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Chan culture: a way of life for Hangzhou


09-04-2016 21:32 BJT

Full coverage: G20 Hangzhou Summit

Chan, also known as Zen in the West, is one of the divisions of Buddhism (known as Dhyana). When Buddhism came to China 2,000 years ago, there were three main divisions that focused on the 1) studying of the Buddhist texts, 2) on self-discipline, and 3) on training of the mind through meditation, called Chan.

The latest school of Buddhist teaching became very popular because it can be easily practiced by people who were not highly literate and by people who were not necessarily Buddhists or religious.

In everyday meditation that we know, we try to think of things that are positive, imagine beautiful places, and try to be more in tune with our body. But, Chan practices meditation in an attempt to let go of all of our desires (including that for comfort and beauty) and ourselves and thus reaching enlightenment in the process.

In Hangzhou, there is a Lin Yin temple, one of the three oldest (built in year 326) and most famous Buddhist temples in China. The temple belongs to the Chan sect of Chinese Buddhism. But even outside the temple, Chan has become a way of life for people in Hangzhou.

There are some of the best yoga retreats; there are people practicing taichi everywhere; there are tea shops for people to relax and reflect; the food is light and delicate and meant for you to savor; the indigenous Yue Opera is soft and mellifluous and in harmony with the local ambiance. It is not a city where you feel confronted or bombarded with life, but one where you can find and discover the meaning life. It is a very meditative city where people are immersed in Chan.

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