• DHARMALOKA

    COMMUNITY OF GOOD FRIENDS

Our Tradition

Our teacher Žarko Andričević’s meeting with Shifu Sheng Yen, and later on Shifu’s visit to Zagreb in 1997, led our community (which was already close to Sino-Japanese Buddhism) onto the path of Chan. He gave it a solid foundation in the authentic tradition of cultivating the mind. Chan is distinguished, as its founder Bodhidharma said, by “a special kind of transmission beyond scriptures and non-reliance on words and speech.” Although it has a strong foothold in the institution of monasticism and the corpus of written teachings, Chan is very much alive. It is not constrained by layers of ingrained habits or the actions of the spiritual path determined by culture. Chan manages to be open at its core and adapt to ever-changing living conditions. And it keeps asking: What is most appropriate for people, here and now?

Our community is a testament to this openness – with great respect, we shape the heritage we have received into a form suitable for integration into everyday life. At meditation retreats and seminars, we teach how mindfulness is cultivated through sitting and moving meditation, as well as how this newly developed p

Shifu Sheng Yen

Master Sheng Yen was one of the most prominent contemporary teachers of Buddhism. Born in 1930 in the Shanghai area, he was ordained at the age of thirteen. During the communist revolution he fled to Taiwan, where he spent six years in a meditation retreat.

At the age of 28, he had his first profound meditation experience, which was later confirmed by masters of both Chan lineages, linji (rinzai) and caodong (soto). He continued his formal education in Japan, where he received his doctorate in Buddhist literature from Rissho University in Tokyo. He received the transmission of the Dharma from Masters Dongchu and Lingyuan and thus became the successor of Chan Master Xuyun, the greatest modern patriarch and resuscitator of Chan Buddhism.

Shifu Sheng Yen founded the Buddhist organization Dharma Drum Mountain based in Taiwan, whose work, aside from promoting Chan, focuses on humanistic Buddhism or active involvement in the transformation of society, by implementing the virtues of compassion and nonviolence. He was superintendent of two monasteries in Taiwan, founder of the Chan Meditation Center in New York and the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in New York State, USA. He has published more than 90 books and led more than 200 seven-day retreats across the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 2000, he was one of the plenary speakers at the UN Millennium World Peace Summit Of Religious And Spiritual Leaders.

Shifu Sheng Yen passed in 2009.

Shifu is the title given to notable teachers in the Chan tradition who have graced it with their understanding and teaching abilities. It signifies a respected master who teaches the path of insight and compassion.

Master Sheng Yen often spoke and wrote about the tradition to which he belonged. You can read one of his texts here. In the books Subtle Wisdom and Hoofprint of the Ox, you will find an even more detailed overview of the Chan heritage, its principles and philosophy, as well as the search for awakening through meditation.