The Rules of the Chan Session
禪七的規矩


Without wasting a single moment, I worked relentlessly at my investigation, constantly applying my efforts to it.
時刻用自己應該用的功夫, 時刻把功夫提起來。

The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association was established in 1959. Its predecessor was the Sino-American Buddhist Association. Every year since its founding we have conducted Buddha Recitation Sessions and Chan Meditation Sessions. The sessions, however, have passed by without notice, and without fanfare. Rarely do people pay attention to the recitation and meditation sessions going on at Gold Mountain Monastery. This is because we don't advertise or exploit opportunities. We simply mind our own business and honestly cultivate. When someone finds out about the session and requests permission to join, he or she is certainly welcome! All the same, we resolutely do not beg, solicit offerings, or seek help. We don't say, "Gold Mountain is holding a Chan session. Several piritual adepts who have tamed their minds' will be attending. If you come make offerings to them, there will be limitless merit and virtue." We have never done any publicity to promote ourselves in this way.
法界佛教總會,成立於一九五九年,該會的前身,就是中美佛教總會。自從成立之後,每一年都舉行佛七和禪七數次;但是都在無聲無息中過去了,很少人知道法界佛教總會所屬的金山聖寺在打佛七或禪七。因為我們對外不宣傳,不攀緣,而是老老實實在修行。假如有人知道我們打禪七,願意來參加,我們是歡迎之至!但是我們絕對不到外邊化緣,叫人幫助,對人家說:「我們金山聖寺在打禪七,有一些無心道人在那兒修行,你們應該來供養,那就功德無量了。」我們從來就沒有做過這樣的宣傳。

In China, when a Chan session was held, the donations contributed by the faithful laity during the session were enough to cover the monastery's operating expenses for an entire year. Sometimes the revenue exceeded a year's proceeds. During the session, the participants would often take the initiative to make offerings and establish good affinities with the assembly by donating great quantities of rice, noodles, oil, miso, soy sauce, dried foods and so forth.
在中國打佛七的時候,善男信女所樂捐的功德香油錢,足夠道場一年的開銷,有時還有盈餘。在打禪七時,有很多善士發心供養來結緣,所以這個法緣,源源而來,米、麵、油、醬等等,收入很多。

Now in America, where Buddhism has just begun, we want to reform the bad practices of the past. As the saying goes, "A good beginning is halfway to success." Because we refuse to employ any tricks to beg, we haven't created those particular affinities. If we had any schemes for bringing in offerings, it's likely we could improve on the situation in China and attract even more supplies and money than they did.
在美國,佛教剛開始,一切要往好的方向去做,要將過去的陋習剷除,所謂「好的開始,就是成功的一半。」我們不採取任何方法來化緣,所以這種緣就沒有了。如果會用方法,也許會化得更多。

Why don't we solicit offerings? Because our first priority is to genuinely and honestly cultivate the Way and, in so doing, to simply accord with whatever the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have arranged for us. When the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the gods, dragons, and the eightfold pantheon of Dharma-protectors and good spirits see us working hard and walking the Way, they spontaneously respond to our efforts. If we fail to sincerely cultivate, however, and donors still come to make offerings, we should feel deeply ashamed. It's said,
If you have not put the three thoughts to rest, then plain water is hard to swallow.
Yet if you can understand the five contemplations, then even gold will digest.
我們為什麼不去化緣?因為我們要老老實實認真修行,聽佛菩薩的安排。佛菩薩和天龍八部、護法善神,看我們用功修道,自然會有感應;如果我們不認真修行,就是有人來供養,也應該生大懺悔心。所謂:
三心不了水難消,
五觀若明金也化。

If we hang on to thoughts of the past, the present, and the future and don't put them to rest, then if a donor offers us even a glass of plain water, we will find it difficult to drink. But if we can understand the principles underlying the five contemplations, then even gold (and this means the most delicious vegetarian delicacies) will be digested without problems. What are the five contemplations?
我們要是存有過去心、現在心、未來心,這三種心不能了,那麼施主即使只供養一杯清水,也難消受。如果能把五觀的道理明白了,就是吃金子(金,譬如珍貴的食物),也能消受得起。什麼是五觀?

