• OUR PROGRAMS

    MORALITY, MEDITATION AND WISDOM

REGULAR PROGRAMS

The practice of cultivating the mind is often compared to a stream of water. It takes time for water to turn into a stream. Likeise, when we start meditating, it takes time before we experience the benefits of meditation. And when we do experience them, it’s crucial to keep the practice alive by being persistent in it. A little stream will nourish you much better then a huge waterfall. Regular daily practice enables us to be in touch with that peaceful inner landscape that presents itself to us through meditation practice.

Public talks

During these talks, taking place on a monthly basis, our shifu deals with presenting the tradition of Chan and Chan practice in contemporary conditions through a topic that is currently in public focus. These talks will help you find out if Buddhism as a teaching and Chan as a method of practice are something with which you find affinity, and that could inspire you to explore them in more detail and maybe even walk the Middle Way. For this reason, they are also intended for those who are examining the possibility of joining our studies and practice program. Participation is free of charge. All talks are held via Zoom.

Tranquility and Insight

Our Tranquility and Insight course encompasses a starting program as well as the basis for applying Chan methods. This one-weekend course consists of four lectures complemented by practical work. It is a distillate of forty years of experience in meditation and teaching by our Chan master, Žarko Andričević. Providing a detailed answer to the question of what Chan meditation is, why it is needed and how it’s done, this meditation course is intended for both beginners, as well as those who are already practicing meditation, but think that they are not sufficiently or correctly informed about the practice itself.

Regular meditation sessions

Meditation group sessions (tso-chan / zazen) are held on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. Weekly meetings with the teacher and the group are of great help in maintaining inspiration and regularity in one’s own meditation practice. Sessions start with the practice of eight Chan movements as a mindfulness exercise and are followed by two half-hour meditation sessions. After the session, there is always time to talk to the teacher, receive valuable advice or simply mingle with fellow Buddhists on the path of spiritual exploration. They are held via Zoom throughout the pandemic.

MEDITATION RETREATS

Meditation retreats are the very core of the Chan practice. They give us an opportunity to extend the boundaries of our meditation experience and are often the only available occasion to truly face ourselves, to focus and get in touch with our body and feelings, as well as to release unnecessary tension and put our lives into a healthier and wiser perspective. They represent an intense form of practice that takes place under special circumstances and clear rules to help us calm our scattered, restless minds and “turn the light inward” in an effort to recognize our true nature.

A meditation retreat has several aspects: retreating from everyday life and shifting away from our usual habits, withdrawing from the immediate environment and its conditions, and finally, retreating from oneself. In other words, we retreat from thoughts related to the past and the future and place our mind into the reality of the present moment. It’s only in the present moment that we can experience and become acquainted with the deeper layers of our being that our everyday mind so successfully obscures. Being deeply transformative, the experience of Chan retreats is an indispensable prerequisite for the development of healing wisdom and understanding of ourselves and our surroundings.

Beginner-friendly introductory meditation retreats

Day of Meditation (one-day meditation retreat)

This is a gentle introduction into the ways of extended meditation sessions for beginners or a relaxed Chan meditation retreat for experienced practitioners who want to spend the day in meditation. It teaches how to continuously apply the method of meditation — while sitting, walking, exercising or performing simple tasks. A meditation retreat is not just an individual practice within a group, but rather a communion by which we create an atmosphere of mutual help and support, which is important in every spiritual practice. The Day of Meditation can be attended by all those who have completed a meditation course and have a well-established meditation routine.

Beginner’s Mind (three-day meditation retreat)

This is an extended meditation practice tailored for beginners who want to get better acquainted with the Chan methods as well as deepen their experience. In a gentle atmosphere, it provides all necessary conditions for discovering the deeper layers of our being which are often hidden away and invisible in the turmoil of life, yet worth knowing. During the retreat, the day starts at 6 a.m. and includes periods of sitting and walking meditation, yoga practice, lectures on Chan practice, mindful execution of everyday chores and several opportunities to talk to the teacher. The main theme of the retreat is relaxing your body and mind by constantly returning to the present moment, with the help of breathing meditation and mindful movement. This meditation retreat gives rise to inner stability and peace which we then aim to transfer into everyday life upon returning. It is open to anyone who has attended a meditation course and a one-day meditation retreat.

