Cleanse and Purify the Mind

Master Hsuan Hua

Cleanse and Purify the Mind

If we want to leave suffering and gain happiness, we must have wisdom. With wisdom, we need not suffer anymore. If we understand this principle, we can avoid any more afflictions. Actually, this reasoning is very simple. However, Chan sitting requires time. As it is said,

Practice sitting for a long time and
Chan will appear.
Live in one place a long time
and affinities will develop.

Investigating Chan actually cleanses and purifies our minds. Stilling thoughts is a process of calming down our thoughts and getting rid of all the defilements. This is exactly what Venerable Master Shen Xiu meant when he said,

Time and again brush it clean,
and let no dust alight.

If we understand this principle, we should make determined effort in our Chan practice. Everyone must strive hard and be patient. Though our legs may get sore and our back may ache, we must endure that pain. Remember,

If the plum tree did not endure cold that chills to the bone,
How could the fragrance
of its blossoms be so sweet?

When your legs no longer ache, you have really begun investigating Chan. That marks the actual beginning.

Basically, Chan investigation is intentionally looking for something to do when one has nothing to do. For instance, a cultivator who has eaten his fill, slept enough, is warmly clothed and has nothing else to do, will then investigate Chan. Getting good at it, we can then roam and play in the world.

This reflection by Master Hua is from the book, The Chan Handbook, pp. 12-13, 40.
This reflection was originally intended for Tuesday, February 5. Apologies to the subscribers for its omission on that date. 是我的责任