Chan Newsletter

June 8, 1989 

Five Skandhas: False and Unreal

(Lecture delivered by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra, July 13, 1986.) Today's passage from the Sutra speaks about the five skandhas. Also known as the five aggregates, together they constitute what is commonly considered to be the self or ego. The five skandhas are form (Skt: rupa), sensation (vedana), perception or conception (sanjna), impulse, volition, or activation (samskara), and consciousness (vijnana). There are many lines in this passage and the Buddhas uses a number of analogies, but there is essentially one point.more

April 8, 1989 

Individual and Collective Karma

(Lecture given by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra, June 15, 1986.) In the selection of the sutra that we have read today, there are two basic issues, individual and collective karma, and the wrong views or delusions that generate and are generated by these two kinds of karma. Some part of what you view the world to be is composed of those things unique to you as an individual. This affects your individual, specific karma.more

February 8, 1989 

Nature, or Spontaneity, and Causes and Conditions

(Lecture given by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra, June 9, 1986.) Reasoning by his worldly sense, Ananda is puzzled about the nature of the self. Where, he wonders, is the self revealed? Can it be found in the nature of the senses themselves? Is the self manifested in the nature of seeing, for example? The Buddha explains to Ananda that this quest for the self is in vain. Ananda is still confused by the "outer path" views of "natural existence" and "true self."more

November 8, 1988 

False and True Self

Lecture given by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama on June 1, 1986.) Ananda asks the Buddha about the nature of the self. Is there an all-encompassing ego, a true self, that unites everyone in the world, or is there a self at all? I'm going to talk about this question, and discuss how it is dealt with by "outer path" systems of thought and religion, and how it is dealt with by Buddhism.more

October 8, 1988 

A Second Moon

(Lecture given by Master Sheng-yen on the Surangama Sutra, May 11, 1986.) Most people believe that theirs is the correct point of view. If over time they see that what they believe to be true is false, they will alter their opinion, and come to believe their new, reevaluated point of view to be correct. There is, of course, progress in this process, where old views are continually discarded; but when do we have the correct viewpoint?more