On March 27, Rebecca started the weekly Online Dharma Practice Gathering with Rebecca Li after hearing about the needs of practitioners to have a structured practice space for mutual support as people were asked to engage in social distancing to help flatten the curve. In this first session, Rebecca spoke about the practice of allowing joy into our heart amidst the daily deluge of distressing news about the pandemic. Her talk can be found here.
On March 20, Rebecca offered an online practice session on Zoom to support practitioners as the Covid-19 pandemic began closing schools and stores. Practitioners shared their experience of the early days of the outbreak and found comfort and support in community.
On March 11, Rebecca led the fourth session of Monthly Online Dharma Study with Rebecca Li offered for the Chan Dharma Community. Over the past month, practitioners practiced with her talk Working with Self-Doubt through Chan Meditation given at Yale University. Practitioners shared their struggle with self-doubt and their discoveries in the process of facing their self-doubt.
On February 25, Rebecca returned to Yale University as visiting teacher of the Buddhist sangha. In response to the interest expressed by the students, she spoke on “Working with Lacerating Self-Judgment.” The shrine room was filled despite the approach of midterm exams. Apparently many high-achieving students suffer a great deal from this unhelpful habit. Rebecca explained how to cultivate clear awareness of various aspects of this habit to unlearn it so as to be freed from its destructive effects. Many students stayed after the talk to share mochi and tea and to ask questions about self-judgment and Chan practice. Hopefully, these students will be better prepared emotionally to face the challenges in the remaining weeks of the semester. You can listen to the talk here.
On February 23, Rebecca led a Daylong Retreat at Newark Center for Meditation Culture with the assistance of Kathryn Davis and Leslie. It was the first retreat held at NCMC’s new home at 2 Park Place, a lovely space for the growing sangha. The retreat organizer invited Rebecca to integrate her sociological expertise into the discussion. She spoke about group dynamics that cause suffering in her Dharma talk “Community-building with Clarity and Compassion” and how to reduce suffering in community life with Chan practice. Retreat participants shared their experience and reflected on how they could apply the sociological insight and practice in their life at work and spiritual community. To listen to the talk and discussion, please click here.
On February 16, Rebecca shared how to practice with death to gain insights into our mind and enrich our life based on the first two chapters of the book Advice for Future Corpses: A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying by Zen teacher and writer Sallie Tisdale at the monthly meditation workshop held at the New Jersey chapter of DDMBA in Edison. Click here to listen to the talk.
On February 12, Rebecca led the third session of Monthly Online Dharma Study with Rebecca Li offered for the Chan Dharma Community. Over the past month, participants practiced with her talk on Cultivating Gratitude and Total Awareness given at the New Jersey chapter of DDMBA. Practitioners shared how their relationships had been transformed during the month’s practice on gratitude.
On January 15, Rebecca led the second session of Monthly Online Dharma Study with Rebecca Li offered for the Chan Dharma Community during her family visit in Hong Kong. Participants practiced with her talk on working with perfectionism given at Yale University and shared their experiences in this zoom gathering.
On December 18, Rebecca returned to the Rubin Museum to talk about the practice of generosity. She spoke about cultivating emotional generosity as a way to remain connected to love and hope in this world. Click here to listen to the talk.
On December 15, Rebecca gave a talk entitled “Cultivating Dhyāna Meditation as a Chan Practitioner” at the Chan Meditation Center in Elmburst, NY. She explained how to cultivate wisdom and compassion by engaging in meditative practice and warned against the common pitfall of attaching to meditative states. Click here to listen to the bilingual talk.
On December 11, Rebecca led the first session of Monthly Online Dharma Study with Rebecca Li offered for the Chan Dharma Community. Practitioners worked with her talk on generosity given at the Rubin Museum for a number of weeks prior to this session and gathered to share and discuss their practice experiences on zoom.
On November 24, Rebecca shared how we can make use of the holiday season as an opportunity to engage in Chan practice at the monthly meditation workshop held at the New Jersey chapter of DDMBA in Edison. The workshop was followed by a potluck lunch for the community to celebrate the upcoming holidays together. Click here to listen to her talk.
On November 18, Rebecca returned to Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County to talk about the teaching of “no-self.” She explained what the concept means by using the teachings of the Heart Sutra and discussed how to apply the teaching of no-self in one’s daily life practice to cultivate wisdom and compassion. Click here to listen to the talk.
