Fundamentals of Ch'an Meditation Practice by Ting Chen

By Ting Chen

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The desires to do, to excel and to succeed are at the heart of one’s very being. To relinquish such inclinations would seem to be outside the scope of what one can do, 43 because it would take away the illusion of control. That is why a correct understanding of the Dharma is so important. No Concern Drop all cares! Put away all things during your practice and simply regulate your breath and mind. Then, even deluded thoughts are seen to come and go. Not caring about them, your mind grows calm. Close your eyes while sitting, and you won’t see outside things.

You can recite silently. You can recite as you inhale. You can recite as you exhale. You can recite on both inhaling and exhaling. The rate at which you practice varies according to your particular needs and abilities, but this is true of any practice that you might engage in. The recitation should, in any event, proceed with the tranquillity that comes from mind and breath depending on one another. As you continue in this way, the mind grows calm and the breath becomes shapeless. Then, it is as though only your original intention or vow functions, the recitation continuing on its own without disturbance or confusion until first the 36 stage of no-mind is reached and then that of no nomind is attained.

Experiences Likely to Arise Do not be upset if, while practicing, you suddenly grow very hot, perspire profusely, shake, perhaps even violently, hear what seems like all-pervading sound, find yourself assuming various positions without intending to and, possibly, see apparitions. Do not attempt to suppress any of these manifestations! However, most practitioners never have any such experiences, but, on the contrary, practice successfully and have the benefit of improved health as well. One might wax mysterious and say that it is due to karma, although that is really no more than saying that it is what it is.

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