Zen and Meditation

by Grand Master Shan-Fo

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Honored guests, fellow practitioners of great virtue and everyone!

My sincere thank to all of you for participating in our Taipei Area Buddhayana Order Mahayana Zengong “Zen and Chi Kung” Light Empowerment Meeting. We hold Zen and Chi Kung (Chi-Gong) Light Empowerment Meetings at twenty four locations throughout Taiwan every year during April and May. Our two main objectives are:

The first is to introduce to you the Mahayana Zengong teachings that can allow you to quickly obtain peace of mind and a healthy body; awaken and enlighten your mind to see the buddha nature; escape the cycle of birth and death (samsara), and transcend the three realms Triloka (of desire, Kamadhatu; form, Rupadhatu; and the formless, Arupadhatu) in the observance of Buddhist wisdom (Dharmaparyaya).

Our second objective is to demonstrate the results of my twenty five years’ practice as well as those of our Taipei area Mahayana Zengong students, who practiced Mahayana Zengong from one to eight years. Based on the Buddhist spirit of loving compassion, their precious efficacy will be bestowed upon each of you to relieve the suffering and karma of the mind and body.

Another purpose is to tell you the Lineage of the Buddhayana Order, Mahayana Zengong. The Order was founded in 1911 by the saintly Buddhist priest Master Miao Kung. Zen Master Miao Kung was an ordained monk. HE was an emanation of Buddha. For the sake of a great cause in this secular world (Saha-Lokadhatu) HE appeared during this degenerate time. That great cause is the teaching of how to see the true nature of the mind and the transmission of the Buddhist doctrines to lead us to full enlightenment in this very life. Master Miao Kung integrated the methods of the eight major schools of Mahayana Buddhism into a single system of practice. The eight schools are

Zen (the Ch’an meditation sect introduced to China by Bodhidharma)

Pure Land (the Sukhavati of Amitabha)

Mantric (the esoteric or True Word sect)

Vinaya (the sect emphasizing monastic discipline established by Tao Hsuan during the T’ang dynasty)

T’ien T’ai (the sect founded by Chih-i (538-597) taking the Lotus Sutra as the real interpretation of Mahayana Buddhism)

Huayen (or Kegon sect based on the Avatamsaka Sutra promoted by Ti-hsun Tu- hsun in China)

Fa Hsiang (the Dharmalakasana sect, also called the Tz’u-en sect in T’ang dynasty and Hosso in Japan)

San Lun (the sect based on the Madhyamika or Middle School of Nagarjuna in India and promoted in China by Chien Hsiung during the Eastern Tsin (397-419))

The contents of the integrated practice include the aspects of mind development and physiological cultivation. The former includes the Eight Spiritual Foundation Cultivations while the latter includes the Nine Physiological Cultivations. It is a systematic and progressive teaching from the beginning bodhisattva to the first Bhumi level (sainthood) and on to the supreme level of perfect enlightenment.

The second lineage holder was my own teacher, Master Yuan-Dao Shang- jen, who at the age of thirteen studied Buddhism with the founder Miao Kung in Yunnan, mainland China. Master Yuan-Dao introduced and transmitted Mahayana Zengong to Taiwan in 1953. Before meeting my teacher, I studied Buddhism for sixteen years. During that time, I received Buddhist teachings from many eminent Buddhist priests of the Zen sect, the Pure Land sect, and the Mantric sect. I did gain some understanding from all of them and learned many types of practice methods. However, I was unable to fully comprehend the real cultivation and genuine realization of Buddhist doctrines, and that was when I met my Mahayana Zengong teacher. Master Yuan-Dao explained to me that the Mahayana Zengong was a Buddhist method of true cultivation and realization based on the unification of the body and mind, and the integration of essence and application (accomplishing activities). I then devoted myself wholeheartedly to the serious observance and practice of the Mahayana Zengong. That was in 1984. In 1989, my teacher passed the “Lineage Chart” down to me. I then became the third lineage holder of the Order. Subsequently, I began to teach students and transmit and propagate the Dharma. Over the last few years, more that 10,000 students both at home and abroad have taken the Mahayana Zengong classes.

