Dharma Talk by Living Buddha Lian Sheng on 05/07/96

Today I want to talk about Zen, Tantrayana, and Pure Land. I had mentioned before that I have full respect for Zen Buddhism. It is a school of Buddhism that has a glorious past and once thrived in China.

Zen points straight to the nature of `emptiness`. Direct is its special feature. Once someone asked a Zen master: `What is a Buddha?` He simply answered `A Buddha`. `What is Dharma?` He answered `Dharma`. The man was very puzzled and asked again: `When I asked you what is a Buddha, you answered me with `a Buddha`. When I asked you what is Dharma, you answered me with `Dharma`. What do you mean?` The Zen master then answered: `What?` and he repeated his answer.

This is a direct and dramatic way, since Buddha and Dharma are inexplicable. When the person decided to leave, the Zen master called out loudly: `Da De`(Great virtue). He stopped and started to think: `Who was calling me?` This is how a Zen master guides his disciple to enlightenment.

Let me reiterate: Zen goes straight to the nature of `emptiness`.

In fact, Zen Buddhism never advocated that its practitioners indulge in meditation all day long. It just directs us the way to enlightenment - and develops the ability to transcend the Zen (meditation). Therefore when someone proposed that Zen practitioners should sit instead of lying down to sleep. Almost immediately a poem was written to rebut this proposal.

Sit and never lie down to sleep this life,

Because you must lie down and cannot sit after this life!

If sitting and sleeping can be considered a Dharma that affects the enlightenment, then it will be an illusion, and not a truth. We can use one sentence to summarize Zen Buddhism: `Enter directly, discover your true self and be enlightened`. This is a school that deserves my praise - albeit only those who are endowed with high intelligence need cultivate.

Let us talk about Pure Land School. It is also thriving now. It is a very expedient way of cultivation.

In an assembly, all the cultivators just recite four-syllabus Buddha `Ah Mi Tuo Fo`, or six-syllabus Buddha `Na Mo Ah Mi Tuo Fo`.

When Shakyamuni Buddha was alive, he expounded `Amitabha Sutra` and `Ksitigarbha Sutra`. This was how the concept of reciting the name of Buddha was first mooted. Expediency is the key of this school, which advocates that its disciples should recite the name of a Buddha.

In the modern world, very few people are able to recite the name of a Buddha. If we are able to do so, we must have good affinity with the Buddha. It is mentioned very often in the Sutra, if a person can recite and understand a Sutra or a hymn (in praise of Buddha) with undivided mind, he will be able to be reborn in a Pure Land of his choice when he dies.

Buddha`s teachings consist of conventional truth and ultimate truth. They are adaptable and flexible.

Pure Land School has advocated the most convenient way to succor all living beings. By reciting the name of a Buddha with an undivided mind, and uniting with the mind of that Buddha, a cultivator will be reborn in the Pure Land. It is also a very magnificent school that I have a high regard for it.

Let us talk about Tantrayana. Its main focus is personal cultivation. There are many liturgies for the cultivators to follow. Tantrayana is progressive; it guides you slowly to enter the door of enlightenment. As Tantrayana encompasses all the Sutra teachings and Tantric cultivation methods, we can follow its rites and rituals which will lead us to the realization of the nature of `emptiness`.

In my view, Tantrayana is very pragmatic. We can follow its liturgies to cultivate personally. Once we enter the door of Tantrayana, we will be able to understand what is Buddhadharma.

In conclusion,

Pure Land School recites the name of a Buddha.

Zen Buddhism talks about emptiness directly.

Of course, they are all excellent ways of cultivation.

Tantrayana School let us master the practical aspects of Buddhadharma, so that we have authentic experiences to talk about.

The above-mentioned are my personal views on these schools of Buddhism.

That𠏋 all for today.

Om Mani Padme Hum

「一生一咒」800萬遍上師心咒活動,從今年師尊的佛誕日正式啟動,請參加者到TBSN官網以下鏈接登記資料: 每持滿十萬遍上師心咒者,宗委會將把名單呈給師尊加持。每持滿一百萬遍者,將列名護摩法會功德主,資料請師尊主壇護摩法會時下護摩爐。 億萬虎頭金剛心咒,招財鎮煞降伏瘟疫