Меня пригласили в США, настоятелем храма в Бронксе. Я не знал, чему смогу научить людей там, и мой английский был зачаточным, так что я оставался в храме и ждал, кто появится. Вскоре люди начали приходить на встречи со мной.

Шен Янь. Биография китайского монаха

Constant Illumination Chan Master Constant Illumination

 

«The awakening» have happened to me in childhood, when I knew nothing about any spiritual teachings. The world suddenly revealed to be not solid and definite — but elusive and deceitful…

There was no more «real knowledge» about the surroundings. What had been left to me was only observing what's going on. Not relying on commonly accepted ideas or ways of things… The only reliance — a conventional one — could be the reliance on this here; this moment, observed directly.

Seeing through conventions and views, I still had many questions. Why do people do obvious stupidities? Why they torture themselves and others? Clinging to unimportant or even harmful things?

When, several years later, I learned about the Buddha's Teachings, it was an overwhelming discovery. Imagine — there was already a person interested in the same questions, who found the answers. And his Teachings actually helped others.

People are suffering, and there are causes for that; and the causes lead to consequences.

Instead of hitting against a wall, it's possible to study causes of problems.

Changing the causes we can change the consequences: our present life.

Since that time, in order to comprehend the mechanisms of human stupidity, I started to plunge into them, to «wear» them on myself, manifesting them. I immersed into suffering… And then I built inner walls. Shielding myself from others… in order to shield myself from suffering. Instead of me there, a «programmed robot» started to act — acting stupidly, like usual human beings.

Eventually, I was able «to fall asleep», to forget what I am. I was living programmed; only somewhere inside the observer remained.

Whatever stupid things I did, whatever suffering I suffered, in my heart there was always a warm memory of something real, beyond all that superficial fuss.

Being lost, I wanted to find that, to recall it. I looked for it: «What do I really want? What is there, at the very depth of my heart?»

When I met books on Zen, I joined my search for the real with Zen meditation of huatou.

Adding to that the contemplation of the intent of the Universe this moment (according to Teachings of Don Juan).

Thus my own version of the spiritual path developed:

  • non-verbal concentration of huatou;
  • contemplation of the acting causes of this moment;
  • observing the impersonal intent

Despite all the karmic hardships, that practice advanced swiftly, because I looked for the answers with all my being — sincerely, wholeheartedly.

In 1994, «the solution of the task» have came. Pieces of the mosaic from all the world have gathered into the one picture.

It has proven to be impossible to «fulfill the human program» and get rest. You have got education, found a good job, made a family and you are providing for it — but the life brings further concerns; another thing comes after another. Hence the program «to set your life well» doesn't end; years fly by — in the incessant following of others' programs.

Fencing oneself away from suffering doesn't work either. It appears you can fence off your happiness, but the suffering remains with you, inside the walls you have built.

Now, the answer was found; the false model people live by was debunked.

The unity of the Universe have returned. The robot with its programs was thrown away; all burdens dropped.

«Me personally» didn't need anything anymore; I was ready to dissolve into nirvana. But others still could use that body, that insight — the way into limitlessness and happiness. Therefore came a return to the world of human beings.

Judging by books I had read at the time, I became «enlightened», and all the problems had been solved.

But in a few months I noticed that some unsolved problems still appear. How is that?

How could enlightenment not eliminate problems?

It was strange, so I started to look for teachers, in order to study the spiritual path systematically. Various Buddhist schools, Sufism and Kabbalah, psychology and philosophy, Yiching and Tensegrity… Everywhere was something useful and interesting.

In 2001, while continuing my own studies, I started to teach Buddhist theories and methods. And in 2003 I met an awakened Master, Sheng Yen, who at last helped me to sort out the intricacies of Zen practice and to drop false information from second-rate books.

Now I try to use all my equipment — knowledge of theories, methods, human problems — in order to develop the culture of humanity, to help people around me to discover their own, original happiness and wisdom.

Even though all of that is illusions battling illusions.