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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Infinite Mirror


Hi Everyone,
An upcoming three day Chan retreat:

Hope your summer is going well. The Hermitage, a retreat centre on Denman Island, has made available their space for the 2nd weekend in September for a 3 day Chan retreat, the 10th, 11th, 12th with participant arrival on Thursday night. There are 6 cabins and a tenting site. Check out the Hermitage at http://www.dharmafellowship.org/
By donation.
Let me know ASAP if this commitment to your practice has a pull on you.

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Here follows part of a speech taken from Sheng Yen’s Facebook site:

The Infinite Mirror: Vexation is Itself Wisdom

“Attachment to phenomenon has always been confusion”

In Chan Buddhism, we talk about nature vs. phenomena, which is also described as principle vs. phenomena. Mistakenly being attached to and grasping onto phenomena leads to confusion. We dominate other people on a daily basis because we have a sense of self. I want to dominate others, and other people want to dominate me. Sometimes, we can successfully dominate other people, and sometimes we are dominated by others.

Sometimes, we think, I am going to make that person suffer. When we think like that, aren't we treating that person as an external phenomenon? The "other" that we are thinking about in our minds, is it really another person, or is it merely a thought in our mind? It's really just a thought, but we grasp onto it. In our memory, we might think, this person is so mean, I really need to make this other person suffer, but it is just a thought. When we are thinking this way, who are you really dominating? This is merely a thought, and maybe we are able to detect it when we are meditating, but in daily life, we forget and attach to the thought, thinking that it's a real person. We forget that it is merely a thought and grasp onto the notion of that person. In order to make a dream work for you, you have to treat it as a real external phenomenon, so it becomes a motivation for you. Even if your dreams come true, is it really great? Perhaps not. Only when you don't have dreams is it truly great.

Our minds give rise to thoughts, but we don't recognize them as thoughts; we think they are others, or this person. Because we grasp onto these thoughts, they accumulate momentum to the next moment. When you are looking at yourself in the mirror, you may think, I look quite nice, and other people may look at you. But who is looking at you? After you have become successful, perhaps you will think that other people will look at you with envy. Who is looking with envy? According to Dale Carnegie, you have to visualize your success. You are supposed to visualize that you are successful and everyone is looking at you with envy, but really, who is looking at you with envy? Is it others that are looking at you, or just yourself? When you think about it, it is really your previous thought looking at your latter thought and thinking that your latter thought is really yourself. It's just your wandering thoughts. So, if you become proud, you may think that other people are looking at you with envy, but it is really you that has the notion of others. You have to treat that image as others in order for you to feel proud of yourself. If you realize that these are merely wandering thoughts, there is nothing to be proud of.

Part of a Talk presented by Venerable Abbot Guo Xing, a teacher accredited by Sheng Yen: read the complete text on Facebook http://chan1.org/newscap/20100530.html

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To remind you, you can Facebook Master Sheng Yen; you can Google Chan Community Canada to obtain sitting times in White Rock Saturday mornings; reading nights in Vancouver on Wednesday evenings; and one, three, seven day and extended meditation retreats around the world. You might email Marie to be on her email list msabine@shaw.ca to find out about upcoming events in Vancouver.

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