"No words can explain enlightenment," says the seventh-century Zen classic Xin Ming, or "Song of Mind," yet, paradoxically, this poem is a masterpiece of expressing the inexpressible. In his commentary on it, Chan Master Sheng Yen takes a practical approach, opening up the language of the Xin Ming to show students how to approach meditation, how to deal with problems that arise in their spiritual practice, and how to accomplish the imperative task of integrating this practice into every aspect of one's life. "True understanding comes only with direct experience," according to Master Sheng Yen. "These lectures, the Buddhist sutras, songs, poems, and commentaries are useful only insofar as they encourage you to practice and incorporate the Dharma [teachings] into your daily life."
The book takes the form of a week-long retreat with Master Sheng Yen, with each chapter in the form of an evening talk given on a particular section of the "Song of Mind" text—giving this book a far more intimate and accessible feel than most commentaries on Zen texts and creating a feeling of being right there with the master as he brings the text to life.
About the Author
Master Sheng-yen is an expatriate monk from mainland China who has been teaching in Taiwan and the United States for over two decades. He is the author of numerous popular and academic works, including Subtle Wisdom: Understanding Suffering, Cultivating Compassion through Ch'an Buddhism (1999) and
Complete Enlightenment: Translation and Commentary on the Sutra of Complete Enlightenment (1997). He leads Dharma Drum Mountain, one of the three largest Buddhist organizations in Taiwan.
Master Sheng Yen was appointed one of the chairs of the World Council of Religious Leaders in 2002. His Dharma Drum Buddhist Association has 21 centers throughout North America. He lives in Elmhurst, NY. Otto Chang, Ph.D. lives in Los Angeles, CA, and Singapore. Douglas Gildow lives in Boston, MA.