“Meditation sickness” (Chanbing) and modern society: Exploring Master Sheng Yen’s understanding

Ngar Sze Elsa LAU

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Meditation, including vipassanā and mindfulness, have recently becomepopular mind-body-spirit practices in modern society. Possible mind-bodyproblems developed from meditation have also been alerted. Since pre-modernperiod many Chan masters have pointed out the causes and solutions of‘meditation sickness’ (Chanbing). Wrong understanding and meditation practicescan cause problems. Master Sheng Yen, who received Chan meditation teachingsfrom Master Lingyuan, had experienced a 6-year intensive closed retreat. Withhis understanding of the role and application of Chan in modern society, ShengYen set up a meditation centre and started teaching meditation to the Westernersin the United States in the 1970s. He had also promoted Chan to Chinese enthusiasticallyafter establishing Dharma Drum Mountain. Through examining the writings on Chanby Sheng Yen, this paper will explore the understanding of ‘meditation sickness’and solutions by Sheng Yen. Finally it will discuss the similarities and differencesof Sheng Yen’s understanding in the context of Chan lineage. Copyright © 2018 The 7th Chinese Buddhism & Sheng Yen International Conference.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


Lau, N.-S. (2018, June). “Meditation sickness” (Chanbing) and modern society: Exploring Master Sheng Yen’s understanding. Paper presented at The 7th International Chinese Buddhism & Sheng Yen Conference: Narratives, Dissemination, and Modern Society, GIS National Taiwan University Convention Center, Taipei, Taiwan.


  • Contemporary society
  • Chan
  • Chanbing
  • Solutions


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