The Reality of Chan Practice

Insights from the Practice of Gratitude and Repentance

​Chan Meditation Center _ Reviews on Online Tuesday Sitting Session

Article By Yvonne 
Photos by Yin Ting

Starting from this March, Tuesday evening sitting has gone online. Instead of commuting by train and bus, I can participate in the event by joining in the zoom meeting just a second. Like other human activities, so many things around us have changed. Some are temporary and some are permanent. And this transformation makes me to think a lot in the sitting meditation sessions. 

In the first Dharma sharing class after this pandemic, Ven. Chang Zhai guided us to practice gratitude and repentance, which I started to realize how important these practices are to us human beings, especially during this chaotic time. We all know that our daily lives depend on many people's hard work to fulfill our daily needs and we probably think of this as just part of the economic activities. But think of those healthcare workers in the hospitals. They choose to risk their lives staying in the hospitals and treating people in sick out of their kindness. This could not be just an economic activity. 

All phenomena depend on causes and conditions. I, me and self as well as money and materials are just a little part of the causes and conditions if we think of things throughout. So, with the logic of how we live in this world, we human beings could not ignore the rest of the world and separate ourselves from others. Therefore, gratitude is not just the virtue we learn from books, but one kind of natural quality of human beings that we already have. And we can cultivate our gratitude mind by practicing in daily life, such as observing causes and conditions more behind things as well as doing sitting meditation with a grateful mind. 

On the other hand, we see many animals come out from where they originally stayed to the cities and to the streets where human beings occupied all the time. Sky in many countries turns blue. Rivers have become clear and clean since then. Many people probably laughed about this interesting scenery and forgot the next day. However, by observing the scenery, I started to repent what we have done to the environment before. We cannot really repent until we realize what we did wrong in the past. Human beings are not the only citizens on earth. There are also numerous sentient beings. They have the right to live on the earth without fear, too. By practicing repentance during sitting meditation, one can start to recall the wrong doings in the past. 

In addition, practicing gratitude and repentance also connects me to other human beings, all sentient beings, and the environment. As Ven Chang Zhai once taught us, one can visualize the earth as one's body, mountains as one's pillow, clouds as one's comforter. Then one can embrace the globe as a whole and live without boundary because the boundary is defined and labeled by one's consciousness. I was moved by this practice. And by practicing more, the concept makes more sense to me, liberates my mind, blur discriminations and diminish the idea of self. 

For more information about Online Tuesday Sitting Session, please visit here.