Chan Debate——Gong An

发布日期:2018-02-21   字体大小:   

The Chan sect has kept an account of the eminent monks’ words, and deeds in different dynasties of the history, which have gradually become the cultivating subject and epigram of Chan meditators. We call these meditators’ probing questions and statements “Gong An”. The cases and statements expressed in gong an are authoritative and thought-povoking. This method of Chan practice dated back to Tang Dynasty and prevailed in Song Dynasty.

This method of Chan practice in the past involved the master and his disciples or fellow practitioners to acquire wisdom and realization by living and interacting with one another. As the way of the monastic life has changed in present day, there are fewer such interacting opportunities; in the past the practitioners could also look for eminent monks or zhi shi (lit. benevolent intellects) to verify their own experiences and insights, while now there is less chance to do that. If adhering to the traditional method of Chan practice, the practitioner could fall behind. If the monastics don’t cultivate this basic capability and let it degenerate, it would be disadvantageous to the development of Buddhism.

Historically, Chan is also derived from debating and gong an is the result of the monastics’ deputes and examinations. In the present day, with arrangement of these resources and well-managed organization, I think we could hold a Chan debate which will likewise kindle spark of wisdom. (From Shaolin Temple in My Heart)