圖 / 靈鷲山網路電視台文 / 文獻中心
Finding Your Own Heart
Every one of us is originally endowed with a perfect spiritual nature, but regrettably we have covered it up through our grasping for things in the world of phenomena. Covering up our spirit, we cover up our heart. Therefore the only thing that we see before us is this physical heart that has form and shape, and also the ego-centered self that grasps after impermanent things around us that are conditioned by karma. We live from day to day led on by this grasping self, without being able to arrive at spiritual awareness and knowledge, without realizing our own spiritual heart/mind. The practice of Chan is nothing but seeing through all delusive things of the phenomenal world, and realizing our spiritual heart/mind.
Chan is finding our original heart/mind, our original face. How shall we look for it? It is like seeing the sun after the clouds have dispersed. When the clouds open up, the sun simply appears in the sky. What are these clouds we are speaking about? The clouds stand for our grasping after and our attachment to the things of the world of phenomena, our desire for material things. These are desires that lead our spirit astray. What we need to do is to clear up these clouds. In the Chinese practice of Chan there is a method called “The contemplation of the door of nothingness.” In this contemplation we see that everything in this world is short-lived, that all things of the phenomenal world are nothing but a change of time, and that there is no way for us to control them. However, we often get lost in the midst of these short-lived and impermanent phenomena and thereby lose ourselves. To find ourselves again has nothing to do with believing a certain religion, but simply requires a practical method of returning home. This is a practical method that enables us to realize that what is impermanent and short-lived is not real, but empty (of self-existence). Therefore we need to understand the nature of phenomena first before we can enter the world of the spirit, and gradually, come to know that the spirit does not belong to the world of phenomena.
Before we assumed this form of a human being, our spirit was already there, ever present. Our spirit is without any phenomenal character, without any structure. It is pure radiance, an existence without form or shape. If this is so, how then can we return to it? It is through the practice of Chan, by relaxing, step by step, by letting our heart and mind calm down and return to its origin. Our body will decay, but our spirit will never perish. Therefore we need to practice Chan to discover it. We need to take on a method to slowly let it calm down and settle, to purify it. We will come to realize: the present moment is our Pure Land. The present moment is the world of the heart/mind.
How can you find your own heart/mind? When we are very busy, it is very difficult to discover its existence. But if we practice Chan, we discover it as something that is so familiar and intimate, so heartwarming, so fulfilling. As long as we have not yet discovered our own heart/mind, we remain hungry and thirsty, until we experience what is most intimate, perfect and fulfilling. Chan practice allows us to enter deep inside and know our heart/mind, and experience our own heart. It is indeed something worth exploring, investing in, and realizing!
Dharma Master Hsin Tao
(Translated by Maria Reis Habito)