Courses News

Course: The Universal Door Of Guanyin Bodhisattva: From Seeking To Becoming Compassion (2nd Run)

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Feedback From 1st & 2nd Runs:

Dear Shi’an, am full of gratitude and 法喜 (Dharma joy) to attend another one of your well-researched Dharma courses. Truly appreciate the length and depth you have obviously gone through to present to your course attendees as complete a picture as possible on the background, context and significance of the Dharma with lively and interesting delivery. Really helped me to absorb and make sense of the often very ‘chim’ (profound), sometimes seemingly repetitive sutras. For this Universal Door Chapter, I was especially excited to learn about the extended gathas in Sanskrit which referred to Pure Land and Amituofo. I shared this ‘discovery’ immediately with my Mum who is very familiar with the sutra, having memorised and recited it many times, but she too, never knew about the extension. I hope to attend another run of this course in the future, for I am sure I had not taken in everything you had shared with us yet and there will be more discoveries to be made! Amituofo! Suzanne (静慧)

Teacher Shi’an, your session last night was helpful to me and Lee Lian in recomposing ourselves in the midst of busy work schedules. Both of us have been quite overwhelmed by work these few weeks. The session reminded us to realign ourselves and to recognise impermenance in life. Refreshing and recharging. Thanks much! – Teng Leng

Thanks for the organising and teaching this course. It has been interesting and meaningful, especially when Pumenpin is something which I had no knowledge of initially. I am glad that Shi’an had been patient, slowly guiding the class with his examples and lessons. Thank you once again! Amituofo, Albert

Dear Bro Shi’an, thanks for sharing the wondrous Dharma. Amituofo, Geok Choo

So far, I have been enjoying your classes and I look forward to learning more from you. – Sam

‘I’m so glad I joined your class, and wish I have time to sign up for all your classes.’ – Hwee

‘There is no better way to learn about Pu Men Pin, especially if you are more English oriented.’ – Amituofo, Rick

‘Hi Shi’an, appreciate your teaching, which has been enriching and refreshing… Thank you and I am really glad to have had the opportunity to attend your teaching.’ – Regards, Mee Nah

‘The lesson tonight has further reinforced my faith in the path again. Thanks again!’ – Lam

‘The lessons are good and it has been very interesting coupled with the short videos. Thank you for the sharing.’ – Min

‘Very interesting class! Hope you can have it in Mandarin.’ – Jo

‘Thanks to teacher Shi’an for conducting Dharma courses in a mixture of English and Mandarin, especially for those of us who are not proficient in Chinese. We benefited a lot from this class. Thanks again.’ – Leng

‘So far, I have enjoyed your lessons a lot and they have definitely benefited me in terms of my understanding of Buddhism.’ – Alex

‘Congratulations for a successful run of the “The Universal Door of Guanshiyin Pusa… Thank you very much.’ – Best regards, Peter

‘Dear Bro Shi’an, thank you for your excellent Dharma sharing.’ – Linda

Some Feedback From Other Courses:

“Dharma Teacher Shi’an is very sincere and earnest in delivery of his courses. Always filled with many interesting and creative analogies or metaphors to let us have a better idea and understanding. The various creative media used and implementation of the element of humour brings the Dharma classes alive without boredom, very often allowing me to feel inspired and invigorated with renewed energy after the lessons. Really appreciate the amount of effort Teacher Shi’an put into preparing his classes. Hope that the work of Teacher Shi’an will continue and benefit more of us!” – Ricky

“The course was taught in a manner which could be easily comprehended by someone with minimal knowledge of Buddhism. Thank you for your efforts in motivating all participants by making the lessons interesting through sharing of real stories, and for relentless encouragement of us to nianfo. 功德无量! Amituofo.” – Jos

“I enjoyed all the 10 lessons. They were all excellent and I have gain much knowledge.” – Gerald

“Thank you very much for your class. I have learned very much from you and it inspires me to want to practise more. Thank you.” – Fucai

“I feel that your frequent use of examples to illustrate your points is very useful to me, especially as a beginner who find some topics rather abstract. It is also these examples used that makes the lessons interesting…” – Danny

