Great Master Xu Yun: On Essential Points of Ch’an Training

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Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD

Translator’s Note:  This is the opening paragraph of original Chinese language text entitled ‘虚云大师参禅要旨’ which I have rendered into English above.  I include the Chinese text with my English translation, and would advise English language readers that the entirety of this text has been translated by Charles Luk and appears in Ch’an and Zen Teaching – First Series, Rider, (1987), in Chapter 1 – entitled ‘Prerequisites of Ch’an Training – Pages 19-28.  Although I only cover the direct Ch’an method in this translation – the body of Xu Yun’s text deals specifically with the practice of ‘sila’ – or Buddhist psychological and physical discipline – and emphasises how a monk, nun, or indeed lay-person must follow the appropriate Vows contained within the Vinaya Discipline – if the direct Ch’an path is to be successfully cultivated and attained.  In this teaching (and many others), Xu Yun firmly rejects the false notion that enlightenment within Buddhism can be attained with the required following of virtuous discipline.  This is a thoroughly new translation which maybe compared to that of Charles Luk’s – with the differences between the two serving to help others in their self-cultivation.  ACW 24.5.15

Part One – Prerequisites of Ch’an Practice

The purpose of Ch’an training is to clear the mind and perceive its inherent nature. This is achieved by striving to clear the mind of obscuring pollution, so that the true self-nature (自性 – Zi Xing) can be clearly perceived and distinguished. Pollution is the continuation of delusion, whilst the true self-nature is the Tathagata’s (如来 – Ru Lai) essence of virtuous wisdom. Virtuous Tathagata wisdom is the essence of all ordinary beings and Buddhas alike; it is non-dual in nature, and there cannot be anyother essence. Ordinary beings and Buddhas realise the virtuous Tathagata wisdom only when the obscuring layer of delusion in the mind is permanently swept away. However, delusion is difficult to see through because it is premised upon the false notions of an ‘I’ and a ‘you’, which boundlessly robs the mind of clarity of insight. This delusion has stained the mind for a very long time, and is the basis and driving force of the continuous cycle of life and death. This why it is often not possible for delusion to be wiped-out immediately, and why the Ch’an training requires certain prerequisite (and supportive) practices to be effective.

How is delusion removed by Dharma? Shakyamuni Buddha spoke of this often and advocated a simple nurturing of a ‘Bodhi that achieves cessation’ (歇即菩提 – Xie Ji Pu Ti), which is a method of final and complete ‘cessation’. The Patriarch Bodhidharma (达摩祖师 – Da Mo Zu Shi) brought the Ch’an Lineage (Ch’an Zong) to the east. Through the teaching of the Sixth Patriarch of Ch’an (六祖 – Liu Zu) the Dharma was spread far and wide – his example shook the ancient and modern world, and has shone without end…

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

一、参禅的先决条件

参禅的目的,在明心见性;就是要去掉自心的污染,实见自性的面目。污染就是妄想执着,自性就是如来智慧德相。如来智慧德相,为诸佛众生所同具,无二无别,若离了妄想执着,就证得自己的如来智慧德相,就是佛,否则就是众生。只为你我从无量劫来,迷沦生死,染污久了,不能当下顿脱妄想,实见本性,所以要参禅。因此参禅的先决条件,就是除妄想。

妄想如何除法?释迎牟尼佛说的很多,最简单的莫如「歇即菩提」一个「歇」字。禅宗由达摩祖师传来东土,到六祖后禅风广播,震烁古今…

Shaolin Temple in Henan – Hosts Malai Delegation from Africa – 2008

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Modern Communist China is committed to anti-racism and overcoming economic inequality throughout the world, and one aspect of this permanent policy is the inviting of African students to train in the famous Shaolin Temple. Traditional Buddhist temples often offer board and food free of charge – and this is the policy followed by the Shaolin Temple for African delegations.

