Monasteries/smaller temples to stay in Taiwan

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Monasteries/smaller temples to stay in Taiwan

Post by gerard » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:56 am

I was wondering if anyone was familiar with any monasteries that let lay practitioners stay short to medium term (or even long term if there is any) for the purpose of spiritual practice. I have no problem to give to the monastery in return like performing any menial tasks or anything else the monastery may request from me.

Thanks in advance! :)

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Re: Monasteries/smaller temples to stay in Taiwan

Post by jushi » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:55 pm

Hmm, also curious about this. Especially regarding Sheng-Yen's style of Chan practice.

I inquired about this through DDM but got an answer "For monastery stay, it is usually not open to the public unless big event such as yearly assemblies. "

I wonder if they misunderstood the question?

In the Japanese system it is not unheard of laypeople (especially Westeners) practicing with monks for shorter periods (~3 months). However I have understood Chinese Chan to keep to the traditional emphasis on cloistered monasticism. In mainland China even more due to the vast amounts of tourism that Buddhism is creating nowadays (Zen Baggage by Bill Porter comes to mind).

Anyway it would be interesting to find out a place. A good grasp of spoken and written Mandarin is an obvious must which would make this more challenging.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated! :thumbsup:

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Re: Monasteries/smaller temples to stay in Taiwan

Post by SilenceMonkey » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:15 am

I was living at Dharma Drum Mountain (the main center in Jinshan) for a year, last year. I was attending classes in their liberal arts school... (for which you need a solid command of Chinese). But while I was there, a british guy was staying in the Ch'an hall for a couple months as a volunteer. It might be possible to arrange something, just send an email to someone at the monastery. They have people who speak English. I think it was 4 hours of work each day for that guy.

Master Sheng Yen was astounding....

Master Sheng Yen's two greatest Dharma heirs are Jicheng fashi and Guoru Fashi. 果如法師 Guoru Fashi's monastery (Ch'an Grove 禪林寺)is in Beitou, Taipei. It's a beautiful place, and I think I remember hearing he speaks English. Guoru Fashi is one of the few realized ch'an masters in Taiwan. (there really aren't many...) But his style is intense... 棒喝!

I wouldn't really recommend Foguangshan. I stayed there for a month during one of their summer ch'an monastic life programs for foreigners. It might be nice for someone who has no experience with buddhism... but it felt very propagandistic, evangelical and the buddhism was extremely watered down... And the cutesy Taiwanese-ness also really bothered me.

Zhongtai (Ch'ung T'ai) might be another possibility. Their founder was a great practitioner.

Lingjiushan is also amazing... in some places the beauty is breath-taking. The master Xindao (Hsin Tao) is still alive, and is a great practitioner. He's very interesting... He trained in all three vehicles: Theravada, Ch'an and Vajrayana. He was recognized in some south asian country (maybe Burma?) as having attained the highest levels of meditation, and he spent 10 years meditating in a charnel ground. What he teaches mostly is 觀音法門 Guanyin practices from the Chinese tradition, focusing on Ch'an. The meditation they teach openly is Listening to the Sound of No-sound... from the Guanyin chapter of Surangama Sutra.
Master Hsin Tao is in solitary retreat for most of the year, but he comes out to teach. If you can speak Chinese, I'd definitely go. (Few people there speak English)

I also heard of the bodhisattva temple in Taizhong. A few taiwanese friends of mine said good things about the abbot. You can check out IBS 菩薩寺 on Facebook. I've seen pictures of the temple, and it's truly a work of art.

If you're looking to visit for a short time, for practice... I'd find a retreat 禪七。

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Re: Monasteries/smaller temples to stay in Taiwan

Post by Kkgoh1565 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:57 pm

May I know anyone interested to for meditation retreat in Taiwan. Please let me know if you do. Thank you.

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