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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Master Guo Dun: A Profound and Precise Method to Relax by Letting Go of Tension

1. Don’t think for the count of 1001
2. Relax the eyes for the count of 1001
3. Relax the nose for the count of 1001
4. Relax the mouth (tongue, gums, teeth, jaw) for the count of 1001
5. Relax the face (skin and muscles around eyes cheeks etc) for the count of 1001
6. Relax the ears
7. neck
8. shoulders
9. biceps
10. forearms
11. hands
12. fingers (You can check your counting by doing one finger at a time. So 1001 on the thumb, next time round, thumb 1001, index finger 1002, etc)
13. upper back
14. middle back
15. low back
16. buttocks
17. chest
18. abdomen
19. thighs
20. knees
21. calves
22. feet
23. toes (You can check your counting by doing one toe at a time. So 1001 on the big toe, next time round, big toe 1001, 2nd toe 1002, etc)
25. MIND (everything around the body that you and everyone ele in the world can think/sense in that interval count of 1001)

1. Don’t think for the count of 1001 + 1002
2. Relax the eyes for the count of 1001 + 1002
3. nose for the count of 1001 +1002  etc…
4. When you get to the fingers and toes, use them as part of the count. So during the 1st second, use the thumb. During the 2nd second, use the thumb and the index,  and on ……

See Master Guo Jun at


Keep going…….adding a second each complete time round. When you count 1001, say it slowly so you get the full benefit of one second’s relaxation. If you rush like you’re running for a bus, remember there’s no bus to catch. Just say it slowly and methodically.

When you get distracted and forget where you are in the body scan, don’t judge yourself, just go back to the body scan method. Pick a spot on your body and continue the method.

At least 30 minutes per day….up to approximately the count of 5 or 6 seconds?  Sit in a comfortable chair, and keep your back straight, and belly breathe if you know how. If not, google deep abdominal breathing. You will doze off if your head falls to your chest. 


Register for the upcoming 3 day retreat at the Bethlehem Retreat Centre Jan 25 to Jan 28; cost $306 (not for profit) includes room and meals. 

Contact:  ASAP (seven sleeping places left)
adrian symonds
Phone: 250.898.8201

Also check out these Chan sites of interest:

2. How to chan meditate:
3. Master Sheng Yen in Facebook

4. The Western Chan Fellowship at

5. Other Buddhist centres in the Comox Valley:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Upcoming retreat and Master Hongzhi and Silent Illumination

The correct way of practice is to sit simply in stillness
and silently investigate.
Deep down there is a state one reaches where externally
one is no longer swirled about by causes and conditions.
The mind, being empty, is all-embracing.
Its luminosity being wondrous,
it is precisely appropriate and impartial.
Internally there are no thoughts.
Vast and removed, it stands alone in itself
without falling into stupor.
Bright and potent, it cuts off all dependence
and remains self-at-ease.

Master Hongzhi, the twelfth-century master who put together these practices under the name Silent Illumination.


There is an upcoming retreat at the Bethleham Retreat Centre in Nanaimo. We arrive between 3 and 4 o'clock on Friday the 25th at the Bethleham Retreat Centre in Nanaimo. We set up in our rooms, we eat, we do an evening meditation. We have a full day Saturday, Sunday and leave on Monday at 2 o'clock. I'm about to receive the quote for the cost, it's around $306 plus taxes which includes sleeping and food. As one of you is a  student, let me know if you can afford the cost. I can up other people's cost. Please contact me witha non-refundable depostit by December 15.  See

or adrian at 250 898 8201

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2013 January Chan retreat in Nanaimo

Upcoming January 2013 Chan Retreat at the Bethleham Retreat Centre in Nanaimo.

There will be a retreat led by William Tsao January 25, 26 and 27, 28.  So, we arrive between 3 and 4 o'clock on Friday the 25th at the Bethleham Retreat Centre in Nanaimo. We set up in our rooms, we eat, we do an evening meditation. We have a full day Saturday, Sunday and leave on Monday at 2 o'clock.  The cost is $306 per person which includes sleeping and food. 

William will be doing more retreats in Europe and the US so we will not have as much access to the teachings presented in person by him. If you are interested in consulting William about your practice, this is the time to do it.

Many of us have already done a retreat at the Centre  It's a great place.

You can put a 50% NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT to be received by the 15th of December to hold a place in the retreat. We are able to book a maximum of 18 rooms, so space is limited. This is a not-for-profit retreat. Full registration cost should be received by January 15th. (Problems?….give me a call.)

All registrations/deposits are to be sent/emailed to:

adrian symonds
1146 Cumberland Rd.
Courtenay, B.C.
V9N 2E6
250 898 8201
Address the cheques to Adrian Symonds, not the retreat centre. Do not register or send your deposit/ full cost to the retreat centre! They do not have the administrative capacity to deal with dozens of personal cheques. 

Please register ASAP. AS of the 21st of november, there are 10 out of 18 rooms available. 

If you want your email address removed from my Chan list, please let me know.

For more info on Chan check out

Monday, June 4, 2012

Upcoming Summer Retreat: Aug 3 to 10

Retreats allow you to deepen your practice. A retreat is approaching. I don't have the digital poster for it yet. The registration information is at A 3 day retreat is $130 and a 7 day retreat is $210: a bargain especially considering who is leading the retreat. A suggested donation above and beyond the not-for-profit costs ($130 and $210) would be given to the Hermitage and to the monk, Master Guo Jun, who is leading the retreat. The retreat has registered 35 people already without advertising. It will be the largest retreat the Hermitage has hosted. The food is fantastic. There is camping on site and a few cabins are available for non-campers. There are many b and b's available but if you are thinking b and b, better pre-book it now. Most cabins will be shared unless there are particular individual challenges. 

Do a retreat if you can. If you've never done one before, choose a 3 day retreat. They may not let you do a longer retreat than 3 days if you've never retreated before. If you have meditative experience, go deeper and do a 7 day. Dont' go to the retreat if you don't develop a daily sitting practice before the retreat. It's much too difficult to sit for all that time. The first three days are the hardest. 

Go onto the Hermitage site for more info on Master Guo Jun, and register through, not the Hermitage.

All this month we are sitting at Courtenay Elementary School, the 2nd floor...the first room you'll see at the top of the stairs, Thursday nights, 7 to 9. For the one person who told me she could not get there before seven because she leads a yoga class, call me 898 8201. Sometimes the janitor closes the front doors after 7:10. I'll talk to him. We will switch to Gordon's studio the first Thursday in July, same times, 7 to 9 only the date will CHANGE TO WEDNESDAY evening. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Upcoming teaching weekend

William Tsao, principle teacher in Canada of Chan and certified in both Huatou Chan and Silent Illumination Chan by Master Sheng Yen will be leading a  two day workshop:

Cost: by donation only
Time: Saturday June, 2 2012 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 
  Sunday June 3, 2012 10 to 4 p.m.  (are these times ok William?)
Place: Gordon Ross Photography Studio
2314 Rosewall Crescent
Courtenay, BC, V9N 8R9
250 338 8030 (do not register at this number)

Registration A.S.A.P.: 
adrian symonds
250 898 8201

The official poster will follow later.

Please take advantage of this very special occasion.