Introduction

Practitioner of Shaolin arts need not be Buddhist. If you want to achieve greatness in Shaolin Kungfu, practice Chan!

Chan is short for Chan-na, which was originally transliterated from Indian Dhyana and translated as meditative state, and it is also known as Zen, the equivalent term in Japanese. Dharma Master Bodhidharma initiated Chinese Chan Buddhism which "points directly to one's mind and does not stand upon words" but stresses a "special transmission outside scriptures". Through the efforts of second Patriarch Huike, third Patriarch Sengcan, fourth Patriarch Daoxin, fifth Patriarch Hongren and sixth Patriarch Huineng, Chan tradition finally turns to be the largest Buddhist school in China. As a result, Bodhidharma was honored as the first Patriarch of Chan Buddhism and Shaolin Temple renowned as the origin of Chan Buddhism.

 

Aim of Chan Practice

The aim of Chan practice is to develop wisdom and power for enlightening our mind to see the true nature and the true self. If we can eradicate our vexations such as greed, anger, ignorance, and pride, then the mind becomes calm and tranquil, and the body will naturally be healthy. When our mind becomes peaceful, tranquil and free, like clear, still water, that is true Chan.

 

Chan and Life

How can the mind and the environment be in harmony? This is the objective of Chan. When we are awakened to Chan, we will be in perfect harmony and be free at all times. Although our outer environment undergoes myriad changes and transformations, the state of our mind always dwells in suchness and is always clear and mindful. This is the marvelous function of Chan. Once enlightened, you will see how foolish we've been.

 

Practicing Chan

Chan practice doesn't have to be a specific activitiy done at a specific place. There is Chan when you walk, sit, stand, eat and chant. When you walk, your mind is not wandering. It is observing. It is concentrated. It is alert. It is mindful. Wherever you are, that is where the mind is. You are aware of every movement. That is Chan practice. Simply, every moment, your mind is fully aware; it is vast, empty, and clear.

 

Meditation is a good way to practice concentration and mindfulness. Concentration means that your mind is not distracted. When you are breath-counting, your mind is always on the breathing. Even though counting is very easy, don't let your mouth do the counting, with the mind being elsewhere. You bring up each number consciously - you are your own master. Count every number as if it were the first time you ever practiced it. This is called keeping the beginner's mind. As you breathe out: one, two, three, four, five, each number takes up all yoru attention. you have no room for other things, there's only the breath and the counting. There is no self, no others. There's no universe - just the breathing and the counting. That is concentration.

 

Mindfulness means your mind is alert and clear. As the air is being breathed in, you know it is coming in. As the air is going out, you know it is going out. The counting is distinct and clear. You don't miscount. That is mindfulness. Unification of concentration and mindfulness is Chan.

When we are awakened to chan, we will be in perfect harmony and be free at all times