Led by Abbot Guo Yuan
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Huatou in Chinese, literally means “the origin of words,” or that which precedes words and language. This refers to the state of the mind before the arising of conceptualization or, more precisely, before the arising of a single thought. Thus, huatou is the source of all words and of all thoughts, the fundamental nature of the mind.
But, it is also a method that we use to point directly at this mind while putting aside all other concerns. When we investigate huatou, we utilize questions such as: “What is my original face?” and “What is Wu?” These puzzling, seemingly illogical questions produce a deep sense of self-questioning which is called “the doubt sensation.” If you can succeed in penetrating this doubt, you will discover that which you have always had.
The huatou 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.
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)
This event is priced on a sliding scale. Please consider paying at the highest rate that you can afford. Your generosity supports Dharma Drum Mountain, staff, your fellow practitioners and our continuous efforts to help people to learn and grow.
When you submit your application, select one of the sliding scale rates below. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. If needed we encourage you to apply for a scholarship , please reach out to email@example.com for more information.
Any amount paid above the Base rate is a tax deductible donation to DDRC. Your confirmation email is your tax receipt.
Abbot Guo Yuan, a Dharma Heir of Master Sheng Yen
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 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.