Zen Teachings

The Gates of Chan Buddhism

Chan Master Jing Hui (1933-2013)
(Dharma Heir of Empty Cloud)

“Since the last century a great many authors, through various possible approaches, have made Chinese Chan known to English-speaking readers in Europe and America. Among them the Japanese great master, Mr. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966) did the most outstanding contributions in this regard.

The characteristic feature of Chinese Chan is shown in the Patriarchs’ Chan (祖師禪, the Mind-to-Mind transmission of Chan Buddhism from Bodhidharma to Hui Neng; the orthodox lineage that emphasizes “a direct pointing at the human Mind and the attainment of Buddhahood”). It, like an exotic flower coming into full bloom in the rich soil of Chinese culture, took shape after Indian Buddhism encountered with the Chinese philosophy of Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi.

The Patriarchs’ Chan is distinctive of the following aspects. It is practicable right where we are, in whatever place, situation, and form-style. It helps practitioners with a correct attitude of doing ordinary work with an ordinary Mind. It urges practitioners, in the regular day-to-day living, to be in line with the peaceful state of Chan, to experience the forthright blissfulness of Chan, and to spread the cheerful harmony and living wisdom of Chan.

Venerable Master Jing Hui

In the last ten years of the twentieth century, based on the motive of the Patriarchs’ Chan, and in accordance with the need of contemporary people and circumstances, I initiated the “Sheng Huo Chan” (生活禪, Chan in Daily Life), emphasizing the characteristic of “practicing self-training in daily life and living one’s life in the practice of self-training”. The very objective of Sheng Huo Chan is to help the contemporary people, through the nurture of Buddhist wisdom and the spirit of loving-kindness and compassion, live right now at the present moment; experience the serenity and peacefulness at every instant; successively enrich personalities from the point of living an enlightened life; and have lastingly harmonious relations with others from the point of living a devoted life. Only in this way can we be able to make the best out of our own potential, and the others’ potential as well.

This book is a collection of the Patriarchs’ Chan, with the Sheng Huo Chan as the key issue. As it came out of my talks entitled “Lectures on Chan Cultivation”, addressed at the Yufo (Jade Buddha) Temple, Shanghai, I could not, therefore, make a detailed introduction of Sheng Huo Chan itself. When time is right, I’d like to let the English-speaking readers know my personal experiences, evolved over the past years, with regard to it.”

(From Foreword by Venerable Master Jing Hui in 2007 for The Gates of Chan Buddhism translated by Lin Ronghui, published by Sheng Huo Chan Non-Profit Cultural Foundation in 2019. PDF shared by Zhao Zhou Tea House.)