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The Method of No Method: The Chan Practice of Silent Illumination by Sheng Yen
The Method of No Method: The Chan Practice of Silent Illumination by Sheng Yen

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Chen Master Sheng Yen is the best-known Chan master in America, having tought regularly in the West for twenty years.

Here is a spiritual practice uncomplicated enough for anyone to learn, yet rich enough to be worked with for a lifetime. The traditional Chan (Chinese Zen) method called Silent Illumination begins with nothing more than putting aside all thoughts except the awareness of oneself "just sitting." It's so simple in execution that it has sometimes been called, as the title indicates, the "method of no-method", yet to master it, the practitioner must first grasp the method in order to learn how to let go of it. When fully penetrated, this radical form of emptying ones busy mind-stream leads to perception of the vast ocean of pure awareness. Silent Illumination is closely related to the Japanese Zen practice called shikantaza, and Master Sheng Yens teachings on it will be of great value to Zen students as well as to Buddhist practitioners of all the traditions.The book, based on talks the author gave during retreats, begins with instruction in Silent Illumination practice with detailed discussion of method, approach, and how to deal with difficulties that arise. Master Sheng Yen then proceeds to provide commentary on a well known Chan text that illuminates the practice and the philosophy behind it.

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