Ch’an Practice for Muslims

Muslim Act of Prayer

The Buddha lived in a time of polytheism. He appears to suggests that polytheistic gods exist only if an individual believes them to do so, but that once the essence of ‘perception’ and ‘non-perception’ is realised (through the practice of meditation), then it is understood that polytheistic gods do not exist. The Buddha had no concept of a monotheistic god, and so never made any statements on this subject. Where the Buddha and the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) agree, is that a pantheon of polytheistic gods is an illusion with no presence in reality. All Muslim people pray (five times a day) as a means to worship Allah the All Merciful, either in mosques or wherever they happen to be. Prayer is a form of meditation as it clears the mind and disciplines the body so that the presence and power of Allah is recognised, acknowledged and surrendered to. All Muslims do this, but Sufi Muslims also practice meditation as a means of ‘submitting’ to Allah, or they use the agency of prayer as a form of meditation. Ch’an – as a method – does not affirm or deny the existence of god. The ‘hua-tou’ (word head) method can strengthen the agency of prayer and clear delusion from the mind and body so that the presence of Allah can be clearly perceived. A Muslim practitioner of Ch’an can repeat the ‘hua-tou’ ‘Who is praying?’, or ‘Who is quoting the Qur’an?’, etc. The important use of the ‘hua-tou’ is a method of ‘clearing the mind’ and ‘disciplining’ the body and does not require a belief in the Buddha, his teaching or his philosophy, for this method to be effective.      

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