The Sword of Wisdom 180

Day 12 A Correct View Is the Compass for Proper Practice

The teaching of complete sudden enlightenment is not to be used as a favor.
All unsettled doubts must be debated until clear.
Not that I, a mountain monk, want to be presumptuous.
But cultivation may make you fall into the pit of cessation and permanence.

A Ch'an practitioner must have a clear, correct view of himself, others and his practice. There is a Ch'an proverb which emphasizes that the perspective one achieves, and not practice, is of utmost importance. This of course does not mean that practice is unnecessary. Practice is important, perhaps even crucial, but the insight one derives from practice is even more important. If one's view is incorrect, one will stray from Ch'an teachings to heterodox teachings.

If a ship relied solely on a compass for navigation, what would happen if the compass broke, marking north for south, east for west? The captain would not be able to steer the ship correctly. If a U.S. aircraft did not navigate properly and strayed into enemy air space, it might well be fired upon.