1. Consider the effort it took to bring this food to where it is eaten.
2. Calculate your own merit and virtue. Are they sufficient for you to accept this offering?
3. Guard your mind against transgressions, of which greed is the major cause.
4. See the food as medicine, taken to prevent the body from wasting away.
5. Accept the food only so that you can succeed in your cultivation of the Way.
(一)計功多少,量彼來處。
(二)忖己德行,全缺應供。
(三)防心離過,貪等為宗。
(四)正事良藥,為療形枯。
(五)為成道業,應受此食。

Our Chan Meditation Session will begin tonight. The Chan ses-sions held at Gold Mountain Monastery are different from those held in the great Chan halls of China. Their Chan sessions were actually great feasts. Each night of the session, every participant ate a huge sesame-oil dumpling. Even the famous Way-places such as Gold Mountain Monastery in Zhejiang and Gao Min Monastery in Yangzhou were not exceptions to this rule. When it was time for the session, many of the old-hand meditators would show up only at the doors of the monasteries that were known to serve sesame-oil dumplings. Wherever the dumplings were the best, that's where they would go to attend the sessions. The criterion for choosing which session to attend was not the quality of the session, but the size of the dumplings! Some places earned a reputation based solely on their oversized, tasty, stuffed dumplings. I'm not slandering left-home cultivators by falsely making them out to be gluttons. This is a statement of fact!
今天晚上開始打禪七,我們金山聖寺的禪七,和中國各大叢林的禪七不同。他們打禪七是「打食七」,在晚上一定要吃麻油包子,就是鎮江的金山聖寺和揚州的高旻寺也不例外。有很多禪和子,專門到有麻油包子吃的寺廟去打禪七,哪個地方包子好吃,就到哪裏去打禪七。他們不選擇寺廟而選擇包子的大小,所以有的寺廟以麻油包子又大又香為號召。並不是我毀謗出家修道人放不下吃,的確是如此。

At Gold Mountain Monastery, we haven't established sesame-oil dumplings as the drawing card of our Chan sessions. We don't serve snacks at all!
我們金山聖寺沒有吃麻油包子的規矩,就是連小吃也沒有。

At the Chan sessions in China, many laypeople made offerings to the assembly. After the first hour of meditation, one layman might give each participant four longan fruits. After another hour, another layman might distribute two pieces of peanut candy to each meditator, or maybe cookies or rice-crackers. There would be some kind of offering every hour. Those "spiritual adepts who have tamed their minds" became rather greedy for food. Their bellies were so stuffed that they simply couldn't sit still in meditation. At our place, you won't find such offerings; we are different from them.
在中國打禪七時,有很多居士來供眾:這一炷香,你供養四個桂圓;那一炷香,他供養兩個花生糖,或者餅乾,或者鍋粑。總之,每炷香都有人來供養,令無心道人生出貪吃的心來,吃得肚子滿滿的,無法靜坐。我們這裏什麼都沒有,所以我們和他們不同。

Each day in our Chan sessions, we rise at 2:45 a.m. to begin our daily regimen of walking and sitting, sitting and walking, and we continue like this until midnight. This is an ascetic path; it's hard training. We call it "doing what people are unwilling to do." You must suspend the three words "birth and death" right between your eyebrows and forget that you haven't slept long enough. Don't enter the "sleeping samadhi" right there on the meditation bench, or else success in Chan will forever elude you.
我們從早晨兩點三刻開始行行坐坐,坐坐行行,到晚上十二點鐘休息。我們是修苦行,是苦幹,是苦煉,行人所不能行的事情。可是如果不將「生死」二字掛在眉梢上,反而覺得睡眠不夠,坐在那裏,正好入睡覺三昧;如果是這樣子,永遠不會有所成就。