On November 8-10, Rebecca led the Four Truths Chan Retreat at Zen Mountain Monastery. It was the first time she led practice at the monastery. Residents and students of ZMM learned to cultivate clear awareness of the ways they create suffering and how they can unlearn the habits of doing so through Chan practice. The retreat was followed immediately by the precepts ceremony (Jukai) given by Shugen Roshi. It was a deeply moving experience for everyone in attendance.
On October 11-16, Rebecca co-led the Western Zen Retreat with Fiona Nuttall and Hilary Richards from the U.K. at Dharma Drum Retreat Center. It was the first retreat co-led by the three teachers together. Participants, some of whom had been on the waiting list, traveled from all over the U.S. and from the U.K. practiced diligently and worked with the three teachers in private interviews to investigate their mind, gaining invaluable insights into themselves.
On September 21, Rebecca presented the paper entitled “Chan Practitioners as Agents of Social Change” at the academic conference Buddhism and Social Change hosted by the University of British Columbia and Dharma Drum Vancouver Center at the DDM Vancouver Center in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Click here to read more and listen to the talk.
On September 17, Rebecca spoke on “Working with Perfectionism in Relationships and Social Engagement” at the Yale University Buddhist Shrine. Members of the Buddhist Sangha joined Rebecca for dinner before the meditation session and the talk and found it highly relevant and useful for their lives. Click here to listen to the talk.
On September 15, Rebecca spoke on “Practicing Patience-Endurance in a Politically Divided World” at the New Jersey chapter of Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association in Edison, New Jersey. She explained how Chan practitioners can use their encounters and interactions with people who hold very different political views as opportunities to cultivate the perfection of patience-endurance. Click here to listen to the talk.
On August 16-18, Rebecca led the Beginner’s Mind Retreat at Dharma Drum Retreat Center. Retreatants traveled from across the U.S. and Canada to participate in the retreat.
On August 14, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Fear” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. She shared the practice of being fully present and staying with it as it is when fear arises, giving ourselves space to experience other aspects of the moment besides fear. In this way, we do not allow fear to overwhelm and control us. You can listen to her talk here.
Rebecca led a Four-day Chan Retreat from August 2-5 at Dharma Drum Mountain Vancouver. She explained the practice of Silent Illumination and encouraged the retreatants to engage in this practice. At the end of the retreat, participants shared that they gained new understanding about Chan practice and insights about themselves and expressed commitment to taking the practice into their life.
On August 1, Rebecca gave a public lecture entitled “Harmonizing with the Rapidly Changing World” at the Vancouver Chan Meditation Center. She spoke about rapid social change in term of changing ways in which we play certain roles and the changing relationship between different roles. Rebecca discussed the two common reactions to these changes, being judgmental and feeling anxious, and how we can engage in Chan practice to recognize these habitual reactions arising and examine our existing beliefs to avoid perpetuating thoughts and behaviors that generate suffering for ourselves and others.
On June 29-30, Rebecca attended the academic conference “Buddhism and Social Sciences” at Dharma Drum Mountain to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Master Sheng Yen’s passing. Scholars from economics, sociology, public administration and other social sciences presented scholarly research on the connection between Buddhism and their field of study. Rebecca presented her paper “The Social Origin of Creativity: A Sociological Analysis of Master Taixu and Master Sheng Yen” that applies Randal Collins’s theoretical model of intellectual creativity detailed in his Sociology of Philosophies.
On June 28, Rebecca joined several Dharma heirs of Master Sheng Yen in an event at Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the master’s passing. The first-generation Dharma heirs engaged in two panel discussions in the morning to share how they adapted their teaching of Chan to the rapidly changing world. In the afternoon, Rebecca led one of the Chan practice sessions for practitioners traveling from Taipei to have a taste of the practice of Silent Illumination.
On June 12-16, Rebecca joined a gathering of Generation X Dharma teachers at Great Vow Zen Monastery. Almost 50 Buddhist teachers from different traditions shared their experience as Dharma teachers and practitioners with each other as peers, and discussed topics ranging from ethics, to power and sexuality, to reconciliation in Dharma communities. From these discussions, participants felt the need for the community to become more organized and asked the advisory council, of which Rebecca has been a member, to embark on the effort and draft the structure and by-laws to be ratified by the community at the next gathering in two years.
On May 25 to June 2, Rebecca co-led a Silent Illumination Retreat with Simon Child at DDRC. Twenty-nine practitioners from across the United States practiced sincerely during this 9-day retreat. In the sharing at the end, many expressed a renewed commitment to Dharma practice and a clearer sense of direction.
On May 19, Rebecca returned to DDMBA-NJ chapter to lead the Sunday meditation workshop. She spoke on the cultivation of appreciative joy, being happy for the happiness of others especially when one has not contributed to their happiness. This is one of the four qualities of love in our cultivation of unconditional love for sentient beings.
