“ Dharma Winds Zen Sangha / Ordre Zen de Hsu Yun” (ch. Fa Feng Chan Yuen / Hsu Yun Chan Yuen – 法風 僧 院 – 虚 雲 禪 院) is a lay Chan Buddhist community under the Chan/Zen teachings of its main teacher, Rev. Yao Xin Shakya.
DWZS is a community and an ordination platform in the lineage of the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun – ZBOHY (zatma.org) – Xu Yun Chan Yuen in Europe (Belgium).
The Linji (jp. Rinzai) and YunMen (jp. Ummon) Chan Lineage of Grand Master HsuYun, through Chan Master WeiMiao JyDin Shakya and Venerable Dharma Teacher ChuanYuan MingZhen Shakya (the founders of the Zen Buddhist Order of HsuYun), is the Root Lineage of our community.
Yao Xin Shakya, Luis Lista, practices Buddhism since his adolescence. He was ordained as a Chan Priest/Dharma Teacher by MingZhen Shakya in 2011 in the Yunmen lineage, and was received as a Transmitted Head Priest (Senior Dharma Teacher) in the Linji Lineage of the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun (founded by WeiMiao JyDin Shakya) by ChuanSheng Shakya in 2015. He was a direct disciple of Ming Zhen Shakya (co-founder of our Chan Order) for many years and he is the founder and Current « Prior » (Head Priest) of Dharma Winds Zen Sangha.
This community was created in September 2015 as a community of ordained lay people, meaning that all clerics of the order are trained lay clergy named Chan “Priests” or “Dharma Teachers”. Our community follows the Five Lay Precepts and the Mahayana Bodhisattva Precepts transmitted by the “Brahma Net Sutra”, sometimes called the “Bodhisattva Precepts”. That means that our community, like the Zen Buddhist Order of HsuYun we are affiliated to, is a lay community of Chan Priests. Our Priests/Dharma Teachers aren’t monks and do not follow the full 250 Vinaya rules set.
Mission and goals
“Dharma Winds Zen Sangha”, like all Western sanghas in the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun lineage of Master WeiMiao JyDin Shakya, sees itself as a mediator between East and West.
Our main mission is to share the teachings of Master Hsu Yun and the great masters of the Chan Lineage to the West. And to continue the tradition of Chan Buddhism in the West in a pragmatic, life-practical, and secular way with the profound wish to help all beings. Our community isn’t based on copying Asian culture, its religious structures or folklore.
It is about practicing Chan Buddhism sincerely as Westerners in our own time and place, with Simplicity – Humility – Sincerity (DWZS Credo).
For this the community uses different methods and procedures:
– Study of Chan Buddhism through the legacy teachings of our tradition (Empty Cloud Manual, 7th World Manual, Heart of Keeping the Light manual, Selections from master Hanshan, Selections from master Hsu Yun, Flowers of Wu, …).
– Lectures and teachings on the practice of Chan Buddhism (mainly Nienfo, Huatou Chan and KuanYin Chan).
– Regular Intensive days of practice (retreat) offered locally and online.
– Direct, personal supervision of students, candidates and members of the community through face to face or distant meetings is an essential part of our method.
In a nutshell, the purpose of our community is to adapt and share the practice of Chinese Chan/Zen in our Western context in order, we hope, to plant a seed of Simple, Humble and Sincere “Western Zen”.
We insist on the fact that studying, becoming a formal student or taking any kind of precepts is totally free of charge in our community. Some special services or workshops may be on paid or on Dana/donation base, these being totally optional services or workshops.
According to the statutes of the community, Dharma Winds Zen Sangha is a participative structure based on the free participation of its member and is comprised of several Chan Groups/Hermitages, under the Chan teachings of its main teacher, Yao Xin Shakya. All the Chan Groups/Hermitages share a common teacher, lineage, legacy teachings and forms, yet manifest the same Chan Dharma differently, depending on the particular needs of their local community.
Each Chan Hermitage is led by an ordained Chan Priest (Dharma Teacher). Each Priest/Dharma Teacher is authorized to teach as a Priest/Dharma Teacher by Shi YaoXin and is affiliated with the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun.
A Chan/Zen Hermitage is primarily a place where a priest lives and shares his Buddhist practice with others. It is a place to practice in simplicity, humility and sincerity and doesn’t necessary offer all the services a Buddhist temple or monastery may offer.
Our community is not a proselytizing institution. We give precepts free of charge to people who demonstrate a sincere desire to follow the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path through the Five Lay Precepts and Three Refuges.
People demonstrating a more profound engagement with one of our teachers may enter into the Path of Chan Buddhist Priesthood by asking to receive Novice-Ordination through one of our sangha’s Fully Ordained Chan Priests, after a period of discernment made of study, practice and regular Interviews with a Dharma Teacher.
