How to Investigate Chan - Sitting Meditation



The vajra posture quells demons


When sitting in Chan, make sure your posture is correct. A correct posture benefits both body and mind. Without it, sitting in Chan loses its meaning. When we sit in meditation, we need to first relax the body and mind. Do not become tense. It would be ideal to sit in full lotus, which is the basic posture. To sit in full lotus, first put the left foot over the right thigh, and then move the right foot over the left leg. This is also called the vajra position, which means it is firm and unmoving.

All the Buddhas of the past attained Buddhahood by sitting in the vajra position. In this sitting posture, we can subdue demons from the heavens and counter those of externalist ways. When they see us in this position, they surrender and retreat, not daring to come forward and create trouble. Once we are sitting in the full-lotus posture, our eyes should contemplate the tip of our nose and not look left and right.

The eyes contemplate the nose.
The nose contemplates the mouth.
The mouth contemplates the heart.

This way, we can gather in our body and mind. The mind is like a monkey or a wild horse, and you must tie it up so it does not run away. It is said,

Concentration brings results that are efficacious.
Being scattered, results in nothing at all.

We need to sit properly, keeping our back straight and our head up. Do not lean forward, backward, or to the left or right. Sit firmly, being as stable as a large bell, the kind that does not sway or move. Do not be like a small bell's clapper that swings back and forth. Full lotus is the proper posture for sitting in Chan. Beginners in Chan meditation who are not used to it may experience pain in their legs and may get a backache. Do not worry. Just grit your teeth and be patient for a while, and those sensations will naturally subside. The saying goes, "With long sitting, there is Chan." So, keep at it and you will naturally attain the flavor of Chan.


Full-lotus posture makes it easy to enter samadhi


Full-lotus posture is another name for the vajra posture just described. By placing our left foot on top of our right thigh and then placing our right foot on our left thigh, we achieve full-lotus position. The left foot belongs to yang while the right foot belongs to yin. When assuming this meditation posture, the left foot, which is yang, is placed first, so that it is under, while the right foot, which is yin, is placed second on top. This balance of yin and yang can be seen in the taiji symbol, which depicts the absolute, from which comes primal beginning, and then from primal beginning, the two primary forces of yin and yang are shown symbolically as intertwined fish.

For those who prefer, it is also acceptable to put the left foot below and the right foot on top. The Dharma is not fixed and can be adapted according to a person's preference. It is not necessary to attach rigidly to the particulars of the sitting posture. I am teaching the classic method, where the left foot goes on the right thigh and the right foot on the left thigh. It is not a fixed rule that you have to sit in this position. In conclusion, lotus posture facilitates entry into samadhi. It makes it much easier to do so.

If we could enter samadhi while walking, it would not be necessary to sit. The state of samadhi is devoid of false thoughts. When the mind does not entertain a single thought, then it will not be defiled by even a single speck of dust. When our mind entertains no thoughts and is not defiled by even a speck of dust, then we can continue to develop our skill while walking, standing, sitting, and reclining. At that point, we will not be limited to the sitting posture alone.


Once your legs no longer ache, you have really begun investigating Chan


When you first learn how to sit in full lotus posture, if your legs feel stiff and painful, you may sit in a more comfortable manner. Thereafter, you should learn to sit in half lotus position. Then when your legs do not feel so painful, you can learn to sit in full lotus position. When your legs no longer ache, you have really begun investigating Chan. That marks the actual beginning. Basically, Chan investigation is intentionally looking for something to do when one has nothing to do. For instance, a cultivator who has eaten his fill, slept enough, is warmly clothed and has nothing else to do, will then investigate Chan. Getting good at it, we can then roam and play in the world.


Sit straight without leaning


The basic posture of sitting meditation requires us to hold our body upright. We must sit straight and not allow ourselves to lean this way or that. However, you should not force yourself. It must come naturally. Turn the tip of your tongue back and let the underside of your tongue touch the roof of your mouth. Then swallow your saliva. When it flows into your stomach, it can balance your energy and blood.


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Sweet dew cures many illnesses


When sitting in Chan with our tongue rolled back so its underside touches the roof of our mouth, we may generate a lot of saliva. We should swallow it. That saliva is called sweet dew. Why? After we practice Chan sitting for an extended period of time, our saliva becomes sweet. Although it may not be as sweet and thick as sugar or honey, it still has a faint sweetness. When we regularly swallow that sweet dew, we will not feel hungry or thirsty, even without food or drink. When a person's practice reaches the stage where he is not aware of walking, standing, sitting or reclining, his skill merges with every movement, and he is in samadhi in every instant. This is descibed thus:

The Naga remains in stillness always,
There is never a moment of non-stillness.

