Buddhism Chan

Announcement: August Chan Retreat with Ven. Beishi Guohan!

Dear friends,

It is my great pleasure to announce that my teacher, Ven. Master Guohan, will be holding a Chan Week (7 day Chan intensive retreat). The retreat will take place on the 17-24 August 2019 in Groot Leven op Hoeve Wetermans, Olst, Netherlands.

The spaces are quite limited, so please make sure to reserve spaces in advance!

For full details, please see the Retreat Invitation.

As an appetizer, here’s a short teaching by Master Guohan:

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Two Chan Gongans (koans):

1. When Master Dayi Daoxin was fourteen, he visited the Third Patriarch Jianzhi Sengcan and asked, “Venerable Patriarch! Please be compassionate and guide me as to how to attain liberation.” The Third Patriarch asked, “Who binds you?” Daoxin replied, “Nobody binds me.” The Third Patriarch said, “Why then do you seek for liberation?” At the moment of that statement, Daoxin was enlightened.

2. One day, a monk asked Chan Master Shitou Xiqian, “What is liberation?” Xiqian said, “Who binds you?” The monk asked again, “What is the pure land?” Xiqian asked, “Who defiles you?” Then the monk further asked, “What is nirvana?” Xiqian asked again, “Who gives you birth and death?”

How to attain sudden enlightenment?

For the purpose of attaining [of no attainment] sudden enlightenment, Chan practitioners have to maintain the “practical or down-to-earth mind of non-abiding awareness” at all times in every thought they give rise to, and every action they take in their everyday life. That is to say, in all their daily activities, whomever they interact with or whatever they do, they should let go of their self-referential discrimination and attachment that is imbued with greed, hatred, gain or loss; and simultaneously they should engage in various activities with a practical and realistic awareness, dealing with each matter according to the needs of the occasion. For instance, whether they chop wood, carry water, cook, eat, sweep, clean, read, work, or sleep, they should just put their effortless effort into it. Once they can always maintain the down-to-earth awareness of no self-centeredness, in the real moment the wisdom mind manifests with non-abiding in anything; then “Ordinary mind is Chan”, and they are definitely able to attain and manifest the sudden realization of “Everyday activity is itself Chan”.

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May this retreat help all attain the ultimate realization of non-attainment, and help all beings be content and at peace! 


Rev. Mark Gilenson

I have been practicing Buddhadharma since around 2008. Starting out in a Theravada context and learning from inspiring teachers, I then practiced Zen in both Korean and Vietnamese traditions, Vajrayana (Kagyu) Buddhism and now study and practice and in the lineage of Chan Buddhism (Linji Lineage of HsuYun), in which I am a Novice Priest and Junior Dharma Teacher. My highest aspiration and greatest inspiration is the actual pursuit of happiness – that means my own happiness coupled – inextricably – with that of all others.

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