Silent Illumination Intensive Retreat
May 25 – June 2, 2019
Led by Simon Child & Rebecca Li
|Begins:||Saturday, May 25
check in 4-6 pm
|Ends:||Sunday, June 2
|Openings:||Available – Sign in to register|
The above quote comes from the poem “Silent Illumination,” composed by Master Hongzhi Zhengjue, a 12th century lineage holder of the Caodong (Jap. Soto) school of Chan Buddhism. The quote describes the mind of someone who has left behind all attachment to thought and conceptualization. Doing this, they clearly know the nature of things through the direct experience of enlightenment. Master Hongzhi wrote many beautiful poems describing his deep insight. While today we can read these poems for inspiration and encouragement in our practice, they also function as guidelines for a method known as silent illumination. With this method, the aim is to develop and maintain relaxation, clarity and openness of mind. Ultimately, the goal is to see into the nature of the mind. One who has achieved this insight establishes a solid understanding and confidence of how to cultivate freedom and ease in dealing with all situations. Naturally, they know how to resolve their remaining vexations, and use wisdom and compassion in their daily lives. Read more…
The silent illumination method will be taught in the context of daily life activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, sleeping, working, and eating. Chanting and gentle yoga exercises further harmonize the body, breath, and mind. The retreat also includes daily lectures, meditation instruction, guided meditation, and personal interviews. You can view a sample schedule here.
Requirements for Intensive Retreat
Our intensive retreats follow the traditional Chan monastery schedule, starting early in the morning and making the most efficient use of time in concentrated group practice. There are numerous forty-minute sitting periods throughout the day.
Participants should be mentally and physically prepared for the rigors of such a regimen. Therefore, we carefully screen each applicant to ensure sufficient experience for acceptance on an intensive retreat. The requirements are that the applicant has:
- already received basic meditation instruction
- established a daily personal practice
- previously attended at least one intermediate three-day retreat (e.g. Foundation Retreat)
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.
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.