The sweet dew we swallow can cure numerous illnesses, strengthen us physically, and help us open our wisdom. But we must practice diligently without interruption.

Why is it that cultivators do not wish to talk much? They need to concentrate on their practice. No matter what they are doing, be it gathering firewood, fetching water, welcoming guests and seeing them off, or traveling about, they are always practicing hard. When our skill reaches maturity, then even without any volitional effort, we will still continue to practice hard. Even without volitional effort, we will be investigating "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" When we investigate to the point that we are not moved by wind or rain, our skill will become such that wind and rain cannot encroach upon us. Of course, this sort of skill is not accomplished overnight. That is why, at all times, we have to be mindful of the present.

Sweet dew is also referred to as "our own drink" and is recognized as a medicine. It is an elixir that enhances longevity. It is a medicine that brings liberation from birth and death. It is a tonic for escaping the cycle of rebirth in the six realms of existence. Everyone has this medicine but most refuse to take it. Most people ignore the root and are attracted by branch tips. In other words, they search high and low outside. This sweet-dew tonic originates from our self-nature.

If we constantly apply effort in our practice, our saliva becomes sweet, even sweeter than honey. When that medicine takes effect, the body will undergo changes internally. Those who have not experienced this benefit in cultivation do not know what I am talking about. Those who have experienced it will be ever-diligent. They will not put off cultivation or take breaks. We must be persistent in our practice and constantly guard it. Practice should not be erratic, such that we:

Fish for three days,
and then dry the net for two.
Heat something for one day,
and then let it get cold for ten.
Pluck a lotus blossom today,
and then pick a peony tomorrow.

We need firm sincerity and honest determination. We must constantly practice hard in order to progress on the Path. To progress one day and then retreat the next is a waste of time.


Eyes contemplate nose. Nose contemplates mouth. Mouth contemplates heart


When sitting in meditation, sit up straight and erect. Do not lean backwards or forwards and do not lower your head. Keep the head upright. The eyes should look at the nose to see if the nostrils are pointing upwards or downwards. Pay close attention to it. The nose should watch the mouth. But, you wonder, does the nose have eyes? By focusing on the mouth, the nose will gradually develop eyes. The more you focus the nose on the mouth, the sooner the nose will actually see the mouth. The nose contemplates the mouth, and the mouth inquires of the heart. Inquire into whether your own heart is black, white, yellow or red. What kind of heart is it?

Go ahead and inquire into that. If you discover that it is black, then you have to turn the black heart into a white one. When you see your black heart turning white day-by-day until it becomes a treasury of brilliant light that integrates with the Dharma Realm, then you can know you are gaining a little skill. Do not breathe through your mouth. Breathe through your nose. Sometimes the nasal passages are blocked which makes breathing through the nose difficult. However, if you can breathe through your nose, when you inhale, bring the breath down to just behind the navel, not below it. That place is empty and is without anything. In fact, from the beginning there has never been anything there. That is the place where your breath has to stop.

Sometimes people who practice will ask, "Do you know how to catch your breath?" That is a very important question. If you can catch your breath, then your external breathing becomes an internal breathing. That internal breathing replaces the external breathing. This is why a practitioner with sufficient skill does not breath externally. That external breathing has stopped, but the internal breathing functions. With internal breathing there is no exhalation through the nose or mouth, but all the pores on the body are breathing. A person who is breathing internally appears to be dead, but actually he has not died. He does not breathe externally, but the internal breathing comes alive.

At that time, when your eyes see forms, inside there is nothing, because all forms have been emptied. The ears hear sounds but the mind does not know. When you contemplate your mind, the mind is also empty. Looking out for forms, forms vanish; looking afar at objects, they too become empty. But at this point, you should not think that you are great. You have merely activated an initial expedient and are experiencing the state of lightness and ease. Do not mistake a thief for your own son. Do not mistake where you are in your practice, thinking that you are already very great.