Intensive Meditation Retreats

Seven-day Meditation Retreats (Sesshins)

Seven-day meditation retreats are considered particularly significant — they are seen as a form of initiation into Chan practice. Why exactly is the tradition of Chan based on this timeframe? Because that’s how long a lunar phase lasts, meaning that a seven-day meditation retreat aligns us with the larger rhythms of our natural environment. Over the course of seven days we can bring the mind into a state of continuous focus or one-pointedness. Such a depth of focus opens the door to seeing one’s own nature and provides the transformative experience navigated by the practice of Chan. The seven-day retreats apply advanced Chan meditation methods such as Silent Illumination or mochao, and huatou. They are called intensive because they correspond to monastic retreats in terms of rhythm. Life during a meditation retreat is marked by utter simplicity, living in the reality of the present moment in a harmonious and practice-stimulating atmosphere.

Meditation retreats on Hartovski Vrh are particularly inspiring — the location is supporting us in every way possible. The internal structure of the retreat is the result of a long tradition. It is designed as a set of favorable conditions — place, group, teacher, rhythm, and methods — that aid our noblest endeavors. We leave our daily lives behind for an entire week and immerse ourselves into the simple rhythm of sitting, exercising, lectures, working, and resting.

The external reductive simplification of life to just a few activities starts to slowly reflect in the internal simplification, which in turn reveals a significantly different quality of life.

STUDY PROGRAM

Cycle of Talks

Join us in our periodic series consisting of four to eight talks related to a topic which shows how the tradition of Buddhism corresponds to our contemporary existential issues. Some of the talks serve as a general introduction to Buddhism, its teachings and meditation practices, along with its historical development, whereas others explore the teachings of the Great Vehicle and the School of Chan Buddhism. The cycles deal with the phenomenon of Buddhism as a whole but simultaneously strive to show a clear distinction between its geographical, national and cultural characteristics on the one hand, and Buddhadharma as a universal teaching on the other. When the focus is on the Chan School, the starting point is often a famous depiction of the degrees on the path of spiritual development, such as the Ten Ox Herding Pictures. Special emphasis is always placed on the applicability of the teaching of awakening in the conditions of today’s way of life.

Chan and Dharma Teacher Training

Unique in the region, the training serves two important purposes. First, it suggests that living the path of understanding and compassion means sharing it with others. And second, by educating new teachers, it also preserves a valuable and noble path of transformation for future generations, adapting to new needs and challenges.

Over the course of several years, the Chan studies and practice program focuses on deeper aspects of Buddhist philosophy that are particularly relevant in the formation of Chan teachings, as well as on the ways in which Chan meditation is taught, ranging from courses and regular meditation sessions to meditation retreats of varying duration. It takes place over four extended weekends a year with an additional program of selected meditation retreats. Conditions for attending are having taken the Five Precepts as well as having taken refuge in the Three Jewels, several years of membership in the Buddhist Center and experience in longer meditation retreats.

RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM

Residing at the Chan Center at your own pace

Are you already a member of our Chan Center?

If you’ve previously gotten acquainted with it during a meditation retreat or a seminar and you already know the basics of Chan meditation, if you are self-sufficient (can cook and clean for yourself), come and join us in between programs for a week or more and enjoy the possibility of residing at the Chan Center at your own pace.

Residential stay encompasses participation in daily activities such as group meditation and regular, simple chores, but leaves enough time for longer meditation sessions or self-studies. All this, of course, with the support of competent people who know exactly how to safely guide you. If you find yourself dreaming of a few days for yourself and would like to spend them in a place immersed in the power of nature, and yet perfectly equipped for a peaceful stay, drop us an email. Bear in mind that our capacity to accept a resident/residents depends on a number of factors and may not always be available.

Zenyoga

Developing mindfulness through movement

Zenyoga is fully compatible with the practice of Chan — it is called meditation in movement! We have been practicing and teaching it for the past forty years. That makes it the oldest school of yoga in Croatia. In Zenyoga, we aim to harmonize and balance the three aspects of our being — body, breath and mind. Using attentive movement we develop deep awareness of the body, harmonize the breath and place our attention onto immediate experience of the present moment. Zenyoga is suitable at any age — we are not attempting to perform impossible postures but are adjusting the practice to the abilities of every practitioner. What we primarily try to deepen is the quality of attention, of being present in this moment.
All Zenyoga teachers have completed a demanding two-year education reflecting our high educational standards. They are accomplished in translating the spirit of Chan or Zen into movement, and they do it in a safe and inspiring manner.

Learn more…