Chan Newsletter

May 15, 1985 

Esoteric and Exoteric Buddhism

(Lecture delivered by Master Sheng-yen on Sunday, December 9, 1984.) The Surangama Sutra is collected in the Tripitaka in the Tantra section. So it would seem that the sutra belongs to the esoteric sect of Tantra. But we are not Tantric practitioners, nor are we part of an esoteric sect. Why then would I chose to lecture on this sutra? To answer this question we must understand the origin of the sutra, why Buddha gave it to us. Buddha was responding to a problem that beset Ananda, his disciple. more

March 15, 1985 

Daily Practice and Intensive Practice

(Lecture delivered by Master Sheng-yen on Sunday, November 4, 1984.) Today I will speak about two different kinds of practice: practice in daily life and practice during a specific time and at a specific place -- as in a retreat, for example. Many people have spoken to me about the problem of maintaining their practice. One practitioner said, "I've been listening to the Dharma for many years, and I have been practicing very hard. But it seems to me that whenever vexations arise, I'm unable to get rid of them. So it seems to me that my practice has been useless."more

February 15, 1985 

No Anger or Love between Master and Disciple

(Lecture delivered by Master Sheng-yen on Sunday, November 4, 1984.) A practitioner should not feel proud if a master thinks highly of him, wishes to accept him, and shows affection for him. If he is driven away by the master, the disciple should feel no hatred. Similarly, the master himself should not feel proud, even if he is surrounded by many disciples. Nor should he feel unhappy if all his disciples leave; they run away simply because they are not worthy.more

December 15, 1984 

Ch’an Sickness (II)

(Continuation of lecture delivered by Master Sheng-yen on Sunday, June 24, 1984.) I will now discuss two important rules, or precepts which a practitioner should follow in order to maintain a correct attitude toward practice. These precepts are first, to refrain from claiming that one has reached enlightenment, and second, to take enlightenment, or Nirvana as the goal of practice. It is important that you never say that you have already achieved enlightenment.more

November 15, 1984 

Ch’an Sickness (I)

(Lecture delivered by Master Sheng-Yen on Sunday, June 24, 1984.) This talk continues the discussion begun two weeks ago concerning the four kinds of erroneous attachments to the four characteristics: self, others, sentient beings, and life. At that time, I gave a general explanation of the four characteristics. I said that all four characteristics result from attachment to the sense of self. Last week, I examined these characteristics from the perspective of the practitioner. more