Chan should be free from the confines of language.
If you want to see virtue, you will have to have a calm mind.
When you look for fault, you will find it.
The way to Buddhahood is the way to you; the journey is inside, so the way to Pure Mind and enlightenment is never too far.
Having a calm mind, you will find virtue around you.
Chan is not a theory, but rather, it is life.
A calm mind brings a calm body.
When Chan is implemented into daily life, people will respect each other and dwell in harmony.
Being mindful is to do things right, the way you are supposed to.
“Even if we are away from each other for countless ages, we won’t be separated, not even for a second.”
If one could not listen with one’s mind, how could one hear?
Chan Buddhismplaces great attention and emphasis on the purification of Mind and the development of awareness.
When someone begins learning Chan, he should start by learning meditation.
The sun can’t hide itself from us because being the sun, it’s bound to cast its rays everywhere on Earth.
Forget the words when you realize the meaning.
The essence of Chan is the path of perfect harmony.
Chan is the natural expression of our inner realization.
If you have a compassionate heart like the Buddha‘s, you will speak words of Chan, listen to the sound of Chan, carry out the work of Chan, and have the mind of Chan.
Chan practitioners may seem to speak or behave strangely, but wisdom underlies their strangeness.
Sometimes, “a Chan master’s lifting his eyebrows and blinking his eyes” is the answer. Sometimes, it isn’t.
One uses a broom to sweep away rubbish, what should one do to wipe off the dust in one’s mind?
Hearing does not arise or cease when the sound arises and cease.
If we truly understand that the crowing of the crow comes and goes and cannot be moved by worldly phenomena, then we will sincerely appreciate “the beautiful sound of ‘one hand clapping.'”
When one is ready, one is ready. Enlightenment is not something that can be forced.
When our minds are still, all things are at peace.
The mind of compassion and the mind of wisdom are all the minds of Chan.
Kindness is being kind for the sake of kindness itself, with no attachment.
Compassion is the deep sympathy for the suffering of others.
It is wise to be compassionate and compassionate to be wise.
A Chan master is not only able to overcome worldly temptation, but can also transform defilements into purity.
Suffering is originally empty, while negative Karma originally lacks a self-nature.
When we can maintain a true mind that is not confused, the Buddha-nature will shine through instantaneously.
If we perceive with no-mind, then we will see the world of no birth and no death.
Chan, if applied in our daily lives, would be like a ship in the sea of suffering. It would be a bright light in the darkness.
Sometimes, a few words or an unintentional action can lead one to see one’s true face.
“Since there was nothing to begin with, dust could not alight.”
Although outer form can be changed, the nature underlying the appearance remains the same.
The world is changeable, while the Dharma-nature is eternal.
Gold can be carved into rings, earrings, and bracelets, but its nature remains the same.
Our true nature is everlasting and fresh.
A Chan adept aims directly at the mind, attaining Buddhahood by seeing one’s own nature.
Chan masters use humor in their speech and treat people with kindness.
When our true minds fail to appear, false thoughts manipulate us.
We are the envoys of the Dharma on Earth. We’ve given up everything to save all beings.
Without religion to reassure the public, society would be even more chaotic.
Real chanting doesn’t make any sound; and real listening doesn’t involve hearing.
As Buddhists, when we have attained a peace of mind, we possess all phenomena.
Our ears always hear the sound of Kuan-Yin , the Buddha of Great Compassion.
Our eyes are always in contact with Manjusri, the Buddha of Great Wisdom.
Within the true nature of the Dharma-realm, there is no distinction between the Buddha and human beings.
“The Buddha is ‘worry,’ and ‘worry’ is the Buddha.” The Buddha is worrying about all sentient beings.
The real “good” consists of not being fixated on one’s activities.
Only the one who drinks the water knows whether it is cold or hot.
The wisdom must be sought from within oneself.
The most precious sutra is not printed on paper, but is contained in our minds.
The sutra in our minds generate all dharmas.
Before we put the water of truth into a container, it has to be emptied and cleansed first; otherwise the taste of the water will be affected.
If we do not think in terms of good and evil, then the true self-nature can be seen.
