Пятнадцать лет назад монахи во Вьетнаме сжигали себя, в знак протеста против политической ситуации [колониализма и преследования буддистов в Южном Вьетнаме]. Можно спрашивать, приемлемо ли это, но эти монахи не считали это смертью. Было больно, да. Но страдания не было.

Шен Янь. Без мыслей про обретения и потери – свобода от сансары

Constant Illumination Chan Master Constant Illumination


«Awakening» have happened to me in the childhood, when I knew nothing yet about any spiritual teachers. The world revealed to be not so solid and definite — but elusive and deceitful…

Hence I started to directly contemplate what was going on — not relying on ideas, policies or routines accepted among people.

It was possible (though just relatively) to rely only on just this — at this moment.

But even this moment didn't answer all the questions. Why people do obviously stupid things? Why they sometimes torture themselves and others?.. Cling to unimportant things?.. Keep evil things?..

When several years later I learned about the Buddha's Teaching, it was an overwhelming discovery. Imagine — there was a person who was interested in the same questions and found a way to solve them.

Causes and consequences!

I started to plunge into examples of human stupidity, trying to wear them, to manifest them (in order to comprehend). Thus I built inner walls, shielding myself from others — in attempts to shield myself from suffering. I started to program myself, in order to live like a robot — like human beings.

Eventually, I was able «to fall asleep», to forget what I am.

But the inner observer always remained here. Whatever stupid things I did, whatever suffering I suffered, in my heart there was always a memory of something real, beyond all that fuss.

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

When I met books on Zen, I joined my search for the real with Zen meditation — especially, by huatou method.

Added to that was contemplation of the intent of the Universe every moment — by the Teaching of Don Juan.

Only dozens of years later I learned that my resulting practice was not «huatou in classical sense»: it was my own variation of the spiritual path. The concentration of huatou; non-verbal contemplation of acting causes of the moment; observing the impersonal intent…

All that worked well though, because I looked for the answer with all the being, wholeheartedly.

Not «an explosion of huatou», but «the solution of the task» have came. Pieces of the mosaic from all the world have gathered into the whole picture. «Fulfilling the program and getting to rest» have proven to be impossible. When you would get education, and find a good job, and would feed your family — life wouldn't be established at all; because accomplished labors entail even more new labors. So all the years will pass in the incessant pursuit of fulfilling my own programs.

Fencing off suffering doesn't work either: you fence off only happiness, but suffering remains with you, inside your walls.

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

The unity of the Universe have returned. All programs were cast away; all burdens dropped.

«Me personally» didn't need anything anymore; but others could use my insight, my discovery of the limitless happiness. Therefore I didn't dissolve in «the complete and final nirvana», but returned to the body, to the world of human beings. Having spent several days in the bliss of samadhi, I went to «start a new life» and to give my discovery to people.

Judging by books, I have became enlightened, and all the problems have been solved.

But in a few months I noticed that some situations still «don't get resolved». Besides, my own behavior turned to be not devoid of laziness. How is that?

How faults and unsolved problems could exist under enlightenment?

It was strange, and I started to look for spiritual teachers, and to study spiritual path systematically.

Nine years have passed; I have learned many useful and interesting things — including details of Buddha's Teaching and ways to practise it. And voila, in 2003 I met Master Sheng Yen, who at last gave me the clear perspective on principles and methods of Zen practice.

Since 2001, I already taught Buddhism (of Sutric teachings), and now I started to teach people Zen Dharma as well. Along with that, I continued my own practice, and translated to Russian useful texts, especially by Master Sheng Yen and his students. I still tried to take something useful from different Teachers. That way, both my own practice became more multifaceted, more complete, and I could help others more efficiently as well.

But alas, my own disposition — likes and dislikes — partly remained yet; so I was able to adapt only small parts of real treasures various Teachers had… Nevertheless, around 2010 — after many miracles and peaks, after periods of hardships — I sorted out all those contradictory and often falsely described notions of enlightenment and true nature. After dozens years of «attainments» I returned to the perception of that five years old boy overwhelmed with the illusoriness of the world.