Gilbert’s visit:
sharing comprehension of Chan Method and the Right View

Gilbert’s visit:
sharing comprehension of Chan Method and the Right View

On July 3-5, 2018, Gilbert Gutierrez, one of the western dharma heirs from Master Sheng Yen, visited Baoyun Monastery in Taichuang (台中寶雲寺), Nung Chan Monastery in Beitou (北投農禪寺) and gave guidance on meditation and a dharma talk in the morning of July 7 at IMG, International Meditation Group (國際禪坐會).

Next, Gilbert moved on to DDM World Center for Buddhist Education and shared his experiences in Chan methods and practices.

On July 7, near 40 Chan practitioners from 7 different countries joined the dharma talk in IMG. In his opening remarks, Gilbert firstly asked the practitioners some questions: How long could they use the method without taking any breaks; how many of them wanted to attain enlightenment? Also, he asked further questions on what they really want to get from attaining enlightenment?

As Gilbert emphasized, the goal for sitting meditation is to train the mind. The practitioners have to apply the method unceasingly. That is, practitioners should have inward contemplation, without any thinking or attachments, and be clearly aware of one’s on-going processes of Chan methods, not only to one’s own wondering thoughts but the whole external environment. We train our own minds to be able to let go of any encounters, and accept the causes and conditions that are constantly arising and perishing. Gilbert further explained that our wondering thoughts are just like the leeches attached to our skin. It would be very hard to take them out with bare hand. However, if we put in some salt that the leeches couldn’t bear, they will get off from it naturally.

“Causes and conditions never fail!” Gilbert strongly emphasized, as the world is reflective of the aggregates of all causes, affinities, and conditions, it is impossible to have the consequences other than what we put in. “Wherever it is arising in the mind is there, because we put it there.”

In his great compassion, Gilbert encouraged the practitioners vow to initiate our Bodhi mind so as to try our best to wake up people who are still in their dreams, then all together, get liberated from the suffering cycles of birth and death.

In the discussion session, one practitioner raised a question, asking how to deal with the strong emotions that arise in the mind. Quoting from “Arrow Metaphor Sūtra” (箭喻經), Gilbert explained that according to Buddha, if we’re shot with an arrow, then we have to attend the wound first. We need not think about who shot the arrow because in that moment, that’s not important. In fact, when we’re on our method, we’re taking care of the damage.

Another practitioner further asked how to face emotion that may be caused from experiences in her childhood yet still affect current interpersonal interactions. Gilbert replied it’s a habitual tendency from the past; yet it doesn’t belong to us! He stressed the point that we can just see through it and let it go.

As we all have our shortfalls, we don’t have to punish ourselves because of it. What we do is to recognize that and we make a vow to gradually change.

In the following two sessions of dialogues with the monastics, Gilbert pointed out again the significance of the Right View, “If you are repairing the computer, you have to know how to run the computer”. “The reason why sentient beings suffer unceasingly is because they don’t comprehend how the mind is working”.

Only when we can be continuously aware of each present moment, see the truths of originations arising, and understand how it works; through getting to clearly understand every single moment of body, speech and mind and then to make the wisest decision possible.

Text: Dharma Drum Monthly (法鼓雜誌) More info of Dharma Drum Monthly
Translation: Elenda Huang (頤嵐達)
Editor: DDM Australian Editorial Team

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