Ten Benefits of Chan


Ten benefits of Chan are gained from proper practice.

1. Adhering to practices that bring peaceful dwelling. When we sit in meditation and investigate Chan everyday, we acquire a certain deportment. This deportment takes practice. When we investigate Chan year after year, month after month, day after day, hour after hour, and minute by minute, there are proper ways to practice.

Running meditation is one example. When it is time to do running meditation in the Chan hall, someone shouts “Run!” Everyone runs. We may run until we perspire and almost pass out. We may run until we are not aware of the heavens above, the earth below, and people in between. During running meditation we can become unaware of our self, and fundamentally, there is no longer a self. When our running meditation reaches the point that we have no notion of self and others, we will be contemplating at ease. In the absence of self, we will have no false thinking. In the absence of people, we will have no false thoughts of others. At that moment, we will be contemplating at ease.

Neither in emptiness nor in form
Does one see the Thus Come One.

The Buddha does not fall into the categories of emptiness or existence, which means he is neither empty nor does he have substance. Therefore, if we realize that the Dharma-body of the Thus Come One is neither empty nor has substance, then we have seen the Dharma-body of the Thus Come One. We arrive there by adhering to practices that bring peaceful dwelling.

2. Using kindness in what we do. This does not necessarily mean being nice to others. When it is necessary to use kindness, we should use kindness and compassion to teach and cross over the other person. We use the method of gathering in. If we encounter a sentient being who needs to be exhorted or admonished so that he can gain an awakening, we should be motivated by kindness and compassion as we exhort or admonish him. Or, in the Chan Hall, the incense board is often used to tap people into an awakening. In the Chan Hall, there are often cases of people being hit. However, this kind of hitting is different from ordinary hitting for the intention here is to enable that person to be awakened. This is for his own good because we hope that he will observe the rules and get rid of his false thoughts. That is how to use kindness in what we do.

3. The absence of the heat of regret. The heat of regret is an affliction. In regretting, the mind indulges in affliction and that generates heat. Therefore, this third benefit means to be without afflictions.

4. Safeguarding the sense faculties. This means watching over the six sense faculties. Why do we need to safeguard the six faculties? If we do not, they will run away. The eyes will be drawn to forms; the ears will be enticed by sounds; the nose will react to smells; the tongue will get involved in tastes; the body will be influenced by touch; and the mind will endulge in mental constructs. That is why we have to safeguard the six faculties until they emit light and cause the earth to quake. Why do they emit light? Light is emitted when we have no more false thoughts and our original wisdom manifests. When the light of wisdom shines throughout the trichiliocosm, the six sense faculties emit light and the earth quakes.

5. Knowing the joy of non-eating. A person who investigates Chan will obtain the joy of Chan as food and be filled with Dharma joy. When that happens, then even though we do not eat substantial foods, we will be joyful. Despite not consuming any food, we are happy so long as we can investigate Chan. Has this happened to any of you?


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6. Being apart from emotional love and desire. When our minds do not entertain thoughts of emotional love and desire, then our minds are clear and pure. Emotional love and desire are defilements and defilements result in birth and death. Why do ordinary human beings like us experience birth and death? It is because we have not cut off emotional love and desire. Why do ordinary people keep revolving continuously in the six paths of rebirth without ever ending birth and death? It is because they entertain thoughts of emotional love and desire and can never stop doing so. If you cannot cut off love and desire, you cannot end birth and death. As long as we have not ended birth and death, we will revolve continuously in the six paths. If people who investigate Chan can be apart from thoughts of emotional love and desire, then the doors of hell will remain closed and they will not go there.

7. Cultivating will not be done in vain. What does that mean? It means the only thing to fear is that we will fail to cultivate. If we do cultivate, we will not pass the time in vain. When we sit in meditation for an hour, our wisdom-life will lengthen by an hour. When we meditate for two hours, our wisdom-life will extend by two hours. If we investigate Chan every moment, every hour, every day, every month and every year, our inherent wisdom will certainly become evident. Hence, Chan cultivation will never be done in vain. For as long as we cultivate, we will not pass the time in vain.

8. Remaining free of demonic karma. Cultivators can keep clear of the karmic power of demons. When we are free from the karmic obstructions of demons, no demon can disturb or hinder us in any way.