Heat, Summit, Patience, First in the World


When sitting in meditation, the underside of the tongue touches the roof of the mouth. This is the point where the two channels of ren and du connect. When these two channels are clear, then the circulation of energy and blood is also clear, and one feels at ease. When there is saliva in the mouth, swallow it into the stomach. Doing this frequently is just like using sweet dew to water and nourish a young Bodhi sprout. After sitting for some time, a warm energy fills the body and it may become very hot. At this stage, certain changes begin to occur.

1. Heat is the first stage. This warmth originates at the cinnabar, the point just behind the navel, spreads to the whole body, and then circulates back to the cinnabar. This warm energy circulates like that again and again during the stage of heat.

2. Summit is the second stage. When you have experienced the warmth for some time, during which your body's chemical plant has done the necessary experiments, you will then reach the summit. At the summit, you feel as if there is something at the top of your head, yet there appears to be nothing there. If you say there is something, you cannot see it or touch it. You only experience this feeling at the top of your head, and you will invariably feel it is indescribable.

3. Patience is the third stage. After the summit stage, you begin to experience an unbearable feeling. No matter how unbearable this feeling is, you have to endure it. This is known as the stage of patience. After the summit stage comes the stage of patience. It is very difficult to pass the stage of patience because of the discomfort associated with the top of your head. It seems as if there is something trying to drill a hole through to the outside. At this point, you have to be very patient. As time goes by, the drill penetrates through and emerges from the top of your head, just like a little bird that has been set free from its cage. And like a freed bird, you will feel exceptionally happy.

4. First in the World is the fourth stage. Getting free is called being foremost in the world. This can refer to having the world's foremost patience. It is also known as being the World's Number One Great Personage, or the World's Number One Great Hero. Being peerless, you are known as Number One in the World. Even so, you will still have to be careful and continue to cultivate everyday.


Subduing guest-dust afflictions is like letting muddy water settle


When we sit in Chan, we have to cleanse our mind and reduce our desires. This is the first step in cultivation. Cleansing the mind refers to subduing afflictions, which are transient, like a guest who does not stay, like particles of dust that fly about.

Our turbid afflictions make us like a jar of muddy water. If we keep shaking the jar, the water will remain murky and we will not be able to see the bottom of the jar clearly. But if, after we pour the muddy water into a jar, we do not disturb the jar, then the mud and silt will settle to the bottom. This is the first step in subduing guest-dust afflictions. Sitting properly in meditation for even one ksana (a moment) generates more merit than building as many pagodas of the seven jewels as there are sand grains in the Ganges River. That is because by sitting in meditation, we can subdue our guest-dust afflictions and allow the silt of the five desires to settle down.

A clear mind is as a still pool
that can reflect the moon.
A calm will is as a bright sky
without a trace of clouds.


Investigate Chan while walking, standing, sitting and reclining


Chan sitting cannot be considered fun. It involves enduring a lot of hardship. We begin our first sit at three o'clock in the morning and we continue sitting and walking right up to twelve o'clock midnight. Our rest period at night is only three hours long. In the afternoon there is also a onehour optional rest period.

During Chan investigation, we have to forget about the body, the mind, the world, and everything else. Even the self must no longer exist. Everything becomes empty. When we reach the state of true emptiness, wonderful existence will appear. Everybody must pay attention to this! During cultivation, do not talk unnecessarily. Try not to have false thoughts. Take care not to be lazy or stop to rest. We should treasure every minute and every second.

As it is said,
A moment passed is a moment less of life.

Therefore, we have to investigate Chan while walking, standing, sitting, and reclining. Cultivating Chan at all times, we have to constantly pay attention to our investigation. The more we investigate, the more transparent and bright we become.


Concentrate! Persevere!


When we investigate Chan, we should not fear backaches and pain in our legs. We must draw on our vajra will and use patience and perseverance to investigate Chan. We must constantly persevere and be firm and uncompromising in our resolve. In every moment, we must practice hard.

In the past, virtuous elders in the monastic Sangha, having practiced sitting meditation for many years, continued to sit. This shows that cultivation is not so simple and easy. We must endure. We cannot pluck a lotus blossom today and pick a peony tomorrow. We should not think that by sitting for a day we can become enlightened. We need to understand the importance of patience when practicing Chan sitting.

How do we concentrate? Well, imagine the intensity with which a young girl pursues a boy she likes, or how a boy chases a girl. That is how concentrated we should be in meditation. If we can be that determined and intent on our investigation of Chan, so that we are ever-mindful of the present, then there is no reason why we cannot succeed.


