Monday, October 3, 2011

Master Sheng Yen: What is the self?

"The Buddha elaborates further on the transient nature of the body and mind. The body is a collection of the four elements and the six sense faculties (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind); and the mind is created by the interaction of the six sense faculties with the six dusts, or sense objects (what is seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt and thought). Everything is in a continual state of change. Thoughts unceasingly come and go; the body and its environment unceasingly interact. Arising, perishing, birth, death—everything changes.

However, we all believe in existence: we exist, the world exists, the Buddha exists. But who is it that senses this existence? It is your self, separate and untouched by the feelings and thoughts of others. Only you have the unique idea of existence that is yours. Who is this self? This self is the mind, and the mind is merely an unending succession of thoughts. Between these separate thoughts there is nothing. Therefore, I ask, “What is the mind?”

The mind is an illusion. There is no such entity called mind. This is the correct view. But if this is true, then who is reading these words. Who is thinking these thoughts and claiming that there is no-mind, no-self? If I ask you to tell me if your mind is true or false, you will be in a quandary. You might say that the mind is true, or real, or enduring, but if your mind is following these words, then it is moving. If your mind is moving and changing, then it is not real, and if the mind is not moving, how can you read these words and think about what I am saying? On the other hand, if you say the mind is false, that it does not exist, then who is reading these words?" ...Master Sheng Yen in Complete Enlightenment 

Also check out these Chan sites of interest:

2. How to chan meditate:
3. Master Sheng Yen in Facebook

4. The Western Chan Fellowship at

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