The Dharma Drum Retreat Center, located in Pine Bush, New York, is 90 miles northwest of the perpetual hustle and bustle of New York City.It is one of several centers founded by the late Chan Master Sheng Yen, who wanted to bring the wisdom and teachings of Chan (Zen) Buddhism to the westernworld. Currently, it is led by Abbot Guo Yuan, who leads majority of the meditation retreats offered.
Dharma Drum Retreat Center promotes the school of Chan Buddhism (a.k.a. Zen Buddhism), which teaches us to know ourselves, and through practice, find awakening to the concept of interconnectedness. The late Chan Master Sheng Yen also emphasized the protection of our 4 environments:spiritual, social, living, and natural. The center offers various meditation and silent retreats. They vary from non-intensive (ideal for beginners) and intensive (for experienced practitioners). All are conducted in what’s called noble silence, which aims to limit any mental distractions, such as reading, texting, phone calls, or internet use. Abbot Guo Yuan hosts online meditation sessions as well.
Being in Pine Bush, the center is surrounded by woods and meadowland, an ideal location for contemplation and tranquility. A beautiful Zen Garden can be found enclosed within the campus’ main building, Chan Hall,where many events and retreats are held. Participants are provided delicious vegetarian meals, promoting the Buddhist practice of taking no life. There is a dormitory building where retreat members are given single-occupancy privaterooms and communal bathrooms. Ample parking space is available. For those that need financial aid, they offer a studentdiscount, work/practice scholarships and fellowship programs.
The Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism draws upon the twotraditions of Caodong (Japanese Soto) and Linji (Japanese Rinzai) lineages. It seeksto uplift humanity through its teachings of protecting the four environments (spirit,social, living, nature), apply it in our daily lives, where in turn, the worldcan become a wonderful and harmonious place. Dharma Drum has sisterorganizations around the world, including Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Taiwan,Croatia, and Switzerland.
Valerie Kabul is a Physician Assistant, currently working in New York City. She enjoys reading, writing about health and wellness, along with a deep interest in metaphysical and spiritual concepts. Every now and then, when she's not working in medicine or writing, she's plotting her next faraway travel destination, which you'll probably hear about on her travel blog.