 

Now I would like to point out the main purposes of Mahayana Zengong to you. The purposes are first, the true understanding of Buddhism and, second, the health and well being of everyone who comes to learn Mahayana Zengong.

 

In understanding Buddhism, we consider the teachings (Buddhadharma) preached by the Buddha as the principal doctrine; meditation is the door, and Chi Kung is a complementary mean. While gazing at the stars during the night of His enlightenment under the bodhi tree, Sakyamuni Buddha realized the truth of reality and remarked, “How wondrous! All sentient beings have the Tathagata wisdom and virtue, but are unable to attain realization due to the delusion and attachment (graha).” In other words, all living beings have the identical wisdom and virtue of a Buddha. Through practicing the precious Mahayana Zengong we shall be able to eliminate our erroneous views and attachments. Then we can swiftly attain realization and full enlightenment in this very life.

 

The traditional Buddhist teachings originally included both spiritual and physical practices. For example, the founder of the Zen sect, Da-mo (Bodhidharma) passed down an important meditation technique called ts’an hua- t’ou (intuition through paradox), which is a spiritual foundation cultivation. He also passed down physiological cultivations such as the internal kung fu, Chinese boxing, martial arts and Chi Kung in the Shaolin Monastery. However, masters of the Zen sect today mainly emphasize dharma transmission of the spiritual cultivation. They can no longer do Chinese boxing, and they don’t practice traditional Chinese medicine. That means the physiological cultivation is not offered any more. The teaching of the Mantric sect emphasizes the attainment of full realization and enlightenment in this very life. The Mantric sect also offers courses including both spiritual and physiological cultivations. Their physiological curriculum includes Yoga and the Nine Stages of Yoga. Mantric sect masters today mainly teach spiritual foundation cultivation. The Nine Stages of Yoga are normally not taught, and Yoga has become a beautifying exercise.

 

The same is true for Shaolin martial arts. Zen masters are incapable of martial arts, while Shaolin martial artists and Chi Kung masters do not know how to meditate. Practitioners of each school become slightly biased. Many Buddhist teachers of the present age say that the human body is a putrid bag of flesh that must be thrown away sooner or later. Thus, there is no need to take care of one’s sickness. They say it will automatically go away when one’s sufferings equal the debt of the specific past karma (karmavarana). The consequence of that is the neglect of physiological cultivation. As a result, the teaching of physical practices was lost over one thousand-year.

 

In this degenerate time, Zen Master Miao Kung brought both spiritual and physical methods back together once again. The uniqueness of our Mahayana Zengong teaching includes unifying the body and mind, and the integration of essence and application. It also offers both spiritual and physical courses. If you want to study meditation from others, you could achieve peace of mind, but you may not be able to relieve the aches, pains, numbness, and swelling of your body for a lifetime. Many Zen masters have difficulties facing this problem because they are unable to help students by quickly restoring the flow of the vital energy channels (ch’i-mai) or perform remote-healing to relieve their sufferings. What they would say is that physical sufferings were the results of past karma!

 

“Zen and Chi Kung” are extremely beneficial to the health of body and mind. The objectives of Zen meditation are divided into mundane Zen contemplation and supra-mundane Zen contemplation.

 

The mundane Zen contemplation is equivalent to the “health meditation” because the meditation practice can clear the mind of all worries and thereby liberate the mind. This will allow the entire body to relax, and the body’s vital energy to strengthen. This can also remove all obstructions in the channels, knots, and chakras of the whole body. It can purify the excreta and flatus (chuo-ch’i) as well as disease and noxious elements (ping-ch’i) of our body. Purifying the digestive waste and toxins can effectively prevent diseases, such as cancer, from occurring. Illnesses resulting from mental stress and work pressure can be eliminated in time. For example, it is well known that insomnia, heart disease, arrhythmia, gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers and other afflictions are all stress-related. If you practice meditation, then these diseases will not occur as easily. The practice of mediation can strengthen your vital energy and allow you to absorb energies from Nature, that is, mountains, rivers, and the rarefied spirit of the Sun and the Moon. Practice meditation can make the entire body’s pores open. This facilitates the rapid absorption and replenishment of energy. Then, whenever you feel tired, you can meditate for ten to 20 minutes. You immediately have a peaceful mind and rejuvenate your bodily strength and physical health. Moreover, it can even reduce the hours of sleep everyday. After practicing meditation for a year or so, you could reduce the amount of sleep by about one hour. This achievement is typical among our students.

