There are two different ways of understanding and actually practicing Zen. These two different ways are termed in Chinese pen chueh and shih-chueh respectively. The term pen chueh refers to the belief that one’s mind is from the beginning of time fully enlightened, while shih-chueh refers to the belief that at some point in time we pass from imprisonment in ignorance and delusion to a true vision of Zen realization: “Our enlightenment is timeless, yet our realization of it occurs in time.” According to this belief experiencing a moment of awakening in this life is of central importance. Ta-Hui believed in the shih-chueh view, and therefore popularized and systsemized the hua-t’ou method so his students could experience a moment of awakening.

Hua Tou

 pdfHua-t’ou: A Method of Zen Meditation