In this meditation session we must "renounce death and forget about life." We must truly and earnestly work hard at meditation. Make a determined resolve to get your rightful share of results from your work. Don't simply follow the crowd, sitting when you see others sitting, walking when your neighbors do, and sleeping when you see others sleeping. That kind of practice won't work. It will only waste your time, without bringing you any benefit.
我們要「捨死忘生」地來打禪七,要認真用功打七,必須要得到自己應得的才受用。不要隨波逐流,看人行我也行,看人坐我也坐,看人睡我也睡,這樣是不行的,徒然浪費時間,對自己毫無益處。

In my younger years, I participated in several Chan sessions in a variety of places, but never once was I hit by the hall monitor's stick. Why not? Because I never slept during the entire session. I sat in meditation during the day, and I also meditated through the night. I sat in the Chan hall twenty-four hours a day. The words "rest" and "sleep" were not part of my vocabulary. Without wasting a single moment, I worked relentlessly at my investigation, constantly applying my efforts to it.
我在以前曾經參加過幾個地方的禪七,在任何地方都沒有被監香者打過香板,為什麼?因為我不睡覺,白天在禪堂裏坐,晚上也在禪堂裏坐,一天二十四小時都坐在禪堂,也不知道什麼叫休息?什麼叫睡眠?就是一秒鐘的時間,也不隨便放過,時刻用自己應該用的功夫,時刻把功夫提起來。

All of you have abundant and deep good roots. You are all clever and wise. You should give this matter serious consideration and not be casual in the least. In this year's Chan Session, there has to be someone who attains enlightenment. If no one is enlightened by the end of the session, then each of you will be dealt one hundred blows with the stick. If you feel you can take a hundred blows, then you don't have to get enlightened. If you feel that you can't endure such a beating, then you'd better get enlightened. If you fear the taste of the stick, you can still run away before the session begins. Once it begins, you must stay until the end. You can't withdraw early. According to the rules of the Chan hall, you've already said good-bye to birth and death. Even if someone dies during the session, we can only toss his corpse under the bench. No one is allowed to remove the corpse from the hall. And if nobody dies, then even less can you quit and skip out as you please.
你們各位都是善根深厚的人,都是聰明有智慧的人,應該把這事情看重了,不可敷衍了事。尤其今年的禪七,一定要有人開悟;如果沒有人開悟,等打完禪七,每個人要打一百個香板。你們覺得能受得了一百個香板的話,就不要開悟;要是覺得受不了,那麼就要開悟。若是有人害怕被打香板,現在還沒有開始打禪七,可以退出。既然參加,一定要有始有終,不可以退出。禪堂的規矩是已經告了生死假,就是有人死了,只能將屍體放在坐單底下,不許往外抬。況且又沒有人死,那更不可以隨便退出去。

We've built a "life and death" threshold to cross. If you don't live, then you'll die. If you don't die, then you'll live.
我們在這裏要立生死的門庭,不是生就是死,不是死就是生。

If you can't renounce death, then you won't experience real life.
If you can't renounce what's false, you'll never accomplish anything true.
捨不了死,就換不了生;
捨不了假,就成不了真。

This is Gold Mountain Monastery's threshold. And in this year's Chan Session, you all must be extra-vigorous. At all costs, you must recognize your original face. If you don't clearly recognize your original face, then you shouldn't dream of slipping out the front door of the monastery. If you try that, we might lock you up in jail instead. That sums up this year's rules, and I hope everyone will honor them.
這是金山聖寺的門庭。所以今年的禪七,大家要努力再努力,無論如何,要認清自己的本來面目。如果不認識自己的本來面目,那麼誰也不要想走出金山聖寺的大門,就把你關在監牢裏。這是今年大概的規定,希望大家遵守規矩。

A talk given on January 6, 1974, at Gold Mountain Monastery, San Francisco
一九七四年一月六日開示於三藩市金山聖寺


Using One Idle Thought to Control Other Idle Thoughts
以妄制妄參話頭


Investigating Chan means not having any idle thoughts.