Original Chinese Language Source Text:

http://www.fjnet.com/pic/200808/t20080805_78587_4.htm

Soviet War Memorial – Metta Meditation (17.5.15)

Grounds of the Imperial War Museum - London

Grounds of the Imperial War Museum – London

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During the Second World War the USSR was invaded and brutalised by the fascist and genocidal forces of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  This invasion took the German military emphasis away from the UK (and the USA) – who had been encouraged by British diplomats (and others) to attack the USSR prior to the start of WWII.  The duplicitous Winston Churchill, for instance, was quite happy for Nazi Germany to destroy the Soviet Union – until Britain itself fell prey to the Nazi menace.  Then Churchill gleefully encourage Joseph Stalin to mobilise the Soviet peoples in an all-out – life or death struggle – against Nazi tyranny, whilst simultaneously working behind the scenes for the downfall of World Socialism due to its ‘barbarity’.  As matters transpired – and despite Churchill’s treachery – the forces of the USSR eventually triumphed, but at an awful price in human life.  It is estimated that around 27 million Soviet citizens perished in this all out war.  Today we generated loving kindness and compassion in their memory.

My Letter to SF Leather on Behalf of Turkish Workers

SF Leather

Today, I received a personal message on Facebook asking for my assistance in a workers’ dispute between former employees of SF Leather in Turkey, and the Management of this leather processing industry. SR Leather makes products for the well-known Mulberry brand. The message I received reads:

‘We are the dismissed workers from SF Leather Company in Turkey. SF Leather Company fired when we became a union membership. We are now picket line in front of Ege Free Zone, Izmir. After the dismissals, SF Leather Management forced to resign workers from their union membership at the plant. %90 of production at SF Leather is for Mulberry brand. Mulberry is producing luxury bags at SF Leather. But wages of workers at SF are minimum wage. Working time is very long. We want you to send a mail to Mulberry and demand to;

  • -Reinstate the dismissed workers
  • -Respect workers’ rights and freedom of association

Solidarity, The dismissed workers from SF Leather Company. For sending a mail to Mulberry;

companysecretary@mulberry.com

This is the email I have sent on behalf of the Turkish workers:

Dear Company Secretary

I write from London (UK) in connection to the recently dismissed and denial of basic rights of the workers formerly employed by SF Leather (in Turkey).  consider these dismissals to be illegal under National and International Law, and immoral under any measure of common decency, and call upon the Management of SF Leather to immediately:

1) Reinstate the dismissed workers

2) Respect workers’ rights and freedom of association I

Thank you for your time in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Dr Adrian Chan-Wyles

Buddhist-Marxism Alliance (UK)

http://buddhistsocialism.weebly.com/

This is the reply that I have received:

Subject:
RE: Please Re-instate the Dismissed Workers of SF Leather
Date:
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 1:04 PM

Thank you for your email.  We are fully aware of the situation at our supplier SF Leather in Izmir, Turkey.  We understand that the matter is now following a legal process and it would therefore be inappropriate for Mulberry to comment on the details of the case.   However we are working closely with the SF Leather management team to ensure that they are compliant with our Global Sourcing Principles and particularly, in this instance, the right to Freedom of Association and Employee Representation.

As a global brand and manufacturer (with two of our own factories in the UK) we take the responsibilities and rights outlined in our Sourcing Principles extremely seriously and we expect a very high standard from our suppliers, carrying out regular 3rd party factory audits and implementing corrective action plans where required.  I can assure you that we are taking this matter very seriously and we look forward to seeing a favourable resolution in place.

Regards

Mulberry

Sutton Fire Brigade Station (St Dunstans Hill)

Sutton Fire Brigade Station (North Entrance)

Sutton Fire Brigade Station St Dunstans Hill  – North Entrance

With the vicious cuts instigated by the previous ConDem Nation – and now the Tories returned to power – the UK Fire Stations are being closed at an alarming rate.  This is an ideological attack from the far-rightwing Tory government on the staunchly leftwing Fire Brigades Union.  This Tory government does not respect the men and women of the Fire Brigade, and is not interested in the welfare and safety of the general public.  The remaining Fire Crews are being asked to cover ever greater distances with dwindling resources, and the only thanks they get for their selfless profession is the threat of unemployment!  Although I am only one person, I decided today to photograph my local Fire Brigade Station out of respect for the work they do, and as a historical record – just incase the Tories decide to shut it down!  Thank you to the Fire Brigade – past, present, and future!

Sutton Fire Brigade Station St Dunstans Hill - North Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station St Dunstans Hill – North Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station (North Entrance)

Sutton Fire Brigade Station St Dunstans Hill – North Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station Westfield Road - South Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station Westfield Road – South Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station Westfield Road - South Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station Westfield Road – South Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station Westfield Road - South Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station Westfield Road – South Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station Westfield Road - South Entrance

Sutton Fire Brigade Station Westfield Road – South Entrance

General Elecion 2015: My Response to the Duplicitous Liberal Democrats!

