Chan Newsletter

January 12, 1986 

Two Perspectives of the Mind

(Lecture given Sunday, July 21, 1985 by Master Sheng-Yen.) In an earlier lecture I spoke about Buddha's explanation to Ananda in the Surangama Sutra of the two perspectives, or views, of the mind. There is only one mind, but there are two basically different ways to look at it. The first perspective is that of the mind of ordinary sentient beings. This is the mind of attachment, the mind which keeps us moving between birth and death, the mind which creates all dharmas, all phenomena.more

November 12, 1985 

The Three Levels of the Mind and the Six Sense Organs

(Lecture given Sunday, January 20, 1985 by Master Sheng-Yen.) In the Surangama Sutra the Buddha continues to question Ananda as to why he chose to follow him. As we have learned in earlier lectures, it was the Buddha's thirty-two excellent characteristics that first attracted Ananda. The Buddha then leads Ananda to discover that it was the working of his eyes and his mind which aroused admiration in him and caused him to follow the Buddha. The Buddha asks Ananda where his mind and his eyes are. more

September 12, 1985 

Three Kinds of Beauty

(Lecture delivered by Master Sheng-yen on Sunday, January 13, 1985.) Buddha gave the Surangama Sutra because of Ananda's involvement with a beautiful woman named Matangi. She fell in love with him, and Ananda was at first very attracted to her. This attraction illustrates the first kind, or level, of beauty -- beauty judged by feelings, emotions, or desire. Later, Buddha asks Ananda why he chose to follow him. Ananda replies that he became the Buddha's disciple because of his admiration for the thirty-two excellent characteristics of the Buddha's body andmore

August 12, 1985 

Food, Sex, and the Life of Practice

(Lecture delivered by Master Sheng-yen on Sunday, January 6, 1985.) The opening section of the Surangama sutra introduces two subjects that can pose problems in practice: food and sex. These form our substance and bring us into existence. Without food and sex, life would not be possible. I am often asked, "What is the difference between a householder and someone who has left home -- a monk or a nun?" Some people may think that there is not much difference between them, and in a certain sense they are right.more

June 15, 1985 

POLYTHEISM, MONOTHEISM, AND NONTHEISM IN BUDDHIST TEACHING

(Lecture delivered by Master Sheng-yen on Sunday, December 23, 1984.) I often run into Christians who complain about Buddhist teaching. One Chinese Christian I met said this: "I have some understanding of Buddhism, but it seems like a muddle to me. There are so many Bodhisattvas, Arhats, and deities, how do you decide which one or ones to deal with? It's like figuring out who to call when you're ill --- there's a pediatrician for children, a cardiologists for heart disease, and so on for eyes, ears, internal problems, women.more