What is chan practice?
What is Huayen Chan-Kuan?
Huayen Chan-Kuan is your complete truth seeking path. It is complex and detail oriented life transforming. It goes beyond the limitations of various ideologies and religious and cultural differences. It seeks the truth.
Chan-kuan training can awaken your inner life energy, restore your health, and eliminate day-to-day stress and worries. It can bring you inner joy, peace, and the awareness of your true spirituality. Ultimately, you who practice Chan-kuan will be able to end your sufferings, gain true happiness, and enjoy brilliant eternal life.
Exploring your spiritual awareness will completely change your view of people, things and events. You will re-examine your purpose and value in life, and thus enhance your quality of life. It can help you to facilitate career success, promote family life happiness and harmonious personal relations, and thereby achieve your complete life satisfaction.
There is spirituality in each and everyone, regardless of race, gender, age, nationality or religion. As long as you practice Chan-kuan, you can realize and enjoy the endless spiritual rewards. It is the ultimate path to pursue happiness; it is the wisdom to seek the truth; and above all, it is your highest regard to true life.
b. Stop the Interference of Your Thinking Ability
The brilliant achievements of human civilization today are the result of cumulative knowledge accumulated through human brain’s thinking and analyzing ability. However, this ability has negative effects. On the society, this ability has led to over-exploitation of resources, destruction of environment, various ideological confrontation, misunderstandings and conflicts, and warfare and disasters. On the personal level, it has led to highly competitive and stressful lifestyle, living with fear and worries, all kinds of physical and mental problems such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, and loss of direction in life. People do not know the true meaning of life any more.
The objective in the first stage of Chan-kuan training is to stop the interference from brain’s thinking and analyzing ability. Once the interference is stopped, your body is liberated from the shackles of your thinking and analyzing and the repressed innate life energy is released. Then the negative energy that has been accumulated over many years is released gradually, and your physical and mental health is slowly recovered. This is the first reward of practicing Chan-kuan!
The experience of stopping interference from your thinking and analyzing ability will help you to re-evaluate your current life and discover how false, absurd and ignorant it is. It allows you to experience the existence of your spirituality, which is beyond your thinking process. When you experience the existence of your spirituality, the door to the true life is opened.
The Teaching of Huayen Chan-kuan
The teaching of Huayen Chan-kuan is broad and profound. It has clear, detailed, and systematic training and guidance for students at beginner to advance enlightenment stage. Here is only a brief introduction of the ten-day retreat for beginner students. To learn more about the program, please enroll and experience the marvelous journey to your true self!
a. Two Inner Body Heat-up Techniques
Your brain thinking and analyzing function has never stopped from the moment you are born and it receives external stimuli through your five senses. To stop the interference from brain thinking, special techniques called inner body head-up are used in Chan-kuan training.
The inner body heat-up techniques are classified into two categories. One category includes various cleansing and purifying exercises, such as yoga asana, 8-reverse Gong Fu, yoga dance, and “mindful” walking, etc. It is also referred to as “body adjustment techniques”. The other category includes various breathing control techniques, such as rapid breathing, yoga breathing, alternative nostril breathing, and chanting, etc. It is also referred to as “life energy inducing techniques”.
The cleansing and purifying exercises aim to adjust your body and enable various parts to restore their normal functions. Breathing control training can make every breath smooth and efficient, thus calm and stabilize your nerve systems, which is good for your physical and mental well-being. Applying the two techniques properly can produce “inner body heat”. This “inner body heat” can initiate cleansing, uplift your health and stop the interference from brain’s thinking function by turning on a special switch – “natural breath retention”.
b. To-Be-Dynamic and To-Be-Static
To-be-dynamic and to-be-static are two distinct phases in Chan-kuan training. Dynamic phase emphasizes body cleansing and purifying through the application of inner body heat-up techniques. These techniques also lead you to spark your innate life energy. After sparking, to-be-dynamic becomes a process driven by such “sparked life energy”. A static phase is a process in which the “sparked life energy”, which drives the body movements in dynamic phase, is tamed and controlled. At static phase, the energy is no longer visible from a person’s appearance as at dynamic phase, but starts to accumulate and purify gradually within the body, until “pran” is totally formed.
The goal of dynamic phase is to adjust body and mind to a steadily calm and peaceful condition as well as to “spark life energy” and explore the presence of your spiritual self. Static phase is the real starting point of Chan-kuan path. The goal of static phase is to seek further about your spiritual self with the body and mind condition established in dynamic phase. You will gradually explore and realize your true spirit, obtain true wisdom, and transform your life.
c. Scientific Quantitative Project
The Scientific Quantitative Project is a vital part of Chan-kuan. It scientifically examines the practice in Chan-kuan and confirms its results and achievements.
The Scientific Quantitative Project is about the development of spirituality. It objectively collects, records and examines the facts of each student responds and changes in body, mind and spirit perspectives while practicing and applying Chan-kuan training. The facts observed and collected over the years provide important ground for Chan-kuan teaching team to adjust and tailor teaching suitable to individual student’s unique needs. The facts collected will also be quantified, classified, and stored in databases, which will be analyzed by related organization to establish the scientific foundation of spiritual development and spiritual economics.
