Saturday, February 2, 2013

Vexations are wisdom

The exclamations "Let's eat grandpa." and "Let's eat, grandpa." illustrate how the precise use of punctuation can make a profound difference in the perception of events. Just a simple comma changes  facial gestures from  concern to delight. Well, maybe the tone of voice adds some discriminatory verisimilitude as well.

In Chan, the question of how to 'wake up' can arise as a nuisance afterthought. What's the solution?

1. Repeat with sincere mind your vows every day...and especially when you encounter people who are suffering . (See 4/4/11.)
2. Train in Chan daily and diligently, either the Silent Illumination or the Huatou method.
3. Use each and every vexation in daily life as an opportunity to grind away the self-centered (self-reflexive), discriminatory attachments.
4. Attachments can be so subtle...even the very practice we use to wake up must be let go. Chan is the Method of No Method.

Here's the late Master Sheng Yen in his autobiography writing about vexations and  self-centeredness:

"Through Dongchu's [Sheng Yen's master] training, I learned much about myself. I had a tendency to resist what I perceived to be unfair and become vexed over things that I considered unreasonable. I was able to eliminate such habits. After training with Dongchu, I viewed life from a less self-centered perspective. I tried to understand why things happened in a certain way, but I wasn't bothered by it so much. I also didn't feel ashamed as much. At first it was a really shameful and embarrassing thing to be chased off a bus. But after the training, I considered such situations an opportunity to practice. (Dongshu used to send Master Sheng Yen to town without any bus money. He would have to beg for his fare from other passengers. Unlike in the Indian tradition, the Chinese people believed monks should support themselves out of their own work habits. Begging for busfare on the bus would be a terrible discomfit for Chan Master Sheng Yen .)" 112 in Chan Master Sheng Yen's Footprints in the Snow.
painting by Susan Chatwin

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

5. Other Buddhist centres in the Comox Valley:

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,

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