The American public is becoming increasingly interested in the ancient spiritual tradition of Chan Buddhism, known as “Zen” in Japanese, which flourished in China around 700 A.D. Since then it has provided the spiritual nourishment for countless people, and is particularly suited to help with the everyday stresses and issues we encounter in Western living.
Zen Buddhism teaches how to attain inner peace and uncover the inherent wisdom, or “Buddha nature”, within each person. This is the nature we find upon enlightenment. In Christian traditions we may call this "God Within" or God Nature," or other names. Each spiritual tradition gives it a different name. Becoming disillusioned with the emptiness of material gains, or ridden by stress and anxiety in the fast pace of modern living, many are turning to Buddhism, which takes the belief that people suffer because of the greed, anger, and ignorance of true reality in all of us. By probing into our own minds and understanding the nature of our afflictions, we can attain true inner peace, regardless of what happens externally. Chan meditation is one effective way that helps us achieve this goal, and its meditation practices have been adopted and re-named by other religions.
Scientific research supports the fact that significant brain improvement takes place with regular meditation, and more importantly it purifies and brings clarity to the mind. We need to make sure that we thoroughly understand how to meditate correctly to achieve these results, and we have the support of our Zen Masters to teach us.
To bring the Buddha’s compassion and wisdom to America, Grand Master Wei Chueh in Puli, Taiwan sent Venerable Jian Hu and four other Dharma teachers across the Pacific Ocean in October 2000 to establish the first overseas branch of Chung Tai Chan Monastery in the U.S. Since then, numerous Zen centers and monasteries in the U.S. have opened. In addition, Las Vegas cultivators have formed a meditation and study group and have met weekly since September, 2009 with the support of Ven. Jian Hu who is Abbott of Chung Tai Chan Zen Center of Sunnyvale (www.ctzen.org/sunnyvale). He regularly travels to Las Vegas and also provides live interactive classes for us through the Internet. We meet every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for meditation and pre-recorded lectures on various sutras, currently the Satipatthana Sutra, actually a Theravada Sutra but foundational for Mahayana practice. We meet at the Lohan School of Shaolin's Spiritual and Cultural Center, 3850 Schiff Drive, Las Vegas. We regularly take part in live, interactive classes over the Internet at other times and locations as well, also preceded by meditation.
Our teacher, Ven. Jian Hu, understands Western culture and speaks impeccable English, having come to the U.S. at age 14, attending Bonanza High School, and eventurally earning a degree in computer science from California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Computer Science at University of California, San Diego before renouncing worldly desires and studying under the auspices of venerable Chan Master Wei Chueh. Ven. Jian Hu and others of our teachers were honored to present Dharma talks in December, 2009 at the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, Australia. The Dalai Lama was also a presenter there at the same parliament. The Parliament brings together the world's major religions and is held every four years in a major international city (2013 in Germany). The slide show of his presentaton is on the website. Our local group's activites are updated regularly at www.zenbuddhismlasvegas.com.
In Las Vegas, we will help you learn to meditate and cultivate the Dharma, regardless of your religion, culture or faith. We have members who integrate this practice with Christianity. Our Zen Masters are highly educated and devoted to helping us with our practice. From beginning meditation and study, to explanation and teaching of the profound Dharma in the sutras, we have access to all of this right here in Las Vegas.
To learn more about our group's teachers, we suggest you visit www.ctzen.org/sunnyvale and follow the links. Also, at the left of the Sunnyvale home page, you can see "Classes and Events" (that we can connect to live in Las Vegas), learn about Ven. Jian Hu under "The Zen Center," (see Dharma Masters) and find many Dharma lectures under "Dharma Gems." There are also opportunities on the site's links to learn all about Grand Master Wei Chueh, the founder of Chung Tai Chan Monastery (CTCM) and a video about CTCM in Taiwan.
You are very welcome to come and see what we have to offer. We know you will find these teachings to be simple, yet profound, with clear guidance for living in our modern age. And of course anyone, (again) regardless of religion or belief, can benefit from our meditation practice.
To end, we will leave you with a quote from Grand Master Wei Chueh: "If we practice the Way step-by-step, constantly cultivate blessings and wisdom, unify samadhi and wisdom, and employ both compassion and discernment, we will become just like the Buddha, attaining perfection in all virtues, blessings, samadhi, and wisdom." You can check other "Words of Wisdom of the Grand Master" on the Sunnyvale website.