9. Dwelling peacefully in the Buddha’s realm. If we can investigate constantly, we will gain this ninth benefit of dwelling peacefully in the Buddha’s realm.

10. Gaining complete liberation. This is the benefit that everyone hopes for. Complete liberation means to be without obstructions. Having no obstructions, we realize the clear and pure Dharma-body.

Those are the ten benefits of investigating Chan.


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禪的十種利益


這十種的利益,第一種叫「安住儀式」。你天天參禪打坐總有個樣子,這個樣子就是個儀式。你天天參,月月參,年年參,時時參,刻刻參,都有一定的儀式。你行跑香,在禪堂裏要跑香的時候,就叫說﹕「行起來!」就是跑;在裏邊跑得甚至於身上都出汗了,跑得天昏地暗,上不知有天,下不知有地,中不知道有人,就是不知道有我了,根本就沒有一個我了。一跑到這個無我無人的時候,就觀自在了;沒有我,也沒有人。既然沒有我,也沒有我的妄想了;沒有人,也不打人的妄想了,這個時候就是觀自在了。「非空非色見如來」,那個佛也不落於空,也不落於有,既非空又非有,所以如來的法身是非空非有的,你就見到如來的法身了。這是安住儀式。

第二種利益叫「行慈境界」。這種行慈境界,不一定要說是對人好。遇著應該慈的,就用慈悲來教化他,這叫攝受門;遇著某一種的眾生,你應該罵他一頓或者打他一頓,他才能覺悟,那麼你就要用你這個慈悲心來打他、罵他,罵得他開悟了,或者打他幾香板,把他打開悟了。在禪堂裏頭常常有打人的,這個打人和一般打人不同,是想開悟,想他好,想他守規矩,想他不打妄想,所以這叫行慈境界。

第三叫「無悔熱」。悔熱就是煩惱。悔就是後悔,後悔就心裏生出煩惱,這叫熱。沒有煩惱,這是第三。

第四「守護諸根」。守護這六根。六根怎麼要守護?你不守著它,它就跑了,眼睛,就跟著色塵跑;耳朵,就跟著聲塵跑了;鼻子,就跟著香塵跑了;舌,跟著味塵跑了;身,就跟著觸塵跑了;意,就跟著法塵跑了,所以就要守護六根,就是六根門頭放光動地。怎麼放光呢?放光就是都不打妄想,都生出本有的智慧來;智慧光普照三千大千世界,所以這叫六根門頭放光動地。

第五,參禪的人就會得到禪悅為食,法喜充滿,這叫「得無食喜」,不吃東西也歡喜。你誰要能參禪參得不吃東西也不覺得餓了,還生出一種歡喜心,這就得到第五種的利益。這叫「得無食喜」,沒吃飯也歡喜,只要有參禪就可以了。


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第六種的利益是「離愛欲」。離開愛欲心,這就是清淨心。愛欲就是染污,染污也就是生死。我們一般人為什麼有生死?就因為愛欲不斷。一般人為什麼在這個六道輪迴裏轉來轉去,這個生死不了,也就因為有這個愛欲心,也就因為這種愛欲總也斷不了。你斷不了愛欲,生死就不能了;生死不能了,那就是在六道輪迴裏頭轉來轉去的。你參禪的人能離開愛欲心,沒有愛欲心了,這個地獄門就關了,不會墮地獄了。這第六種利益。

第七種利益是「修禪不空」。什麼叫修禪不空?就是只怕你不修,你修就不會空過的。你坐禪坐一個鐘頭,你的慧命就增長一個鐘頭;你坐兩個鐘頭,你的慧命就增長了兩個鐘頭;你時時刻刻來參禪,日日月月來參禪,年年參禪,這你一定會開大智慧的。所以這個修禪不空,只要你修,它就不會空過的。

第八叫「解脫魔業」。這個魔的業力都可以得到一種解脫。魔的業障可以解脫,那個魔他沒有法子來障礙你。

第九,是「安住佛境」。你能常常參,就是得到第九種的利益,就是安住在這個佛的境界上。

第十種「解脫成熟」,是人人都希望得到的一種好處。解脫成熟就是沒有障礙了,沒有障礙就是清淨法身,這是第十種的參禪的利益。