Getting The Buddha Mind f11

When the disciple's response to the master's compassion is intense spiritual ardor, or faith, this allows the "doubt mass" to gather great energy. The conditions being right, ultimately there may come a sense of surrender. When the sense of surrender reaches the extreme, when seeking, clinging, and conceptualizing are left behind, the mind is free to open. When the mind opens, the disciple crosses a threshold and enters "the door of Ch'an." This cataclysmic experience is "wu, " or emptiness. It is seeing self-nature; it is getting the Buddha-mind.


The present book consists primarily of lectures given by Master Sheng-Yen at Ch'an retreats since his arrival in America in 1975. As such, they do not form a structured whole in the sense of presenting a theoretical view of Ch'an Buddhism. Far from it. As a scholar of Chinese Buddhism, Master Sheng-Yen does have some interest in theory, and his other books bear that out. As a teacher of meditation, however, Master Sheng-Yen is rooted in the practical. The lectures are given by Master Sheng-Yen to instruct, encourage, inspire, even cajole and caution, but never to "educate."

To the extent these lectures form a whole, it is because they rise out of a consistent and informed approach to teaching Ch'an meditation. The Ch'an retreat is chosen as a model because it brings together the many historical threads of the Ch'an tradition. It is in fact the living demonstration of the idea of "transmission of mind without the use of words", espoused by Bodhidharma in the sixth century A.D.