What is Chung Tai?
It all began with a highly revered monk in Taiwan, a Zen master widely known for reviving the ancient Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhist practice in the modern world– Venerable Wei Chueh.
For over 30 years from 1987 to 2016, Ven. Wei Chueh tirelessly spread Chan Buddhism throughout the world. His vision was to inspire all people to return to their inherently pure and enlightened self. In Taiwan, he built the Ling Quan Temple, the Chung Tai Chan Monastery, the Chung Tai Buddhist Institutes, the Pu Tai Schools, and the Chung Tai World Museum. With an unwavering determination to liberate all, he also established a global Buddhist community called the Chung Tai World, which is centered at Chung Tai Chan Monastery of Taiwan, with hundreds of thousands of members throughout more than 100 branch meditation centers worldwide.
What is the appropriate way to refer to the Buddhist monks at GDCM?
There are several Chung Tai monks that live fulltime at the Great Dharma Chan Monastery. The tile used for all Chinese Buddhist monks or nuns is Shifu. This is pronounced 'shih-foo'.
This is used respectfully much like father, pastor or revered in Christianity.
Each monk or nun has a unique name as well, and their universal first name is Jian. This is followed by th
eir individual name. For example, Jian Tan Shifu, is the full name of our Venerable Abbot.
If you cannot remember each monk's name, just refer to the them as Shifu. This is no problem and still appropriate.
I don't want to be offensive. How can I pay respect to the monks during my visit?
Buddhist monks and nuns are celibate and generally avoid bodily contact (especially with the opposite sex). Rather than shaking hands, we greet one another by joining palms.
Is everyone welcome to visit, meditate, attend classes or volunteer?
We warmly welcome practitioners and all visitors to come and experience Chan Buddhism equally — whether through self-paced exploration or through structured learning in our meditation classes. Our doors are open all year round for meditation classes geared towards adults and kids, and we regularly offer meditation retreats, Sunday services, and monthly ceremonies.
Monetary giving and volunteering opportunities are also available to enhance and enrich a well-rounded Chan practice. We wish that everyone who comes to Great Dharma Chan Monastery always leaves with a mind filled with peace and harmony!!
What is the proper attire to wear while visiting and for meditation classes?
Clothes that are loose and comfortable, but modest and appropriate with shoulders and belly covered, are recommended while visiting. Long-sleeved tops and full-length pants rather than shorts are recommended to keep warm and comfortable while in the Meditation Hall.
Shoes may be worn inside GDCM, but should be removed prior to entering the Meditation Hall. There are shoe storage cabinets to either side of the Meditation Hall entrance, and you are welcome to enter in your socks.
How do I make a donation while at GDCM?
Traditionally monks do not handle
Is there anything to avoid while on the premises?
No smoking, alcohol, or pets on the premises.
What if I make an etiquette mistake?
If you make a mistake don't worry about it. Give yourself a little time and the grace to understand that visiting a Buddhist monastery is like taking a trip to a foreign land, full of history, culture, and tradition. You will learn gradually, and Buddhist etiquette lessons are also engrained in the classes offered every week.