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Incredibly, and despite their appalling record in government, the duplicitous Liberal Democrats emailed me the following message below, to which I have replied:

Dear Caroline Pidgeon

Thank you for your email.

Please be advised that I, (like many millions of other right-minded people still living in the UK), am of the opinion that the Liberal Democrats are directly responsible for the dismantling of the Welfare State, and the privatisation of the NHS by blatantly abandoning LibDem principles, and in so doing, betraying LibDems voters, simply to facilitate the fascist policies of a far-rightwing Tory administration. This was done simply because the LibDems wanted to be part of the Tory government apparatus, despite the fact that Nick Clegg only ever played second fiddle to David Cameron. The Liberal Democrats have blood on their hands through the vicious benefits cuts they supported and condoned, which have led to the death of at least 10,000 Disabled People in the UK, and the terrible impoverishment of millions of others. Of course, as the NHS has been sold off to the American profiteers, UK citizens nolonger have the facilities to ensure their lifelong health and safety.

I am glad that the LibDems were wiped out at the polls and have become little more than a bigoted minority party that will hopefully soon disappear from the political map of the UK. I would advise you that the last thing London needs is Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly – indeed, we – the right-minded people of the UK – must fight hard to prevent this. Why? Because a weak Liberal Democrat Party is good for the health of the nation, as they should never again be allowed anywhere near political office. A vote against the LibDems is a vote for life!

Thank you for your time in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Dr Adrian Chan-Wyles

Sutton – South London

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(campaigns@libdempeople.org.uk 11.5.15 – 1803)

Join the fightback for liberal values

Dear Adrian,

Last Thursday was the most difficult of nights. Not just for the Liberal Democrats, but also for all of us who believe that hope is much more powerful than fear.

Last Thursday the politics of fear beat the politics of hope, and that hurts.

The Liberal Democrats are down, but we’re not out. We’re starting our fightback today and I’m asking you to be part of it.

Adrian, since polls closed over 5000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats because they believe that there is a better way. Will you join them?

Adrian nothing could show just how much Britain needs a strong, liberal party than Theresa May’s announcement that she will immediately be introducing the snoopers charter, giving the state unprecedented power to monitor your personal communications.

Those of us who believe in the values of liberty, community and individual freedom must stand together. Please join us today and be part of our future.

Thank You

 

Caroline Pidgeon

Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly

A Wutai Mountain Cat is Buddha!

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Original Chinese language Article By: www.kpkpw.com

(Translated into English by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

This picture was taken in November – 2009 – on Wutai Mountain, and features a devout Buddhist believer, worshipping along the stone steps. It just so happened that a cat came along and appears to embody the Buddha at that exact moment – and this made for an excellent photograph!

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:

http://www.kpkpw.com/space.php?do=activity&albumid=186471&type=kuaipai&id=3

五台山的猫也是菩萨。2009年11月摄于五台山,一个佛家信徒沿石阶膜拜,正巧一只猫经过,构成这幅有趣的照片。

Mark Chambers on Hunger Strike – Justice for Children – Sutton

Mr Mark Chambers on Hunger Strike

Mr Mark Chambers on Hunger Strike

Sutton Town Centre

Sutton Town Centre

Mr Mark Chambers from Sutton, started a hunger strike four days ago, and intends to pursue this course of action until something changes. He is part of the campaign entitled ‘Justice for Children’, and is currently residing (day and night) in Sutton Town Centre surrounded by placards that explain the protest. I met Mark today (Sunday the 10th of May 2015), where he explained his situation to me, and I (and my partner) signed his petition.

Mark Chambers & Adrian Chan-Wyles

Mark Chambers & Adrian Chan-Wyles

Ordinary people are often subject to purely arbitrary and unjust decisions made by Social Workers and supported by Judges in the Family Court. This institutional corruption effects the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, and has the devastating effect of separating children from their parents. Mark Chambers explained to me that due to the fact that he has separated from his partner, local Social Workers, acting in conjunction with the Family Court, have prevented him from having access to his four children. This is despite the fact that he has proven in Court that the allegations levelled against him by Social Workers (such as he ‘hates women’), are false and have no substance in reality.

