Author Topic: Sheng yen on Silent Illumination and Shikantaza  (Read 3155 times)


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Sheng yen on Silent Illumination and Shikantaza
« on: November 28, 2009, 01:07:35 am »
"The Japanese term "shikantaza" literally means "just sitting." Its original Chinese name,  mo-chao, means "silent illumination." "Silent" refers to not using any specific method of meditation and having no thoughts in your mind. "Illumination" means clarity. You are very clear about the state of your body and mind.

When the method of silent illumination was taken to Japan it was changed somewhat. The name given to it, "just sitting", means just paying attention to sitting or just keeping the physical posture of sitting, and this was the new emphasis. The word "silent" was removed from the name of the method and the understanding that the mind should be clear and have no thoughts was not emphasized. In silent illumination, "just sitting" is only the first step. While you maintain the sitting posture, you should also try to establish the "silent" state of the mind. Eventually you reach a point where the mind does not move and yet is very clear. That unmoving mind is "silent," and that clarity of mind is "illumination." This is the meaning of "silent illumination.""

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Re: Sheng yen on Silent Illumination and Shikantaza
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2009, 02:12:19 am »
Reminds me of what the Caodong Ch'an and Soto Zen practice...both of which are familiar to the late Ven Master Sheng-yen...  a link here: Cultivating the Empty Field - The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi

Hungry Ghost

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Re: Sheng yen on Silent Illumination and Shikantaza
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 12:13:29 pm »
Thankyou for this link Thornbush. 

m0rl0ck, This is a really interesting discussion, the different approaches. This has been the basis of my practice.  I would be interested to hear of your practice  .... any reflections you may have?


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