Guam Buddhist Sangha

American Humanistic Buddhism

A lil Ch’an: Thinking of Not Thinking February 11, 2011

Filed under: A lil Ch'an,Meditation — memeandbojo @ 10:53 pm

The result of each type of meditation is to quiet the endless chatter occurring in our minds. I find when I paint or do calligraphy, I have a few moments rest from the here, there and everywhere mind. I do have a long way to go in my meditation, but I am continuing to work on it because it is so serene when it happens where the mind stands firmly still, silent but for the breath and completely awake to the present moment. I hope each of you reach those moments too through your own meditation.

Here is a short story based on Ch’an thought. It is taken from Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s book, Hsing Yun’s Ch’an Talk:

One day while Ch’an Master Wei-yen was meditating, a Monk walked by, saw him and inquired, “You are sitting here still as a rock. “What are you thinking?”

The Master answered, “I am thinking of not thinking.”

The Monk continued, “How do you do that?”

Wei-yen responded, “By not thinking.”

In reality, thinking and not thinking seem mutually contradictory, yet there is an underlying implication. Ch’an is not merely a matter of understanding words. In the teaching of Ch’an, words are considered obstacles to realization. Nonetheless, through understanding words, the essence that cannot be verbally communicated can be grasped. The true taste of Ch’an can only be experienced when one has given up one’s clinging to intellectual understanding.


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