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This is a protest from the grass-roots of British society where people are expected to remain crushed by the power of a corrupt establishment. Individuals in this situation, who have done nothing wrong, but who do not possess the financial resources, or the right kind of social contacts, are treated with disrespect and indifference, whilst their children suffer the trauma of permanent separation from their birth parents. Mark Chambers is seeking justice not only for himself, but also for the thousands of others in the UK who find themselves in a similar situation. People can sign his petition, or share his story through social media. Mark Chambers’ hunger strike began on the day of the 2015 General Election which saw the return to power of a vicious rightwing government that has revelled in cutting resources for ordinary people. This is an important protest that brings attention to the plight of ordinary people, a plight that is usually ignored by the authorities and the mainstream media.  Mr Mark Chambers will be taking his petition to Westminster on Wednesday the 13th of May, 2015, and we wish him every success in his fight for justice.

General Election 2015: The Struggle Continues

The struggle continues just as it did before. It repeats in cycles of highs and lows, and we as individuals and groups – what I call the resistance to the rightwing – must gather in our energy and regroup around common political values and spiritual ideals. There have been many victories for the Left in this General Election, but we could not oust the Tories from Number 10. The TUSC stood candidates all over the UK and as a fledgling party – gathered a respectable number of votes. This is the start of a political movement on the Left that seeks to fill the void created by the Labour Party’s permanent lurch to the right. The NHAP served as a shot across the bows of the Tory juggernaut as it appears to plough unconcerned through the choppy waters of austerity. The Greens did not increase their number of MP’s, but they did retain their Parliamentary seat in Brighton. The CPB stood 9 candidates in some of the most deprived areas of the UK hit the hardest by the Tory cuts, and reminded the rightwing establishment that the British workers maybe permanently excluded from the middle class dominated media and press, but that they certainly have not gone away, or ceased to exist. Perhaps the biggest victory is the utter destruction of the fascist UKIP at the polling booths despite widespread support by the BBC and the bus company Stagecoach (which carried UKIP advertising in the Southwest), and Councils such as that found in Torbay, who appear to think that the advertising of a fascist political party is a legitimate form of political behaviour in a civilised society. UKIP returned only 1 MP – a dissident Tory – when they were expecting around 40 seats! The duplicitous Liberal Democrats lost much of their traditional support simply because their support for a far-right Tory administration unleashed a devastation on ordinary British people, the likes of which had not been seen since that initiated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980’s! The Labour Party under Tony Blair unleashed the latest rounds of Welfare abolition and NHS privatisation – and showed no intention to reverse any of the Tory cuts if they won the election. The British Left is beginning to wake-up to the fact that the Labour Party nolonger represents their bests interests, but is simply another middle class entity taking care of its own interests. The more the workers are made to unjustly suffer, the nearer the Revolution becomes! All that has happened is that the Labour Party has failed to take power and that the British political Left is learning to stand independently of it. The Left must now fight on to save Welfare and the NHS. Two days ago, the bourgeois were in power – two days later – the bourgeois are still in power! Proletariat – onward to Revolution!

General Election 2015: What Are the UK Workers To Do?

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The capitalist system is inherently unfair and favours the privilege minority in any society. In the liberal, democratic West, the political systems are distinct, but are all a variation of a common theme, namely that of maintaining the bourgeois system in power. To do this, the fallacy of choice is enacted throughout the populace, and the concepts of fairness and equality automatically assumed to exist for everyone. This idyllic picture of middle class utopia is nothing but a lie. The class that has the power is the class that possesses the means of production – and it is exactly this class that dominates society from top to bottom, and defines what it believes to be correct and normal convention. In the capitalist West it is the middle class that dominate, and has done so in the UK since the over-throw of the absolute monarchy of Charles I in the mid-1600’s. In other European states the dates that the bourgeoisie gained political power from the aristocracy (or the upper class) vary, but the fact is that a middle class revolution did occur Europe-wide which shifted the balance of political power. Through the industrialisation process, the peasantry has been transformed into the proletariat – a body of workers dispossessed of their land and the means of production, that where forced by economic necessity into factories, where they were trained to work machines over long hours during the day, and throughout their often very short existences. Their pay was minimal, their living conditions despicable, and their working conditions awful! They were forced to live on a very small share of the profit of their work, with the vast majority of this profit (or surplus value) going directly into the pockets of the middle class who partook in no physical labour. The leisure that the middle class enjoined was a direct result of the sweat and toil of the workers they employed.

