yen starting in 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 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.
Third Generation Dharma Heir
Rebecca Li, PhD. is a Dharma heir in the lineage of Chan Master Sheng Yen and the founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community. She attended her first intensive retreat with Chan Master Sheng Yen in 1996 and began serving as his interpreter in 1998. Later on, she trained with John Crook and then Simon Child, both Dharma heirs of Master Sheng Yen, to lead intensive retreats. She received full Dharma transmission from Simon Child in 2016. She teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures, and leads retreats in North America and Europe. Her talks and writings can be found at www.rebeccali.org. She is a sociology professor and lives with her husband in New Jersey. She is the author of Allow Joy into Our Hearts: Chan Practice in Uncertain Times, and her new book is Illumination: A Guide to the Buddhist Method of No-Method (Shambhala Publications, October 2023).
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 ten years and is a frequent contributor to Chan Magazine.
Our Dharma Drum Mountain Family consists of chapters and affiliates around the world, all practicing Chan Buddhism to cultivate peace, clarity, and compassion for others.
Based on the Master Sheng Yen’s infinite compassionate vows, DDRC’s affiliates worldwide endeavor to help purify human minds and society, with the hope of sowing the seeds of world peace through joint efforts to realize the goal of “building a pure land on earth.”