Chan Practice

Summer Term Monastic Retreat – Putting Afflictions to Rest

Summer Term Monastic Retreat – Putting Afflictions to Rest-MasterHsinTaoFrom June 7th – 17th, 2020, monastic members of Ling Jiou Mountain (LJM) entered a ten-day retreat at the beginning of summer. Since Spring until now, Covid-19 seems to be under control. We can settle and bring our mind back to concentration through this ten-day of short term retreat.

In the Spring Term Retreat, all you had the opportunity to experience our mind and to get a glimpse of our awareness. In addition, you might experience the space and range of that awareness. This time, we are extending our training from the Spring Term. We didn't get a very clear insight into our minds in the previous retreat. Now, we're going to reflect on our original face in emptiness through the Four-step Technique of LJM's Peace Meditation.  

Summer Term Monastic Retreat – Putting Afflictions to Rest-MasterHsinTaoChan practice  is to understand and recognize oneself. Do we really know ourselves? Or, we only know “me” by this body? The phenomenal world changes so drastically. Life is impermanent and the world is unsteady. Even if that’s the case, we must find the direction and goals for life so we could travel the journey steadily. Live a life with an untroubled mind. Take it seriously to find and realize the primordial awareness, or the truth. Only through settling down our mind and purifying obscurations could our nature resurfaces.

How do we let our primordial awareness come forth? We must apply shamatha (calm-abiding) and vipashyana (special insight). Shamatha is to put the afflicting mental activity to rest. Vipashyana is to subjugate the changes of the perceiver and the perceived. When the perceived is gone, so is the perceiver and vice versa. This is what I called, “resting”. It is to rest and let go of all the afflicting thoughts, inner mental activity, and external phenomena. Return to the origin of unarising and unceasing, or the original face.

Summer Term Monastic Retreat – Putting Afflictions to Rest-MasterHsinTaoThis is a job required for Chan practice . The Four-step Technique of LJM's Peace Meditation helps to approach this. Do it with exertion to realize the truth of emptiness. If we couldn’t focus fully, we’re “out of tune”. Being out of tune prevents one from approaching or entering into that state. Only when we let go of all, rest our mind, and take a break, the whole picture will show. It is the Great Perfection, Mahamudra, or the original face.

Since the beginning of 2020, everyone’s future life, world, country, and the overall environment have changed dramatically. The change is unbelievable. Then, where does our life come from and go? The only way is to bring our mind home. What is home? The origin (house) of emptiness is to the pacification of changes in the mental consciousnesses. A luminosity of ungainly is to be present.

Make this ten-day to the fullest. Take this opportunity to experience fully. Practice the Four-step Technique of LJM's Peace Meditation attentively. Let our awareness separates out individually. Then, we’d find our true mind that is unchanging.