Chan Newsletter

November 12, 1986 

Change and Changelessness

Lecture given Sunday, Nov. 24, 1985 by Master Sheng-Yen.) There is a story of a king called Prasenajit who was 62 years old. He talked to the Buddha, telling him how old he realized he'd become. "I'm getting older not only year after year, but month after month, second after second." And the Buddha asked him, "So you have seen impermanence, but have you seen what is permanent?" The king was unable to answer, so the Buddha said, "Let me give you an example. Do you see the water of the Ganges? more

September 12, 1986 

One and Ten Thousand

A short talk given March 20, 1980 by Master Sheng-Yen.) The Sixth Patriarch said, "It is necessary to explain in ten thousand ways, but all of them, after all, are traced back to one principle". To explain we make use of words, but we know that the Ch'an sect does not rely upon a written or spoken language. So whatever is explained cannot be Ch'an. It could be attempted in 10,000 ways and 10,000 times -- and it would still not be Ch'an.more

August 12, 1986 

Light and Quakes

(Lecture given Sunday, June 23, 1985 by Master Sheng-Yen.) When Buddha expounded the Dharma, he emitted a strong light that radiated through the universe, and he generated six kinds of quakes that shook through all the Buddha worlds. Light is that which can be seen; it represents the hopefulness the Dharma can bring. Quakes can be felt; their motion and vibration represent the energy of the Dharma. These two phenomena are sufficient for the Buddha to express his teaching.more

May 12, 1986 

Supernormal Power

(Lectures given Sunday, June 9 & June 16, 1985 by Master Sheng-Yen.) The emphasis of the Surangama Sutra is on samadhi and the power of samadhi, the concentration of the mind. Through samadhi, the Buddha radiates his power, his teaching. Only through personal realization and experience attained through practice can samadhi be developed. Otherwise, it is impossible to achieve any real power or strength. Simply being associated with a powerful being or receiving the help of a deity is not enough.more

February 12, 1986 

Four Views of Ch’an

(Lecture given by Master Sheng-Yen at the Great Taoist Center in Washington, D.C., November 22, 1985.) Let me begin with a koan. In the T'ang dynasty there was a Ch'an patriarch named Yao-shan Wei-yen. A disciple once asked him, "Before Bodhidharma came to China, was there Ch'an in China?" The Master replied, "Ch'an originally existed in China." "In that case," the disciple continued, "Why did Bodhidharma come to China?" The Master said, "It is precisely because there was Ch'an in China that Bodhidharma came to China."more