Chan and Anxieties in Modern Life: All is Well, as You Like it

Chan and Anxieties in Modern Life

Modern communication being so rapid causes people much anxiety and nightmares; they cannot feel relaxed as long as there is social disorder throughout the world. This is true whether one experiences this directly or indirectly, whether it concerns the self, family, society, country, political/economic life, or religious belief. As long as the situation affects one’s personal safety or peril, gain or loss, success or failure, people cannot sit back and relax

For Emotional Problems, Ethics is the Best Way

I frequently encounter people who seem to be trapped in a fire, and who come for help. Generally, I listen to their problems, know what their anxieties are, but I don’t let their problems become my own nightmares. The advice I give them is: for emotional problems, ethics is the best solution. Even if something major happens, you should take time to resolve and mitigate it. If it is a truly unavoidable misfortune, then you can only face it and accept it; by facing and accepting it, you are dealing with it. Since it is already dealt with, then there is no reason to worry about it, so let go of it. Don’t constantly think, “ What should I do?” Just sleep as before, eat as before, and live as you ought to live.

If one deals with sentimental problems emotionally, and tries to use rationality with family problems, that would be like putting out a fire with gasoline, or using arguments to solve an argument. It can only make the situation worse. One should have compassion and be thoughtful of the other party when dealing with relationships; otherwise, not only does one offend the other party, one would have out for oneself. When dealing with matters, apply wisdom and handle the problems from an objective view. Once the problems are made objective, one can see clearly the best way to deal with them. If one has to choose one of two options, then first clarify their relative importance and urgency, then decide which one can be put aside, and undertake the one that is doable.

All Phenomena Are Illusory, as No Self-Nature

Buddhism teaches us that all phenomena are illusory since they have no self-nature. As such, free yourself from attachment; since they are impermanent they are also empty. The Chan teachings are Buddhadharma. Use the Chan methods to illuminate the mind and transcend self-attachment; go beyond the false duality of existence and emptiness. By doing so, you will realize that there is nothing that should make you anxious. If we know that there were no problems in the world to begin with, then everything is just the way we want it to be.

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