From September 2nd – 11th, 2019, monastic sanghas of Ling Jiou Mountain (LJM) entered the Fall Term retreat, a ten-day course of diligence. The Four-step Technique of LJM’s Peace Meditation is our primary Chan practice. These four steps are the elements that help us to return to the root. We have been too used to delusional afflictions that our perfected mind doesn’t come forth. If we cease these delusional afflictions, our mind that’s like the cloudless sky will manifest naturally. Focus and clarity are crucial in Chan practice. These two are spontaneous without any efforts. The whole body and mind would be in a state of ease. When one resides in such a state, the mind of perfection is uncovered naturally.
Our “original face”, or so-called, “Dzogchen, the Great Perfection”, is devoid of any faults. It is perfect at all times and in any places. This mind does not have a head or tail. It is not conditioned to any phenomena. It is devoid of any faults. No part of it is imperfect. With one split moment, our realization and clarity are perfected.
The purpose of Chan practice is to enter the luminous nature of our primordial awareness and purity. Therefore, we must recognize the arising and ceasing of afflictions. Our field of eight consciousness is pure at all times. Never let our mind wanders and clings onto external conditions. When the mind settles down, the cloudless sky-like state can manifest anytime – serene and clear.
Over the ten-day, I hope that all of you strived diligently. Hopefully that you’ve spent your time free from elaborations and attachments, so the mind can come home. What does it mean by “coming home”? It is to open the gateway of mind. This gateway keeps the phenomena outside so one enters the mind of notionlessness. Chan practice allows one to enter the realm of notionlessness or the state of emptiness from the physical world.
Emptiness is the nature of awareness. Should “emptiness” is without “awareness”, spirituality is absent. Should awareness is pervasive, emptiness is realized. We deal with afflictions, obstacles, and distractive thoughts by pulling our mind back to focus. By doing so continuously, our mind becomes focused on stability. Without distractions, the mind stays clear in this awareness. I hope the retreat is helpful to you all. Since you've been troubled by the hectic job, the retreat should have offered you the opportunity to experience a lifestyle of luminosity. Surely, this would help you get closer to the “original face” that is free from thoughts and concerns. To attain so, one must cultivate clarity and focus.