 

When achieving the state of No-Thoughts during meditation, you can emit high-frequency electromagnetic waves and unify with the immense energy of the universe. Confucians refer to this as the “unity of man and Nature”. Buddhists call it the “unity of man and Buddha”. That is, the energy of the entire body is transformed into a high-energy electromagnetic field which through training can be projected, as a form of light energy, to treat illnesses and diseases of all sentient beings. This is the ultimate potential of our buddha nature, the sugatagarbha essence (dharmakaya). Biologists state that human beings only use two to five percent of their ultimate potential. A person is considered gifted if five to eight percent of his potential is tapped. In other words, we human beings are unable to use approximately 90 percent of our potential. Thus, by studying and practicing the Mahayana Zengong, the teaching passed down by Zen Master Miao Kung, we may develop our potential and intelligence to the fullest. This is the benefit of meditation practice.

 

In the practice of supra-mundane contemplation, we can attain enlightenment and see the true reality of all things. We can be liberated from the endless cycle of birth and death, and be able to transcend the three realms. Among the 10,000 students, about a hundred of them are able to let their dharmakaya (the spiritual body) depart from their physical body. For Buddhists at large, Taoists, and those who practice Immortality, it would take them about twenty to thirty years of diligent practice in order to achieve such an accomplishment. However, our Mahayana Zengong offers teachings (which include the unification of the body and mind and the integration of essence and application) that allow you to achieve this accomplishment within two to four years of diligent practice and sincere observance.

 

During the last Lunar New Year, we held a Seven-Day Zen Retreat (Chan- Chi) at the Nan Shan Monastery. Ninety disciples, who are students of the Mind-Enlightenment and Buddha-Nature-Awareness classes, attended the Retreat. Within those seven days, eighteen of them experienced the attainment of dharmakaya. That is, they experienced that their dharmakaya pervaded the Dharmadhatu. The dharmakaya was omnipresent. It encompassed the boundless expanse of sky. Within the dharmakaya was the crystal clear purity. There was nothing that could not be seen, known, and heard. It normally requires more than thirty years of dedicated meditation practice to achieve this meditative level. Therefore, the supra-mundane contemplation is quite precious and supreme.

 

Speaking of Chi Kung, the First, Second and Third Levels of our Nine Physiological Cultivations are all Chi Kung practices. The two objectives of the First Level are to cultivate and strengthen the vital energy and to restore the Chi energy flow through the entire body’s channels, knots, and chakras. We have twelve lessons that cover the First and Second Levels in the curriculum. There are eighteen exercises in the First Level Physiological Cultivation which includes Dong-Chan and Jin-Chan. The Second Level Physiological Cultivation teaches you how to absorb the vital essence of Nature (i.e., the mountains, rivers, the Sun, and the Moon), also, how to project vital Chi energy, and how to radiate light energy. These Chinese Kung Fu teachings are normally not available in most of the Chi Kung teachings, but are offered in our beginning class. Moreover, I want to make sure that you successfully master the exercises. I conduct tests during the tenth or eleventh lesson. How do I do it?

 

I project Chi energy and the students receive it. I test each individual. Everyone is asked to tell me what they feel. Then, the students project their Chi energy to me, and I tell each of them what I feel. Finally, all the students are divided into groups, with ten students per group. For example, you project Chi energy and the other students in the group receive it. They tell you what they felt afterwards. Then, the students in your group together project Chi energy to you and you tell them what you felt. Up to now, our 10,000 students have never failed this test. This shows that the Mahayana Zengong is truly outstanding.

 

I hope you know that the Mahayana Zengong offered in the beginning class is normally not being taught in the advanced classes of other schools or teachings. In other words, everything is taught and nothing is withheld. The more people learn the wonderful Zengong and become able to help others the better. This is the Chi Kung aspect of Mahayana Zengong.

