From November 8th-10th, 2019, we held a three-day Peace Meditation at the Jianzhen Library in Yanzhou, China. Yangzhou is the hometown of the great Master Jianzhen (Ganjin in Japanese) and Hsing Yun. Master Jianzhen was a Chinese monk who crossed the Pacific to propagate Vinaya in Japan. In modern times, Master Hsing Yun disseminated Dharma worldwide. He had set foot on the five continents. We’re greatly thankful for the contribution these two masters of Yangzhou had made. Their dedication and aspiration for Buddhadharma are much admired.
Before the meditation, we’d recite the Refuge Vow. This helps everyone to settle the mind to one place. Especially when we recite the Shakyamuni Mantra, our mind can be attuned with Buddha Shakyamuni. The reason that we can learn about Chan practice today is by the grace and guidance of Buddha Shakyamuni. The teaching offers the later Buddhist disciples to practice Chan. In recollection of the Buddha’s compassion and the root of precious Dharma, we recite the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha to adjust our minds. Together, we took refuge in the Three Jewels.
What is the purpose of learning Dharma? It is to set beings free from suffering and acquire the ultimate happiness. All lives are connected as an entity of interdependence. By practicing Dharma, one learns the way to be free from suffering and to acquire the ultimate happiness. Likewise, we’d learn the way liberate sentient beings from suffering. Yet, the reason that beings suffer is the egoistic conceptions. However, if we practice the proper ideas and values, we’d find happiness. On the contrary, we’d be unhappy if our thoughts are derailed.
Every one of us has innate learning ability, namely, "primordial awareness". This awareness enables us to learn. The primordial awareness is within sentient beings and tathagatas. Then, how are ordinary beings deluded? We remain in confusion as we fail to recognize the truth. As we're practicing Chan today, we're trying to uncover and recognize two worlds: physical and spiritual. The physical world is "the mere projection of the mind, the mere appearances of consciousnesses". It is fabricated by the mind.
How so? All the phenomena are the projection of our mind. With delusion, we have developed fixations and attachments so phenomena become permanent and substantial. The physical world is the samsara filled with karmic memories and suffering. People rival one another for materials. The five poisons (greed, aversion, ignorance, doubt, and pride) are therefore generated. When the five poisons and materials are mixed, attachments and pride arise within us. The mind then competes against phenomena.
The spiritual world is of emptiness. It isn’t conditioned by materials nor is it compromised. This is the world of spirituality, namely, the realization of awareness. Such awareness is non-physical, free from attachments and confinements. It is a state of ease and freedom. The purpose of Chan practice is to return to our primordial state that has always been there. We are unarising and unceasing primordially. Sitting meditation helps us to rediscover "ourselves" that is unarising and unceasing.
The Four-step Technique of Ling Jiou Mountain’s Peace Meditation is a way to dispel delusions and to realize the truth. By “truth”, it is referring to the ultimate truth that is notionless. The four-step helps to remove the impurities in our mind. Eventually, our spirituality that is pure and undefiled can be uncovered. It is like rough ores that could be refined to become pure gold. As we sit properly and slowly, all the afflictions and attachments would set like the sun. As they disappear, our nature will shine forth like the sunrise. The luminosity is as bright as the sun in a cloudless sky at noon. Such experience is like a great sun that is bright in the cloudless sky. It is luminous and clear.