On May 15, Rebecca joined three other Dharma teachers, Narayan Liebenson, Myokei Caine-Barrett and Grace Schireson, in a panel discussion “Women in Buddhism.” The thought-provoking discussion was moderated by Pema Khandro. The transcript of the discussion will be published in Fall 2019 special women’s issue of Buddhadharma. You can read the article here.
On May 15, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Compassion” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. She shared the practice of rejoicing in the merits of others as one of the ways to cultivate love for all sentient beings. You can listen to her talk here.
On April 29, Rebecca returned to Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County to give a talk on “Why do we practice? Why do we sit?” She invited participants to share their reflection on these questions and discussed a number of ways we apply our existing habitual tendencies to motivate our practice. She invited practitioners to reflect on their motivations honestly so as not to perpetuate unhelpful habits using our practice inadvertently.
On April 24, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Action” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. She discussed how to do our best and let go as a way to free ourselves from suffering in our daily life actions. You can listen to her talk here.
On April 9, Rebecca returned to Yale University to lead a meditation workshop with the Buddhist sangha on campus and join a discussion on “Asian and Buddhist.” She opened the discussion with a number of common assumptions made about her as a Buddhist practitioner of Asian descent which are incorrect. Together with her discussion co-leader, Dean Nilakshi Parndigamage, who grew up in a Buddhist family in Sri Lanka, they painted a nuanced picture of the diversity of Buddhists of Asian descent.
Rebecca led the Foundation Retreat on April 5-7 at Dharma Drum Retreat Center. Brian Pilecki who has been training with Rebecca served as timekeeper and assisted in the retreat as guest master. A number of participants returned from previous retreats at DDRC with their friend or family member.
On March 20, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Reflection” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. She discussed the importance of reflection on the intention behind our actions in our practice. You can listen to her talk here.
On March 14, Rebecca spoke on “Community-building as a Path of Liberation” at the Boston Meditation Center. Workshop participants were able to connect with their experience in their political engagement and saw the value of integrating their practice into this aspect of their life. You can listen to her talk here.
On February 24, Rebecca, with Kung-fu master Shaka Georges, led a Daylong retreat “Relaxing into Clarity and Flow” at Newark Center for Meditative Culture. She guided participants in the practice of silent illumination using Master Hongzhi’s saying “Stay with that just as that. Stay with this just as this” to recognize and unlearn the habits of craving and aversion. Participants shared many insightful comments after the Art of Seeing workshop to examine our habits of seeing with our ideas instead of actually seeing what is right here in front of us.
On February 20, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Power” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. She explained how Chan practice relies on self-power to free us from suffering. You can listen to her session here.
On February 17, in her quarterly meditation workshop held at the New Jersey branch of Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association in Edison, Rebecca spoke on “Cultivating Clear Awareness of Group Dynamics.” She discussed how we can engage in Chan practice to avoid cultivating hatred and ignorance inadvertently in group life by understanding its dynamics. You can listen to her talk here.
On January 12, Rebecca led practice at the International Meditation Group (IMG) of Dharma Drum Mountain in Taipei. She taught the practice of moving and sitting meditation and spoke on integrating Chan practice into our daily life.
On January 10, Rebecca spoke on “My Practice with Master Sheng Yen” where she recounted many valuable lessons she learned from her travels with her master when she served as his translator. The event took place at Nung Chan Monastery in Taipei, Taiwan and can be viewed here.
On December 12, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Generosity” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. She spoke about giving kindness in addition to presents during the holiday season as a way to practice generosity. You can listen to her session here.
On November 27, Rebecca spoke on “Working with Self-doubt with Chan Meditation” to students at Yale University and led the group through a guided meditation in the Shrine Room used by the university’s Buddhist Sangha for group practice.
On November 11, in her quarterly meditation workshop held at the New Jersey branch of Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association in Edison, Rebecca spoke on “Cultivating Gratitude and Total Awareness” and encouraged everyone to practice with it as the holiday season began.
On November 5, Rebecca returned to the Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County to speak on the Bodhisattva Ideal and shared the practice of Silent Illumination.
On October 31, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Hopes and Anxieties” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. With the upcoming election on everyone’s mind, she spoke about being intentional and mindful as we engage as citizens and try to stay informed. Please click here to listen to her session.
Rebecca, with Simon Child from Western Chan Fellowship in the U.K., led the Western Zen Retreat at Dharma Drum Retreat Center from October 5-10. Participants came from around the country and from Canada.
