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20110723 heart sutra, meditation and chan school
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20110723 heart sutra, meditation and chan school



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  • 1. Buddhist Association of Canada
    Cham Shan Temple
    加拿大佛教會 湛山精舍 禪修學佛入門
    Introduction to
    Buddhism and Meditation
  • 2. Buddhist Association of Canada
    Cham Shan Temple
    ná mó fó tuó
    南 無 佛 陀
    Namo Buddha
    ná mó dá mó
    南 無 達 摩
    Namo Dharma
    ná mó sēng qié
    南 無 僧 伽
    Namo Sangha
  • 3. Chán (禪), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state".
  • 4. Chán emphasizes experiential Wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. As such, it de-emphasizes theoretical knowledge in favor of direct self-realization through meditation and dharma practice. The teachings of Chán include various sources of Mahāyāna thought, including the Prajñāpāramitā literature and the teachings of the Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha schools.
  • 5. The origins of Chán (禪) Buddhism are ascribed to the Flower Sermon, the earliest source for which comes from the 14th century. It is said that Gautama Buddha gathered his disciples one day for a Dharma talk. When they gathered together, the Buddha was completely silent and some speculated that perhaps the Buddha was tired or ill. The Buddha silently held up and twirled a flower and twinkled his eyes; several of his disciples tried to interpret what this meant, though none of them were correct. One of the Buddha's disciples, Mahākāśyapa, silently gazed at the flower and broke into a broad smile.
  • 6. The Buddha then acknowledged Mahākāśyapa's insight by saying the following:
    “I possess the true Dharma eye, the marvelous mind of Nirvāṇa, the true form of the formless, the subtle Dharma gate that does not rest on words or letters but is a special transmission outside of the scriptures. This I entrust to Mahākāśyapa.”
  • 7. Thus, through Chán there developed a way which concentrated on direct experience rather than on rational creeds or revealed scriptures. Wisdom was passed, not through words, but through a lineage of one-to-one direct transmission of thought from teacher to student. It is commonly taught that such lineage continued all the way from the Buddha's time to the present.
  • 8. The establishment of Chán is traditionally credited to the Indian prince-turned-monk Bodhidharma (達摩)ca. 440 – ca. 528 formerly dated ca. 500 CE, but now ca. early 5th century), who is recorded as having come to China to teach a "special transmission outside scriptures" which "did not stand upon words".
    Bodhidharma arrived in China and visited Canton and Luoyang. In Luoyang, he is reputed to have engaged in nine years of silent meditation, coming to be known as "the wall-gazing Brahman". This epithet is referring to him as an Indian holy man.
  • 9. Bodhidharma settled in the kingdom of Wei where he took among his disciples Daoyu and Huike (慧可 487–593). Shortly before his death, Bodhidharma appointed Huike to succeed him, making Huike the first Chinese born patriarch and the second patriarch of Chán in China. Bodhidharma is said to have passed three items to Huike as a sign of transmission of the Dharma: a robe, a bowl, and a copy of the LaṅkāvatāraSūtra(楞伽經). The transmission then passed to the second patriarch (Huike慧可), the third (Sengcan僧燦), the fourth (Daoxin道信), and the fifth (Hongren弘忍). (Several scholars have suggested that Bodhidharma as a person never actually existed, but was a combination of various historical figures over several centuries.)
  • 10. The sixth and last ancestral founder, Huineng (惠能; 638–713), was one of the giants of Chán history, and all surviving schools regard him as their ancestor. However, the dramatic story of Huineng's life tells that there was a controversy over his claim to the title of patriarch. After being chosen by Hongren, the fifth ancestral founder, Huineng had to flee by night to Nanhua Temple in the south to avoid the wrath of Hongren's jealous senior disciples. Later, in the middle of the 8th century, monks claiming to be among the successors to Huineng, calling themselves the Southern school, cast themselves in opposition to those claiming to succeed Hongren's then publicly recognized student Shenxiu (神秀; ?-706). It is commonly held that it is at this point — that is, the debates between these rival factions — that Chán enters the realm of fully documented history.
  • 11. Aside from disagreements over the valid lineage, doctrinally the Southern school is associated with the teaching that enlightenment is sudden, while the Northern School is associated with the teaching that enlightenment is gradual. The Southern school eventually became predominant and their Northern school rivals died out. Modern scholarship, however, has questioned this narrative, since the only surviving records of this account were authored by members of the Southern school.