Now our Chan session is about to begin. In the Chan Hall, we don't recite the Buddha's name; and during the Buddha Recitation Session, we don't practice meditation. Our motto for this Chan retreat is "walking is Chan; sitting is also Chan; standing is Chan; and lying down is also Chan." In general, walking, standing, sitting, and reclining are all Chan. Meditators of old didn't have any thoughts; their state was called "being without thought."
When not even one thought arises, the entire substance comes into view.
If the six sense organs suddenly react, then clouds will cover you.

Investigating Chan means working to the point that "thoughts no longer arise." After the Ming Dynasty, the use of the hua tou or "meditation topic" became popular. Now every meditation hall uses the meditation topic. There are many meditation topics that people can investigate, such as "Who's mindful of the Buddha (Who's reciting the Buddha's name)?" "What was my true identity before my parents bore me?" "What doesn't come to an end?" and so on.

Investigating Chan means not having any idle thoughts. For instance, if we're investigating the topic, "Who's mindful of the Buddha?" then we're always wondering, "Who's mindful of the Buddha?" The question itself is, in fact, a idle thought, but this method uses one idle thought to control all other idle thoughts. This method uses an idle thought to fight other idle thoughts, fire to fight fire. Actually, reciting the name "Amitabha Buddha" is also an example of using one idle thought to fight other idle thoughts. Strictly speaking, the thought of reciting the Buddha's name itself is incorrect. And the thought to investigate, "Who's mindful of the Buddha?" doesn't exist either. Yet one idle thought is able to end all the other idle thoughts. This is one of the fundamental principles of Chan meditation.

Chan meditators should have the attitude, "When the Buddhas come, slay them! When the demons come, slay them!" Don't cling to any states at all. We want to pursue our investigation until "we are no longer aware of heaven above, earth below, or people in between; we are unaware of things outside or the mind inside." That's when we merge and become one with the Dharma Realm; we may suddenly get enlightened! By no means should we let ourselves be disturbed by random noises or gaze around east and west in distraction.

If you investigate to the point where none of the four marks of self, others, living beings, or a life span exist any longer, then the root of birth and death will be severed, and you will come face-to-face with Shakyamuni Buddha; at that time, you'll appreciate the advantages of Chan meditation!

From time without beginning until this very day, only now have we had the good fortune to encounter the Chan meditation method. Thus we must make a special effort to concentrate our minds. We must be particularly sincere and work very hard. Do not let this valuable time pass by in vain. Do not indulge in idle thoughts of eating good food, wearing nice clothes, and living in fine houses. There is a saying that goes, "An instant of time is an instant of life." Time and life are equally valuable.

An instant of time is worth an ounce of gold,
Yet an ounce of gold can hardly buy an instant of time.
If you lose an ounce of gold you can always find another,
But once time goes by, you can't bring it back again.
This saying describes the value of ordinary time. How much more valuable is the time of our meditation retreat! Who knows in which minute or second you'll get enlightened? Therefore, you must treasure each minute and second of time. Don't let them slip by. I hope every one of you who has joined this Chan session will be courageous and vigorous, and won't be lax. Only if you endure every kind of pain can you finally experience every kind of joy. Endure what people cannot endure, and accept what people cannot accept. This is the true spirit of cultivating the spiritual path.

A talk given on September 1975, at Gold Mountain Monastery, San Francisco


參禪,就是不打其他的妄想。

現在開始打禪七,在禪堂裏不念佛,在佛七裏不參禪。現在是坐禪,行也是禪,坐也是禪,站也是禪,臥也是禪,總之,行住坐臥都是禪。從前,參禪的人沒有什麼念頭,這叫無念。

所謂:
一念不生全體現,
六根忽動被雲遮。

參禪,就是參一念不生。到了明朝以後,就採用參話頭。現在所有的禪堂,都是參話頭。話頭有很多種,有的參「念佛是誰?」有的參「父母未生以前的本來面目?」有的參「如何是沒有了?」等等。

參禪,就是不打其他的妄想。譬如參「念佛是誰?」總想念佛是誰?其實這也是妄想,用一個妄想來控制一切妄想,這是以妄制妄,以毒攻毒的辦法。甚至於念「阿彌陀佛」,也是以妄制妄。就念佛這一念,也是不對的;參「念佛是誰?」這一念,也是沒有的,但是由這一個妄想就能把其他的妄想都制住了,這是參禪的一個道理。

