Why I Remember Richard Hunn

‘Master Xu Yun, who has inspired, and continues to inspire many, entrusted Charles Luk to take the Ch’an Dharma into the West through the translation of Chinese texts. Master Xu Yun use to very carefully choose the people he entrusted with vital work, for all his compassion, he did not suffer fools (although he continuously forgave them), and used his wisdom to see into the future and understand the karmic effects of certain actions in the present. Master Xu Yun chose many different people for many varying tasks, but it was Charles Luk that he gave the very important task of translating Chinese texts into reliable English.’

Master Ming Yi – Shaolin Temple Ch’an Weeks Retreat.

‘Meditation begins at 430am at the Shaolin Temple. This is the time that the practitioner must be sat cross legged in the meditation hall. If you want to wash your face or brush your teeth you must get up at an appropriate time before 430am. If you over-sleep, or are late for any other reason, then the monk in-charge of discipline will strike you with the xiangban (or ‘fragrant stick’). At 5am the cook-monk arranges for the meditators to be provided with salted, boiled water and ginger. The correct portion is placed in front of each meditator by the experienced workers whose duty it is to take care of the monks all day long. The ginger and boiled salted water warms the stomach and relieves pain (ginger is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect), together, this mixture calms the body and creates a comfortable physical condition that allows for concentration to be focused purely upon the empty essence of the mind itself.’

Shao Yun’s Recollections of Master Xu Yun

‘Dharma master Shao Yun was born in the Anhui province of eastern China in 1938. His family name was Huang (黄). Whilst in his school years, he developed an interest in Buddhist studies and read books upon the subject of the three treasures. At the age of around 19 years old (in 1956/57), he travelled to Yunjushan (Jiangxi), and encountered master Xu Yun living at Zhen Ru Monastery – the old master at this time was 117 years old. Xu Yun was in the midst of re-building the substantial monastic grounds, so that the holy area could re-capture some of the spiritual glories the site had held during the Tang and Song Dynasties. Master Xu Yun enquired as to why Shao Yun wanted to be a Ch’an monk – and the young man answered that he wanted to become a Buddha. Xu Yun was over-joyed to hear this response and immediately received him as a disciple and personally arranged for the ordination. Xu Yun gave him two Dharma names; the first was ‘Xuan De’ (宣德), or ‘Propagate Virtue’, and the second was ‘Shao Yun’ (绍云), or ‘Continues Speech’. Despite the country ofChinaexperiencing an ever chaotic political and cultural situation, Xu Yun had managed, through the example of spiritual power, to turn Zhen Ru into an oasis of Buddhist wisdom and peace. The impression received from reading Xu Yun’s autobiography is that through sheer strength of character, and despite the odds being stacked firmly against him, nevertheless, he managed to create Dharmically significant worlds within situations that were otherwise hopelessly lost. The young monk Shao Yun walked into one of these places, and has recently recorded his recollections of the experience of living life with master Xu Yun during his final years – in a speech given to Hong Kong Buddhists. Once Shao Yun had settled down to monastic life, and had gotten use to the life of a Ch’an monk, he eventually became Xu Yun’s attendant, watching over the old monk and assisting with the necessary every day duties that such a post entails. What follows is a translation from the original Chinese document entitled ‘绍云法师; 虚云老和尚神通示现’, or ‘Dharma Master Shao Yun; The Manifestation of the Monk Xu Yun’s Unhindered Spiritual Power’. Shao Yun describes the old monk Xu Yun in the following way;’

Natural Buddhist Martial Arts

‘However, within China the Ch’an school of Buddhism has always embraced martial cultivation within the context of a thorough mind development. Certain Ch’an temples – such as the Shaolin – have become very famous, but in reality many Ch’an temples have facilitated martial practice all over China. However, martial practice within the body is acknowledged as actually occurring within the mind itself, and it is through the mind that physical mastery is developed. Within the Ch’an tradition, there is no duality between the mind, body or environment, as all things arise and pass away within the mind. Martial perfection is nothing other than realising the Mind Ground.’

Xu Yun’s Letter to Chiang Kai-shek

‘In the early months of 1943 (when Xu Yun was in his 104th year), he had a conversation with the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) regarding the Buddhist teachings (Dharma), the philosophical principles of materialism and idealism, and the theology of Christianity. Thirteen years earlier, Chiang Kai-shek had converted to (Methodist) Christianity in 1929, and since that time had believed that China’s future could be moulded and directed from principles contained within the Bible itself, and this belief influenced policies such as the ‘Three Principles of the People’ and the ‘New Life Movement.’ ‘

The Hua Tou (話頭) Method.

‘These facts demonstrate that master Dahui did not refer to his own enlightening method as either a ‘hua tou’, or indeed a ‘kan hua’, and did not view what he was doing as some thing ‘new’ and ‘original’. In fact, the impression one gets from Dahui is that he is following an older tradition that has been forgotten by those around him.’

1 352 353 354 355 356 360