Rebecca offered her first online Dharma course entitled “Giving Rise to the Bodhi Mind” to members of the Chan Dharma Community. Past retreat participants were invited to join the course as a way to deepen their practice through Dharma study. The course ran from September 10 to October 15.
Rebecca led the Beginner’s Mind Retreat on August 10-12 at DDRC during which participants learned how to engage in Chan practice through sitting, walking, doing simple tasks, eating, drawing, listening, reflecting and sharing.
On August 8, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Intentionality” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. She spoke about investigating our motivations in practice as a way to examine our mind. Please click here to listen to her session.
Rebecca led the Three-Day Chan Retreat on August 3-6 at Dharma Drum Vancouver Center. Practitioners of various levels of experience learned how to engage in Chan practice under her guidance. Please click here for a report in English and click here for a report in Chinese.
On August 2, Rebecca gave the first public lecture, “Living a Fulfilling Life in Chan Practice,” hosted by Vancouver Chan Meditation Center, the Dharma Drum city center in Vancouver opened in early 2018. Read more.
On July 25, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Emptiness” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. She explained the Buddhist concept of emptiness and how to apply it our daily life practice. Please click here to listen to her session.
Rebecca and her husband visited the farmhouse, located in the Peak District in England, recently purchased by Simon Child that will be converted into a retreat center for Chan practitioners between June 16 and 26. Read more.
Rebecca co-led a Koan Retreat with Fiona Nuttall in Wales for the first time over the week of June 9-16. The two Dharma sisters, both Dharma heirs of Simon Child, guided practitioners in examining their mind by using koans that resonated with each individual. Read more.
Rebecca co-led a Silent Illumination Retreat with Simon Child at DDRC from May 26 to June 3. At the end of the retreat, participants shared many heart-felt experiences from their retreat.
On May 16, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Discovering” and led meditation practice at the Rubin Museum in New York City. Over a hundred participants took part, many of whom attend the weekly workshop regularly. A statue of Maitreya was chosen as the artwork for the day’s event. Please click here to listen to her session.
On April 25, Rebecca spoke on the theme of “Transforming Obstacles“ and led meditation practice at a sold-out event at the Rubin Museum in New York City. Over a hundred participants took part, many of whom attend the weekly workshop regularly. A statue of Padmasambhava was chosen as the artwork for the day’s event and Rebecca used the occasion to remember the late Dr. John Crook, one of her teachers, who passed away in 2011.
On April 23, Rebecca led an evening of practice in Silent Illumination with members of the Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County, Yardley, PA. BSBC is a vibrant community of Buddhist practitioners. Rebecca has been supporting this sangha as visiting teacher since 2016.
Rebecca met and hosted Vandana Shiva on April 12 on her campus. Even though it was their first meeting, Shiva has quickly become a role model whose tireless effort to preserve the world’s biodiversity and support small farmers is an inspiration. Read more.
Rebecca was invited by the Yale Buddhist Sangha to share her experience and perspective of being Asian and Buddhist in America. The event on April 10, “Asian & Buddhist (?) Redux: Dinner & Conversation” was attended by students and staff, Asian and non-Asian, Buddhists and non-Buddhists, from departments across Yale University.
Rebecca led the Foundation Retreat at Dharma Drum Retreat Center from April 6-8. Participants, both new and experienced, traveled from Virginia, Canada, and around New York and New Jersey to practice in this retreat and learn the Dharma.
On March 25, Rebecca gave a Dharma talk on “Cultivating Generosity as a Chan Practitioner” at the Chan Meditation Center.
Rebecca joined 200,000 protesters in March For Our Lives in New York City with other practitioners on March 24. She worked with members of the Buddhist Action Coalition to plan for the Buddhists in the New York area to march together. Lion’s Roar shared her reflections and photos of the march. She also shared her thoughts with Tricycle on why it was important for Buddhists to participate in the march.
Rebecca addressed a gathering of 200 Buddhists at the Union Theological Seminary on February 3 at a one-day conference, “Buddhist Action: Morals, Vision and Justice.” She also served on the organizing team that included Bhikkhu Bodhi of Buddhist Global Relief to help plan the event and served as one of the facilitators in the breakout group discussion where participants brainstormed about actions and organizational structure for the community moving forward. Here is a report from Mountain Record published by the Mountains and Rivers Order. See full text of her address.
Rebecca led a Three-Day Chan Retreat at the DDM San Francisco Bay Area Center in California over the weekend of December 8-10. After the retreat, she used the opportunity to meet with her fellow Dharma teacher friends in the Insight, Triratna, and Soto Zen traditions in San Francisco. You can read report by one of the retreat participants here.