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Sit like a big bell, walk like a light breeze


By investigating Chan, we cultivate samadhi. Chan investigation is neither conditional nor unconditional. Superficially, Chan investigation appears to be unconditional. Actually, when we investigate Chan, we are helping to increase the proper energy in the Dharma Realm. If everyone investigated Chan, there would be no wars in this world. It is said that:

Sitting for a long time, we will gain Chan.

But Chan investigation is not only done while sitting. We can investigate Chan while standing, walking, or reclining as well. A hardworking cultivator does not allow mundane matters to bother him. He holds the meditation topic at every moment. Remaining ever in the present, we investigate, "Who is mindful of the Buddha?" When, through our investigation, the mountains disappear and the waters vanish, then in that ultimate state, we will naturally exhibit awesome deportment in our walking, standing, sitting, and reclining.

1. 「Sit like a bell」 Sit solidly. Do not be like a pendulum that swings to and fro. Sit erect and upright, with the eyes contemplating the nose, the nose contemplating the mouth and the mouth contemplating the heart. With the underside of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, you swallow the saliva as it is secreted.

2. 「Walk like a breeze」 During the short running period, run like the wind. Let that wind blow to the point that the heavens above disappear, the very earth dissolves, and all people in between are gone. When one is working hard, there is no mark of others and therefore, there is no heaven above, no earth below and no people in between. During the longer walking periods, we should walk like a breeze without causing any ripples.

3. 「Stand like an evergreen」 While standing, keep your back straight. Stand upright, just like a lofty evergreen tree.

4. 「Recline like a bow」 When lying down, assume the auspicious reclining posture. Lie on your right side with your right hand under your right cheek and your left hand resting along your left side. The Great Master Yong Jia said,

In speech or silence, in movement or stillness,
My body is at ease.
Even if someone drew a knife on me,
I would remain calm.
Even if someone poisoned me,
I would not get upset.

Master Bodhidharma, the first patriarch in China, was poisoned on six occasions by externalists. Even though he knew very well that it was poison, he still consumed it. Thus, we know that he was devoid of self and could look lightly on birth and death. When cultivators work hard, the heavens shake and the earth quakes, and ghosts and spirits weep. Even the demon kings are shocked. By working hard in our practice, we can keep the demon kings from being able to exert their power. That shocks them. If we could practice diligently for these twenty-one hours-a-day and work hard every second, we would surely cause the heavens to shake and the earth to quake.

In practicing to reach unconditional dharmas, we begin with conditional dharmas. We should not be afraid of the toil of the running periods and the sitting periods. Running can be likened to the conditional while sitting can be likened to the unconditional. Hence, the saying,

Within the unconditioned are conditions.
Within conditions lies the unconditioned.
What is conditional is also unconditional.
The conditioned is unconditioned.
The unconditioned is conditioned.


As skill increases, afflictions decrease


Sitting in Chan is like being a horse trainer or a monkey trainer. It is not easy. Although it is not easy, we still have to sit regardless of how difficult it is. In this world, whatever you want to do is not easy and requires a lot of effort. Chan sitting is also like that. It requires a good deal of hard work and effort. If we could restrain our mad mind and calm our wild nature, and if we could confine ignorance and false thoughts to a single location, then our skill would increase day-by-day and our afflictions would decrease correspondingly.


Sitting in meditation is like unraveling a silken cocoon


When we sit in meditation, we are as if unraveling the silk from a cocoon. We are like silkworms encased in a cocoon, caught in the six desires and bound by the seven emotions, which are joy, anger, sorrow, fear, emotional love, hatred, and desire. Although these seven emotions cannot be eradicated immediately, they should be reduced bit-by-bit.

1. Joy. We should not be excessively happy to the point of laughing as if we had gone mad.

2. Anger. Furthermore, we should not display anger. As it is said,

The fire of ignorance, blazing like the stars,
will consume a forest of merit and virtue.
Firewood collected over a thousand days
can be burned up by a single spark.

If your mind is calm when you sit in Chan, then you will feel very peaceful. However, if you indulge in anger, you will be afflicted with a hundred types of illnesses. The bones and joints in your whole body will be very painful. The fire of anger will have burned down the Bodhi tree.

3. Sorrow. We should not allow ourselves to become overly sad.

4. Fear. With fear in the mind, we cannot achieve righteousness.

5. Emotional love. Suppose we see someone or something beautiful and react with craving and desire. Suppose we notice that others have nice things and we crave such things ourselves. Such craving comes from thoughts that are caught up in emotional love and greed.

