Shattering the Great Doubt

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  • Edition: Original
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-05-12
  • Publisher: Shambhala
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Huatouis a skillful method for breaking through the prison of mental habits into the spacious mind of enlightenment. The huatou is a confounding question much like a Zen koan. Typical ones are "What iswu[nothingness]?" or "What was my original face before birth-and-death?" But a huatou isunlikea koan in that the aim is not to come up with an answer. The practice is simple: ask yourself your huatou relentlessly, in meditation as well as in every other activity. Don't give up on it; don't try to think your way to an answer. Resolve to live with the sensation of doubt that arises, and it will pervade your entire existence with a sense of profound wonder, ultimately leading to the shattering of the sense of an independent self. Master Sheng Yen brings the traditional practice to life in this practical guide based on talks he gave during a series of huatou retreats. He teaches the method in detail, giving advice for dealing with the typical pitfalls and problems that arise, and answering retreat participants' questions as they experience the practice themselves. He then offers commentary on four classic huatou texts, grounding his instructions in the teaching of the great Chan masters.

Author Biography

Chan Master Sheng Yen is the best-known Chan master in America, having taught regularly in the West for twenty years. He has twenty-one centers throughout North America, as well as dozens of others throughout the world. He has co-led retreats with the Dalai Lama, and he is the author of numerous books, including Song of Mind, Complete Enlightenment, and Attaining the Way.

Table of Contents

Editor's Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Exposition of the Huatou Method
The Huatou Methodp. 3
Cultivationp. 29
The Middle Wayp. 51
Commentaries on Huatou Practice
The Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners: Commentary on a Text of Chan Master Hanshan Deqingp. 79
An Excerpt from Impetus to Pass through the Chan Gate: Commentary on a Discourse by Chan Master Huanglong Wuxinp. 105
Buddha Is Medicine for Sentient Beings: Commentary on a Letter from Chan Master Dahui Zonggaop. 137
The Great Matter of Birth and Death: Commentary on an Excerpt from the Discourse Record of Dahui Zonggaop. 165
Glossaryp. 181
Sourcesp. 189
Indexp. 193
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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