參禪的人,「佛來佛斬,魔來魔斬。」不執著一切境界。參禪參到「上不知有天,下不知有地,中不知有人,外不知有物,內不知有心。」到這個時候,與法界合為一體,才能豁然開悟。切記!不要被聲塵所轉,東望西看,心不專一。

參到無人、無我、無眾生、無壽者的時候,就把生死的根本斷了,便能面見釋迦牟尼佛,那時才知道參禪的好處。

我們從無量劫以來,一直到現在才幸運地遇到打禪七的法門。所以一定要特別專一,至誠懇切,好好用功,不要把寶貴的光陰空過,不要打吃好、穿好、住好的妄想,所謂「一寸時光,一寸命光。」時光和命光一樣地寶貴。

一寸光陰一寸金,
寸金難買寸光陰;
失落寸金容易得,
光陰過去難再尋。

這就是說,一般的光陰就這樣地寶貴,何況在打禪七期間,光陰更為寶貴。不知道在哪一分鐘?或哪一秒鐘?就是開悟的時候;所以分秒必爭,不可空過。希望參加禪七的各位!要勇猛精進,不可放逸,要忍一切苦,才得一切樂。忍人難忍,受人難受,這才是修道的精神。

一九七五年九月開示於三藩市金山聖寺




Long-term Meditation Will Naturally Bring You to Enlightenment
久參自然會開悟


Keep searching until "the mountains vanish and the rivers disappear." Then spontaneously, the good news will arrive, and you will experience a state "beyond the shadows of the willows and the vivid blossoms."

The basic rule in Chan meditation is: "Let your eyes contemplate your nose; let your nose contemplate your mouth; let your mouth contemplate your mind." This allows us to control the monkey of the mind and rein in the wild horse of our thoughts, so that they stop running outside seeking things. As we sit in the meditation hall, we may not stare left and right, because if we gaze all around, then our mind will wander outside, and we won't be able to investigate Chan. Please pay heed to this point, everyone! The time in a meditation retreat is extremely valuable; you could say that there is not a second to lose. We must seize the time and investigate Chan, because only through this investigation can we attain wisdom.

Cultivators of the Way should not treat their skin-bag of a body as a treasure. Only people who are free of this idea can apply effort in cultivating the Way. If you treat your body as a precious thing, then you will become its slave and serve its whims all day long. Therefore, genuine cultivators treat the body as a "stinking bag of skin" and don't prize it highly. Valuing the body is an obstacle to cultivation. We should merely "borrow the false to cultivate what is true," and see it as just an expedient means.

The biggest taboo in the Chan Hall is sleeping during meditation. Most meditators have two problems: restlessness and torpor. That is, if they aren't indulging in idle thinking, they'll be dozing off. Those who know how to work hard, however, will be concentrating their energy on their inquiry; they will absolutely not be sleeping. And if they can enter samadhi, then that's another story altogether.

Through meditation, you can attain "proper concentration and proper reception," which is samadhi. If you realize this state, then you will be "Thus, thus, unmoving, understanding and perfectly clear." How can you reach this state? You must put in a period of vigorous effort and rid your mind of idle thoughts. Then, "when not even one thought arises, the entire substance comes into view," and you will discover your original face, your fundamental identity.

The key to meditation is to investigate the meditation topic in thought after thought. A saying goes, "After long-term investigation, you will naturally attain enlightenment." Keep searching until "the mountains vanish and the rivers disappear," and the good news will naturally arrive, and you will experience a state "beyond the shadows of the willows and the vivid blossoms." Someone may say, "I've attended so many retreats; why haven't I become enlightened?" It's because you haven't been able to endure all kinds of suffering with only the wish to become enlightened. You should realize enlightenment comes from the accumulation of merit and virtue. In time, your merit and virtue will become full, and you will naturally attain enlightenment. To wish for enlightenment without creating any merit or virtue is simply vain thinking. As it's said, "A warty frog has no hope of tasting the flesh of the great, white swan." It's simply impossible.


