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The Attitude for Practicing Chan ( II )

There is Nothing that Must Belong to You 

Causes and conditions are outside of one's control and depend on the time and the environment. Therefore, there is really nothing that must belong to you, and that must be done by you. When it is feasible to do something, give your best effort to do it, but if it can't be done there is no need to be too disappointed or care too much about it.

There are two lines from the Diamond Sutra on the wall at Nung Chan Monastery: “Abiding nowhere, give rise to mind.” “Abiding nowhere” refers to the mind without attachments, but it can also be taken to mean there is nothing that must be accomplished or done. It is very painful to hold onto a certain thing, event, or person so strongly. At the same time, one who does not want, hold onto, or need anything would be very isolated. So “giving rise to the mind” means being mindful at every place and time, and working hard to achieve a goal. “Mind” here is the mind of wisdom, of doing one's best, knowing each other, knowing the environment and oneself. It also means using wisdom to evaluate the subjective and objective conditions in the environment.

We should use people to help accomplish endeavors we want to be successful, and use those endeavors to help people succeed. These two are complementary. Doing this while not being tied down or tying other people down is giving rise to mind. With this mind of wisdom, one can improve oneself and help others to succeed, to solve one's difficulties as well as others’ problems by adapting to conditions.

This is a bodhisattva that can alleviate pain and suffering.


Liberated in Stillness and Motion, The Attitude for Practicing Chan, p. 149

Master Sheng Yen's Talks Given at Nung Chan Monastery, 1995.

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