Our Sangha follows the Five Lay Precepts and the Mahayana Bodhisattva Vinaya transmitted by the « Brahma Net Sutra », sometimes called the « Bodhisattva Precepts ». We give « 10 Major Bodhisattva Precepts » to Novice Priests and « 10+48 Bodhisattva Precepts » to our Fully Ordained Chan/Zen Priests (Dharma Teachers). We also give « Head Priest Transmission » in our Chan Lineage to our Senior Dharma Teachers when given full permission to teach and spread the lineage through their own sangha.
This is why our Sangha is said to be a « semi-monastic » or « reformed » Chan Sangha. Our Priests aren’t monks and do not follow the full 250 Vinaya rules set. They are lay Dharma Teachers having taken the Mahayana precepts from the Brahma Net Sutra in addition to the five basic precepts.
All ordained Priests/Dharma Teachers are in the “Board of Priests/Dharma Teachers” to serve the community in its missions. In case of dispute within the “Board of Priests/Dharma Teachers”, a right of veto may be used by the community’s Head Priest. However, in favor of democratic decisions, this right of veto should only be used in exceptional cases.
Our practice is seeing our own Buddha Nature and manifesting harmony of Mind – Body – Breath in our daily acts.
As a community in the Linji (jp. Rinzai) school of Chinese Chan/Zen Buddhism, our main Door of Practice is Mind. Our school aims at knowing our Heart/Mind directly, through any upaya (expedient mean) available.
The main traditional Chan Buddhist practices used in our sangha are:
The practice of establishing concentration (ch.Zhi/jp.Shi) through recitation of a Buddha’s Name, a Mantra or Wu/Mu, sometimes called Recitation in Oneness Samadhi. It is the spiritual practice Mahasthamaprapta taught in the Shurangama Sutra, the main spiritual practice in Chinese Buddhism.
The practice of establishing observation (ch.Guan/jp.Kan) through seeing or looking directly at the Heart of What Is. It is the practice door of Great Doubt. Asking the question Who? or What? in all activities. Who is mindful of the Buddha, of the breath, cleaning the laundry or shouting Wu/Mu… ? In all situations, What is this? Huatou is the great existential and introspective practice of the Chan Linji tradition.
The practice of harmony between concentration and observation through listening to sounds (ch. KuanYin) and turning the hearing faculty upon itself. It is the spiritual practice Avalokiteshvara taught in the Shurangama Sutra, an important spiritual practice in Chinese Buddhism.
All ordained members of the community keep a daily formal practice made of liturgy and meditation. All members share the same structure for daily liturgy. Our simple recitation book, despite its simplicity, includes all texts that are essential to daily practice in our tradition.
Our community insists on the fact that meditation practice, despite all its qualities, isn’t a way to replace proper medication or medical surveillance.
We also insist that only an ordained Priest/Dharma Teacher (exceptionally a Junior Dharma Teacher) is authorized to supervise a member and give advices on meditation practice.
Robes and Kesa (sk. Kasaya, ch. Jiasha)
Dharma Winds Zen Sangha is a community that uses traditional Buddhist robes. As a sign of our Chinese heritage, we wear traditional Chinese Buddhist robes, but only the ones authorized for lay people in Chinese Buddhism, namely the One-Panel or Man-Yi Kasaya Robe.
Refuge Holders of the community may wear a grey or black Haiqin (long sleeved robe) without Kasa.
Precepts Holders of the community may wear a grey or black Haiqin (long sleeved robe) with a black One Panel (Man-Yi) Kasa.
Novice Priests (and Junior Dharma Teachers : ch.JiaoYuen/jp Shusso) of the community may wear a black Haiqin (long sleeved robe) with a brown One Panel (Man-Yi) Kasa.
Priests (Dharma Teachers) of the community may wear a brown Haiqin (long sleeved robe) with a brown One Panel (Man-Yi) Kasa.
Head Priests (Senior Dharma Teachers) of the community may wear a brown Haiqin (long sleeved robe) with a light Green colored One Panel (Man-Yi) Kasa.
The only exception to the One Panel (Man-Yi) Kesa in our Order is for ceremonial occasions (such as ordinations) were a seven paneled Kesa robe may be authorized for Head Priests (Senior Dharma Teachers).
- Only traditional Chinese Buddhist robes are seen as formal robes in our community, these are the ones received during ordination.
- Outside formal robes in the traditional Chinese style, informal robes such as Round-Kasa or Small Kasa can be used following two rules:
- To be made in the One Panel (Man-Yi) style.
- To be the fruit of a member’s personal practice (thus generally hand sewn).
These informal robes can be used on top of the Haiqin (long sleeved robe) during daily activities but they must never replace the Big One Panel (Man-Yi) Kasa.
Following master HsuYun’s example, we insist on always trying to repair all our robes ourselves to the best of our abilities.