參到山窮水盡的時候,自然有好消息,柳暗花明的境界便會出現在眼前。

參禪時,眼觀鼻、鼻觀口、口觀心,這是基本的法則,可以控制心猿意馬,不令它向外馳求。在禪堂參禪,不可東張西望,如果前顧後盼,心就跑到外邊去了,禪就參不下去。這一點,各位要特別注意!禪七的光陰,非常寶貴,可以說是分秒必爭,不能空過,要把握時機來參禪,參禪才能得大智慧。

修道人不要把臭皮囊視為寶貝。沒有這種思想,才能用功修道;如果有這種思想,就會做它的奴隸,一天到晚為它服務。所以真正修道的人,將身體視為臭皮囊,不去重視它;如果重視,則成為修道的障礙,所謂「借假修真」,只是方便而已。

在禪堂裏,最大的忌諱,就是在參禪中睡覺。一般人參禪,容易犯的兩種毛病:一為掉舉,一為昏沉;不是打妄想,就是打瞌睡。用功的人,聚精會神在參,絕對不會睡覺。若是入定,另當別論。

坐禪可以證得正定正受,也就是三昧。若能證得此境界,便會如如不動,了了常明。如何能證得此境界?就要下一番苦功夫,勇猛精進,心無妄想,到一念不生全體現的時候,就找到本來的面目,本地的風光。

坐禪的關鍵,就在念玆在玆參話頭。所謂「久參自然開悟」,參到山窮水盡的時候,自然有好消息,柳暗花明的境界便會出現在眼前。有人說:「我參加這麼多次禪七,為什麼還不開悟?」因為你不能忍耐一切苦,只想開悟。要知道開悟是從積功累德而來,久而久之,功德圓滿,自然開悟。可是你一點功德也沒有,就想開悟,簡直是癡心妄想,癩蛤蟆想吃天鵝肉,那是辦不到的。






Stop Your Idle Thoughts!
停止你的妄想吧!


How can you be free of these idle thoughts? There is no other method: simply investigate your meditation topic.

Those of you in the meditation hall appear to be taking part in a Chan Session, but your minds are engaging in idle thinking. Your idle thoughts take you suddenly into the heavens and suddenly back to earth. Suddenly you are ghosts, then suddenly you become animals. You produce a profusion of idle thoughts, yet none of them go beyond greed, hatred, and stupidity. You claim to be diligently cultivating precepts, concentration, and wisdom, but in fact you are not cultivating precepts, concentration, and wisdom! You claim to be eliminating greed, hatred, and stupidity, yet you are not eliminating them. That's how strange it is! Not only are you this way in the present life, you are this way in life after life. That's why you rise and sink ceaselessly in the six paths of rebirth. Reincarnated as a dog, we feel we are number one. Reborn as a cat, we also feel we are number one. In general, no matter what type of creature we become, we always consider ourselves to be number one. Why is this? Because we have attachments that arise from our ignorance. If we use a true mind to cultivate the Way and work hard at Chan meditation, then we will be able to liberate ourselves from the suffering of reincarnation and realize the bliss of Nirvana.

Some people don't take their cultivation seriously, but just follow along with the crowd and waste all their time at the retreat. This is their attitude: "I just sit when the others sit, and walk when they walk. I just do what everyone else does." Such people take the matter of birth and death and simply throw it out beyond cloud nine. They don't take it at all seriously. These people are neither willing to really apply themselves, nor to dedicate themselves to cultivation. They are unwilling to beat their idle thoughts to death. They simply sit here, endlessly entertaining one idle thought after another. In a single day they may bring up eighty-four thousand idle thoughts, yet they still aren't satisfied. Idle thinking! Idle thinking! They let these idle thoughts tie their mind into knots and turn their spirits upside-down. How pathetic!