The Scientific Quantitative Projects is based on four principals – observe objectively, record truthfully, analyze dispassionately, and make sound judgment. The information obtained shall only be used for the purpose of Chan-kuan teaching and the Scientific Quantitative Project. All personal information collected will be protected and kept confidential.
The Path of Spiritual Development
Basic Knowledge about Attending Huayen Chan-kuan Retreat
Chan-kuan training is different from general academic education. Chan-kuan training results depend on the mutual trust and cooperation between students and instructors. The factors, such as how much knowledge a student has about the training, a student’s attitude towards offering and dedication to Master and the teaching, and a student’s physical and psychological readiness for the training, play important role in training results. The results also relate to a student’s fundamental knowledge about the truth and your inherent good spiritual potentials. Here is the brief guidance on basic attitude and knowledge.
a. Right Mind-Set
Firstly, a student must be able to follow guidance. Practicing Chan-kuan involves areas far beyond the ability of brain. In order to move forward smoothly in training, Master and teacher’s assistance is absolutely indispensable. You have to be obedient, humble, surrender yourself, change “unclean” habits, leave everything ever known behind, become “a piece of blank paper”, and ready yourself to fully accept the guidance and training to pursue the spiritual self.
b. Clear Objective
Secondly, you need to have the attitude of “three care-for with complete heart”, which is to care for the temple, care for Master, and care for the teaching. The caring attitude indicates your spiritual learning conviction. It is upon the caring attitude that the general consensus, mutual understanding of behavior, communication and thoughts on Chan-kuan can be achieved with Master and the teaching team.
c. Five Failing Behaviors to Avoid
There are five failing behaviors you must avoid on the truth seeking path. They include being preconceiving, using general knowledge to subjectively judge the unknown, being wishful thinking, being self-righteous, and taking it for granted. These behaviors may lead to enormous and unimaginable obstacles during Chan-kuan practicing process. Be mind of these behaviors.
d. Key to Break through the Bottle-neck, Constant Self-Enquiring!
Constant self-enquiring is different from questioning and doubting that resulted from brain thinking and analysis. Self-enquiring is being introspective while actively doing and working on life-transformation project. It is based upon strong faith in Master and his teaching. Without faith, it is not possible to carry you Chan-kuan practice or to engage in constant self-enquiries. Without faith, enquiries are at most superficial and meaningless doubt.
Constant self-enquiries are the most direct and persistent way of asking and seeking for the core or the key answers to true path. It can remove your worries and ignorance of truth, enlighten wisdom, and overcome various barriers on the quest for truth.
e. The Culture, Purpose, and Spiritual Value of Chan Hall
There are Dharma Hall and Chan Hall in Buddhism. They function like different classrooms in the current education system. Dharma Hall is similar to the well-equipped auditorium in university, which displays Buddha statue, Mandala, Sutra and all kinds of offerings, etc. All the general Dharma courses, lectures, events and ceremonies can be held in Dharma Hall. There are no particular limitations; anyone interested can participate in the activities in Dharma Hall. Dharma Hall’s door is always open to everyone. It is a great place to gain and accumulate fundamental merits for truth seeking path.
Chan Hall is a place where a student is actually working on truth seeking. It is different from Dharma Hall. It is more like a scientific laboratory in university, where only Chan-kuan is performed. People who come to Chan Hall have only one goal, which is to pursue the ultimate spiritual true life. Because of this, Chan Hall is also known as a testing place to find Buddha. The display in Chan Hall is very simple. It only contains necessary items, nothing else. It tells people that only looking in or examining your own mind and feelings; everything exterior is false, and only the real life transformation is real. Because of this, teaching in Chan Hall only aims at life transformation. The teaching demonstrates a much grander scale of love, but it is not what people expect from school.
Respect for Chan Hall is to respect your own spirit. To respect your own spirit, the first thing to do is to direct your attention at one point and stop any wandering thoughts. So as soon as you enter Chan Hall, you have to bring your full attention to the body, mind, and spirit, and not to be distracted by the surroundings. It is important to ignore other people’s affairs and not to make comparison to theirs. It is to test your limits, conquer yourself and unlimited transcend.
In addition, when entering Chan Hall, put aside all ideologies, such as core values, local customers and ethics, personal habits, and cultural manners and rules, etc. Chan Hall is a holy platform for you to free life’s shackles. Everyone comes to Chan Hall for the purpose of improving himself or herself, uplifting your fine qualities, and transforming your life. In the process, you would experience various types of emotions. The phenomena in Chan Hall are not to be judged by earthly principals.
Everything demonstrated from a student’s body, speech and mind perspectives in Chan Hall are respected, accepted, and protected. All participants should have the same understanding. Open your heart, respect and accept! Chan Hall is a fertile land that nurses your true spirit. Let us welcome the marvelous life transformation with the most beautiful and sincere heart!
“Yoga is not asana; yoga is a spiritual doing and growing.” said Venerable Master Haiyun, Mentor of Taiwan Da Huayen Monastery.
“Chan-kuan is not meditation; Chan-kuan is going on the quest for the essence, the truth, and the origin of life.” Said Venerable Master Haiyun, Mentor of Taiwan Da Huayen Monastery.
We are currently holding Chan-kuan retreats in every spring and fall. If you are interested in or have any questions about it, please feel free to contact: Master Zhong Hai (Winnie)