6. Hatred. Hatred is the opposite of emotional love. Extreme love often turns into hatred.

7. Desire. This includes even thoughts of desire, and especially those that are unruly, not in accord with the Way. These seven emotions have to be eradicated bit-by-bit. Hence, in our practice, it is necessary to be continually cleansing the mind. When the seven emotions have been reduced to the point of disappearing, then there will be nothing left. At that point, we will be constantly in samadhi. Whether we are walking, standing, sitting, or reclining, we will be investigating Chan and practicing hard. It is then that we will recognize our original face and know whether our nostrils are pointing up or down.


Sit perfectly still, generates more merit than building pagodas of the seven gems


Sitting perfectly still for even an instant, Generates more merit than building pagodas of the seven gems in number like the Ganges' sands. An instant includes numberless great kalpas. Numberless big kalpas are not beyond the present thought. The present thought does not go beyond numberless great kalpas. If we could sit perfectly still for even a split second, then there would be no mark of people, self, others, and a lifespan. Not a single thought would arise and all conditions would cease.

At that point in time, one compresses numberless great kalpas into a single thought, and one expands a single thought to include numberless great kalpas. But even if we can sit still for a split second, or half an hour, or for three hours or five hours, or even for seven days, and nights, we still have to keep on sitting. Then, we come to realize that inside there is no body and mind, and outside there is no world. This kind of merit and virtue is greater than that of building seven-jeweled pagodas numbering like Ganges' sands.

Why is that so? It is because the merit and virtue of building pagodas have form and will cease to exist eventually. If you could reach the state of having no mark of body and mind, and no mark of the world, then at that moment, your own prajna wisdom will emerge. This type of wisdom is such that one looks but does not see, hears but does not listen, and smells but takes in no scent. Nevertheless, one's enlightened awareness remains.

If we could, in an instant, or in a very short span of time, have no mark of others, no mark of self, no mark of living beings, and no mark of a lifespan, then we would be in accord with our inherent Buddha nature. The inherent Buddha nature can illuminate the true nature of all Dharmas. It does not come into being or cease to be. It is not defiled and not pure. It neither increases nor diminishes. The sunshine of our inherent wisdom cannot shine through because we are covered by ignorance. The dark clouds of ignorance plunge us into obscurity. As a result, we are unable to discern right from wrong and vice versa. We recognize a thief for a son and are always engaged in upside-down false thinking. This is why we keep roaming about in birth and death, unable to extricate ourselves from it.


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如何參禪 - 關於打坐


金剛坐降天魔


坐禪的姿勢要正確,對身心皆有益處,否則失掉坐禪的意義。坐禪時,先將身心放鬆,不可緊張,最好結雙跏趺坐,這是基本的坐法。何謂雙跏趺坐呢?就是先把左腿放在右腿的上邊,然後將右腿搬到左腿上邊,這又叫金剛坐是堅固不動的意思。過去諸佛皆以金剛坐而成佛。這種坐法,可以降伏天魔,可以制止外道,他們見到這種坐法,知難而退,不敢前來找麻煩。

結雙跏趺坐之後,眼睛觀鼻端,不可東張西望。所謂「眼觀鼻,鼻觀口,口觀心」,這樣才能攝持身心,將心猿意馬拴住,不令它們向外奔馳。所謂「專一則靈,分歧則弊」,要端然正坐,就是腰要直,頭要正,不可前俯,不可後仰;不要向左歪,不要向右斜,好像大鐘一樣,四平八穩,不動不搖。不可像鐘擺那樣,東搖西晃。雙跏趺坐才合乎坐禪的姿勢。初學禪的人覺得不習慣,腿也痛,腰也痠;不要緊,咬緊牙關忍耐一時,久了自然沒有這種現象,所謂「久坐有禪」,自然得到禪味。


跏趺坐易入定


結雙跏趺坐的姿勢,是將左腿放在右腿上,然後將右腿搬到左腿上,因為左腿屬於陽,右腿屬於陰。打坐時,左腿是陽在上邊,右腿是陰在下邊,好像無極生太極,太極生兩儀(陰魚、陽魚),也是這樣的擺法。因為方便起見,左腿在下,右腿在上也可以的。法無定法,隨著個人習慣而決定,不必執著一定要這種姿勢。教你左腿壓右腿,這只是個方法而已。並不是硬性規定,一定要這樣子。總而言之,結跏趺坐,乃是教你容易入定。你能行時入定,坐不坐都可以的。入定的境界沒有任何的妄想,心中一念不生,一塵不染。若能行住坐臥一念不生,一塵不染,那就是在用功,並不一定是坐在那裏,才算是用功。


