Guanyin's method

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
avatamsaka3
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Guanyin's method

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Hi, I was reading the chapter on the Shurangama Sutra that describes the method he used to attain enlightenment: turning his faculty of hearing inward and emptying his awareness. Is there a commentary on this chapter that provides more detail on how this is done?
SilenceMonkey
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by SilenceMonkey »

From Master Hsuan Hua's commentary on Surangama Sutra. There are a number of pages, so just hit "next" until you finish the section on Ear Organ:
http://www.cttbusa.org/shurangama5/shurangama5_12.asp

Also, the one group I found in Taiwan to actually practice this as their main meditation method is Master Hsin Tao's Ling Jiou Shan (Vulture Peak Mountain). Their monastery in Taiwan is beautiful... They have a four-step shamatha practice, which culminates in listening to the sound of no-sound. Here is their website and a short video of Hsin Tao's meditation teaching:
https://www.093ljm.org/


There is also this group called The Compassion Network in the US, and the nun has a lot of teachings on this practice. In her youtube channel, there are a number of videos titled "Listening" "Surangama" etc. And she wrote a book on it.
https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCompassionNetwork/videos
https://thecompassionnetwork.org/listening-2020/

For people who can understand chinese, you can search 耳根圓通. There is a wealth of videos and knowledge available in chinese language.

I'm wondering if Japanese and Korean traditions also use this method...
Varis
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by Varis »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:16 am Also, the one group I found in Taiwan to actually practice this as their main meditation method is Master Hsin Tao's Ling Jiou Shan (Vulture Peak Mountain). Their monastery in Taiwan is beautiful... They have a four-step shamatha practice, which culminates in listening to the sound of no-sound.
I recommend people take this guy with a grain of salt. When someone claims to have done many retreats, be a Chan master, Vajrayana (Tibetan) practitioner, etc. all together you should take it with caution.
I'm not claiming this guy isn't legit, but similar claims have been made by frauds in the East Asian Buddhist scene.
SilenceMonkey
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Varis wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:25 am I recommend people take this guy with a grain of salt. When someone claims to have done many retreats, be a Chan master, Vajrayana (Tibetan) practitioner, etc. all together you should take it with caution.
I'm not claiming this guy isn't legit, but similar claims have been made by frauds in the East Asian Buddhist scene.
I've always been fascinated by him. I ended up takin a meditation class at one of his centers in taipei for about a month, and a couple of his students told me some interesting things about him. Apparently he spent 10 years meditation in a charnel ground. (I wasn't sure if they meant a charnel ground in burma or a cemetary in taiwan.) They said he spends most of the year in retreat in a cave at his monastery, coming out only a few weeks each year to give teaching.

I wish his biography were available in english... The two people I was talking with told me one day when he was doing a cave retreat, he had a vision of Milarepa. Apparently it's in his autobiography, but I wasn't so interested in Tibetan Dharma at the time to pay much attention. What really impressed me was that he made a vow to recite 10 malas of Great Compassion Mantra 大悲咒 each day for the rest of his life. I love Guanyin and he's the only master I'd heard about who took this on as a personal practice. When I asked, they said it takes him four hours to complete ten malas.

I went up to his monastery for Chinese New year a few years ago to meet him. I received his blessing three times, and it left a powerful impression on me. First was when I was introduced to him after waiting in the line of followers, we shook hands. Second was him patting me on my head sometime later. Third was waiting to see him in the area where he ate lunch with his students. When he saw me again, he laughed and slapped my ribs. Each time I felt a surge of warm feeling. A few minutes later when I got to speak with him, the moment he saw me he shot me the question, "Where is Ch'an?"

I'm obviously partial to him. I asked around if there were any controversies about him. All I heard is that he is a bit touchy with people, even women. His students say it is because he gives blessing through touch, but I can imagine some people being put off by it. I heard from a nyingma rinpoche that he is known as being a good practitioner. And I remember seeing a clip of him with HH Chetsang Rinpoche, so there may be some connection there.

I never had connection with him or his group after that one day at his monastery. But since I like the guy, I want to share what little I know about him in case anyone goes looking for him in Taiwan. Which I doubt will happen! I'm just offering clues for people like me, looking for what's out there in this buddhist world of ours.
Varis
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by Varis »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:26 am I'm obviously partial to him. I asked around if there were any controversies about him. All I heard is that he is a bit touchy with people, even women. His students say it is because he gives blessing through touch, but I can imagine some people being put off by it. I heard from a nyingma rinpoche that he is known as being a good practitioner. And I remember seeing a clip of him with HH Chetsang Rinpoche, so there may be some connection there.

