Chan Newsletter

May 31, 1993 

The Four Elements (Lecture on Surangama Sutra)

(Lecture given by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra on June 14, 1987.) In this section of the Surangama Sutra, we learn about the four elements. In Chinese culture, there are two entirely different definitions of the four elements. Most Chinese people are acquainted with only one: drinking, women, money and wrath. You can easily pick these up from Chinese novels and plays, and they have nothing to do with the sutras. The four elements according to the Buddhist Sutras are earth, air, wind and fire.more

March 31, 1993 

Earth Element (Lecture on Surangama Sutra)

(Lecture given by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra on June 21, 1987.) Last Sunday I began speaking about the four elements, literally translated as the "four greats." Today we will concentrate on the first element, earth, and the question of its true existence. There are many descriptions and analogies given in this passage from the Surangama Sutra that we are reading today, but they all point to the same thing: the non-existence of the element of earth.more

December 31, 1992 

The 18 Realms (Lecture on Surangama Sutra)

(Lecture given by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra on May 3, 1987.) I began speaking about the 18 realms last week. As you may remember, this refers to the sense organ, sense object, and sense consciousness of each of the six senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, and thinking. Note also that the Chinese word for "realm" has more than one meaning. Besides "definition," "specification," or "domain," it can also have the meaning of "dharma body," "phenomena," or "activity."more

December 5, 1992 

Seven-day Retreat Talk (Day 7)

(By Ch'an Master Sheng-yen. Morning Talk December 5, 1992.) As the retreat ends, I wish to tell everyone that spiritual health is much more important than physical health, and that wealth of the mind is a greater fortune than material wealth. I am not saying that physical health and material wealth are unimportant, just less important. We understand the concept of health by knowing what is unhealthy. Overeating or not eating enough is unhealthy. Being too cold or too hot is unhealthy. more

December 4, 1992 

Seven-day Retreat Talk (Day 6)

(By Ch'an Master Sheng-yen. Morning Talk December 4, 1992.) There are many reasons practitioners do not attain the Way or derive much benefit from cultivation of the path. Two big reasons are lack of determination and perseverance. It's like when you travel to a destination you've never been to before. It seems far away and to take forever to get there. People who have never seen their self-nature can be impatient in their desire to experience it.more