腳不痛才是正式參禪


學跏趺坐。起初假如腳很硬,痛得太厲害,可以方便坐;方便坐之後,繼而學單跏趺;單跏趺之後,腳不覺那麼痛了,可學習雙跏趺;雙跏趺可以坐得住,腳不痛了,才是正式開始參禪。本來,參禪是沒有事情故意找點事情來做。譬如,修道人吃飽了肚子,睡夠穿暖了,沒有旁的事便參禪,「遊戲人間」。


端然正坐不偏不倚


打坐的基本姿勢,身體要挺直,宜端然正坐,不偏不倚,不仰不合;但不要造作,要很自然,舌尖頂上顎,有口水時嚥下,口水到肚子裏,能調和氣血。


甘露水治百病


坐禪時舌尖頂上顎,有時會有很多口水,可以把它嚥下。這叫「甘露水」。為什麼?因為坐禪坐久了,口水是甜的,雖不像糖或蜜糖那麼濃,都是淡淡的一種甜味。人常飲這種甘露水,不吃飯也不餓,不喝水也不渴;乃至行不知行,住不知住,坐不知坐,臥不知臥,功夫已打成一片,時刻在定中,所謂「那伽常在定,無有不定時」。

甘露水能治百病,強身健體,能開你的智慧,但必要時刻用功,不要間斷。為什麼修道人不願講太多話?因為要用功,無論搬柴運水,迎賓送客,出入往還,都是在用功。功夫用得純熟,綿綿密密,不想用功他也會用功,不想參「念佛是誰」他也會參。參到風吹不動,雨打不透,功夫成片,風雨也進不來了。

當然這種功夫不是一朝一夕練成的,故要時時刻刻,念茲在茲。甘露水又叫「自家水」;這三個字合起來,念作「藥」字,這是延年益壽的藥,了生脫死的藥,脫出六道輪迴的藥。人人皆有這藥,但人人皆不肯服用這個藥。人人只是捨本逐末,東跑西跑往外找。這個藥是自性本有,人能常用功,口水很甜,甚至超過蜜糖,等到這個「藥」起了功效,身體內便產生變化。人若未得到修行之好處,則不知道;若得到了則時時不會放下功夫,不會間斷。但要持之以恆,守之以素;不是三天打魚,兩天晒網,一日曝之,十日寒之,今天蓮華,明天牡丹。要有堅誠恆,常常用功,才會上路,若忽進忽退,徒然耽誤時間。


眼觀鼻,鼻觀口,口觀心


打坐要坐得端然正坐,不要向後仰,也不要向前俯,也不要把頭低低的,把頭正直起來,眼睛看鼻子,看這個鼻子是衝上衝下呢?要看清楚了。鼻就看著口,那麼鼻上有眼睛嗎?它看口,慢慢就會生出眼睛了。你越是叫它看,這個鼻子就會看見口了。這樣子鼻觀口,口就問心,自己問心,你這個心是個黑心?是個白心?是個黃心?是個紅心?你這個心是青黃赤白黑,是個什麼心?問一問它。如果若黑心,那黑要把它變成白的,你看你的黑心一天比一天就變色了,變了白了,變了大光明藏了,與法界合而為一了,這時就有點辦法了。

呼吸氣,不要用口,鼻子可以通氣的,有的人鼻子不通氣,用鼻子呼吸就很困難,那麼你若能用鼻子來呼吸,鼻子這個氣吸進來要把它這個氣停止到肚臍後邊,不是肚臍下邊,那個地方是空空洞洞的,沒有一個什麼東西,只是本來無一物,本來無一物就是這個,你的呼吸氣要停止到這個地方。

一般人有這麼一句話,說你會不會接氣,你能不能接上氣啊?這是一個很重要的問題。你若能接上氣,外呼吸就是內呼吸,內呼吸就是外呼吸,所以那有道的人,他外邊就不呼吸了,這呼吸停止了,裏邊的呼吸它會動。你鼻孔沒有氣出了,在這個口也沒有氣出了,可是他周身毛孔都會呼吸的。你看他像死人,但是死而不亡,此刻死了,但是他沒有亡,這樣不需要外邊的呼吸氣,內裏的呼吸氣活了。

