A Spiritual Feast of Chan at DDM Chicago
Venerable Guo Qian specially arrived in Chicago from Dharma Drum Mountain’s Chan Meditation Center in New York to give the Dharma Talk on a topic of “A Spiritual Feast of Chan” from 25 to 27 May 2007.
Around 30-odd people benefited from Venerable Guo Qian’s fruitful teachings which helped the students further understand the meaning of Chan and the great compassionate vow made by the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Guanyin). The Venerable also taught participants how to conduct the Guanyin Dharma Assembly during the 3-day teachings.
In regards to settling the mind, Venerable Guo Qian explained that people in this modern society are now living under immense stress. They are constantly experiencing insecurity about the future especially when they run into problems with living, love, health and death. The Venerable noted that people often felt confused when they encountered death.
Looking from a Chan point of view, the Venerable pointed out that the mind is the master of a human being. The physical world is only an illusion; in other words, the physical environment is only a projection of one’s inner world. As long as one can maintain a “calm mind”, distinguish truth from illusion and remain calm to handle chaotic situations, one can always stay in peace and harmony with the body and mind.
Based on the “life-and-death” philosophy, Venerable Guo Qian encouraged students to envisage death in a positive way and to deeply contemplate one's value and attitude towards living and the meaning of living in order to have a valuable and meaningful life within a limited lifetime.
During the 3-day teachings, Venerable Guo Qian further explained the concepts of “emptiness” and “impermanence.” Impermanence exists in life. Students were taught how to let go of self-attachment by understanding the concept of emptiness which helped create a sense of tranquility and ease in the mind. Participants were also taught the mindset of appreciating and giving gratitude to our surroundings, trying to solve the quarrel that often appears in our life with Buddhist compassion and wisdom.
This was Venerable Guo Qian’s second Dharma Talk in Chicago and it has been over one year since the Venerable’s last visit. All participants were very thankful for having the great opportunity to receive Venerable Guo Qian’s dharma teachings. The Venerable showed much appreciation for all the contributions made by volunteers and participants to create such a successful Dharma Talk.
(translated by Lin Liting/edited by Jin Yang & DDM Australia Editing Team)