“Thank you very much for having these sessions. Hope to see you again.” – Amituofo, Alex

“Hi Shi’an, appreciate very much for your teaching. The lessons are really valuable. The materials are well prepared and carefully written. They are very useful for recap. Initially I was quite hesitant to register for the course. I thought I would probably drop out mid way because it was on Saturday – a day when my work schedules are tight, and the location [Kong Meng San for 10th Run] is quite inconvenient for me.. but your lessons were really so knowledgeable and interesting, that I wouldn’t want to miss them. In fact, I had been looking forward to them. Among all, I found that the topic about the interruption between each life [due to death]… to somewhat have an awakening effect on me. Since then, I have started to nianfo everyday, and it has been consistently carried out for 3 weeks! I hope I have all the time to continue the practice and be mindful of Buddha every moment. I will recommend your teachings to my friends and family members.” – Thanks & Regards, Mee Nah

“Thank you very much for your sharing of Pure Land practice. I have enjoyed every session of the course. I had supposed it to be a serious and dull subject. However, you had made it interesting and fun through your jokes and excellent illustrations. Unfortunately, I missed the last session due to a family commitment. The course structure flowed very well and is very suitable for a layperson to understand Pure Land Buddhism in a progressive manner. Your constant encouragement to get us to clarify our doubts through email [and in person] was very useful. Now, I have a much better understanding of Pure Land practice. I look forward to furthering my understanding and practice on Pure Land Buddhism. Thank you once again.” – Amituofo, Lar Kee

“Thank you for the teaching and sharing of experiences. I also like to thank Brother Steven for sharing his experience with all of us. It showed us how someone practised what was learnt.” – Amituofo, Lisa

“Dear Bro. Shi’an, ‘The Gift of Truth Excels All Other Gifts.’ Thank you for sharing the Pure Land Teachings with us. You have delivered the teachings in a very concise, interesting and creative manner. We enjoyed the lessons very much and have benefitted a lot from them. We are glad to have an excellent Dharma teacher like you in the Buddhist world. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! Amituofo!” – With appreciation, Tuck Khuen, Amy, Ivy, Doris & Joey

‘Very informative and lively lessons. Lecturer Shen makes the wonder.’ – Huan Xi

‘My wife and I were there. I must say that you are extremely engaging; there was never a dull moment in the 2 hours (of each lesson)… It has been really enriching and enlightening…’ – Teng Leng

‘I enjoy your teaching and your jokes to keep us awake… haha.’ – Regards, Tracy

‘拨歪导正,引领群迷’ – Zhi Hai

‘I have enjoyed every session of your interesting teaching so far. And I am sure I will continue to enjoy the rest too.’ – Lar Kee

‘I must say I have been enjoying your classes very much and I find the stories inspiring.’ – Yin Fong

‘I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that I enjoy attending your Saturday evening classes…’ – Yalin

‘Thank you for the series of good and beneficial courses. Really enjoyed them and now have a better understanding of Amituofo… The pace and the build-up of the sessions is good, and you have made it very easy to follow and understand. Thank you for making them so lively and wonderful!’ – Camilly

‘It is great that you are committed to the propagation of the Dharma (and I must say that you do have a ‘gift’ for making it accessible)… I hope you will continue the good work in propagating the Dharma in the simple and interesting way that is characteristic of your style. With the Greatest Bodhicitta, William

‘Your teachings thus far has raised my faith factor and I am grateful to you for your sharing… I appreciate your generous sharing of the Dharma Teachings. It is indeed a very admirable deed. May the merits of the Triple Gem continue to bless you. I found your teachings educational, and to have enhanced my spiritual life.’ – Jenny

‘Thanks for sharing about Amituofo… Your lessons keep people coming back. Congrats for your great job!’ – Jina 

“I am in your class. I like the way you teach – very funny and not boring. Otherwise, I can fall asleep quite fast!” – Diana

“Dear Teacher Shi’an, I would like to thank you for sharing your [email] write-up… I truly enjoy reading it and understand Buddhism better. Appreciate your constant sharing with us.” – Eliza

