Tuesday, 21 May 2019 15:55

European Chan Program - Our Innate Teacher

Our Innate Teacher
Throughout the course of Dharma learning and Chan practice, a spiritual teacher is of utmost importance. A teacher is someone who leads us to see our nature. As a matter of fact, our innate teacher is our original face. Since we can’t see it nor find it yet, we must rely on guidance to see and uncover it.
Our Innate TeacherThere’s a Chan story: Guling Shenzan was a renowned Dharma heir of Master Baizhang. After he studied with Master Baizhang, he went back to the old master who ordained him to serve him. One day, as he was bathing the old monk, he blurted, “What a magnificent shrine!”. The old monk shot him a strange look. Shenzan continued, “And this Buddha is radiating light”.
Another day, as his former teacher was reading the sutra. A honeybee hummed consistently against the window paper but failed to make its way out. Shenzan casually said, “With the window wide-open, yet, you try to break through the paper so stubbornly.” He was implying that only by studying books cannot lead to enlightenment. One needs to realize emptiness in order to see the nature.  He wrote,
“Unwilling to leave through the empty door,

Banging against the window is too ignorant.

For a thousand years, studying these ancient pages,

When will you achieve the Way?”
Amazed by his teaching, the old monk asked Shenzan to be his teacher for further instruction. When one has acquired wisdom, he or she can become the teacher of others.
Our Innate TeacherThe purpose of Chan practice is enlightenment. It is to be lost no more. We cannot be lost in any situations, thoughts, and ideas. “Samadhi” is a state not being lost. Instead, one abides in the primordial awareness. What is the primordial awareness? It is the awareness that has never been altered. It doesn’t matter that we’ve lived and died for countless times. We were never lost in anywhere. The primordial awareness has never diminished.
Such awareness is spontaneous and perfect. It doesn’t belong to anyone nor anything. It is spontaneously accomplished without depending on extraneous factors. “The spiritual light shines alone” , as Master Baizhang stated. What are we practicing after all? “Nothingness”. It is through “nothingness” that we can to see clearly. It is through “nothingness” to attain notionlessness. At that time, we can see the ultimate reality.
“Nothingness” is a method of practice. We need to transcend words and languages. Do not cling onto any notions. The ultimate reality is devoid of notions. Hence, to let our wondrous mind of nirvana manifests. Through “nothingness”, our original face will resurface.