Chán & Buddhism

Chán from the Buddhist perspective.

Get Lost!

by Chuan Kong, OHY

13-03-2000

“Get lost!” You can’t seem to get through life without hearing that at least once. The command usually means that you should exit, either literally or metaphorically, and the quicker the better. It’s especially hurtful when the person who says it thinks he means well. “Get lost!” The expression...

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The Chán Priest

by Chuan Zhi

25-01-2015

Art by John Stubbs Throughout known history there have been religions and there have been those who have been called to be their spokespersons. They are variously called priests, shaman, shakyas, lamas, clerics, tulkus, tenzos, patriarchs, pastors, abbots, cardinals, gurus, pandits, yogis … the list is very long.  Regardless of title or...

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The "Dreaded" Third Precept The challenge of sexual conduct, a student…

by Fa Gong, OHY

06-04-2006

What is a "precept"? We Buddhists are all very aware of the five precepts (ore more or less depending on what school we associate with) we have taken when we chose to become Buddhists. But it seems there is remarkably little shared appreciation of what the precepts actually involve. Are...

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Who Am I? Reflections on Chan's Path

by Fa Gong, OHY

20-03-2006

Religion's ubiquitous "ism's" often leave me wondering about their relation to spiritual growth. I'm reminded of a famous Chan hua-toa, "If you don't really exist, why am I trying to save you?". Why, for example, if Buddhism and Taoism are merely ways of living in harmony with nature, and nature...

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Part II - The Zen Master

by Chuan Zhi

29-11-2006

A master serves several functions in a sangha: as a teacher and resource for practicing students, as a guide or "coach", as a leader or co-leader of ceremonies, as a disciplinarian, and often as an administrator. In addition, a master is usually responsible for the financial health of the temple...

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Family Members - By Birth and By Choice

by Chuan Zhi

18-08-2004

A true Buddhist isn't necessarily a person who attends Buddhist services and who observes Buddhist traditions... no more than these public acts define a true Christian or Muslim. Living out the life of the spirit, freeing ourselves from anger, lust, and ignorance are the private goals we need to set...

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Non-Attachment, a Zen Imperative

by Fa Gong, OHY

22-02-2007

As our Zen practice deepens, we can observe ourselves as we shift in and out between our "small" and conditioned self, and that unconditioned SELF that cannot be described. And in this shifting we can see, if we look closely, the arising and the "evaporation" of attachment. And in this...

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So Simple, A Child Could Do It . . .

by Fa Xing (Hadashi Sharishi)

13-09-2010

A Zen Buddhist's perspective on the five precepts. I don't remember much about the fifth grade.  Oh, I remember a few faces, what the school looked like, and other such inane details, but I don't remember specifically what I learned that year.  All of my elementary school years kind of blend...

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The Fire of Desire: The Buddha's Second Noble Truth

by Yin De, OHY

07-05-2003

Today, I'd like to talk about the Second Noble Truth of Buddhism - desire and craving, the cause of suffering. It's human nature to want more of what we like and to have better than what we have - not only for ourselves, but for our children and the people...

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Poèmes du Maître Hsu-Yun: Série III

by Maître Hsu-Yun

17-06-2009

Traduit de l'anglais par D. GaluchonUn temps de régulation Quelle chance! Une chance de pratiquer le Suprême Dharma du Vide sans craindre d' être envahi par les folles affaires du monde extérieur. Fixe donc un temps pour s' asseoir! Fais-le durer de l' écart qu' il faut à un bâton d' encens de rose pour...

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Tibet and the Beijing Olympics

by Fa Gong, OHY

11-04-2008

As "online Buddhists" we do well to understand that this very medium creates new opportunities for the ego to express itself, and it quickly finds new ways to dominate. When I first learned to drive I used to be amazed at how much more aggressive and anti-social people seemed to...

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Part V - The Context of Zen

by Chuan Zhi

12-03-2007

The context in which we view a thing has a great influence on our perception of it. It is a great influence on our perception of Zen.When we first learn about something it's with our senses and we know all too well that they can mislead, tricking us to believe...

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Ancient Wisdom: The Blue Lotus

by Chuan Zhi

17-07-2001

 Zen requires that we maintain our sense of awe and wonder, that pure curiosity about the things we see and experience, that search for meaning and significance that is so apparent in the works of ancient man. We cannot allow technology to dull our awe and jade our curiosity about...

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The Celibacy Question

by Chuan Zhi

03-01-2014

An Interview with Chuan Zhi from Non Duality Magazine, 12/27/2013 Chuan Zhi: This is a good subject for public discussion – one that’s usually avoided. I wrote on a related subject recently that may address some of the questions/issues people have on the topic of sexual intimacy, and some of the...

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A Dharma Chat: Right Speech

by Fa Gong, OHY

01-07-2008

Right Speech is not just about morality, or even limited to wisdom teachings. It is also about Right Mindfulness and contemplative discipline, about identifying, labeling, and being mindful of thoughts -- all of the ego's chit-chat. We can, in fact use Right Speech as the bedrock and cornerstone of our...