  • 12. Chán (禪) history (post-700 CE)
    The Five Houses of Chán (禪) Developing primarily in the Tang dynasty in China, Classic Chán is traditionally divided historically into the Five Houses (五家) of Chán or five "schools". These were not originally regarded as "schools" or "sects", but historically, they have come to be understood that way. In their early history, the schools were not institutionalized, they were without dogma, and the teachers who founded them were not idolized.
  • 13. The Five Houses of Chán are:
    Guiyang school (潙仰宗), named after masters GuishanLingyou (771–854)(沩山灵祐)and YangshanHuiji (813–890)(仰山慧寂)
    Linji school (臨濟宗), named after master LinjiYixuan (died 866) (黄蘗希运)
    Caodong school (曹洞宗), named after masters DongshanLiangjie (807–869)(洞山良价)and CaoshanBenji (840–901)(曹山本寂)
    Yunmen school (雲門宗), named after master YunmenWenyan (died 949)(云门文偃)
    Fayan school (法眼宗), named after master FayanWenyi (885–958)(法眼文益)
    Most Chán lineages throughout Asia and the rest of the world originally grew from or were heavily influenced by the original five houses of Chán.
  • 14. Principles and doctrine
    Chán asserts, as do other schools in Mahāyāna Buddhism, that all sentient beings have Buddha-nature (Skt. Buddhadhātu, Tathāgatagarbha), the universal nature of transcendent wisdom (Skt. prajñā), and emphasizes that Buddha-nature is nothing other than the essential nature of the mind itself. The aim of Chán practice is to discover this Buddha-nature within each person, through meditation and practice of the Buddha's teachings. The ultimate goal of this is to become a Completely Enlightened Buddha (Skt. Samyak¬saṃbuddha). As a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism, Chán draws many of its basic driving concepts from that tradition, such as the bodhisattva ideal. Buddhas and bodhisattvas such as Amitābha, Avalokiteśvara, Mañjuśrī, Samantabhadra, and Kṣitigarbha are also venerated alongside Gautama Buddha.
  • 15. The Chán tradition holds that in meditation practice, notions of doctrine and teachings necessitate the creation of various notions and appearances (Ch. 相, xiāng) that obscure the transcendent wisdom of each being's Buddha-nature. This process of rediscovery goes under various terms such as "introspection", "a backward step", "turning-about" or "turning the eye inward". The importance of Chán's non-reliance on written words is often misunderstood as being against the study of Buddhist texts. However, Chán is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahāyāna Buddhism. What the Chán tradition emphasizes is that enlightenment of the Buddha came not through intellectual reasoning, but rather through self-realization in Dharma practice and meditation. Therefore, it is held that it is primarily through Dharma practice and meditation that others may attain enlightenment and become Buddhas as well.
  • 16. When Buddhism came to China, there were three divisions of training: the training in virtue and discipline in the precepts (Skt. śīla), the training in mind through meditation (Skt. dhyāna) to attain deep states of meditation (Skt. samādhi), and the training in the recorded teachings (Skt. Dharma). It was in this context that Buddhism entered into Chinese culture. Three types of teachers with expertise in each training practice developed: Vinaya masters specialized in all the rules of discipline for monks and nuns, Dhyāna masters specialized in the practice of meditation, and Dharma masters specialized in mastery of the Buddhist texts. Monasteries and practice centers were created that tended to focus on either the vinaya and training of monks or the teachings focused on one scripture or a small group of texts. Dhyāna (Ch. Chán) masters tended to practice in solitary hermitages, or to be associated with Vinaya training monasteries or the Dharma teaching centers. The later naming of the Chán School has its origins in this view of the threefold division of training.
  • 17. At the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, by the time of the Fifth Patriarch Hongren (601–674), the Chán school had become well established as a separate school of Buddhism. Subsequently, the Chán tradition produced a rich corpus of written literature which has become a part of its practice and teaching. Among the earliest and most widely studied of the specifically Chán texts, dating back to at least the 9th century CE, is the Platform Sūtra of the Sixth Patriarch, attributed to Huineng. Others include the various collections of kōans and the Shōbōgenzō of DōgenChánji.
