Chan Newsletter

February 8, 1990 

Pilgrimage to India

(A talk given by Master Sheng-yen on November 6, 1989.) Today I will tell you about our recent trip to India and some of my thoughts and reflections on our pilgrimage to the country where Buddha was born and where Buddhism began. Why did I want to go to India? What was the need? After all, Buddha's presence is everywhere. Why go somewhere else to find him? And Buddha passed into nirvana 2500 years ago. Buddha no longer exists in the India of today.more

December 8, 1989 

The Sun in the Buddha’s Mind

(Lecture given by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra on January 1, 1989.) Purnamaitrayaniputra, one of Buddha's disciples, seeks to understand the difference between the Buddha's mind and that of ordinary sentient beings. He approaches this problem by asking the Buddha about the four elements: earth, water, fire and wind. He recognizes that these elements are mutually destructive. How can fire and water, for example, and the principles underlying them, exist together in the universe?more

September 8, 1989 

The Sense Organs of Hearing and Smelling

Lecture by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra on November 16, 1986.) I will continue talking about the senses and sense organs as they are discussed in the sutra. Today we will cover hearing and smelling, and show that fundamentally, as we saw with the sense of seeing, there is no substance to these senses. They do not exist in the way that we believe them to exist. The Buddha tells us that hearing itself is the same as True Suchness. True Suchness is motionless. more

August 8, 1989 

The First of the Six Sense Organs: The Eyes From Defilement to Purity

(Lectures by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra, Chapter 3, given on November 2, 1986 and November 9, 1986.) In previous chapters of the sutra the Buddha has spoken about the five skandhas, or aggregates. He has shown that these skandhas have no real existence, yet they are not separate from reality. From the third chapter onward, the Buddha begins to talk about the six entries, the twelve positions, and the eighteen realms. These comprise the material and mental worlds. more

July 16, 1989 

Sun, Moon, Sky, and Sea

(By Master Jen-chun. A talk on the correct attitude of a Mahayana practitioner, given at the Ch'an Meditation Center on July 16, 1989, translated by Ming-yee Wang and edited by Linda Peer.) What is the proper state of mind of a practitioner of Mahayana Buddhism (of which Ch'an is a sect)? The mental state of the Mahayana practitioner should be like the sun, the sky, and the ocean.more