這個時候你眼觀形色內無有,形形色色裏邊都沒有了,耳聽聲音心不知,心也不知道了,內裏頭觀這個心,心也沒有,向外觀這個形,形也沒有,向遠觀這個物,物也空了,可是在這個時候,你不要以為自己就了不起了。這還是一個前方便,只不過是一種輕安的境界,你不要認賊作子,以為我就是了不起了。


煖、頂、忍、世第一


打坐時,舌尖頂上顎,這是任、督二脈在這兒交接,任、督二脈通了,那麼氣血也通了,這時候覺得很自在。在口裏有口水,把它吞到肚子裏邊去,時時這樣吞,就好像是用甘露來滋潤菩提苗一樣的,給他灌水,坐坐身上會有一股暖氣,很熱很熱的。在這個階段開始生出一種作用:第一個階段就是熱,熱先從肚子裏邊熱,熱到週身上去,到週身然後再回來,這麼熱個幾次,這叫熱的階段。

熱以後,經過一個相當的時間,也就是在這化學工廠裏頭來化驗,化驗得差不多了,以後接著就到頂位了。頂位,就覺得頭上那兒好像有一點什麼,又好像沒有,你說有你也看不見,也摸不著,只是有這個感覺在頭上,總是覺得它有一點不可思議的境界,這叫頂位。

頂位以後就覺得很忍不住,這種的感覺忍不住,還要忍,這叫忍位了。頂的階段過去就是忍的階段,忍的階段很不容易忍過去,覺得頭上很不舒服的,就好像有什麼東西,要把頭鑽出個窟窿似的,這個時候又忍,忍,久而久之,這窟窿鑽透了,跑出去了,跑出到這個頭上面,出這窟窿外邊去了,就好像小鳥在鳥籠子出去一樣,高興得不得了。這才是世界第一個忍,所以這叫世第一,世界的第一個大丈夫,第一個大豪傑,沒有人可比的,所以叫世第一位。在這個時候做世第一位,然後還要小心天天來修行。


降伏客塵五欲沉底


坐禪,就是要清心寡欲,這是修行第一步功夫。清心,把客塵沉靜下來。猶如一碗混濁的水,你若總動盪它,水總是混濁不能看清楚。若把混水放到器皿裏靜深不動,沙塵便沉底,這是降伏客塵煩惱之初步功夫。我們身體能靜坐一須臾,勝造恆沙七寶塔。因為在這靜坐的一剎那之間,能降伏客塵,使五欲之沙塵沉底,即所謂「心清水現月,意定天無雲」。


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行住坐臥都在參禪


坐禪不是很好玩的一件事,要受很多苦。從早晨兩點鐘開始坐香,一直到夜間十二點鐘睡覺,中間只有一個鐘頭休息。在參禪的期間要忘身、忘心、忘世,一切皆忘掉,也就是沒有「我」的存在,也就是一切皆空,到了真空的境界,便生妙有。大家要注意!在修行的時間不可隨便亂講話,不可隨便打妄想,更不可躲懶偷安,就是一分一秒的時間,也要愛惜。所謂「一寸時光,一寸命光」。因此,行也參禪、住也參禪、坐也參禪、臥也參禪;行住坐臥都在參禪,要細心來鑽研,越鑽越透、越研越明。


專心一致堅忍不屈


我們參禪不要怕腰痠腿痛,要拿出金剛的志願來,要用堅忍與恆心來參禪;要恆常不變,堅固不屈,時時刻刻都在努力用功。古來的大德高僧坐了幾十年還在坐,可見修行不是那麼簡單容易,以為今天是牡丹,明天就是蓮花,坐一天就可以開悟,所以大家要拿出忍耐心,參加坐禪。

要如何專一呢?譬如女孩子追男孩子,或男孩子追女孩子,要像那樣專心一致。能用這種誠心、堅固心,念茲在茲地參禪,則沒有不成功的道理。


坐如鐘,行如風


參禪可修定,參禪這種法門是無為而無不為。表面看參禪是無所作為,實在一個人參禪,就有一個人在法界中幫助正氣伸張。如果每個人都參禪,世界上就沒有戰爭了。

雖然說「久坐有禪」,但真正的參禪,不單只坐才有禪,站著也可以參禪,走路時、睡覺時,同樣可以參禪,所以行、住、坐、臥也在參禪。用功的人不管閒事,時時刻刻照顧話頭,念茲在茲地參「念佛是誰?」參到山窮水盡,參到極點,行、住、坐、臥皆有威儀。

