圖 / 靈鷲山網路電視台文 / 文獻中心
The Sound of One Hand
The Chan Method that we practice at Ling Jiou Mountain Monastery centers on Four Steps:
1) Deeply breathing in and out from the Dantian/Hara in you lower belly (7 times).
2) Bringing your attention gradually from the eyes to the nose, then to the mouth and to the heart, keeping no images whatsoever in your heart and mind (7 times).
3) Breathing naturally and focusing your attention on the breath.
4) Listening to Silence in everything.
The fourth step is the most important one – Listening to silence, or listening to the sound of no sound. This is also called “listening to the sound of One Hand.” What is the sound of One Hand? There is a Chan story that can give you a hint about this.
There was once a young novice who watched every day as his Master instructed people in Chan. Every time someone would ask him a question, the Master would just raise one finger without saying a single word. “That is so easy” thought the young novice, “I can do that too.” One day, as his master was traveling away from the temple, a visitor arrived who asked about instruction in Chan. As he had seen his Master do, the young boy, who was about ten years old, lifted his hand and raised one finger, thinking that this would help people to become enlightened, even though he did not quite understand how.
When his Master came back, he asked the young boy: “How did you teach people the Dharma?” Raising his finger, the boy answered: “This how I did it – just the way I learned it from you.” Hearing this, the Master instantly drew a knife and cut off the boy’s finger. Screaming, the boy ran away as fast as he could. Someone stopped and asked him “Why are you crying like that?” The boy answered: “When someone asked me about the Dharma, I raised my finger like this…” and, having completely forgotten that the finger had been cut off, the boy lifted up his hand, saw that the finger was gone – and became enlightened! He really became enlightened. “Enlightened about what?” you may ask. He had realized “Emptiness.”
This young novice had observed all day long how his Master raised his finger when asked a Dharma question, but never clearly understood what this finger was all about. But when the finger was suddenly cut off, and when he noticed that it was no longer there, he realized that, from the beginning, there is no such thing as an “I”!
When you practice listening to silence, follow the teaching of the Heart Sutra, and listen without “eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind” and without “color, sound, smell, taste, touch, thing.” Don’t wait like the young novice for someone to cut off your finger to become enlightened some day!
Dharma Master Hsin Tao
(Translated by Maria Reis Habito)