Rebecca led the first Thanksgiving Chan Retreat at DDRC during the week of the Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 21-25). The retreat introduced participants to the practice of Silent Illumination and the teachings of the Four Noble Truths.
Rebecca was invited by the Buddhadharma Magazine to write a piece in response to the question: How can practitioners “take on the suffering of the world” or practice “for the sake of all beings” without also inflating their own sense of self-importance? It appeared in the “Ask the Teachers” section of the Winter 2017 issue. Read her piece here.
Rebecca, with Simon Child and Hilary Richards from Western Chan Fellowship in the U.K., led the largest Western Zen Retreat to date at Dharma Drum Retreat Center from October 13-18. Participants came from around the country, travelling from as far as Los Angeles and Seattle, and from Canada.
Rebecca talked about Patience/Endurance and the Chan Practice at the Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County on October 9.
Rebecca gave a Dharma talk “Chan Practice and the Bodhisattva Path” at the Brooklyn Zen Center on September 23. In this talk, she discussed how the centrality of Bodhisattva Path in Chan deepens our understanding and cultivation of the six paramitas.
Rebecca gave a Dharma talk “Preparing for a Good Death: Cultivating Clarity and Generating Great Bodhi Mind” at Greenwood cemetery in Brooklyn on September 20, the last of the Death and Dharma series co-sponsored by Greenwood and Brooklyn Zen Center. She shared the lessons taught by her master, the late Master Sheng Yen, in the way he prepared for his death and his teachings on how to face death.
Rebecca joined other Dharma teachers in a 7-week course series U Mad? Wisdom for Rageful Times offered by Buddhist Peace Fellowship to discuss how to apply Dharma teachings and practice in this politically challenging time.
Rebecca’s reflection on her participation in the Third Buddhism and Race conference at Harvard Divinity School in March 2017 entitled “Buddhism and Race” was published in Chan Magazine, spring 2017 issue, in August 2017.
Rebecca attended the Gen X Dharma Teachers Conference held in Crestone, CO in June 2017. She joined the Advisory Council of the Gen X Dharma Teachers community at the conference.
Rebecca was re-elected to the board of director and board secretary of Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC) in May 2017. She was one of the founding members of the board and has served on the board since the DDRC was incorporated in 2004.
Rebecca joined the Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County as guest teacher and gave a talk entitled “Interdependence: Embracing Life’s Ups and Downs with Equanimity” on February 13.
Rebecca joined the teaching team of the iBme New Year’s Teen Retreat in Massachusetts in late December 2016.
Rebecca became a member of the American Zen Teachers Association in December 2016.
Rebecca became a member of the Lay Zen Teachers Association in September 2016.
Rebecca was invited by the Dharma Drum Vancouver Center to present a workshop “Curiosity and Choice: Being Me and Making a Difference.” Participants of all ages took part in a lively discussion after talk on how they could integrate the key ideas into their own life choices.
Rebecca was invited by the Yale University chaplain to offer meditation workshops with Dharma discussion to the Yale Buddhist Sangha during the academic year. She will give four workshops during the AY 2016-17.
Rebecca spoke at a panel on Global Citizenship with Venerable Guo Chan and Venerable Chang Ji, celebrating the late Master Sheng Yen’s international work to promote peace and youth empowerment, in the Sheng Yen Conference in late June 2016 held in Taipei, Taiwan.
Rebecca received full Dharma transmission from Simon Child on June 5, 2016 and became the second-generation Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng Yen in the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chinese Chan Buddhism that combines the Linji and Caodong lines received by Chan Master Sheng Yen. Her Dharma name is Zhi-deng Fa-chuan, Wisdom Lamp, Dharma Transmitting.
The second edition of Chan Comes West, edited by Rebecca Li, was published in February 2016 after long delays. Publishing this book was the last request made by the late Chan Master Sheng Yen to Rebecca.
Rebecca appeared on the cover of the premiere issue of Lion’s Roar, previously known as Shambhala Sun, in January 2016. Her article discussing the most important Buddhist truth we need to proclaim in the 21st century also appeared in the same issue.
Rebecca taught a month-long online retreat on Tricycle.com during the month of October 2015. Her retreat was titled “Living the Platform Sutra” where she covered the key teachings of the Platform Sutra by Chan Master Huineng.
Rebecca joined the Silent Peace Walk around Central Park in Manhattan, NY on October 1, 2012 for peace in the Middle East. She was invited to serve as a facilitator in group discussions held in the park. It was a deeply moving experience.