There are tears of sorrow, tears of happiness, and tears of compassion.
The tears of compassion could help cleanses the world of its defilements.
As one liberated oneself from past attachments and illusions, one’s mind is awakened in one instant of thought.
The true nature of each individual does not differ.
Affirmation and negation share the same eternal, impersonal, and unchangeable reality, as do emptiness and non-emptiness.
The practice of “no practice” is “true practice.”
The everyday mind is the mind of enlightenment.
If you are enlightened, you will have a deeper response to suffering.
Don’t ask whether a dog had the Buddha-nature. You should have concerned yourself with the question of whether you can become a Buddha.
Dig out the treasure that is within yourself.
Buddhism is a religion of wisdom and compassion.
Kindness and compassion are fundamental expressions of a Buddhist’s way of life.
The Buddha-nature does not have form, yet at the same time, it appears in all forms.
People who read a sutra, such as the Lotus Sutra which is compelx and profound, are supposed to have many questions.
When one asks “How can I become a Buddha?” One will have to answer the question oneself.
When the right conditions are present, the Buddha will be born.
When the right conditions cease to exist, the Buddha will pass away.
If we can become Buddhas, then all phenomena will naturally become Buddhas.
Amitabha Buddha is in the Western Pure Land. The Medicine Buddha is in the Eastern Pure Land. And, Shakyamuni Buddha is in the Land of Perpetual Peace and Glory.
(1) “Where are you going?” “Wherever the wind carries me.” “What if there is no wind?” (2) “Where are you going?” “Wherever my legs carry me.” “What if your legs don’t want to walk?” These exchanges serve as an illustration of the unique flavor of Chan.
“Master! You are sitting here as still as a rock. What are you thinking?” A Chan student asked his master who was meditating. “I am thinking of not thinking.” The master answered.
“Master! I didn’t hear what you said, but I heard what you didn’t say,” said a Chan student. What is implied here is that if one can hear the silent, the wordless expounding of the Dharma, one is sure to hear the sound of the Truth.
“I have walked a long distance without stepping on the ground,” said a Chan master. It indicates that there is no time, space, or distance in Chan.
“Master! Don’t work so hard. I can have somebody to do the work for you.” “But that somebody isn’t I.” “You’re right. At least you don’t have to work under the scorching sun.” “Do you mean I should wait until it’s cloudy or raining to dry the mushrooms?” Don’t put off anything for tomorrow if it could be done today.
“Master! I can’t behold my original nature. I implore you to instruct me,” asked a Chan student. “But, I don’t have a mouth,” replied the master. “Master! I have a lot of wrong doings,” said the student. “I also have a lot of wrong doings that are the same as yours,” answered the master. All wrong doings come from the illusory mind.
Leaves don’t just fall on the ground, but they also fall in our minds. By picking up leaves, one eradicates erroneous thoughts and worries from one’s own mind. Chan practitioners believe that a pure mind will automatically bring forth the Pure Land, if we continue to pick up the leaves that fall in our minds.
“Master! Who is more important here? The senior monastics or the novices?” asked a devotee. “Of course, the seniors, but the novices are useful as well,” answered the master. Normally, the devotees support and protect the senior monks than the younger ones. The devotee fails to see that the young novices may become great masters just as princes may become kings.
In the question of “What was my original face before I was born?”, the term “original face” we mean the Pure Mind prior to the development of habitual thought and self-attachment.
“The sounds of evening drum and morning bell in a monastery are the timely exhortation to virtue and purity,” is a Chinese saying.
A master with a special mental power foresaw that his youngest student had only 7 days to live. The compassionate master sent this young student home to be with his parents. After 7 days, this young student happily returned to his master. The master was deeply confused. “Did you do something special during the past 7 days?” asked the master. “No! Master,” answered the student. “Think again. Did you do something unusual?” asked again the master. “Now I recalled one thing. On my way home, I passed a pond and took a rest by the pond. I saw a nest full of ants almost drowning. I immediately picked up a large dry leaf to move the nest of ants to a safe place,” answered the student. It’s said that this young student enjoyed a longevity. This story is an excellent example that good deeds can purify one’s negative karma.
(Spring Liao, 12/12/09)