“Thank you so much for teaching us about Amituofo and Pure land. Truthfully speaking, I was amazed and didn’t expect that there’s so many teachings for the above.” – Silvi

“8 lessons had attended (so far), I had turn with conviction. Thanks.” – Andrew

“This is rare opportunity hearing a good Dharma session about the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha. Please accept my deepest bow and true appreciation of what you have organized.” – Hardy

Enjoyable class and topic. Always looked forward to Saturdays because of the class. Thank you! – KM Teo

“I would like to thank you very much for your tireless teaching during your stay in Jakarta. The seminar really gave me a whole new perspective on Buddhism… I couldn’t have made a better decision than registering. A lot of the teachings were affirmative and complementing of what I’ve understood about Buddhism so far.” – William

“I had the impression that it would be a ‘dry’ and boring class initially. Thank Buddha you have the ability to make us giggle or laugh during class. It is a ‘good investment’ to sign up for your class.” – Irene

“Thanks for the very interesting sessions. It has been an enjoyable experience attending your class… Thanks for the very inspiring 10 sessions.” – Bee Lay

“Dear Brother Shi’an, We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to you for conducting the Amitabha Sutra class. You are able to explain the sutra clearly and have provided excellent examples and illustrations. My husband, Lawrence, and I, together with our friends truly enjoy your class and we have gained a better understanding Amitabha Sutra. We also want to thank the volunteers for manning the registration booth every Saturday and the ushers… Once again, thank you for your excellent teaching.  Rejoice. Namo Amituofo!” – Lay Ling & Lawrence

“The Amitabha Sutra class that you are conducting is really Great, Informative, Enlightening and Beneficial. We start to appreciate the Sutra and Buddha’s Teaching more…  Amituofo.” – Choon Fah

“Thanks very much for weeks of enlightening and insightful edutainment. The ‘before/after effect’ (like Marie France) of Pureland teachings is indeed profound. I must say I’ve progressed rapidly in ‘faith, vows and practice’, thanks to your passionate and generous sharing.” – Han

“Thank you for the insightful answers! I look forward to Lesson 2 this Saturday.”  – Amituofo, Yong Guan

“I should also thank you because you have inspired me to spread these wonderful Dharma especially about the Pureland to more people.” – Amituofo, Huan Ghee

“Ha ha ha u are a funny guy. Every time during the class, we look at your action and the way u give us example really make me laugh. Tks and keep up the good job.” – Sherlis

“U r one of the best teachers I ever seen.” – Maggie

“Creative presentation… Very motivated and knowledgeable.” – Brenda

“Very relevant, very well-researched, very informative, knowledgeable and inspiring.” – AL Lim

“Instructor is very very very good.” – KH Lee

“Very applicable [lessons]… He [teacher] knows how to relate to people and make suitable analogies.” – Lay Eng

“Teaching is very lively, interesting, [and teacher is] knowledgeable.” – Irene Ng

“[Teacher is] very skilful and very knowledgeable.” – Lay Keow

“[Teacher is] approachable, knowledgeable and helpful.” – CC Lim

“[Teacher] interacts with the audience well.” – Melvin

“[Teacher is] very resourceful and speaks clearly. [Course is] very informative. I am glad I attended this course. I found my spiritual goal.” – Meow Lin

“Interesting mix of visuals, videos, testimonials, slides and co-relation between the different [Buddhist] practices.” – Suzanne

“Use of analogies and examples help for understanding concepts. Testimonials help to to strengthen faith. Use of graphics and videos make the contents more interesting.” – Rebecca

“Good introduction, especially to the curious.” – HH Lau

“Very informative… It’s interesting to listen again [by attending again in future].” – Nicole

“[Teacher is] very skilful, informative and interesting… Very good, should make it more lessons.” – CF Lim

“The course has let me know more about Amitabha Buddha and his Pure Land and increased by faith more and more.” – Ruth

“Great. Thank you.” – Cathy

“[Teacher is] relatable, able to explain concepts well. [Course is] informative, entertaining and interesting.” – Wei Ting

