Joy is generally explained as the kind of joy generated and maintained in one`s heart when one realizes what a precious thing the Buddhadharma is. It is easy for someone who appreciates and cherishes the Buddhadharma to have this sentiment, but does everyone who comes into contact with the Buddhadharma automatically sprout such a joy? Will one spontaneously exclaim, `What else in the world can be more important than studying and cultivating the Buddhadharma!` The truth is, before one experiences the subtle wonders of the Buddhadharma, one will not engender a profound joy in one`s heart. Only after one obtains the profoundly wonderful Dharma Taste will one engender such joy, and appreciate sitting through long sessions of meditation.

Although I have emphasized the importance of making time each day to do the practice, many students really lack such motivation. Even if some students could find the free time, they would rather sit in front of the television. It seems that one`s favorite television show always comes on during the time one may squeeze in a free moment. A practice each day then becomes a burden. What a pain it is that the Grand Master has asked us to do at least one practice a day! At first one manages to do so, but only with some effort. But, after several days, even that effort becomes too much. This is because one has not yet experienced the Dharma Taste. If one has tasted the Dharma Taste, one will have felt the Joy which is such a feeling of joy and rapture.

In my case, I meditate daily, although the meditation does not follow a fixed time schedule. Actually, I don`t just meditate daily, I meditate continually throughout the day. This is a condition wherein one is filled with an extraordinary kind of Dharma bliss. Take this moment, for example, I am feeling a tremendous joy right now. This teaching is not a chore to me, and I do not find it tiring. In fact, while sitting here teaching, I am at the same time transporting and maneuvering the chi inside my body. Inside my body, a circle of conductivity goes on which generates an extremely happy feeling. This is the Dharma Taste.

The same thing happens when you meditate in a shrine. The vital force from the Universe will enter your body. When your body is filled with this pure, vital force, you will experience a solidifying or firming sensation. It is a very tangible and solid power that gives rise to bliss and euphoria. When you are able to experience this kind of bliss, you will love meditation. You must practice vigorously to reach this level. When the vital force descends into you, you will feel very happy and free. How can I describe it? Like swinging up and down on a swing? No, it is not quite the same. [laughter] Any other better analogies? Like being dazzled by great beauty? No, not quite. Like sinking your soul into a soft cushion? No, not that either. I can`t explain it in words. [laughter] It is indescribable. What happens is the chi in your body keeps on circulating and moving and, during this circulation, an ecstasy is generated. This is Joy. This is Dharma Taste. [audience applause]

In Tantrayana, the so-called four kinds of stabilization ecstasy are actually a kind of Dharma Taste. When the `drops` at the thousand-petalled lotus (located at the brow-point chakra) melt and descend to permeate the channels and centers of the subtle body, a bliss is generated. This bliss is the Dharma Taste and corresponds to the four Tantric ecstasies.

References to Dharma Taste are also found in many Zen koans. For example, the fifth Patriarch Hung-jen asked the sixth Patriarch Hui-neng, `Where are you from?` `I am from Ling-nan which is to the south,` replied Hui-neng. Hung-jen asked, `How can anyone from Ling-nan be qualified enough to attain Buddhahood?` To which Hui-neng replied, `Men may be classified as from the south or north, but there is no such distinction in the Buddha Nature.` This is an answer with Dharma Taste.

After Hui-neng realized this Dharma Taste, he also liked to pose the same question to his students, `Where are you from?` The answer would reveal one`s realization of the Dharma Taste. Now, let me ask you the same question, `Where are you from?` Would you say you are from Taiwan? [laughter and audience laughter] Or would you say you have no idea at all? [laughter and audience laughter] You have to come up at least with the answer of `somewhere nearby.` The Dharma Taste lies in the word `nearby.` It is apparent that you have travelled from faraway Taiwan, why then do you say you are from `nearby`? This answer appears to be nonsensical but, when one reconsiders it, one knows that it is an answer of Dharma Taste. What is most intimate to one? The Buddha Nature. I am the Buddha! The Buddha Nature and I are indivisible; therefore `somewhere nearby` is, of course, correct. Such an answer indicates an understanding of the Buddha Nature. There is no separation between you and the Buddha Nature. `I am from `nearby,`` signifies that one has glimpsed into the nature of the mind. [audience applause] Such an answer scores ninety points on a scale of one hundred. It is an acceptable answer of Dharma Taste.

The Sixth Patriarch asked again, `Where are you from?` [A student replies, `From the Empty Space.`] Isn`t it too far away! [laughter] The Empty Space is so boundless, I would not know how to begin thinking about it. [audience laughter] Your answer is too broad and difficult for me to accept. [laughter] Another student of Hui-neng`s gave this reply, `I have not come from anywhere.` This is also an answer of Dharma Taste, signifying the indivisibility between the Buddha Nature and oneself. The `I` is the union of the Great Self and the limited self. Wherever the `realized person` is, the Buddha Nature is with him or her, so how can one be from anywhere else? When the Sixth Patriarch heard this reply, he announced, `Good, this is a good answer. You have received my transmission of the Dharma.` To a third student, Hui-neng asked again, `Where are you from?` He often posed this same question to many different students. This time, someone replied, `Where I come from or go to makes no difference.` Wow! This is also an enlightened answer. It indicates a realization of `non-coming and non-going` which is actually the meaning of the term `Tathagata.` A Tathagata is a Buddha. Such words are words of realization. [audience applause]

In the Zen school, Dharma Taste is experienced through the exchange of dialogues. One party poses a question and another answers. When one gives the answer some thought, and senses the Dharma Taste in it, Joy will arise, and one will instantaneously instinctively understand the Buddha Nature. The intuition of the Buddha Nature brings Enlightenment. Pervading the exchange of Zen dialogues are the Dharma Taste and the revelation of one`s realization. Through the dialogues, which are a unique tool of Zen, one obtains the Joy of Dharma, intuition, and realization.

In the context of Tantrayana, Joy is something very tangible. When the central channel is opened, one perceives the Clear Light. When the five major chakras are opened, one is linked with the Five Fierce Deities. When the heart chakra is opened, one immediately realizes the Bliss Body of Buddhahood. When the throat chakra is opened, one realizes the Emanation Body of Buddhahood. When the brow-point chakra is opened, one realizes the Dharma Body of Buddhahood. To a Tantric practitioner, the Joy is, at the very least, a very tangible and concrete sensation which one may experience during meditation.
In the past, there was one lineage holder who actually experienced, while meditating, the phenomenon of `the east wall meeting the west wall.` We know this side is the east, that side is the west. Seattle is to the west while Spokane is to the east. If the east wall meets on the west wall, all the Buddha statues enshrined on the east wall here will meet on the Padmakumara statue at the opposite end of this hall. [laughter] The east and the west walls are separated by a distance. However, during meditation, one discovers that the east and the west have dissolved together. What kind of phenomenon is that? This dissolution has made the space dimension disappear. With the space dimension gone, one`s body is also gone. The meeting of the east wall with the west wall means that the two have dissolved into each other to become `One Taste.` When one is completely merged with the Buddha Nature, the phenomenon of One Taste is engendered. This is the underlying meaning behind the enigmatic phrase `east wall meeting the west wall.` It signifies the evaporation of the space dimension, and a direct experience of One Taste, which is a complete dissolution of the limited ego into the nature of the mind. This is Joy, a joyful phenomenon associated with the experience of Dharma.

慶賀真佛宗根本傳承上師八十聖壽 「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。