 

Most people have a pretty good idea about Chi Kung. It has been extremely popular over the last ten years. This popularity is partly because mainland China held two international medical Chi Kung conferences in 1988 and 1989. In both conferences I presented a thesis and also gave light empowerment to the more than 2,000 participants in each conference. The responses from them were very enthusiastic and positive.

 

During the conferences, I spoke with the ten famous Chi Kung masters of mainland China. Then I understood that Chi Kung was extremely popular in mainland China. I was curious; who promoted it? In the government sector, Deng Xiao-ping was in power, and he is a Chi Kung enthusiast. When he gets sick, he has services from Chi Kung masters. There are three Chi Kung masters constantly accompanying him twenty four hours a day. When he is in poor spirits, Chi energy is immediately given to him by one of the masters until his spirit is satiated. If he feels discomfort, the Chi Kung masters also provide treatment as needed. His 80- or 90-year-old body is hearty and a tribute to Chi Kung. Furthermore, the high ranking cadre of the central government in mainland China all practice Chi Kung. More than 200 of the best Chi Kung masters are living in Zhongnan Hai (the accommodations of high officials in the Imperial Palace, Beijing) to provide regular services to central government senior cadre quartered there. As a result, the bodies of these 80- and 90- year-olds are in excellent condition; all because Chi Kung services are available to them.

 

In the private sector, who is the promotor of Chi Kung? The father of the missile in China, Qien Shiu-shen, has deep appreciation of it and strongly advocates that Chi Kung is the third industrial revolution of the world. Why? Well, the leading science and technology of the 20th century are space science, quantum mechanics, and other advanced technologies, but the leading science and technology of the 21st century will be the human physiological related life sciences. As the 20th century witnessed the pursuit of outer space, the 21st century will be marked by the quest to harness the potential energy of the human being, the pursuit of the inner space.

 

We now have numerous environmental problems and diseases that threaten mankind such as AIDS and immune system disorders. Those afflicted patients, who practice Chi Kung, find Chi Kung can improve the function of their immune system. Chi Kung can also be effective in preventing the onset of various illnesses. It also can keep serious diseases like cancer and erythemic ulcerations, which are referred to as terminal illnesses, from deteriorating. Because of this, there are Chi Kung research institutes in each province and municipality of mainland China. Many scientists (including physicists, chemists, traditional Chinese medical doctors, and medical doctors) are involved in research projects using Chi energy to treat various types of diseases. There are Chi Kung sanitariums in each province and city of mainland China. The third-stage cancer and final-stage terminal patients in mainland China are normally sent to these sanitariums for therapy and treatments involving both traditional Chinese and western medical techniques. Since all hospitals have regular and Chi Kung out-patient clinics, the Chi Kung doctors in mainland China are very well received and respected. In Taiwan, the status of Chi Kung doctors is not formally established. However, the Bureau of Health in Taiwan approved folk medicine as a legal medical practice early this year. It is expected that Chi Kung masters will get their medical licenses soon.

 

There are three types of Chi Kung. Many people want to study Chi Kung earnestly, but they do not know how to go about studying it. In fact, there are more than 1,000 schools of Chi Kung. It is difficult to know and choose which school is best. So, I will briefly explain the three types of Chi Kung.

 

The first type is martial arts Chi Kung, which is “external” Chi Kung such as iron head, iron palm, gold bell, and iron shroud. There are types of Chi Kung that allow one to take thrusts of sharp weapons, such as knives and spears, on the bare skin without injury, and sustain hammer blows without pain. This type of Kung Fu would normally require practice for ten to thirty years before one can achieve the slightest mastery. We do not teach them.

 

The second type is the “internal” Chi Kung for the preservation of good health. It allows one to open both the Ren (front or Conception) Meridian and the Du (back or Governor) Meridian as well as the Eight Extra Meridians (chi- ching pa-mai). As a result, one is able to resist various diseases better and hence have better health. Our beginning class, the First Level Physiological Cultivation, is mainly concerned with the internal Chi Kung. Many chronic illnesses can be cured without medications after practicing our Mahayana Zengong for three to four months.