“Good knowledge and enthusiasm demonstrated. Good research and presentation…” “Thank you for your kind effort in promoting Pure Land practice. Amituofo!” – Anon8

“Keep up the good work – sure go Pure Land.” – FS Lam

“[Teacher is] very good, experienced, able to explain things in simple concise manner, and is friendly and approachable…” “Look forward to more of such courses in English. Well done!” – LK Loh

“[Teacher is] well versed in Buddhism and able to explain clearly.” – SH Voon

“His passion and compassion for the Pure Land teaching is very evident!” – LH Heng

“[Lessons] flow smoothly with ample examples… [Teacher is] knowledgeable and proficient.” – CH Kok

“Well presented. [Teacher] has passion for whatever he is teaching.” – Siying

“Very comprehensive notes complemented by informative emails. Excellent teacher. Teacher Shi’an is a very dedicated teacher. He is able to relate the sutra to us in an easy-to-understand manner. The lessons flow very well and are well paced.” – Lay Ling & Lawrence

“[Teacher is] very skilful, passionate and knowledgeable. This is a very good course. It helped to clarify a lot of my doubts and strengthened my faith.” – VM Ho

“[Teacher is] humorous and adorable.” – WK Koh

“Just want to let you know that I have enjoyed your 10 lessons on Understanding Amituofo. I now have a better understanding about Buddhism. I am looking forward to your new classes, please let me know the dates and place when available.” – Josephine Yap

“The instructor is very motivational and impactful.” – Meilin

“I think your lessons are very much well prepared. You have done much research. I can understand that it is difficult to do that. Well done! What matters most to me is the content. And you are humourous and friendly as well. Excellent!” – PS Chan

“Thank you for an educational and interactive first lesson. Fresh perspective and insight gained. My hubby and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Look forward to the next class. We enjoy every lesson. The path to Pure Land is simple and fuss free. Coming from the past 15 years of Theravada Buddhist teachings’ background, this is refreshing and would certainly add depth on our Dharma pursuits. We have never had a structured and systematic education on Buddhism of any branch although all our lives we are connected to it from birth. The laoshi (teacher) Shen Shi’an is engaging, witty and knowledgeable. Teacher is very well prepared, eloquent, knowledgeable and systematic. – Lye Wai Fun

“I really enjoy the class. Thanks for making the class interesting and engaging.” – Hazel

“Thank you for conducting the class on Pureland Buddhism. It was funny yet insightful.” – Louisa

“Information is well put across in a congruent and easy to absorb and systematic manner.” – Tingji

“Thanks for delivering such an interesting presentation that is beneficial for us to have a better fundamental understanding of Buddhism. The organising committee is very committed to make this class a success, and tried their best to provide a conducive environment for the participants.” – Yong Leow

“[The teacher is] very knowledgeable.” – Candy

“Many thanks for your interesting lesson at the Amitabha Sutra class yesterday. I enjoyed it thoroughly.” – Kok Leong

“The trainer has done an excellent job in bringing Mahayana teachings to English-speaking Buddhists. He is able to dispel the myth that Chinese Buddhism is suitable only to illiterate old men and women. May the trainer be able to help more sentient beings to contact the teachings. May Buddhas and Bodhisattvas support him in his endeavor.” – Anon3

“It was an enlightening session for the lesson that you have conducted today. Thank you for imparting the knowledge on the ‘crash course’ (on Buddhism for the first lesson). Things I learn in your lesson today: To re-ignite my compassion to all beings, including those that I previously do not like due to heavy office politics. Your passion in Buddhism that energised my learnings. It was another informative session yesterday and I can understand the concept well, through your interesting presentation.” – Jeffrey

“[The teacher] is lively and can sustain attention.” – Anon4

“There are many comparisons to our daily lives to reinforce learning.” – Anon1

“This is a great course. I am thankful for this affinity that led me to this course and enable me to start walking the spiritual path.” – Anon2

