The Wealth of Chan Meditation – Part I


Chan is a school of Buddhist meditation that is found throughout East Asia. It is known as Zen in Japan, Thiên in Vietnam, and Sŏn in Korea. Its distinctive form first took shape in China some fifteen hundred years ago. The aim of Chan is to live life with wisdom and compassion through realization of our interconnectedness with all things. Chan involves active awareness, participation and engagement in daily life. The foundation of this goal is seated meditation. In this sesseion, Master Sheng Yen discusses the benefits of seated meditation in the context of Chan practice and scientific findings about meditation. He does not elaborate the methods of practice in great detail because meditation cannot be learned by reading a book. Interested readers are encouraged to find a Chan meditation center and receive instruction on the actual practice from a qualified teacher

Modern science has solved many problems encountered in the natural environment, as well as those found in physiology and psychology. Yet despite the advancement of civilization and technological innovations, the number of problems to be solved has increased. Up until the day the Earth ends, it will be impossible to completely overcome the problems posed by nature. Similarly, until the day we die, it will be impossible to completely control the way our bodies function. We are incapable of preventing the gradual diminishing of the sun’s thermal energy, so the weakening and eventual destruction of the Earth is inevitable. Neither can human beings stop their own aging—the death of the physical body is inevitable.

Through Chan We Can Improve Our Lives Immeasurably

But as long as the Earth remains our home, we should do what we can to improve the environment. And while we are still alive, we should do our best to maintain and improve physical and mental health, so that we can live happier and more comfortable lives. Science may help us with these tasks, but we should not leave it to science alone. The practice of Chan meditation is the most reliable method to realize intellectual and physical potential. Through Chan we can improve our lives immeasurably.

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