The Reality of Chan Practice

Living peacefully through challenging times

2020 Online Tuesday Sitting Meditation Sharing

(Article by Hang Yeung; Photos by Yin Ting)

2020 was a year full of great disasters and unprecedented challenges. The fear of the pandemic, the anxiety of the unknown, the inadaptability to the change of daily life... I also stayed at home for a long time for the prevention of infection. During the time of facing an unpredictable external environment and unstable mood and feelings, I couldn't help missing the time of group practices in CMC, which were warm and peaceful memories. Very grateful to Venerable Chang Zhai and the volunteers of the meditation committee, they arranged the wonderful online Tuesday evening sitting practice by ZOOM meeting elaborately. Then we were able to continue practicing meditation together, settle down our body and mind, and ensure safety at the same time. 

Because of the transportation, I used to look forward to attending the group practice of mediation on Tuesday evening, but I didn't get a chance. Fortunately, online meditation overcomes the limitation of space. Therefore, many Eastern and Western Chan practitioners were attracted and participated actively. Every time, Venerable Chang Zhai led the moving meditation, sitting meditation, and chanting the Heart Sutra, helped us to relax our tension and bring up mindfulness; In the meantime, by listening to Venerable's Dharma talk, we learned wisdom from the Buddha and the Great Masters, which benefited us a lot. It corrected the contemplation of practice, dissolved our vexations, and let us feel at ease and stable even in such difficult situations.

Through the successful attempt of online group practice, I also deeply realized that the "Chan hall" is not only located in the temple but also located in every practitioner's home and heart. No matter what kind of situation is, we should remind ourselves to stay aware and relaxed. Even in such chaos, we should still remember to come back to our method and letting go of discrimination and duality. Be clear of everything happening without being influenced or afflicted by them. 
Although my practice is still shallow, after practice, my mind and my life became more peaceful and calm. In this way, when I get negative news or information, or facing the anxiety and confusion of my family members and friends, I feel less nervous and get out of the depressed mood quicker, try to listen quietly without eager of giving comments, then discuss reasonable solutions with calmness. This provides me with more confidence in the meditation method, and obtain the courage and motivation to persist in it.

Although 2020 is hard, it is also an opportunity for us to have a deeper understanding of the impermanent and the importance of life and death. Everything pushed us to reflect on what is most important to us. Cultivation is not about escape, but generating wisdom and compassion through physical and mental stability. Without coerced by illusory thoughts and emotions, we should take responsibility with courage. As all the phenomena are impermanent, the way ahead is still unknown. But no matter how things change, it is beneficial to do good deeds without asking the future. Play an appropriate role in daily lives, and take our part of duty according to the current causes and conditions. Never forget to benefit other sentient beings. May transfer the power of a peaceful mind, to all sentient beings getting rid of suffering. Hoping for disaster recovery. Wishing everyone to generate peace and ease in daily life, with merit and wisdom growing up, and full of the joy of Dharma.