Rebecca Li, PhD, a Chan Buddhist teacher in the lineage of Master Sheng Yen, is the founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community. She began practicing in 1995 when she was 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 Chan 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. In the same year, she began teacher training with Master Sheng Yen and 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 the Chan lineage holders in the Linji lineage (Rinzai in Japanese), and to the 85th generation of the 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. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures, and leads Chan retreats in North America, the United Kingdom and Taiwan, and serves as a visiting teacher at Newark Center for Meditative Culture, Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County, Rubin Museum, 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 in Buddhist publications in Asia such as Humanity Magazine published by Dharma Drum in Taiwan. She is a founding board member of Dharma Drum Retreat Center and 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 the board.
In addition, Rebecca is a sociology professor at The College of New Jersey, where she also serves as faculty director of the Alan Dawley Center for the Study of Social Justice. She grew up in Hong Kong 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.
To read more about Rebecca’s story, you can check out An Interview with Rebecca Li published in New Chan Forum in 2017.
To learn more about Rebecca’s Dharma lineage, please go to My Dharma Lineage.
To attend Rebecca’s teachings, please go to her Dharma teachings calendar.
To contact Rebecca, please email her at rebecca at rebeccali dot org.
To support Rebecca’s Dharma work, which includes 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 to offer online classes as well as website maintenance costs, you can do so through Paypal by sending a gift to @CDCRebeccaLi or 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.