Buddhist Training

Buddhist Training in the Dharma Winds Zen Sangha Lineage:

Bodhi&Bass is a branch hermitage of the Dharma Winds Zen Sangha / Zen Order of Hsu Yun. As such, the training and study programs we offer are:

A. Meant for committed and sincere practitioners who want to deepen their practice in a traditional, yet secular way;

B. Based in the traditional heritage teachings of our Sangha, which practices and shares Chinese Zen in a modern, western setting;

C. Free of charge and completely voluntary. Refuge and Precepts are given to anyone who demonstrates a sincere desire to follow the Buddha’s Eightfold Path;

D. Based around a close teacher-student relationship, and disseminated not only locally, but globally through the use of modern day technology.

Dharma Winds Zen Sangha Principles and Structure:

Dharma Winds Zen Sangha / Zen Order of Hsu Yun (Chinese: Fa Feng Chan Yuen / Hsu Yun Chan Yuen – 法風 禪 院 – 虚 雲 禪 院) is a lay Chan (Chinese Zen) Buddhist community under the Chan teachings of its main teacher, Rev. Yao Xin Shakya

DWZS is a community and an ordination platform in the lineage of the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun – ZBOHY (zatma.org) – Xuyun Chan Yuen – based in Europe (Belgium). 

The Root Lineages of our community are the Linji and Yunmen Chan Lineages of Grand Master Hsu Yun, through Chan Master WeiMiao JyDin Shakya and Venerable Dharma Teacher ChuanYuan MingZhen Shakya (the founders of the Zen Buddhist Order of HsuYun). 

This community was created on September 15th, 2015 as a community of trained Dharma Teachers called “Chan Priests”. Our community follows the Five Lay Precepts and the Mahayana Bodhisattva Precepts transmitted in the “Brahma Net Sutra”. We are a lay community of Chan Priests, our Priests aren’t monks and do not follow the full 250 Vinaya rules set. 

Dharma Winds Zen Sangha, like all Western Sanghas in the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun lineage of Master WeiMiao JyDin Shakya, sees itself as a mediator between East and West. 

Our main mission is to share the teachings of Master Hsu Yun and the great masters of the Chan Lineage in the West, and to continue the tradition of Chan Buddhism in the West, in a pragmatic, life-practical, and secular way with the profound wish to help all beings. Our community isn’t based on imitating Asian culture, its religious structures or folklore. 

It is about practicing Chan Buddhism sincerely as Westerners in our own time and place, with Simplicity – Humility – Sincerity (DWZS’ Credo). 

For this purpose the community uses different methods and procedures: 

– The study of Chan Buddhism through the legacy teachings of our tradition (Empty Cloud Manual, 7th World Manual, Heart of Keeping the Light Manual, Selections from master Hanshan, Selections from master Hsu Yun, Flowers of Wu, etc.) 

– Lectures and teachings on the practice of Chan Buddhism (mainly Nienfo, Huatou Chan and KuanYin Chan). 

– Regular intensive days of practice (retreat) offered locally and online. 

– Direct, personal supervision of students, candidates and members of the community through face to face and/or online meetings as an essential part of our method. 

In a nutshell, the purpose of our community is to adapt and share the practice of Chan (Chinese Zen) in our Western context in order, we hope, to plant a seed of Simple, Humble and Sincere Western Chan. 

We insist on the fact that studying, becoming a formal student or taking any kind of precepts is completely free of charge in our community. Some special services or workshops may be on Dana/donation basis, these being totally optional services or workshops. 

The Sangha insists upon a practice that benefits all beings, the practice of manifesting our Buddha Nature through our own acts. We see the practice of Chan/Zen as leading to living a Bodhisattva life in this world, culminating in the Natural Traceless Manifestation of our Nature.

Thus, the Sangha’s members are encouraged to have families, jobs and to manifest their Buddha Nature in their local communities through beneficial actions.

Key Features of our Sangha: 

  1. Centrality of the Teacher-Student relationship 
  2. Use of the internet to support the Teacher-Student relationship
  3. Training and Seminary program for Priests and Lay Teachers 
  4. Emphasis on both education and meditation
  5. Emphasis on finding enlightenment and bringing the Dharma into our daily lives and local communities (Way of Action and House Holder Zen)
  6. The community follows the Five Lay Precepts and the Mahayana Bodhisattva Precepts transmitted in the Brahma Net Sutra. We are a lay community of Chan Priests, our Priests aren’t monks and do not follow the full 250 Vinaya Precepts.  