Following the development of unions, and the spread of Socialist and Communist ideals throughout the workforce, a political battle ensued between the workers and their pay-masters, with the workers always trying to get better working conditions and pay, and the middle class trying to prevent any improvement, whilst maintaining the maximum exploitation of the worker. This relations exists in the UK today, but is hidden behind a biased press and media, and a political system that represents only the aspirations of the already affluent middle class and their allies within society. The working class has responded to this not by voting, but rather by withdrawing completely from the political system that continuously alienates and excludes them. This is seen from the fact that only 1 in 6 of those eligible to vote actually register to vote. This means that 5 out of 6 people in the UK who could vote, are not even registered in the system. This mass of humanity represents the vast majority of the workers whose daily existence is reliant upon the Welfare State and the National Health Service.

The Welfare State – with its Universalist premise – has helped and supported all British people regardless of class, since its inception in 1948. The middle class uses this system, as does the working class, but the difference is that the middle class, by definition, already possesses enough financial resources (historically stolen from the workers), to take care of themselves – the working class, by way of contrast, possesses no such resources. The working class does not possess any financial resources because the middle class has stolen it from them at every turn, and ensure, through a legal system biased to bourgeois requirements, that this accumulated wealth remains no-returnable. This same bourgeois legal system also stops and prevents the working class from bettering itself outside of the bourgeois system by encouraging (or bludgeoning) conformity to its own norms and standards. The working class is trapped by the auspices of the very middle class system they helped to create through the stolen profit gained from their collective labour.

Today, the political parliamentary landscape in the UK works entirely from a centre-right perspective, with the British media deliberately ignoring grass-roots workers’ movements, and instead giving wall to wall coverage to minority far-right movements such as the racist British National Party and the United Kingdom Independence Party. The Labour Party – since 1997 – has moved to the right and embraced the philosophy of neo-conservativism. In short it has ideologically abandoned its working class roots, and the working class people. It depends upon the middle class to vote it into office by not offending it with tax rises, and working class populations who vote Labour regardless of the policies it pursues. The Liberal Democrats are really just soft Tories, whilst the Conservatives are hard Tories. These three political parties in the UK all represent variants of Toryism. It was ‘new’ Labour who began the wholesale dismantling of the Welfare State, and the privatisation of the NHS – following in the footstep of Margaret Thatcher. The Labour leader Tony Blair idealised Thatcher, and referred to the famous Tory racist – Enoch Powel – as a great man! Today, although many working class people still habitually vote Labour, Labour is not repaying their loyalty by rewarding them with leftwing policies. Instead Labour keeps granting further tax cuts for the rich, and privatising previously nationalised industries. Labour only exists to betray the very workers it claims to represent. This is because the upper echelons of the Labour Party have become infiltrated by middle class politicians who are representing their class whilst continuing to exploit the workers by peddling myths and aspirations.

A Labour win in yesterdays General Election would have been a relief, because it would have ushered in a change in feel of the UK government, but Labour stated firmly that they were not going to reverse any Tory reforms or free the unions if they won. They were not going to reinstate the Welfare State or renationalise the NHS – both of which were paid for through the taxation of the workers who made use of them. Labour lost the middle class vote last night to Tory administration that has a proven track record for dismantling all Socialist institutions regardless of the cost in human suffering or human lives. The point of Labour, the LibDems, and the Tories is to make life as comfortable as possible for the middle class – and in so doing continue to exploit the workers to the maximum to achieve it. A vote for Labour was only ever a vote for a damage limitation exercise that would have simply slowed down the rightwing assault on Socialism – and not stopped it. The LibDems allow this Tory administration to unleash hell in the UK – and they have paid the electoral price for the abandoning of their principles to attain political power – even if it were only that of second fiddle to an indifferent Tory Party. The truth is that all three main parties are all equally guilty of attacking the working class, and all have hands covered in the blood of the workers. A new grass roots political movement is needed to represent the workers and take the initiative away from Labour and their confidence trick of claiming to represent the workers at each election. If Labour continues to take hard earned money from the workers via union dues – then it has a moral duty to represent those who funds its existence. The fact that Labour continues to take working class money but refuses to represent the workers suggests a very exploitative relationship. This situation has allow a far-right fascist Tory Party to gain power for a second time. This kind of duplicity has cost lives, and will continue to take lives.

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