I never had connection with him or his group after that one day at his monastery. But since I like the guy, I want to share what little I know about him in case anyone goes looking for him in Taiwan. Which I doubt will happen! I'm just offering clues for people like me, looking for what's out there in this buddhist world of ours.
I totally understand, I'm just advising caution as there have been similar figures in the EA Buddhist scene who weren't so great. I'm certainly not claiming he's a bad guy or anything, but the claims raise up red flags for me and so I can only advise caution.
ItsRaining
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 7:45 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by ItsRaining »

Varis wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:25 am
SilenceMonkey wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:16 am Also, the one group I found in Taiwan to actually practice this as their main meditation method is Master Hsin Tao's Ling Jiou Shan (Vulture Peak Mountain). Their monastery in Taiwan is beautiful... They have a four-step shamatha practice, which culminates in listening to the sound of no-sound.
I recommend people take this guy with a grain of salt. When someone claims to have done many retreats, be a Chan master, Vajrayana (Tibetan) practitioner, etc. all together you should take it with caution.
I'm not claiming this guy isn't legit, but similar claims have been made by frauds in the East Asian Buddhist scene.
The thing is there are just many people who have studied both Tibetan Buddhism and Chan in China since they are both very popular.
Varis
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by Varis »

ItsRaining wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:47 am The thing is there are just many people who have studied both Tibetan Buddhism and Chan in China since they are both very popular.
That's not really what I'm talking about. I'm saying that there have been figures in East Asia who claimed to be masters in Ch'an, have realizations from Vajrayana practice and have high acclaim from Tibetans, and they were frauds. So I recommend the exercising of caution when such claims are made from a teacher.
SilenceMonkey
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Varis wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:38 am
That's not really what I'm talking about. I'm saying that there have been figures in East Asia who claimed to be masters in Ch'an, have realizations from Vajrayana practice and have high acclaim from Tibetans, and they were frauds. So I recommend the exercising of caution when such claims are made from a teacher.
I know this is taking away from the topic... but I think it's interesting what we're talking about. I can see your point Varis, there have been many charlatans in chinese culture claiming lineages of this and that. But It'sRaining also had a good point, that just because someone says they practice in more than one tradition doesn't mean they're a fraud. It seems to be the more popular view on this forum, and it's clear where it's coming from. But also, there are quite a few good practitioners and teachers of both chinese and tibetan traditions in the chinese buddhist world. People such as Nan Huai Jin, Mengtsan Lao Heshang, Liu Hungjie (bruce frantzis' daoist master who was previously enlightened in a Tiantai tradition). I believe the previous Gangkar Rinpoche did a lot of work promoting Tibetan Dharma all throughout China, and I just read about a hermit from Bill Porter's book who practices his methods along with ch'an. I'm sure there is a lot of cross-pollination that happened in the Sichuan area, the Zhongnan and Emei mountains being a hotspot for Tibetan and Chinese Dharma, alongside Daoists.

You hear about some of them when you're in asia, but for some reason it's rare for such teachers to teach internationally. But they're there. Most of these types are hermits, hidden away in the mountains. But I think it's quite natural for good practitioners to be interested in multiple lineages. You have the masters of Tibetan traditions who hold multiple tibetan lineages. Zen masters who hold multiple zen lineages from different countries. Chinese dharma masters who hold a mix of ch'an, tiantai, puraland, etc... Daoist masters who were trained in ch'an and ch'an masters who were trained in dao, then later in life as they matured in their practice they settled into their way. It's common these days for Chinese buddhists to study abhidharma and even learn meditation from Thai, Burmese and Sri Lankans, comparing their methods for a deeper understanding. If you go to the monasteries in Burma, it's said there are a number of Mahayana practitioners there, learning burmese techniques.

