A Precious Meditative Experience with Dharma Heir Zarko Andricevic

28 Jul

“Moment after moment after moment, not too fast and not too slow” – my homework after attending a Chan retreat with one of Master Sheng Yen’s Dharma heirs, Zarko Andricevic who travelled all the way from Croatia.

Attending Zarko retreat at DDM Melbourne was like taking a booster shot in my practice. It took me one step further, as with every Chan retreat that I have attended. Each retreat just builds on the previous retreat and I always leave with something valuable and precious.

I arrived at the retreat with no expectations at all but somehow I had a a feeling it would help me with my practice. Sure enough, when Zarko started the retreat by saying that he will teach us the “relaxation method”, I was pleasantly surprised and quietly overjoyed because this is precisely the method that I have been using for some time. As I also use this method to guide newcomers to our group meditation, it gave me great faith and confidence to continue what I have been doing. “Relax, slow down and relax!” He encouraged us to take on the relaxation method as our project and said that advanced practitioners should also try and start their sitting session with this method.

Although Zarko used very simple and plain English, he is very direct and precise, and clearly explains the Chan method as taught by Master Sheng Yen and the lineage Masters. Aside from showing us the method, the concept and the attitude of Chan practice, he also taught us how to deal with the physical and mental obstructions we face during meditation and pointed out that these obstructions are in reality the reflection of our self. They reflect through our grasping of good experiences and rejection of bad experiences during sitting.

Zarko explained that our world is constructed by language which describes reality but is not reality itself. However, we see our existence through language, ideas and thoughts and believe them to be reality in order to affirm our own existence. As such, we are afraid of silence. Yet it is precisely when we sit in silence that we can empty our mind’s torrents of thoughts, symbols, language and imagination, with no labeling, no description and no discrimination. In silent wisdom, there is no duality, one is free of vexations and sufferings. He further explained that our life is an interchange of suffering and happiness. Just because we have fixed ideas of happiness, we want this to last forever and suffer as a consequence.

Through his teaching, I can now understand how harmonising the body, breath and mind relate to the three Dharma seals of impermanence, no self and emptiness.

Zarko also touched on the Silent Illumination and Huatou methods. He said that the “Method of No Method” is a simple method but is also the most difficult because there is no method to use – only the practice of letting go.

“Precious” is a word that was repeated again and again by Zarko. He explained that if we have this sense of preciousness, we would be grateful for the causes and conditions that brought us to the retreat, and the good and bad experiences of all meditation sittings. By seeing every opportunity as precious and possessing gratitude within us, we will cherish favourable and unfavourable situations, be grateful for them and strive forward.

I was also deeply touched by Zarko’s vow to build the first Chan meditation centre in Croatia and coincidentally the first Europe. Like Master Sheng Yen, he started from having nothing and following over a decade of tireless effort, dedication and persistance, he has raised a sum to start construction, but still not enough to complete it. Despite the challenges, his vow burns bright like the Dharma light, and inspired me to carry on with my vow.

To me, this retreat is “precious” just like all the other retreats that I’ve attended and I am most grateful to Zarko, the organisers and participants of this retreat. Thank you DDM Melbourne!


讀書筆記 : 眾生無盡

22 May

眾生有盡耶? 無盡耶? 大迦葉這樣問佛.

無盡與無邊、無量的意思是完全相同的. 無量無邊不是說數量驚人, 多到沒法子數得完叫做無盡, 因為沒法數得完還是有一個天文數字的量在那裏, 所以「很多」還是有量的. 《心經》說五蘊皆空; 眾生由五蘊眾因緣所生, 故是因緣有, 因緣有者, 即是幻有, 猶如彩虹, 幻有即空, 空故不可得也. 不可得的事物還會有數量、有邊際、有滅盡可言嗎? 所以沒有數量即是無量, 沒有邊際即是無邊, 沒有滅盡即是無盡; 故經說「空即無量」 ,「無量即空」, 無盡的道理也是一樣的.

故「眾生無盡」 即是眾生空不可得. 不可得的東西那裏還會有形貌相狀呢? 所以《金剛經》說:「 無我相、無人相、無眾生相、無壽者相」. 眾生既空不可得, 還需要去度嗎?

《金剛經》說「我應滅度一切眾生, 滅度一切眾生已, 而無有一眾生實滅度者」.又說「我皆令入無餘涅槃而滅度之, 如是滅度無量無數無邊眾生, 實無眾生得滅度者」.
說「無有一眾生實滅度者」、「實無有眾生得滅度者」. 因菩薩知眾生如幻, 空不可得也. 說「我應滅度一切眾生」、「我皆令入無餘涅槃而滅度之」說明菩薩雖知眾生如幻, 但仍要廣度如幻眾生.

《維摩經》說「眾生之類, 是菩薩淨土.」故菩薩離開了眾生就無行可修. 所以我們雖沒有度盡所有眾生的能力,...
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Receiving the Bodhisattva Precepts

31 Mar

At the close of the “Transmission of the Bodhisattva Precepts Ceremony”, the Abbot President wished us “Happy Birthday!” Indeed, receiving the Bodhisattva Precepts was a birthday present that I had planned for myself a year ago. In preparation for this,...
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