Joyfulness and Ease at Any Moment Wherever You Are--Practice with Correct Mindfulness through Teachings of Chinese Chan

Three years after last visit, Ven. Chang Yen came visiting DDM Vancouver Center again to give a series of Dharma lectures.

The topic of the lecture today is “Joyfulness and ease at any moment wherever you are---practice with correct mindfulness through teachings of Chinese Chan.” In this lecture, she guided the audience through a placid spiritual reformation and taught them the true implication of “correct mindfulness”. Through cultivating correct mindfulness, a practitioner will achieve the state of joyfulness and ease at any moment wherever he/she is.

The secular ease and happiness is a subjective form of physical and mental sensation; one is to perceive it only when he is undergoing a familiar and favorable situation, for he can easily handle the familiar situation and the favorable conditions can meet and match the expectation of self-centeredness. Nevertheless, the surroundings would not be familiar and favorable all the time, and consequently they will result in all forms of afflictions. Therefore, to achieve the state of joyfulness and ease at any moment under any situation, the only way is to transform the attitude into a correct value of life. Through cultivating under guide of correct mindfulness and self-transcending time after time, one will be able to attain and experience the ultimate goal of life.

The first step of practice with correct mindfulness is to learn the Right View. This can be realized from two perspectives: the secular right view and the supramundane right view. The former comprises clear distinction between good and evil, concept of causes and consequences, and also observing differences between the ordinary and the sages, which is the realization of the inherent Buddha nature and the belief of self-surmounting and transcendental potential. As to the latter, it consists of conditioned arising, impermanence and non-self. At an instantaneous moment all phenomena rise and perish constantly, no eternity. Furthermore, non-self is exactly emptiness or impermanence. The attitude of non-self is not negative or pessimistic, and non-self doesn’t imply non existence of a self. Rather, the connection of no-nself and emptiness comes from the realization of the “I” arising from causes and conditions; there is not an everlasting, independent “I” in the constantly changing process. This is the essence of “emptiness”. On the other hand, “emptiness” is not non-existent at all. Each of the “I” generated by causes and conditions will be interconnected to numerous, layer after layer of conditions. Since each individual condition keeps on constantly rising and perishing, affecting and changing the “I” which is generated by the causes and conditions, all phenomena and matters are accordingly impermanent.

How can we properly handle each of the numerous and constantly changing conditions? Just give away the desire to control, abandon the subjective notion of the “I” which is mistakenly considered unchanging, and then one will be able to detect the vexation helplessly generated from the inside of himself and all sentient beings. In order for oneself and all sentient beings as well to depart from sufferings and to attain joyfulness, compassion will accordingly be generated. In the practice of correct mindfulness, one will not be affected by the surroundings, ease and joyfulness being attained accordingly, and will be liberated from all bondages.

To cultivate correct mindfulness is exactly to practice the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, namely observing the surroundings merely without being affected. Contemplate the substantial existence of the body, sensation, the mind and the phenomena as they truly are; perceive through life experience the wisdom of impermanence, suffering, emptiness and non-self; fairly treat and respond to all the interior and exterior situations. As one is able to uproot the habitual response of greed and aversion to all situations, he will depart from all the bondages of such afflictions and eventually attain happiness and ease.

To the end of the lecture, Ven. Chang Yen applied the profound understanding of Buddha Dharma she has accumulated for years and did a complete analysis and comparison on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and that of the Chinese versus the Theravada Chan. She also illustrated the essence of Chan meditation of DDM Sector of Chinese Chan School, which is mainly based on the mindfulness of dharmas, namely the comprehensive realization of Buddha nature and the inherence of departing from mind of attachment and discrimination. In other words, Buddha nature is nature of emptiness and the realization of impermanence, sufferings, emptiness as to the General States of Mindfulness.

Under the detailed, well-organized and logically inferential explanation by Ven. Chang Yen, the two-and-half hours of lecture inspired greatly the marvellous application of Buddha Dharma among the audience. Everybody was fascinated by Fashi’s witty speech and felt blessed to have such wonderful opportunity to attend such a gorgeous Dharma lecture.

(Shared by DDM Vancouver Center)

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