Practice of Chan puts the heart and mind to rest

In recent years, no matter whether here in Taiwan or overseas, I have been seeking to bring the joy of Chan practice to everyone. Why is that? The world at present is quite chaotic and unstable, and everyone is longing for some stability and peace, is craving for stability and peace. And the most simple way of finding stability is by letting the heart and mind return to its origin.

Chan meditation is a method to let our heart and mind return to its origin. Chan meditation helps us first of all to settle our heart and spirit. Our heart is usually rather chaotic and full of illusive thoughts and attachments. It endlessly craves all kinds of things and pursues countless desires. Driven by those desires, our heart and mind never let us rest in our labor, making it very difficult for us to settle down. Our spirit loves peace and quiet, and when it is undisturbed, it is no longer exhausted, which means that our body also becomes healthy. When our spirit is exhausted, it will also negatively affect our health. If we are able to concentrate during Chan Meditation, our habit of pursuing objects of our desires will simply vanish, and with that our spirit will become clear and settled.

Let us understand the meaning of Chan practice still a bit more deeply. Buddhism is about recognizing “emptiness” in phenomena, about recognizing that things are “empty.” If we analyze and dissect phenomena, we can know that they are composite, illusory, and empty. What in the world does that mean? Does “emptiness” in Buddhism mean that we should no longer want anything? No-- this does not mean that we should not pursue anything-- it rather means that we should clearly see what it is that we are pursuing. Is it necessary to pursue it that seriously? Or can we have a different attitude towards that which we are pursuing? This is the change that we want to see in studying Buddhism—namely, changing the way in which our heart and mind relate to the material world, changing this non-stop entanglement that makes us move in circles. The practice of Chan cuts off this entanglement, so that our heart can be fully at rest and return to the spirit, return to the origin of the heart. Chan lets us return to the origin of the heart, so that we are no longer kept so busy with the things of the material world, and be at rest.

~ Master Hsin Tao ~

Patrick Teng