 

The third type is the therapeutic Chi Kung, specifically the remote- healing technique (chi-kung liao-fa). This technique is now extremely popular in mainland China and Taiwan. Therapeutic Chi Kung can be divided into three classes. The first class is the vital energy (ch’i-neng). Some of you may have watched Chinese martial arts movies. Quite often a scene goes like this: a disciple of a Kung Fu master is seriously injured by the powerful strikes of an opponent. The master tells the disciple to face the wall; then places both palms behind the back of the disciple and begins to transmit vital energy to him/her. After the duration of an incense stick burning, the injured disciple is healed. Meanwhile, the master behind him collapses from sheer exhaustion. The master is subsequently carried away to an inner chamber to recuperate. Watching scenes like these, I feel great pity for Chi Kung doctors. After each treatment they have to rest and recover from it because they used their own vital energy and strength in healing. That is the common practice for most Chi Kung doctors in mainland China as well as in Taiwan. Is this type of treatment effective? Yes. It is absolutely effective in treating sickness. But, it is “physically” demanding, and a speedy recuperation is not easy. Thus, Chi Kung doctors in mainland China usually treat only five patients per day. They are on duty for half a day and spend the remaining half of the day trying to replenish their vital energy so that they can recover their strength.

 

The second class is the mind energy (hsin-neng). The students of Mahayana Zengong typically use more advanced therapeutic techniques such as the mind energy. To do that one must practice meditation. When one achieve the state of no-thoughts, the brain waves reach a static state. During this time the dharmakaya emits high-frequency energy. This high-frequency energy can resonantly interact with cells in the inflicted area to produce an inductive electromagnetic field effect which will effectively relieve the sickness and suffering. In treatment, the mind energy technique is three to ten times more effective than the vital energy method. Students in the advanced class or higher are capable of performing the mind energy healing. There will be a demonstration in a few minutes.

 

The third class is super mind energy (ch’ao hsin-neng) which is of the highest level. All members of our Mahayana Zengong disciples that belong to the Mind-Enlightenment and Buddha-Nature-Awareness classes possess this power. To have super mind energy, it requires high level meditation. When one attains enlightenment and sees one’s buddha nature, the dharmakaya will pervade the Dharmadhatu and encompass the vast sky. For example, if one’s dharmakaya is able to reach 20,000 kilometers, then one can perform the remote-healing for the sick within a diameter of 20,000 Km. If your dharmakaya can encompass the Province of Taiwan, then people in Taiwan call you by telephone and you should be able to perform the remote-healing. Our Advanced Classes students have this power after dedicated cultivation and practice. Later, they will demonstrate this at a range of about 100 meters. If the distance is too far, then you won’t be able to see the demonstration. The Mahayana Zengong is truly remarkable.

 

Finally, I have three hopes.

 

First hope: I hope and pray that all of you (no matter what your religion or school of Buddhism), if you sincerely want to attain enlightenment and see your buddha nature, but saw little result after decades of cultivation, will study our systematic and progressive methods of realization and awakening in this very life.

 

Second hope: If you want to help others by studying the remote-healing, we welcome you to study our accelerated healing techniques. We have many students who have rendered assistance when accidents occur. Before the arrival of the 119 ambulance, they have administered emergency treatment to revive victims; resuscitated victims suffering serious injuries; supplied recuperative Chi and mind energies, and thereby saved human life. To save a human life is more virtuous than to build a seven-story pagoda. There are opportunities to save lives when you lend a helping hand.

 

The third hope: If you or your relatives and friends are plagued by illness that is difficult to treat through traditional Chinese or western medicine, you should register at once to study Mahayana Zengong. The practice will quickly allow you to strengthen your body’s resilience against disease and you will also be able to help others.

 

Finally, I would like to congratulate and wish all of you, honored guests, and fellow practitioners, happiness, joy, and success in the practice of Dharma. Praise to Amitabha Buddha. Namo Amitabha Buddha.

 

(Respectfully recorded at the Taipei Area Buddhayana Order Mahayana Zengong “Zen and Chi Kung” Light Empowerment Meeting on May 21, 1994.)