Ethical Principles of the Sangha 

The Foundation of every sincere Buddhist practice is an ethical life. The common ground for our practice of ethics are the Three Refuges and Five Ethical Precepts received by all members of the Sangha. 

These begin with the “Three Vows of Refuge”: 

I take refuge in the Buddha; 

I take refuge in the Dharma; 

I take refuge in the Sangha. 

Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha can be understood here to mean realization, truth, and harmony. These Three Vows of Refuge are central to the ceremony of initiation to Buddhism in all of its schools. 

The Five Ethical Precepts for Lay Practitioners (as related in the Empty Cloud and 7th World manuals): 

1. The Buddhist vows to be nonviolent. This does not mean that he cannot defend his life or the lives of those persons who are in his care but that he cannot initiate hostile actions against others. 

2. The Buddhist vows to be truthful, not only in his social life, but in his business life as well. All forms of cheating and chicanery are included in this Precept. Whenever we sacrifice truth in order to gain some imagined advantage, we enter a tangled, convoluted world. 

3. The Buddhist vows not to appropriate property which is not his own. This is the Precept against stealing. 

4. The Buddhist vows to be sexually moral, modest, and responsible.

5. The Buddhist vows to abstain from the use of mind-altering substances habitually, dependently, or to an intoxicating degree. 

These are the five basic precepts of Buddhist life. Members of the Sangha can take the 10 (+48) precepts of the Mahayana Brahma Net Sutra as they get more involved in their practice and service to the community. Yet, we insist on the fact that all other precepts stem from these universal precepts. 

The above are summarized in Chan Buddhism and other Mahayana Schools as ‘The Three Pure Precepts of the Buddhas of the Past’: 

Do Good – Do No Evil – Keep a Pure Mind (alternatively, Save All Beings)

The Sangha’s Seminary 

“Dharma Winds Zen Seminary” was founded in order to unify the teaching methods and styles of the Dharma Winds Zen Sangha and to make sure that all the basic Buddhist texts, commentaries, rituals and practices of our Chan Sangha are preserved and taught to each generation of clergy members of the Sangha.

Dharma Winds Zen Seminary is free of charge and functions on a voluntary basis. 

Dharma Winds Zen Seminary offers a Buddhist Studies Sangha Program for the Novice Priests of our Sangha leading to a Certificate of Buddhist Studies and a Buddhist Ministry Sangha Program for the Priests of our Sangha leading to a Certificate of Buddhist Ministry. 

The Buddhist Studies Sangha Program and Buddhist Ministry Sangha Program are based both on face to face meetings with a Teacher (in a Chan Hermitage or online) and on the study of the main texts and commentaries of our Sangha’s tradition through online media (video chat or recordings, audio calls and recordings, written texts and correspondence, etc.)

Each Sangha Course Program can be completed in three to five years, minimum, depending on the needs and possibilities of each student and each teacher. These Sangha Course Programs are unaccredited and sanction study and practice within the Dharma Winds Zen Sangha. They are not intended to be used as academic degree programs but only as ministerial degree programs within the Sangha. 

Dharma Winds Zen Sangha does not guarantee nor claim that the Certificates delivered by Dharma Winds Zen Seminary will be recognized by any civil or religious organization outside the Sangha. The first aim of Dharma Winds Zen Seminary’s Buddhist Studies Sangha Program and Buddhist Ministry Sangha Program is to be a recognition of knowledge of the Sangha’s legacy Chan teachings and ministry skills within the specific tradition of the Sangha. 

Every teacher in the Seminary is a clergy member of the Sangha and is authorized to teach the Sangha’s clergy in training by the Sangha’s Prior. Together, the teachers of the Sangha’s Seminary form the Seminary Teachers’ Board. The Teachers of the Sangha’s Seminary are elected every five years by the clergy members of the Sangha (Head Teachers and Priests) to serve as Teachers for the whole Sangha.

If you would like to start formal training, request the precepts, take refuge or simply want to learn more – feel free to get in touch here.