Dharma Teachings

Compassion and Chan

Some wondered: What are the Ling Jiou Mountain’s spirit and essence? Judging by the style of the monastery, we can see elements of Vajrayana Buddhism and the Burmese style of Theravadan Buddhism. What exactly is LJM? The spirit and essence are "compassion and Chan". By "compassion", many monastic students here are mindful of being compassionate under the influence. Although they might still show their negative habitual tendencies towards sentient beings, they are improving with their practice. I smiled and said, “You guys are still very innocent at heart. Even conflicts are inevitable, you are still applying compassion as much as possible. I can feel the loving-kindness around." I think it'd be good to make compassion and Chan as our "LJM's habitual tendency".

慈悲與禪-心道法師As of “Chan”, it is the first practice when I started my Dharma pursuit. It is also one of the primary teachings I give to students. For more than two decades, people come to me with all sorts of problems and afflictions. I have cut through these complications to get to the core. With this method, you might wonder which “spirit and essence” do I use? Well, it is not necessarily Vajrayana or Hinayana, but the “mind-yana”. The vehicle that gets straight to your heart.
The “mind-yana” is none other than Chan. Chan is the mind and vice versa. I approach your mind with my mind. At first, your mind is everywhere and out of order. How should I approach and help? I must use my mind to touch yours. Dharma practice is the foremost practice for monastics, especially in this age of time where time is limited and valuable. It might not be practical to assume practice that’d demand lots of time for modern people. Chan is the most straightforward method.

Chan is to practice by the mind and to practice by examining the mind. This is the simplest and most pragmatic method. As we live and practice every day, what are we training other than this very mind? This mind is the most direct and straightforward. Coming back to your question, “compassion and Chan” are the inner spirit and essence of LJM, whereas simplicity, nature, and harmony being the outer spirit and essence of LJM. Every member here at the monastery still has personality. However, you guys don’t have manipulative intents. You’re demonstrating your personality naturally. Your acts are undefiled and spontaneous without formality. Your simplicity and natural act are fitting with “our family”. You’re carrying the style of the LJM family.