How then, can you be free of these idle thoughts? There is no other method: simply investigate your meditation topic. Although the meditation topic is also a idle thought, it can still bring your energy to a concentrated focus and prevent it from running outside. It is the method of "fighting fire with fire"; thus we use one idle thought to counter and control many idle thoughts. When one idle thought is investigated from front to back, one will no longer have idle thoughts. When one reaches the stage of having no idle thoughts, there is a chance for enlightenment to occur. At that time, a single word, a single act, a single gesture, or a single motion can serve as the key that opens the lock to your enlightenment.


怎樣才能不打妄想?別無二法,就是參話頭。

諸位坐在禪堂裏,表面上在打禪七,可是心裏是在打妄想。這個妄想,忽然而天,忽然而地,忽然而餓鬼,忽然而畜生。這種種的妄想,都離不開貪瞋癡。說是勤修戒定慧,可是不修戒定慧;說是息滅貪瞋癡,可是不息貪瞋癡,就是這樣奇怪。不但一生一世是這樣,而且生生世世都是這樣,所以在六道輪迴中,頭出頭沒永不停止。做狗的時候,覺得是第一;做貓的時候,也覺得是第一;總而言之,無論做什麼眾生,總覺得自己是第一。為什麼?因為有無明的執著。如果真心修道,努力參禪,就能解脫輪迴之苦,證得涅槃之樂。

有的人修行不認真,隨梆唱影,在禪堂裏混光陰。人家坐我也坐,人家行我也行,人家怎樣我就怎樣,把生死的問題,拋到九霄雲外,一點也不認為重要,不肯真正用功,不肯決心修道,又不肯把妄想打死。坐在那裏,打一個妄想又一個妄想,沒有停止的時候,一天打了八萬四千個妄想,還覺得不夠。妄想、妄想!被妄想搞得心亂如麻,神魂顛倒,真是太可憐了!

那麼要怎樣才能不打妄想?別無二法,就是參話頭。話頭雖然也是妄想,可是它能令你的精神集中,不向外馳求。這是以毒攻毒的辦法,用一個妄想來控制多個妄想,將一個妄想參來參去,就沒有妄想。到了沒有妄想的境界,便是開悟的時機,這時候,或一言、或一行、或一舉、或一動,都是開悟的鑰匙。






Entering Samadhi Is Not the Same as Sleeping
入定不是睡覺


A person in samadhi appears to be dead, but in fact, awareness and feelings still remain.

Someone has asked, "What is the difference between samadhi and sleep?" To put it simply, people who are in samadhi will be sitting in an upright posture with perfectly straight backs, not leaning in any direction. Perhaps their breathing will stop or their pulse will cease, so that they appear to be dead; however, awareness and perception remain. Someone in samadhi can sit for an entire day, for ten days, or even for a month without moving. If a person is asleep, however, his head is usually askew, his body is leaning, and he is not in control of himself. He still breathes, and his breathing may be as noisy as thunder. These are the differences.

The process of Chan meditation is just like that of studying. One proceeds from elementary school to high school, then to college, and then on to graduate school, passing through four stages before one can earn a Ph.D. Likewise, the Dharma-door of Chan meditation is also divided into steps, the Four Stages of Dhyana-concentration, which are briefly explained below:

The First Dhyana is called the Stage of the Happiness Leaving Birth. It takes you beyond what living beings can experience, into a state of happiness beyond what ordinary living beings know. This happiness is found in the spiritual skill of our inherent nature. When you reach the samadhi of the First Dhyana, your breath ceases. Your outer breathing stops and your inner breathing begins to function, just as if you'd entered a state of winter hibernation. Your mind at this time is as pure as water and as clear as a mirror. You can know your fundamental identity and can be aware that you are sitting and meditating.

  The Second Dhyana is called the Stage of the Happiness of Producing Samadhi. In a state of concentration, an incomparable happiness comes forth. We refer to it as "taking the bliss of Dhyana as food and being filled with the joy of Dharma." Happiness such as this leaves one unaware of hunger. Thus you can sit for many days without any problem. However, you must not become attached to this state, for as soon as you become attached, all your previous efforts will be wasted and you will enter a demonic state. So you must be extremely careful. At the stage of Second Dhyana, not only does the breath stop, but the pulse stops as well. When one leaves concentration, these processes resume their normal functioning.

