These are the four traditional types of Chan/Zen practices we share in DWZS/OZHY Zen Hermitages.
They are adapted from the four main practices taught in our Chan/Zen Order, an introduction to these practices can be found in chapter three of the book « Empty Cloud: the teachings of Xu Yun » by master JyDin Shakya and MingZhen Shakya, the founders of our order (the Zen Buddhist Order of HsuYun).
- Nienfo Chan/Nembutsu Zen
The practice of establishing concentration (ch.Zhi/jp.Shi) through Buddha Name, Mantra or Wu/Mu Recitation, sometimes called Recitation in Oneness Samadhi. It is the spiritual practice Mahastranaprapta taught in the Shurangama Sutra, the main spiritual practice in Chinese Buddhism.
- Huatou Chan/Wato Zen
The practice of establishing observation (ch.Guan/jp.Kan) through seeing or looking directly at the Heart of What Is. Asking the question Who? in all activities. Who is mindful of the Buddha, of the breath, cleaning the laundry or shouting Wu/Mu… ?
Huatou Chan/Wato Zen practice has its origins in GuanYin « returning the hearing technique » or « GuanYin FaMen/GuanYin Dharma Door » taught in the Shurangama Sutra and the basis of the Chan teachings of Hanshan, HsuYun and all masters and priests in our Chan/Zen Order.
- GuanYin Chan/Kannon Zen
The practice of establishing oneness of concentration and observation (ch.ZhiGuan/jp.Shikan) through returning the faculty of hearing.
That is the true technique GuanYin taught in the the Shurangama Sutra as the practice leading to Vajra Samadhi , the practice at the very basis of our Huatou Chan technique. GuanYin literally meaning Observing Sound, when the practitioner guanyin (observe sound), he naturally let go and let Great GuanYin/Kannon activity be, in him and around him, by him and through him.
- MoChao Chan/Mokusho Zen
Silent Illumination Zen, natural concentration and observation in every activity, manifesting and being manifested by our Buddha Nature often simply called Sitting Zen (ch.ZuoChan/jp.Zazen).
One thing must be noted, Zhiguandazuo/Shikantaza, and more generally ZuoChan/Zazen, hasn’t to do with only practicing in the sitting posture. It refers to the fact of being rooted in whatever happens and to practice harmony in whatever we do.
That is a critical point in our tradition, the cushion is not better than toilet cleaning, the same natural concentration and observation is applied.
That is a very important aspect of the teaching in our order and in all Chan/Zen schools who share our Linji/Rinzai lineage!
Shi YaoXin Shakya
Fellow readers, here is a small text part of a private teaching given by YaoXin Shi on entering the path of Zen through the humble door of recitation of a Buddha’s name.