Chan Practice

2018 World Meditation Congress - Q & A

2018 World Meditation Congress - Q & A-MasterHsinTaoOn October 15th, 2018, we attended the 5th World Meditation Congress (DMZ 세계평화명상대전) in Gangwon-do by the invitation of the Ven. Master Gaksan, Director of Chambulseonwon (참불선원). After teaching the Peace Meditation of Ling Jiou Mountain, many participants raised questions regarding Chan practice and Buddhism.

Q1: Meditation has become a trend in Korea. However, is such meditation the same as the Chan practice in Buddhism?

A1: “Meditation” is a common term now. Yet, in Buddhism, “Chan practice” is distinct from that. The purpose of Chan practice is to clarify our mind. If we still cling onto certain phenomena, it is a “mind with notion”, which would deviate from the purpose. The practice should allow our mind to part from phenomena and abide in our primordial awareness.

2018 World Meditation Congress - Q & A-MasterHsinTaoQ2: Most Chan practice methods in Korea emphasize on “hua tou (literal meaning: head of speech, a subject of meditation)”, however, there seem to be many inadequacies with its application. How can we make it more dynamic and far-reaching?

A2: “Hua tou” is an excellent method. People nowadays get impatient too easily. They may give up on contemplating hua tou way too soon, or not knowing what they are contemplating on. There are also cases where people don’t know what to contemplate on, or those still have no idea after ten or twenty years of practice. That is why an approachable method must be available for the general public to realize what the “original face” is. The Four-step Technique of Ling Jiou Mountain’s Peace Meditation is an accessible approach with direct benefits and outcomes.

Q3: I’m a police officer. It is hard not to have any negative attitude towards criminals. What is the proper way to regard them?

A3: This world is filled with virtuous and non-virtuous intentions. One virtuous thought can be followed by a non-virtuous idea. This is the general habit of the thinking process. Buddhadharma teaches that all sentient beings possess Buddha nature. That being said, everyone fluctuates between virtues and non-virtues. When our karmic memories resurface, we should try to redirect our mind towards virtues. Be patient to drive ourselves towards virtuous awareness.

2018 World Meditation Congress - Q & A-MasterHsinTaoQ4: One man dreamt about two falling stars that turned into gold when touched the ground. What does it mean?

A4: With Chan practice, one should not scrutinize phenomena. Instead, a Chan practitioner should be in “non-abidance, such mind comes forth”. What a great fortune it’d be if this dream comes true. However, always be mindful with the mind state one is experiencing.

Q5: Where does happiness come from?

A5: When every thought finds its home – it is happiness. Home is our primordial awareness. When our mind returns home, we find happiness. Home of mind cannot be acquired from any phenomena. In addition, dedicating oneself, serving and loving others are also sources of happiness.

Q6: What is the hua tou of yours?

A6: The topic of our hua tou is, “What is the original face before parents gave me life?” /p>

Q7: Is there an answer to this?

A7: There will never be definite answers when it comes to hua tou.