“[The teacher] can explain very well!” – Bee Ting

“[The teacher is] well researched and well prepared.”– Jono

“Instructor allows us to email him questions in doubt which benefits beginners.”– Anon5

“Yes, very good and very relevant. You have also made it very interesting.” – Pearly

“[The teacher is] knowledgeable and humorous. The course is very informative and interesting.”– Anon6

“[The teacher is] a well learned practitioner.”– Richard

“Very engaging style of presentation.”– Anon7

“Straight to the point with good illustrations.”– Lam

“I enjoyed the first lesson yesterday night as you were an engaging and humourous teacher. Thanks.”– Yingying

“Many thanks for the inspiring sharing on 10 July.”– Hui Ping

“I find the course informative and delivered in an interesting manner.”– CH

“Many thanks, Shi’an! It was a very fruitful learning experience! Amitoufo!” – Jennifer

“Must tell you that we enjoy your class. It is very comprehensive, with easy to understand and lively presentation.”– Rita

“Your clarion call on high importance and high urgency of learning the route to Pureland was depicted with a ‘think out of the box’ (manner) effectively. Witty dialogue on the multi-purpose use of Amituofo’s name remains vividly in my mind. Leaves us much to practice. Thank you for being a wonderful teacher by bringing the Dharma to us in a simple, interesting and fun way. In all the classes, we had been educated and entertained! It was the very first time that we ever attended a structured course, though we are ‘Buddhists” all our lives. Lessons were joyfully taught by a highly knowledgeable and energetic instructor who engaged your attention and captivated your imagination by the power of interesting visuals and sometimes comical parables.” – Lye Wai Fun

“Dear Bro Shi’an, I really enjoy your class on Amituofo. Learn many things everytime I go for the class. Today’s testimonial is also really inspiring! Amituofo” – Tiong Han

“Brother Shi’an, You are a great teacher; your teachings alone are a tremendous inspiration to those like me who have good karmic affinity to listen to you. You sold and I bought the ticket to Pureland on the very first lesson in March last year. That’s how inspiring you are! Thank you. 阿弥陀佛 _()_ ” – Steven

“Thanks for the guidance. I have re-evaluated your advice and implemented it. The outcome is encouraging. Thank you for your statement that kept me motivated and not giving up. Thanks for making a difference in our lives.” – Jeffrey

“Hi Shi’an, I want to thank you for giving me better insights of the sutra, as well as instilling in me more faith. I am very thankful that I have the opportunity to attend your class. It is very difficult to find good English Buddhist classes and interesting teachers. I hope you can conduct more classes so we English educated ones would not miss the opportunity to understand and appreciate the Buddhist teaching and to reach Pure Land. Your class is super, never one moment boring and time just flies. I wish it never ends. Every moment is motivating, interesting, soft-selling but never forcing, well presented and delivered. Very good visual and presentation material. I believe that only those with faith and passion like you could conduct such classes. Academics would present and speak without conviction, but your easy style and passion makes the class alive, interesting and motivating. Shi’an good job!! Please don’t stop, we need your guidance. Thank you again.” – Amituofo, Pauline

About Shen Shi’an 沈时安: An independent Buddhist teacher, writer, poet, translator and editor, he was one of the founding members of the Dharma Propagation Division of Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (Bright Hill Temple in Singapore) in 1997. Holding an MA in Buddhist Studies, which covered the major Buddhist traditions, he served as a Dharma Trainer and Project Coordinator in its Community Development & Training Department until 2011, focusing on Buddhist research, writing, teaching and answering of media queries. He was the founder of the temple’s Youth Mission (now ‘KMS Youth’), a book purchaser for its Awareness Place project, and the Chief Editor of the Web (and Library) Department, which co-supported, a popular Buddhist education website.

