One of the most powerful approaches to the method of silent illumination in Chan Buddhism is to directly bring oneself in alignment with one’s true nature. Yet, there is no fixed method or path to accomplish this; historically, many teachers developed their own ways of teaching and practicing alignment with one’s true nature. In our contemporary world, a new approach is needed: embodied experiencing as a way to reconnect with our bodies, hearts, and our true nature.
We often find ourselves not in tune with ourselves; we are pushed and pulled by thoughts, feelings, and the environment. The first step on the path of embodied experiencing in Chan is to find an anchor within, to rest in the body. The body has its own intelligence; it has accumulated memories of our past. It is also an indicator of the undercurrent feeling tones that condition our perception and experience. If we are oblivious to the workings of the body, we are unable to see how our minds work, unable to align with our true nature.
Drawing on twelfth century Chan Buddhist writings, we will explore a new way of approaching silent illumination through embodied experiencing. Cultivating awareness of embodied experience enables our experience to be fresh and open, relaxed and wakeful, prior to the separation of body and mind. We will learn to do this both on and off the cushion, integrating this embodied practice in multiple aspects of our lives.
Noble Silence and Mindful Speech:
Noble silence will be observed following the evening session through breakfast the following morning.
Suitable for both intermediate and advanced practitioners.