  The Third Dhyana is known as the Stage of the Wonderful Bliss of Leaving Happiness. One reaches a wonderful, inexpressible happiness that leaves behind the happiness found in the Second Dhyana. You feel that absolutely everything is part of the Buddhadharma, and everything is a source of joy. In this stage, not only do the breath and the pulse stop, but the thinking processes also cease. At this point, you no longer think of good or evil, or right or wrong; not even a single thought arises. All the same, you mustn't feel that such a state is extraordinary. It's simply one step along the way, and it's a million miles away from putting an end to birth and death.

  The Fourth Dhyana is known as the Stage of the Purity of Renouncing Thought. At this stage, not even the thought of happiness remains. You've already done away with it, and you've come to a state of purity in which there's no further action. This is the stage where "There is nothing to do, yet nothing is left undone." The attainment of the Fourth Dhyana is merely necessary part of the process of developing skill in meditation. There is nothing extraordinary about it. Do not mistakenly think that you have already realized the fruition. If you have that idea, you would be making the same mistake as the Unlearned Bhikshu, and you could fall into hells.

  One who reaches the level of the Fourth Dhyana is still considered an ordinary person. If he continues to make vigorous progress and realizes the state of the Five Heavens of No Return, only then has he realized sagehood. Even so, he still hasn't put an end to birth and death. One must transcend the Triple Realm before one can end birth and death. This point must be made clear: different stages should not be mixed up.


入定,好像活死人,但有知覺。

有人問我:「入定和睡覺有什麼不同?」簡而言之,入定的姿勢,仍然端坐,背直如筆,端正不偏,或者呼吸停止,或者脈搏停止,望之,好像活死人,但有知覺。可以坐一天不動,十天不動,甚至一個月不動。睡覺的姿勢,頭歪身斜而不自主,氣出氣入,呼呼有聲,甚至鼻息如雷。不同之處,就在這個地方。

參禪的過程,好像讀書一樣,由小學、中學、大學,然後進研究所,經過這四個階段,才能獲得博士學位。參禪這個法門,亦復如是,分為四個步驟,也就是四禪的境界。簡略述之如下:

初禪名「離生喜樂地」。就是離開眾生的關係,得到另外一種快樂。此非凡夫所得的快樂,而是在自性功夫裏邊。到初禪定中,呼吸停止。外邊呼吸停止,內邊呼吸活動起來,好像冬眠一樣的道理。這時,心清如水,明如鏡,照了自性的本體,而知道自己在打坐。

二禪名「定生喜樂地」。在定中,出生一種無比的快樂,所謂「禪悅為食,法喜充滿。」得到這種快樂,不知道飢餓,所以可以多日不食不飲,沒有關係。但是不可以執著,如果一執著,前功盡棄,就入了魔境,吾人不可不謹慎。二禪的境界,在定中不但呼吸停止,而且脈搏也停止。出定時,又恢復正常。

三禪名為「離喜妙樂地」。就是離開二禪之歡喜,得到妙不可言的快樂,覺得一切都是佛法,一切都是快樂。三禪的境界,在定中呼吸脈搏停止,意念也停止。這時候,不念善、不念惡,不念是、不念非,也就是一念不生。但不要認為了不起,這僅是一個過程而已,離了生脫死還有十萬八千里。

四禪名為「捨念清淨地」。在此境界,連快樂的念也沒有了,已把它捨棄,而到達清淨無所作為的境界,也就是到了無為而無不為的地步。到了四禪,乃是參禪功夫所必經之路,沒有什麼不得了,不要誤認是證果。如果這樣想,就和無聞比丘犯同樣的錯誤,而墮地獄。

四禪的境界,還是凡夫的地位。如果精進向前,證到「五不還天」的境界,才是證得聖人的地位。但此位尚未了生死,非得超出三界,才能了生脫死。這一點要弄清楚,不可混為一談。