He is the founder and editor of since 1997, one of the world’s largest independent Buddhist inspirational e-newsletters with over 29,000 members, the editor of ‘Be a Lamp Upon Yourself’, ‘The Stonepeace Book’ (Volume 1 & 2), ‘Awaken: Gateway to Buddhism’ and the writer of ‘The Daily Enlightenment (Book 1-5)’ and ‘The Amazing & Amusing Adventures of Sam & Sara: The Zen of All Kinds of Stuff!’ He also contributes occasionally to magazines such as ‘Nanyang Buddhist’, ‘Awaken’ (for which he was a Contributing Editor), ‘For You (Information)’, and ‘Eastern Horizon’. He served with the film selection team of a Buddhist film festival, writes movie reviews for, the world’s leading Buddhist news network, and popularised Dharma@Cinema, which is an innovative way of sharing the Dharma through detailed reviews and discussions of both popular and offbeat films.

Specialising in the Pure Land teachings, he has taught the subject at Singapore Buddhist Federation, Kong Meng San, Pu Ji Si Buddhist Research Centre and Poh Ming Tse, while leading an ongoing weekly Pureland Practice Fellowship. He is also occasionally invited to conduct Dharma discussions for youths of tertiary institutions’ Buddhist societies (NUSBS, NTUBS, SIMBB, NYPBS, NPBS) on various subjects, and to introduce Buddhist life perspectives at Secondary Schools (St. Patrick’s School, Manjusri School), Junior Colleges (Catholic Junior College) and International Schools (UWCSEA, SJII).

He was also invited to share on Buddhism by Dharma Drum Mountain (Singapore), Fo Guang Shan (Singapore), Tai Pei Buddhist Centre, Singapore Buddhist Mission Youth, Singapore Buddhist Youth Mission, Wat Ananda Youth, Buddha of Medicine Welfare Society, Buddhist Fellowship, The Buddhist Union and Kampung Senang. He has also been invited to Indonesia and Malaysia to teach.

He was a committee member of the Inter-Religious Organisation, through which he served in interfaith harmony projects by writing and giving of public talks. He has represented Buddhist points of view at governmental events conducted by NACLI, NHB, NHG, SAF, SPF, MHA, ACM, SPM, STB,, IRCC and MCYS.

He also co-runs, which is a community blog that promotes creative sharing of Buddhism via thousands of articles. He can be reached at tde [@] for invitations to share the Dharma via talks and classes.

Interview In Buddhist Magazine:


  • May I know why this sutra is short but it requires 10 lessons to explain this sutra?

  • My mother tells me not to waste time attending these seminars and might as well use the time to chant sutras because time is precious. Whats ur take on this?

  • Without sufficient understanding through systematic learning, the chanting might be going through motion, thus leading to less fruitful results. This then becomes the real waste of time. It is always better to chant with understanding than without, though understanding might very slowly arise for the latter through repeated chanting.

  • Thanks 24F8. Even though I already memorise the whole sutra but I dont understand some of the god names. Maybe the teacher will enlighten me on this.

  • Hi,

    May I know if you can start the class earlier like 7pm -9pm so we can go home earlier as tomorrow we have to go to school or work?

  • Hi Aloha,

    Thank you for your suggestion. I would prefer to start and end earlier too. However, am afraid the timing can’t be changed due to the following reasons –

    (1) The course starts next week and participants who have signed up did so according to the stated timing.

    (2) More participants, from experience, prefer the stated timing due to work, dinner and transport time needed. Some participants even rush to turn up later than 7.30pm. (Many other courses in the same centre, in fact, begin at 7.45pm due to requests from participants.)

    Perhaps you can bring a book along to read for the 30min difference? Hope you can join us!

    Happy CNY 😀

  • Hi Shian,

    I cannot attend this 2nd session but I will try to attend the next one. I dont wanna miss such an interesting topic by a wonderful teacher like you.

  • Hi Aloha, thank you for your interest in the course! Do look out for the next round in 2014. Amituofo

  • may i know what is the difference between 咒 and 经? why some people focus on 咒 and some on 经 and some chant both 咒 and 经?

  • When teachers have various courses lined up, it’s not surprising that some are held only once annually.

    咒 is mantra, short summations of teachings. 经 is sutra, full teachings. As the first is harder to comprehend by itself, the latter is recited too.

  • Hi, can I check if you will still start a class on The Universal Door of Guanyin Bodhisattva?
    Many thanks, May

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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