Rebecca Li, PhD, is a Chan Buddhist teacher in the lineage of Master Sheng Yen, and the founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community. She began practicing in 1995 while in graduate school in California and took refuge with Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, the same year. While in graduate school, she flew to New York to attend seven-day intensive retreats with Master Sheng Yen. She then moved to New Jersey for an academic position and to be closer to Master Sheng Yen, and in 1999 she began serving as his translator and also began teacher training with Master Sheng Yen, she started teaching Dharma classes in 2002.
In 2001, Rebecca began to also train with Drs. John Crook and Simon Child, two of Master Sheng Yen’s Dharma heirs. After Master Sheng Yen’s passing in 2009 and John Crook’s passing in 2011, she continued training with Simon Child, who remains her current teacher. Over the years, Rebecca co-led intensive Chan retreats with Simon Child and collaborated with other teachers of the Western Chan Fellowship of the U.K..
On June 5, 2016, Rebecca received Dharma transmission from Simon Child, and became a Dharma heir in the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Master Sheng Yen. Her transmission Dharma name is Zhi-Deng Fa-Chuan (智燈法傳 Wisdom Lamp, Dharma Transmitting). Counting from Mahakashyapa, the Buddha’s disciple, Master Sheng Yen belongs to the 94th generation of Chan lineage holders in the Linji lineage (Rinzai in Japanese), and to the 85th generation of Chan lineage holders in the Caodong lineage (Soto in Japanese). In 2001, Master Sheng Yen combined the two transmitted lineages he received, Gushan School of Yangqi Line in Linji Lineage and Jiaoshan School of Yunmen Line of Caodong Lineage, and founded the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chinese Chan. Rebecca is a third generation Dharma heir in the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chinese Chan.
In 2017, Rebecca founded Chan Dharma Community to support practitioners who want to deepen their practice after attending her retreats. She currently teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures and leads Chan retreats in North America and Europe and serves as a visiting teacher at Newark Center for Meditative Culture, Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County, Rubin Museum, Zen Mountain Monastery, and Yale University Buddhist Sangha. Her teachings have appeared in Buddhist publications in North America such as Tricycle, Lion’s Roar, Buddhadharma and Chan Magazine, and Humanity Magazine published by Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan. She is a founding board member of Dharma Drum Retreat Center and where she served on the board from 2004 to 2017. She served on the organizing committee of the 2015 Generation X Dharma Teachers Conference and is one of the founding board members of The GenX Buddhist Teachers Sangha and currently serves on its board.
Rebecca was born and grew up in Hong Kong. She is a sociology professor and lives with her husband in New Jersey. Her book Allow Joy into Our Hearts: Chan Practice in Uncertain Times was published in early 2021, and her upcoming book Illumination: A Guide to the Buddhist Method of No-Method (Shambhala Publications) is expected for release in late October 2023.
Read more about Rebecca’s story, check out An Interview with Rebecca Li published in New Chan Forum in 2017.
Learn more about Rebecca’s Dharma lineage, see Dharma Lineage.
Attend Rebecca’s teachings, please go to the Dharma teachings calendar.
Contact Rebecca, email her at rebecca at rebeccali dot org.
Support Rebecca’s Dharma work, through Paypal by sending a gift to @CDCRebeccaLi, Venmo @Rebecca-Li-36, or by check payable to “Rebecca Li” to P.O. Box 6202, Bridgewater, NJ 08807. Please indicate clearly that you are donating to support Rebecca Li’s Dharma work. These donations support Dharma work expenses including expenses for registration and travels to Dharma teachers conferences, insurance, equipment, Dharma books and journal subscriptions, publication, transportation to Dharma teachings sites, monthly subscription fee for video conferencing service as well as website maintenance costs.