Chan Newsletter

December 4, 1992 

Practicing Prostrations

[By Chan Master Sheng Yen (Retreat Evening Talk December 4, 1992)] There are four kinds of prostrations. The first kind is for fulfilling wishes. When we prostrate, we ask the buddhas and bodhisattvas to help us. We can do this prostration when we encounter difficulties or misfortune. It can also be done for others. If someone is not doing well, you can prostrate for the Buddha's help. This prostration can also be used to avoid accidents, sickness, or to prolong life.more

December 3, 1992 

Seven-day Retreat Talk (Day 5)

(By Ch'an Master Sheng-yen. Breakfast Talk December 3, 1992.) How do we obtain wisdom? Many practitioners believe Buddhist wisdom comes from enlightenment. So then, how does one become enlightened? Wisdom and enlightenment manifest when your focus changes from the self; when greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, suspicion and doubt, which arise from self-centeredness, no longer manifest. One accomplishes this through methods of practice. more

December 2, 1992 

Seven-day Retreat Talk (Day 4)

(By Ch'an Master Sheng-yen. Morning Talk December 2, 1992.) Later today I will teach you the prostration method. Prostrations are part of Ch'an practice. There are different ways to approach prostrations, one of which is to do repentance prostrations with form. Later, you'll learn formless repentance, as described by the Sixth Patriarch in the Platform Sutra. It is better to start with form and move to formlessness. It would be similar to learning about emptiness before learning ways to cultivate the path of emptiness.more

November 30, 1992 

Seven-day Retreat Talk (Day 3)

(By Ch'an Master Sheng-yen. Morning Talk November 30, 1992.) Today I will talk more on illumination. No matter which method you use -- counting breaths, hua-t'ou, etc -- your attention is to point inward; the light of awareness is to reflect back to illuminate the mind. Therefore, you should know whether or not you are on the method, scattered, or dull. Knowing where you are in relation to these three conditions is itself cultivation of the path.more

November 29, 1992 

Seven-day Retreat Talk (Day 2)

(By Ch'an Master Sheng-yen. Morning Talk November 29, 1992.) In Ch'an, there are three principles of practice. I talked about the first, in part, yesterday. Being neat, orderly, peaceful and harmonious are daily behaviors. This, along with other guidelines, fall under the principle of living in accordance with precepts. The second principle is samadhi, which can be expanded to include meditative methods. How do we use methods to stabilize the mind? Past patriarchs have said that samadhi is none other than the mind.more