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Chan and the Eightfold Path

by Chuan Zhi

20-11-2004

In order to prepare ourselves for meditation, we must first begin to put our lives in order and act in accordance with what is right and good, both for us and for others. It is no simple task, for it requires that we act caringly instead of selfishly. It's not...

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The Tradition of Mountain Ascetic Zen

by Fa Lohng (Koro Kaisan)

27-08-2009

Among the most admired of Zen masters are those who have eschewed the temple life and opted instead for the life of a Mountain Ascetic. Asceticism is a cross-cultural, cross-religious and multidisciplinary practice. Like nearly all forms of spiritual practice, asceticism covers a wide spectrum of beliefs and practices and...

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Poèmes du Maître Hsu-Yun: Série IV

by Maître Hsu-Yun

17-06-2009

Poèmes du Maître Hsu-Yun (Nuage Vide): Série IV Traduit de l'anglais par D. Galuchon Retour au mont Gu et retrouvailles avec Gu Yué, Maître de la Vieille Lune. Trente ans durant j'ai voyagé. Je suis enfin de retour en ce village. Un bâton de bambou pour la marche et me voiçi redevenu comme j'étais...

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Prison Dharma

by Fa Xing Shakya

19-07-2011

Introduction  by Chuan Zhi As Zen grows in popularity in the United States and other occidental countries, there are growing demands for its representatives to provide for the needs of those Zen enthusiasts incarcerated in prisons.  Only a couple of decades ago it was virtually unheard of for Zen clergy to...

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How "Zen" is That?

by Yin De, OHY

16-09-2004

A friend of mine has a habit of asking me; "How Zen is that?" whenever I seem to react with any degree of emotion, particularly when I am angry about something. A year or so ago, when one of my neighbors learned that my shaved head wasn't a fashion-statement and that...

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Kalyana Mitra…On Spiritual Friendship

by Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao

25-08-2010

Kalyanamitra: On Spiritual Friendship Kalyanamitra is the Sanskrit word for spiritual friendship. This friendship is something much more than someone to hang out with, but rather connotes a person or even a thing that becomes our guide, a teacher, and serves to inspire us along our path to awakening. There is...

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The Buddhism of Zen

by Chuan Zhi and Fa Gong

10-06-2008

As westerners brought up in different religious traditions and cultures, we won't ever have the same Buddhism as the Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans, or the Vietnamese. Nor should we. Our psyches are shaped by western cultures, not eastern ones. A religion will invariably speak uniquely to each culture that...

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Measuring Reality

by Fa Gong, OHY

23-04-2007

Consider our first multi-day meditation retreat. After a couple of days of discomfort, both physical and psychological, the rebellious ego begins to question the authority of the "strange Oriental monk" with his odd and inscrutable methods. We begin to search our mental archives and apply some unique application of a...

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The Problem With Precepts

by Fa Gong, OHY

01-11-2008

A fundamental recognition of a maturing life is that rarely is it what we do that defines us, but rather why we do it. The history of jurisprudence reflects the same increasing sophistication; the accused should be judged on the intent of an action, rather than on outcome. Certainly, the...

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The Three Jewels

by Chuan Zhi

08-04-2015

When we begin our journey in Buddhism, we commit to “taking refuge” in three principles: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Taking refuge commonly means the act of going into something for shelter, protection, safety, etc. In a hail storm, for example, we might take refuge from being pommelled...

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Western Zen: Transition And Turmoil -- Part 1

by Chuan Zhi

12-10-2006

Whenever a religion enters a new region dominated by an ethnic culture differing from that of its originating source, a certain amalgamation of ideologies, ethicalities, as well as prevailing myths and superstitions of the newly introduced religion and the antecedent religions takes place. Buddhism is an especially interesting case, as...

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Toward the Heart of Chan (Part 4 of 4)

by Chuan Zhi

16-12-2016

Part 1   |   Part 2   |   Part 3   |   Part 4 Stage Four: Meditation (samādhi) As we become progressively more adept at contemplation, described in Part 3, the mind becomes progressively more powerful, awareness more keen, and the body and mind more in harmony with one...

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Cultivating Buddhi: The Dharma of Right Action

by Chuan Zhi

24-09-1998

Anyone who spends time around Zen people will hear references to "practicing."  Whenever we're asked to explain what it is we're practicing, we make either vague comments about Buddhic Nature or, as if we were mystical attorneys, we say simply that we're "practicing the Law of Dharma." There is a difference...

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Part III - Dharma Transmission and Lineage

by Chuan Zhi

12-12-2006

While most of the world's great religions rely on the sanctity of words to convey the Truth of their religious doctrines, moral codes, etc., Zen Buddhism makes no such claim as it has no such written document or collection of documents. Instead, Zen Buddhism relies on the concept of Dharma...

