Thinking about intellectual matters can help us analyze issues, but it does not allow us to attain direct realization and thus cannot give rise to wisdom. Doing scholarship and engaging in diligent Chan practice should be understood as two separate things. To do scholarship is to investigate questions in books by researching and intellectual thinking. To use (meditation) is not to use the mind, but to shatter all wandering thoughts so that we can experience enlightenment. If it is just for oneself, doing scholarship is not important. To spread and explain method of Chan practice to people, scholarship is still necessary.
~Master Sheng Yen
SAN FRANCISCO: A block off Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s Chinatown – beyond the well-worn path tourists take past souvenir shops, restaurants and a dive saloon called the Buddha Bar – begins a historical tour of a more spiritual nature.
Duck into a nondescript doorway at 125 Waverly Place, ascend five narrow flights and step into the first and oldest Buddhist temple in the United States. More…
Barbara O’Brien writes about Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism
The influence of the Chinese master Huineng (638-713), the Sixth Patriarch of Ch’an (Zen), resonates through Ch’an and Zen Buddhism to this day. Some consider Huineng, not Bodhidharma, to be the true father of Zen. His tenure, at the beginning of the T’ang Dynasty, marks the beginning of what is still called the “golden age” of Zen.
Huineng stands at the juncture where Zen shed its vestigial Indian trappings and found its unique spirit — direct and unflinching. Through Huineng flow the several diverse currents of early Zen. From him flow all schools of Zen that exist today. …