March 29 - April 6, 2024

Huatou Retreat

Event Description

Who is sitting in meditation?

Those practicing along the spiritual path, and those in pursuit of life’s deeper meaning often ask big questions about existence: “What is life all about? What happens after death? Where did I come from and where will I go? Who am I really? What is the ‘mind’?” These inquiries and many others persist unanswered. Common explanations from scientific theories, philosophy, or religious belief fail to truly provide a definitive “answer”. While logical thinking and intellect can solve many of life’s problems, they appear inadequate in the face of these profound questions as we remain clouded by our self-centered thoughts.

Understanding this fundamental aspect clears our inner conflicts and guides us on how to let go. As our attachments diminish, the spiritual path begins to reveal more answers, granting a deeper comprehension of life. However, ongoing practice is crucial since concerns may resurface. Delving further into our nature is key for a more profound and consistent understanding of who we are and why we suffer. The method of Huatou is an excellent tool for diving into self-inquiry.

Huatou stands as a very simple method within the Chan school, effectively cut off the attachment of self-centerness by only picking up the Huatou. Widely practiced since the 12th century, as it was advocated by Master Dahui Zonggao of the Linji (Japanese: Rinzai) Sect of the Chan School, and in the last century advocated by great Chan Masters Xuyun (Empty Cloud) and Laiguo, and in recent times Chan Master Sheng-Yen.

For this advanced intensive retreat led by Venerable GuoYuan, a Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng-Yen, participants will delve into this method. The program includes Dharma talks and personal interviews, and the integration of Huatou into both intensive retreat as well as in daily life. The retreat encompasses sitting, standing, walking, sleeping, working, and eating. Gentle yoga exercises and chanting further aim to harmonize the body, breath and mind. Participants are required to have previous intensive retreat experience before being accepted.



This event is priced on a sliding scale. Please consider your registration as a moment to practice generosity by paying at the highest rate that you can afford. Your generosity supports Dharma Drum Retreat Center, staff, your fellow practitioners, and our continued efforts to help people to learn and grow. Any amount paid above the Base rate is a tax-deductible donation to DDRC. Please contact us if you need the tax receipt.

No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


Chartered Shuttle

Provided we have enough interested participants, we are happy to coordinate chartered shuttle service from Manhattan Penn Station to our center. The fee for the shuttle service is $75 for one way and $150 for a round trip per person. We will follow up as the retreat nears and let you know if there is sufficient demand to run the shuttle.

The shuttle will depart from Manhattan Penn Station at 2:00 pm on the start day of the retreat, taking you directly to our center. On the end day of the retreat, the return shuttle will depart from our center at 1:30 pm, heading back to Manhattan Penn Station.

If you are interested in shuttle service, please remember to check the item during registration.

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…
In Person

Check-in: 4:00 - 6:00 PM, March 29th
End Time: 1:00 PM, April 6th

• Already received basic meditation instruction
• Established a daily personal practice
• Previously attended at least one two-day retreat

Sample Schedule:
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Sliding Scale
  • Base – $800.00
  • Sustainer – $1,150.00
  • Benefactor – $1,500.00
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