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Part VI - Conclusion

by Chuan Zhi

30-03-2007

Elle Loge la Folie by Roberto Matta, 1970 - Matta's paintings were responsive to dysfunctional political and social systems and many of his works reflect the chaos, confusion, and suffering endured by those affected by them. Buddhism is a complex religion, without a single voice, with many faces, and many...

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Zen Ritual

by Fa Dong Shakya, OHY

18-03-2011

In her bestselling spiritual memoir "Eat, Pray, Love", Elizabeth Gilbert tells a delightful story of a great Hindu teacher who led his followers in daily meditation in his ashram. The only problem was that the teacher "had a . . . cat", an annoying creature, who used to...

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When Righteousness Goes Wrong

by Fa Dao, OHY

11-11-2004

  Chan Buddhists, just like followers of other religions, want to do what's right. We strive to be righteous and to avoid self-aggrandizing actions and activities. It's imperative that we consider what it means to "do right" since we often fall into the trap of "doing wrong." We must identify and...

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Buddhism and Psychotherapy: A Perspective

by Fa Gong

22-01-2009

What we typically label as simply "mind" is, in Pali, substantially more precise. Our broad concept might of mind could be translated in Pali as vijnana, or consciousness. Nowhere does it suggest in Buddhist teaching that we can or should "still our consciousness," but the idea Westerners typically struggle with...

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Silent Partners: Asceticism in Chan Buddhism

by Chuan Zhi

27-08-2009

Asceticism has come to be characterized in contemporary culture as an extreme form of religious practice; in particular, as a retreat from society, and as an even more extreme form of self-denial. We may conjure up an image of a monk sitting on a dirt floor, ribs protruding, eyes sunken...

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The Buddhism of Zen (in 10 minutes or less)

by Fa Dao, OHY

26-10-2004

Dependent upon whom one asks, Zen is either a school of Buddhism or a school of thought and ethical philosophy adjunct to Buddhism. While zen often teaches the folly of differentiation, hard definition and non-malleable mental categorization, it also teaches that all things should be understood by their very nature...

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Grand Master Ben Huan passes after 105 years

by Administrator

04-04-2012

Grand Master Ben Huan. Photo taken in 2010 at a celebration in honor of his birthday. Grand Master Ben Huan, one of the most respected of China's Chan masters, passed away this past Monday, April 2, 2012, at the age of 105. He was the Honorary Chairman of the Chinese Buddhist...

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Reincarnation

by Chuan Zhi

04-05-1999

When we recognize that the ego doesn't exist in any real sense but only as an artifice of the mind, there's nothing that needs explaining anymore: the notion of reincarnation is seen as nothing more than an intellectual game. The person, like the raindrop, merges into the sea of the...

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A Dharma Chat: "The Opiate Of The Masses"

by Fa Gong, OHY

01-07-2008

It has wisely been said "no-one attains enlightenment." This is precisely true. There is no ego that attains nirvana. When nirvana IS attained, there is no personal ego to experience it. This is the crux of the matter. The promises of new spiritual technologies to deliver enlightenment seek to seduce...

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Part IV - The Gong An (Koan) and Hua Tou

by Chuan Zhi

15-02-2007

Many people equate Zen training with gong-an (koan) study due to the fairly frequent use of this teaching technique in Zen monasteries. Koans are one of many different techniques that teachers have used over the centuries to help students break through the rigid mental framework that obscures the higher domain...

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Using the Sutras

by Fa Dao, OHY

02-09-2004

We study the Sutras as a guide as we embark on our own spiritual adventures. They provide us strength in times of difficulties, give us solace in times of despair, and motivate us in times of apathy. Eventually, as we travel on our own unique journey, we learn to navigate...

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Mara the Abuser

by Fa Gong Shakya

02-04-2012

In Buddhist literature we are often exposed to Mara, the sometimes wily, sometimes violent, sometimes beguiling tempter of Gautama on his way to Buddha-hood. Mara can be said to provide, essentially, a personification of that force which counters the evolutionary urge to enlightenment; it represents the energy of enslavement that...

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Denial of Beauty by Austerity?

by Fa Dao, OHY

22-12-2004

The simplest of foods or the meanest of meals is a banquet if we appreciate it for what it is -- sustenance, a gift from the earth and the fruit of the labors of men and women. A simple noodle is fit for a king when we appreciate its texture...

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Passing Through the Gateless Barrier

by Fa Lohng

11-05-2009

The Great Way is gateless, approached by a thousand paths. Pass trough this barrier, you walk freely in the universe. One of the principal Zen texts from thirteenth century China is a collection of koans entitled Wu-wen kuan (Mumonkan). This translates into English as The Gateless Gate, or what...

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Bodhi day: the day of enlightenment

by Fa Dao, OHY

07-12-2007

It was the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, the story goes, that Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Shakyamuni, awoke from a week of meditation to view of the morning star - Venus - and exclaimed, "That's it! That's it! That's me! That's me that's shining so brilliantly!" In...

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