  • 18. As the Chán School grew in China, the monastic discipline also became distinct, focusing on practice through all aspects of life. Temples began emphasizing labor and humility, expanding the training of Chán to include the mundane tasks of daily life. The Chinese Chán master Baizhang (720–814 CE) left behind a famous saying which had been the guiding principle of his life, "A day without work is a day without food".
  • 19. Zuochan
    Chinese it is called zuòchán (坐禅), both simply meaning "sitting dhyāna". During this sitting meditation, practitioners usually assume a position such as the lotus position, half-lotus, Burmese, or seiza postures. To regulate the mind, awareness is directed towards counting or watching the breath or put in the energy center below the navel (see also anapanasati). Often, a square or round cushion placed on a padded mat is used to sit on; in some other cases, a chair may be used.
  • 20. Buddhist Practice and Cultivation
    1 Take refuge in the Three Treasures of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
    2 Earnestly cultivate the Three Perfections of Morality, Calmness, and Wisdom.
    3 Shed the Three Poisons of Greed, Anger and Delusion.
    4 Purify the Three Karmas of Action, Speech and Thought.
  • 21. Cultivation of Loving Kindness (Metta)
    Metta as an effective means:
    To overcome anger as it is the opposite of violent and destructive mental states,
    To build up the required concentration for the development of insight (vipassana),
    To develop a healthy relationship with every living being you encounter.
  • 22. Cultivation of Tranquility
    The cultivation of loving-kindness is one way by which we can attain tranquility.
    The cultivation of tranquility is one way by which we can attain enlightenment.
    The cultivation of tranquility is one way by which we can discover our Buddha nature.
  • 23. Cultivation of Tranquility
    Tranquility refers to the tranquility that is freed of defilements – greed, hatred, delusion, jealousy, resentment, etc.
    Tranquility refers to let go of ego.
    Tranquility refers to unification of the mind on the object of meditation.
    Tranquility refers to the removal of less peaceful states of mind which furthers and deepens into the truth absorption.
  • 24. Path to Purification
    Purification of morals – of body, speech and mind.
    Observance of precepts
    Guarding of the senses
    Purity of livelihood
    Proper use of requisites
  • 25. Path to Purification
    Cut off all impediments – unnecessary activities
    Eliminate the concept of obtaining supernormal powers
    Find a suitable companions
    Find a suitable place to practice meditation with peers
  • 26. The Ten Schools of Chinese Buddhism:
    1. Reality School or Kosa School or Abhidharma School.2. SatyasiddhiSchool or Cheng-se School. 3. Three Sastra School or San-lun School.*4. The Lotus School or T'ien-t'ai School 
    5. The Garland School or Hua-yen School or Avatamsaka School. 6. Intuitive School or Ch'an School or Dhyana School.7. Discipline School or Lu School or Vinaya School. 8. Esoteric School or Mi School or Mantra School.9. Dharmalaksana School or Wei-Shi School or Fa-siang School.10. Pure-land School or Sukhavati School or Ching-t'u School.
    * Topic is still available for presentation.
  • 27. In addition to Heart Sutra by Ven. Shengguang Shi, the following topics will be presented in the class:
    July 16 - Satyasiddhi School by Waifun Lai
    July 23 - ChánSchool by Kitty Cheung
    July 30 – Reality School by Kevin Loi
    August 6 – Garland School by Lee McCallum
    August 13 – Lotus School by Phyllis Parr
    August 20 - Dharmalaksana School by Dennis Yap
    August 27 – Vinaya School by Anson Law
    September 3 – WutaishanVideo Footages by Moshay Allen
    September 10 – Iconology by Edward Malek
  • 28. The Brief History of Buddhism in India
    Suddhartha Gautama
    Early Buddhism Schools, Mahayana and Vajrayana
    Initial Spread of Buddhism in India
    Asoka and the Mauyan Empire
    Graeco-Bactrians, Sakas and Indo-Parthians
    Kushan Empire
    The Pala and Sena Era
    The Buddhist Councils (1st Council to 6th Council)
    Decline of Buddhism in India (400 CE to 12th Century)
    Revival of Buddhism in India (1891 to Present)
  • 29. Questions and Comments 討論
    Shengguang Shi 釋聖光
    Tom Cheung 張相棠
    Kam Cheung 張仁勤
    Dennis Yap 葉普智