因物故有時

3 Oct

《 中論》偈云: 「因物故有時, 離物何有時
物尚無所有, 何況當有時.」

何以知有時? 龍樹菩薩說:「因物故有時」── 依物體和現象在空間中的生滅變化活動、存在的短暫而說為時間.…

優婆離入定的故事

30 Aug

阿彌陀佛!

省思篇:優婆離入定的故事

現在來說一個優婆離尊者的故事。

優婆離是首陀羅出身,大約二十歲左右還是一個小理髮匠。當時正是佛陀成道後的第三年,佛陀回到故鄉迦毗羅衛城,大家就介紹優婆離為佛陀剃髮。優婆離受寵若驚,也很惶恐,一方面因為佛陀是王子,一方面因為他已成為天上天下最尊第一的佛,而且在當時的印度種姓階級中,優婆離自己又是低賤的首陀羅。他深怕有所差錯,就回家向母親訴說不敢為佛陀剃髮的原因。雖然母親安慰他說佛陀很慈悲,但他還是非常恐懼。母親沒有辦法,只好第二天陪著他去為佛陀剃髮。…

A Lesson on Impermanence

6 May

The 1-day retreat was DDM Sydney’s first event after becoming homeless again; for the third time! On 3 April, the fire that ripped through the swimming pool supply shop next door has rendered our centre unusable for at least six to twelve months. The damage was extensive, leaving behind a partially destroyed building and ruined equipment.

A lesson of “impermanence” indeed! The Buddhist concept of “formation, existence, destruction and emptiness” was clear and loud. The incident threw all our plans for Guo Chii Fashi’s teaching program into chaos. Instead of our cosy and comfortable home, which is well equipped for our regular activities, we had to find new venues for upcoming events specially led by Fashi.

Yet none of us were disheartened or discouraged. Our committee immediately convened to tackle the issues ahead of us. With the dedication, determination and tireless efforts of our volunteers, we were able to salvage what we could from the disaster zone. Everyone quietly did what was necessary while caring for each other’s safety. We moved everything salvageable into storage, and hired a new venue for the 1-day retreat, all within a week!

We were racing against time, with only two weeks left. Our volunteers researched and purchased new padding for meditation mats, sewed new covers for them as well as the meditation cushions. The cushions and mats were completed only two days before the retreat.

Originally, the plan was to conduct a 2-day retreat but because of the narrow lead time and the limited venues available, we changed it to one day only. Causes and conditions in the works; another great lesson for us to learn from!

On Saturday 30 April, the day of the retreat, we arrived at Mt Colah Community Centre, about a 10 minute drive from our centre Hornsby. During the retreat, Fashi played a DVD by Shifu who talked about “causes and conditions”, “impermanence” and “emptiness”. Shifu explained that because we do not understand impermanence, therefore we suffer. What a timely lesson and reminder! What we are going through right now is only an impermanent process. We need to embrace change, forge ahead and move on. We will definitely keep running our regular activities and continue with our regular practice! Through this ordeal we learnt to apply Chan teaching and practice while facing and dealing with the situation. In so doing, we mature as a group and become a supportive community that follows the Guanyin Bodhisattva path.

Agnes

 

1-day retreat

1-day retreat

 

1-day retreat
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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 in 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!

Agnes

讀書筆記: 直指人心

28 Jul
修行的目的在徹見自己的本性, 就是禪宗所說的「父母未生前的本來面目」 . 禪宗標榜不立文字, 直指人心. 直指是禪宗的方法和手段, 即直接指出, 不走彎路, 一步到位. 但必須老師和弟子都有見地, 有默契, 才能產生這樣的效果.