June 6, 2024

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Has it ever crossed anyone's mind, “I have access to a nearby center for learning and practicing Chan and meditation; what’s the benefit of attending sessions online through platforms like Zoom or Facebook Live?”

Here is "why."

Reflecting on a past dialogue, it unfolded somewhat like this: “Now that the pandemic has subsided, our focus should shift to in-person engagements…”

In response, I expressed: “I wholeheartedly concur. While we nurture the local community at our center, may we also dedicate efforts and resources to support online participants? These are individuals without local access who are eager to learn and practice. Our Shifu’s philosophy is wherever sentient beings need him, he'll go, and at the very least, we should maintain our virtual presence, regardless of circumstances such as pandemics.”

This conversation occurred at the onset of 2022 with our new local sponsor. My firm belief in sustaining online offerings was inspired by the connections and experience forged during the pandemic with global practitioners, a feat enabled by the vision and kindness of our former sponsors, Ven. Chang Shing and Ven. Chang Yuan, and my collaboration with Ven. Guo Yuan, Abbot of Dharma Drum Retreat Center. As 2022 drew to a close, the new sponsor’s plan to discontinue the online program came as a surprise to both the Abbot and myself, only coming to light through my email initiative to confirm the cancellation.

Consequently, in February 2023, the Global Meditation Center New York (GMCNY) emerged as an extension of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center, realized through the Abbot’s universal compassion for all. GMCNY’s mission extends beyond serving the local community; it aims to transcend geographical and physical barriers, enriching a global audience through an expanding array of online programs.

Why? The aim of Chan is to live life with wisdom and compassion through the realization of our interconnectedness with all things, unbounded by limitations.

June 2024

Warren


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