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Chan Meditation – the Art of Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom, Lecture in Vancouver

Zarko Andricevic, Dharma heir of the Venerable Master Sheng Yen and founder of Dharmaloka, a Buddhist community in Croatia, gave a talk on October 22, 2017, at Vancouver's local spiritual bookstore, Banyen Books and Sound, titled "Chan Meditation, the Art of Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom."

Andricevic began with an overview of the history of Chan meditation. In ancient China, the academic study of Buddhism was emphasized, whereas the actual practices of Buddhism and meditation were merely background concerns. Chan arose as a reaction to this scholastic period, with a focus on practicing meditation to emulate Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment experience under the Bodhi tree.

Chan is characterized as a teaching that points directly at the mind, directing attention inward, in order to realize our own true nature here and now. Our minds are already Buddhas, and our true nature is free from suffering, unlimited, wise, and compassionate. We practice meditation not to create wisdom, but rather to discover the wisdom that pre-exists within our minds.

Until we discover wisdom, though, we experience the "false mind." As Andricevic described it, the false mind is the thinking mind that discriminates and makes us perceive everything through an egocentric perspective. It distorts and narrows our awareness, hiding the full picture. It is wild, delusional, and misleading; however, the "true mind" is naturally wise and compassionate.

Andricevic told a few stories to illustrate the false mind, one of which was about a man riding a horse that was moving very fast. As the man and his horse approached a crossroad ahead, a friend of his happened to be standing there. The friend asked, "Where are you going so fast?" The man on the horse replied, "I don't know, you'll have to ask the horse!" The story showed the wild nature of the false mind.

Andricevic described wisdom as seeing a situation as it is, and compassion as responding to that situation appropriately. He ended his talk by sharing a similar quote from his teacher, Venerable Master Sheng Yen: "Wisdom is not creating trouble for ourselves; compassion is not creating trouble for others."

Written By: Lucas (Dharma Drum Vancouver Center)

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