「坐如鐘」: 坐得穩定,不可以像鐘擺般搖搖幌幌。要端然正坐,眼觀鼻、鼻觀口、口觀心,舌尖頂上顎,有涎液則吞進肚裏去。

「行如風」: 跑香時如疾風,風颳得上不見天,下不見地,中不見人。因為用功時無人無相,所以上不見天,下不見地,中不見人。慢行時,猶如清風徐來,水波不興。

「立如松」: 站立時,直著腰,軒昂地站立,好像大松樹那樣地直。

「臥如弓」: 睡覺時,要托腮搭胯,右脅而臥,作吉祥臥姿勢。

永嘉大師云﹕「行也禪、坐也禪,語默動靜體安然,縱遇鋒刀常坦坦,假饒毒藥也閒閒。」達摩祖師曾經有六次遭外道下毒,他明知是毒藥,也嚥進肚裏去,可見他無我相,把生死視作等閒。

人用功時,驚天動地鬼神泣,魔王也震驚;人用功時,魔王無能施其技,所以震驚了。我們若能二十一小時腳踏實地,分秒必爭地用功,必然驚天動地。

我們修行無為法,先從有為法著手,不怕跑香坐香的辛苦。跑香是有為,坐香是無為,故說,「無為有為,有為無為;即有為,即無為。有為就是無為,無為就是有為。」


功夫日增煩惱日減


坐禪就是像馴馬師、馴猴師,很不容易的;雖然不容易仍然要坐,勉為其難。在這世間上,你要做哪一件事,都是不容易,很費力的,坐禪亦復如是,必要費一番功夫。你能將狂心野性、癡心妄想制之一處,功夫就會日增,而煩惱也日減。


打坐如抽絲剝繭


我們打坐,正在抽絲剝繭。我們如蠶作繭,被七情(喜怒哀懼愛惡欲)六欲所綑。這七情雖不能立刻斷盡,也得一點一點把它減輕。

喜﹕不要過份喜悅,一笑就笑到發狂。

怒﹕更不能發脾氣,所謂「星星之火,能燒功德之林」,「千日打柴一火焚」。你坐禪時心平氣和,坐得很平安,一旦發脾氣則百病叢生,週身骨節疼痛,因為瞋火已把菩提樹燒光了。

哀﹕不能過份悲哀不節。

懼﹕心有恐懼,則不得其正。

愛﹕見到美色生愛慾心,見到旁人有好東西便想佔為己有,這都是貪愛心。

惡﹕惡剛與愛相反,愛到極點便厭惡了。欲﹕這包括一切欲念,皆與道不相應。

這七情要一點一點減輕,故要時時勤拂拭。七情減輕到極點便沒有了,這時常在定中,行住坐臥都是參禪,都在用功。這時已認識自己的本來面目,知道自己的鼻孔是朝上或朝下了。


勝造恆沙七寶塔


「若人靜坐一須臾,勝造恆沙七寶塔」,一須臾,包括無量大劫。無量大劫不離開現前一念;現前一念沒超出無量大劫。能夠靜坐一須臾,這時無人、無我、無眾生、無壽者相,沒絲毫妄想,一念不生,萬緣放下。這時候縮無量劫一念,放一念為無量劫。若能靜坐一須臾,或半個小時,或三、五小時,甚至七晝夜,還是靜坐。這時候真達到內無身心,外無世界,這種功德,比你造恆河沙數七寶佛塔還大。

為什麼?因為建塔的功德是有形相,故終歸斷滅。若能達到無身心,無世界,這時自己的般若智慧現前。這種智慧,視之不見,聽之不聞,嗅之無味,但菩提覺性宛然存在。

若能須臾間,在很短的時間內,無人相、無我相、無眾生相、無壽者相,與本來佛性相應。本有佛性能照了諸法實相,不生不滅、不垢不淨,不增不減,就因為被無明遮蓋,本有的太陽光(智慧)不現前,被烏雲遮蓋了,而天昏地暗,於是分辨不清,以是為非,以非為是,認賊作子,顛倒妄想,故流浪生死,拔不出腿來。