Author  DRBU staff

DRBU organized the spring Contemplative Exercise Immersion (CEI) on reciting Guan Yin’s name. Find out what our BA1 students have to share about their first Guan Yin retreat.

Patrick Chin (BA’ 27)

Let’s be frank here, my experience with the Guan Yin CEI was tense, irritating, boring and a lot of emotions arose from it, yet I wouldn’t have done anything differently. A quote that it reminds me of is, “One must go down to the ashes before rising like a phoenix.” In order to be better cultivators we need to stir up and have these things arise before we can be still. I can say for sure that this Guan Yin CEI was much easier than any Chan or Vipassana that I’ve tried because even though I wasn’t consciously aware of it, a lot of introspection and processing was turning inside. It’s honestly amazing what chanting as a community can do. I’ve felt this compassion with myself as well as with my peers around me after CEI. I’ve taken reciting Guan Yin as my practice and signed up for the full CTTB Guan Yin retreat.

Saipriya Vallabi (BA’ 27)

Amid the busy schedule, I found unexpected illumination during my second CEI experience. Having missed my inaugural CEI, I approached this second chance with a mixture of apprehension and determination. Little did I know that within the stillness of meditation lay the seeds of profound transformation.

As I surrendered to the rhythm of my breath, I felt the weight of unknown thoughts, replaced by a sense of newfound clarity and purpose. In this sacred space of introspection, I discovered a reservoir of inner strength and resilience waiting to be tapped.

With each passing session, I felt myself undergo a subtle yet profound metamorphosis—a shedding of old habits and beliefs and an emergence into a newfound sense of self-awareness and empowerment. The once daunting prospect of contemplative study now beckoned me with open arms, inviting me to explore the depths of my own consciousness.

Guided by the wisdom of classical texts on Guan Yin and Yogacara and the gentle guidance and experience of professors, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery that transcended the boundaries of my previous experience with CEI. What had initially seemed like a huge mountain rock now revealed itself as a sacred pilgrimage—a chance to unearth the hidden treasures of my own soul.

As I reflect on my transformation, I am filled with gratitude for the profound impact of contemplative study on my life. My notion of CEI has evolved from one of the debris rock to one of the divine rock with Guan Yin as the form—a transformative journey of self-discovery that continues to unfold with each passing moment. I still remember Reverend Heng Sure’s advice on my inner subconscious, and Professor Doug Power’s Q&A session on forgiveness.