Chan Practice

2019 Fall Term Monastic Retreat – Emptiness and Non-abidance of Thoughts

2019 Fall Term Monastic Retreat – Emptiness and Non-abidance of Thoughts-MasterHsinTaoChan is method to part from suffering to obtain the ultimate happiness. It is a way to be from cyclic living and dying. Our thinking process and thoughts can be transformed and purified through Chan. This is teaching on becoming free from thoughts and concerns: to be free from all thoughts, notions, and elaborations. By parting from all thoughts and notions, one is the Buddha.

Every thought arises and ceases. How do we “disable” the effect of thoughts? In other words, how can we be mindful on emptiness so to put a thought to rest as soon as it surfaces? Since non-abidance is our goal, the Four-step Technique of Ling Jiou Mountain’s Peace Meditation helps to achieve that. The step-by-step meditation allows us to become focus with clarity. Thoughts are simplified from a ball of confusion. With simplicity, we can approach our awareness. When we do, we can part from all notions, languages, and expressions.

When we don’t know how to deal with certain situations, we wander in the delusional phenomena of endless arising and ceasing. The moment we rest in ease and let go of thoughts, these delusions will dissipate naturally. As we do, our bright and luminous mind free from fabrication and phenomena will come forth. It will shine through our life and meditation. The mindstream without clinging onto any thoughts or notions would be endowed with the awareness of clarity.

2019 Fall Term Monastic Retreat – Emptiness and Non-abidance of Thoughts-MasterHsinTaoWhen we let go of these delusions, our spirituality will shine through. Such luminosity can’t be taken away. What we need to do is to see it, contemplate it, observe it - to recognize the original face of our mind. Then, abide in this formless mind. This is the contemplation on prajna wisdom. When the practice of paramitas are perfected, the prajna shore of the other side will show from our luminous mind.

Hence, the arising and ceasing of a thought is as natural like a floating cloud. What does this formless and luminous mind have to do with us? It’s none of my business whether it comes and goes. It is to recognize that our mind is free from anything. It isn’t abducted by any thoughts nor is it attached to anything. In Chan Buddhism, this mind is also named, “the placeless man”. It doesn’t locate at any specific spots. This is our awareness that can’t be found in any places. It is not fixated anywhere.

Set our mind and six consciousnesses at ease. Only when we’ve uncovered our true mind, or the original face, then can we experience the innocence of interconnectedness and interdependency with everything.