Venerable Beishi Guohan (also known as “Old Teacher Tsao”) was born in a village near Taipei, Taiwan in 1951, and got his Master degree in Geological and Geophysical Prospecting at National Taiwan University’s Institute of Oceanography in 1975. He was engaged in oil and gas exploration for about twenty years as an exploration manager for the Chinese Petroleum Corporation.
Venerable Guohan immigrated to Vancouver, B. C. Canada in 1993 and met Chan Patriarch Huikong Shengyan in 1994. He became Patriarch Sheng Yen’s disciple and investigated Chinese Chan for twelve years. Guohan focused first on the investigation of Silent Illumination Chan followed by Huatou Chan. He received the late Sheng Yen’s legitimate transmission of Buddha Mind-Seal for genuinely attaining the Patriarch Chan Dharma in the year 2006. Thereafter, to respectfully act in accordance with the trust Sheng Yen, the Patriarch of Caodong, Linji and Dharma Drum Lineages, had placed in him and in the spirit of “an Heir to Patriarch and a Master of Posterity”, he began to spread the Chan Teachings and lead Chan Retreats throughout Canada.
While investigating Chan, Venerable Guohan was President of the Vancouver Branch of Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association 2001– 2002, and was charged with buying a piece of land to establish the Dharma Drum Mountain Vancouver Centre, which was completed and began operations in 2006. After receiving the Buddha Mind-Seal, he founded the Patriarch/Matriarch Chan community, “Cosmos Chan (Zen) Community”, for the purpose of deeply and widely popularizing Chan in the West, and has begun to distribute the Teachings and guide Retreats of Patriarch/Matriarch Chan all over the world.
Venerable Guohan often reminds Chan practitioners that “Ordinary Mind is Chan” and that they merely have to live their ordinary life with the “Ordinary Mind”. That is to say, if they can only maintain the “Ordinary Mind of Ultimate Pure Awareness” at the very moment in all daily activities, then all their experiences of ordinary life are Chan, and this is exactly the life of true peace, harmony, altruism, and happiness. Meanwhile, this is genuinely the spiritual powers and their subtle functions, and also the marrow of the mind ground of Patriarch/Matriarch Chan. Venerable Guohan has introduced the “Ten Dream-awakening Pictures” to serve as a more detailed annotation of Patriarch Chan enlightenment. The system is introduced in an effort to let Chinese Chan’s realms of realization on the Patriarch/Matriarch path have a fuller, more complete framework.
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- “Beishi”: Chinese “卑詩”; English “British Columbia”