Frequently Asked Question

What is Chan?

Chan exists universally and eternally. There is no need for any teacher to transmit it; what is transmitted is just the method by which one can personally experience Chan. In China, the Chan School developed from Indian Dhyana Buddhism, which taught methods of meditative concentration aimed at the attainment of an absorbed, concentrated state of mind. This school later spread to other countries from China, and is called Zen in Japan, Son in Korea, and Thien in Vietnam.

Is Chan and Zen the same?

Chan was transmitted from China to Japan during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).  When Chan was assimilated and altered by Japanese culture, this resulted in Zen…Most people in the West who know about Buddhism are more familiar with Zen than with Chan.  There are two main schools of Zen, the Rinzai which evolved from the Linji School of China, and the Soto which came from the Caodong School of China (excerpt from Zen Wisdom).

How can I learn more about meditation?

It is important to learn Chan meditation from an authentic Chan meditation teacher.  To sign up for a meditation class, please click here.  We also offer meditation programs for those who have received meditation instruction (please click here).  To read about Chan meditation, we invite you to read “The Effects of Chan Meditation” please click here.  http://chancenter.org/cmc/publications/free-literature/

How does the Chan Meditation Center promote Chan and Chinese Buddhism?

The Chan Meditation Center offers classes and programs on meditation, Buddhist beliefs and practice.

Can I contact a Chan Master if I have a question?

We welcome you to visit us and meet our monastic and lay teachers.  The Sunday Open House is a good way for first-time visitors to get acquainted with the Center.  Please click here to see our Sunday Open House schedule: http://chancenter.org/cmc/events-activities/weekly-activities/

We also recommend that people new to Chan participate in our Dharma 101 class and our Sunday afternoon dharma discussion groups, which cover basic concepts in Buddhism.

Do I have to be a Buddhist to participate in activities held at the Chan Meditation Center?

We welcome people from all backgrounds and religions to participate in our activities.

Where did my friend go when he died?

For most human beings, death is very frightening, yet it is an inevitable event all of us must come to grips with…Accumulated karma determines to what life an ordinary sentient being will be reborn.  If the sentient being is overwhelmingly dominated by bad karma, they will likely be reborn either in hell, ghost, or animal realm.  If good karma overwhelmingly predominates, the being will be reborn in a heavenly realm.  If good and bad karma are relatively balanced, then the being will be reborn in the human realm (excerpt from Zen Wisdom).

Do Buddhists pray to the Buddha?

When someone prays, his faith engenders a mental state of supernormal, unified concentration, by which he can stimulate or arouse the compassionate vow-energy of the beings (such as Buddhas or bodhisattvas) to whom he prays, and thereby receive a response.  That is, the mental energy resulting from the supplicant’s concentration tallies and interacts with the energy of a Buddha’s or bodhisattva’s vows.  This interaction, in turn, gives rise to an inconceivable, extraordinary power, which produces the special experiences and efficacious results of prayer (excerpt from Orthodox Chinese Buddhism).

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