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Dharma Talks by the Venerable Master Hua
Basic Methods of Investigating Chan (7)

比丘尼 恆君師 彙編 Compiled by Bhikshuni Heng Jyun
劉峻松 英譯 English Translation by Low Choon Song









9. Let Go of Your Own Stinking Habits

In the Chan Hall, you do not want anything —so you are actually giving. You do not talk or gossip, so your mouth karma is pure. You have no false thoughts, thoughts about rights and wrongs, or thoughts of greed, hatred and ignorance, so your mind karma is pure. You are not killing or harming others, stealing, or indulging in sexual misconduct, so your body karma is pure. Being pure in body, mouth and mind is holding precepts.

If you can endure the pain in your legs and back, that is patience. If you continue to work hard in your cultivation, you are practicing vigor. When sitting in meditation, if you can be solid and unmoving, yet clear and knowing, that is dhyana-concentration. Achieving dhyana-concentration, you do not discriminate the rights and wrongs of others, and you do not jealously hinder others; this is wisdom.

Why do people speak of the rights and wrongs of others? It is due to ignorance. Why do they jealously hinder others? It is due to ignorance. Why would you wish to harm others? It is due to ignorance. All the irrational things that you do come from ignorance. Why are you ignorant? It is because you have not developed your concentration, and your wisdom has not manifested. That is why you are still caught up in “self and others” and “rights and wrongs.” We should reflect on ourselves and realize our own mistakes. We have to change for the better and let go of all our stinking habits.

10. Thousands of “Do Nots”

Those who investigate in Chan have to endure thirst, hunger and cold. They must use patience and cultivate whole-heartedly. In the summer, when it is so hot everyday, what use do we have for a blanket? This shows that you do not know the rules and are just dragging your heels. Meditation is somthing we can practice any time and any place. We do not need to bring a blanket everywhere to sit in meditation. That is a hangup and is not something that cultivators should have. You could simply wear extra trousers and your feet will not feel cold anymore. There is no need to bring blankets to the Hall and make it look like a blanket shop. That is wrong.

Do not pamper your stinking skin-bag, to the point that it cannot suffer being a little cold or a little warm, a little hungry or thirsty. Everyday, you have thousands of “cannots.” How can you cultivate? When genuine, hardworking cultivators sit in meditation, they do not doze off. If you want to sleep, you should stand up. Do not be stubborn and continue to sleep, thinking that you are sitting in meditation. That is wrong. Entering samadhi is not the same as falling asleep. If you are in samadhi, that is a different story altogether.

11. Do not Hide Away

Do not be lazy and behave like shrimps, always hiding away to sleep. Do not cheat others or cheat yourselves. It is okay if you are working for the bodhimanda. Once, I was at a run down place and I woke up every morning at 3 a.m. to work and did not retire until 11 p.m. If you are really cultivating and protecting the bodhimanda, whatever you do is fine. We have to be careful to not be idle somewhere while others are cultivating hard. During the Chan session, if one has business to take care of, one may do so. If one does not have business to take care of, one should come to investigate Chan. One should follow and accord with conditions and come to investigate Chan. In the daytime, there are not many people. One should sit in the front and not hide at the side, thinking it is much easier to catch a nap there, where others cannot see you. This constitutes the worst type of behavior. In this way there is absolutely no way for you to be enlightened or realize the Way.

To be continued


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