SHIFU SHENG YEN
Our community follows the lineage of Shifu Sheng Yen who is considered to be one of the foremost contemporary teachers of Buddhism. Born in 1930 near Shanghai in mainland China he became a Buddhist monk at the age of 13. In order to escape religious persecution from the People's Republic of China, he went to Taiwan in 1949 by enlisting in a unit of the Nationalist Army out of necessity. He became a monk again in 1959 and from 1961 to 1968 he trained in solitary retreat in southern Taiwan. He received Dharma transmission in both Chan lineages, Linji and Caodong and completed his formal education earning a master's degree and a doctorate in Buddhist literature at Rissho University in Japan. He became abbot of Nong Chan Monastery in Taiwan, founder of the Institute of Chung-Hwa Buddhist Studies in Taipei and the International Cultural and Educational Foundation of Dharma Drum Mountain. He taught in the United States starting in 1975, established the Chan Meditation Center in Queens, New York and its retreat centre, Dharma Drum Retreat Center at Pine Bush, New York. He published more than 90 books, led over 200 seven-day retreats in the USA, Asia and Europe. In this way his work helped to bridge East and West and convey the Dharma to the West. Shifu gave Dharma transmission to several of his lay Western students. In 2000 he was one of the keynote speakers at the UN Millennium Peace Summit in New York. He passed away in 2009.
Founder of Dharmaloka Buddhist Community and Buddhist Centre in Zagreb, Croatia. Born in 1955, he became interested in Oriental philosophy very early on, when still a gymnasium student. He encountered Buddhism in 1975 while searching for the spiritual roots of the disciplines he was practising and teaching (martial arts and yoga) and formally received the Refuges and Precepts in 1977. In the mid-80's he started the first Buddhist study and meditation group in Croatia which in time grew to become the first Buddhist community in the country, nowadays known as Dharmaloka. In 1996, while seeking a new teacher, he met Chan Master Sheng Yen, attended his seven-day retreat and became one of his students. Seeing Chan as the very core of the Buddha Dharma and Master Shen Yen as the man whose teaching stems directly from the meditative experience, he dedicated himself to the practice of Chan meditation and attended Master Sheng Yen's retreats regularly. In June 2001, during a two-week retreat in the USA, Zarko received Dharma transmission from Master Sheng Yen, thus becoming one of his five Dharma heirs in the West. Since then he has become an established Chan master, teaching in the USA, Switzerland, Slovenia, Norway, Germany and Taiwan, in addition to his home country. He is a regular member of the Conference of the Western Buddhist Teachers and the European Buddhist Union Council member. He attends numerous interreligious conferences and is actively promoting religious and ethnic tolerance both in this country and abroad.
DESIGN AND PLANNING
WORD FROM THE TEACHER