It's also an interestingly chinese chauvenist feeling that cross-pollination shouldn't happen. Chinese buddhists can be extremely orthodox, and for the most part believe Tibetan buddhism is fake. It's hindu stuff, rinpoches who abuse their power for sex and women, monks and nuns who don't know the first thing about ethics, etc... And Tibetans also have a similar chauvenism against the chinese, based on this ridiculous debate with "Hashang" (which apparently was a very politically motivated history), they see Chinese Dharma as inherently inferior, some kind of "no mind" nihilism. Nevertheless, practitioners of multiple lineages do exist. And a few of them are quite talented.

I guess my point is that it's unfair to immediately dismiss someone you hear about for having both tibetan and chinese lineage, and caution people against them without knowing who they are. Then again... maybe all teachers should be "taken with a grain of salt" before you know who they are.
avatamsaka3
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Thanks for the link, humble.student! I believe Master Sheng Yen wrote something on this method. I have a lot of respect for him, but I wasn't able to find anything available in English on this. Anyone have any ideas?
SilenceMonkey
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by SilenceMonkey »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:07 pm Thanks for the link, humble.student! I believe Master Sheng Yen wrote something on this method. I have a lot of respect for him, but I wasn't able to find anything available in English on this. Anyone have any ideas?
Maybe something here... 2nd volume of "Until We Reach Buddhahood"
https://chancenter.org/en/publication/free-books

The author of that article from humble.student is an old student of Master Sheng Yen and member of the Dharma Drum sangha. She is one of the head faculty of the Dharma Drum liberal arts college next to the monastery.

Maybe the best bet is to contact the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in NY and ask for some materials, and possibly instruction. This seems to be the main DDM headquarters in the west.
https://dharmadrumretreat.org/

For general interest on Master Sheng Yen:
http://www.shengyen.org/eng/

And I found the book commentaries from Master Hsuan Hua, most likely the source of the link in a previous post. I believe he may have been the only student of Xu Yun to come west.
http://www.buddhisttexts.org/free-sutra ... stras.html
avatamsaka3
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by avatamsaka3 »

I believe he may have been the only student of Xu Yun to come west.
Didn't know he was a disciple of Xu Yun... What a great master!
humble.student
Posts: 293
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:35 pm

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by humble.student »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:07 pm Thanks for the link, humble.student! I believe Master Sheng Yen wrote something on this method. I have a lot of respect for him, but I wasn't able to find anything available in English on this. Anyone have any ideas?
I'm afraid I don't know, perhaps try looking in his books on Chan meditation, for starters. It's just not a common form of meditation outside of Chinese Buddhism, and specifically Chan, it would appear. There's this piece in Tricycle as well: https://tricycle.org/magazine/hearing-door-liberation/ and this piece here too: https://www.baus.org/en/publications/dr ... ra-part-i/
AJP
Posts: 287
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:48 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by AJP »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:59 am Hi, I was reading the chapter on the Shurangama Sutra that describes the method he used to attain enlightenment: turning his faculty of hearing inward and emptying his awareness. Is there a commentary on this chapter that provides more detail on how this is done?
I’ve practiced it, it’s known as the Surangama Samadhi also the same method is found widespread in other traditions. Ajahn Amaro who is Theravada practices it and calls it listening to the Nada Sound. It’s also found in Sufism.

Sit quietly and wait for a gentle ringing sound to manifest in your ears gently focus your attention on it. Don’t be forceful just a gentle relaxed focus.

Also it’s not tinnitus!!

I experienced quite a lot of letting go as a result of the practice.
avatamsaka3
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Ajahn Amaro who is Theravada practices it and calls it listening to the Nada Sound. It’s also found in Sufism.
Thanks. References or sources for these?
Sit quietly and wait for a gentle ringing sound to manifest in your ears gently focus your attention on it. Don’t be forceful just a gentle relaxed focus.
I can try!
avatamsaka3
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by avatamsaka3 »

I'm afraid I don't know
SilenceMonkey helped me in his post... see what's above...
AJP
Posts: 287
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:48 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by AJP »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:29 am
Ajahn Amaro who is Theravada practices it and calls it listening to the Nada Sound. It’s also found in Sufism.
Thanks. References or sources for these?
Sit quietly and wait for a gentle ringing sound to manifest in your ears gently focus your attention on it. Don’t be forceful just a gentle relaxed focus.
I can try!
Actually the sound is always there the nada sound it’s like tuning in to it.

You have to be gentle with it though focused and relaxed.

As it’s Kuan Yin Compassion may arise!

Turning inward the organ of hearing I remember it also being called.

Google Ajahn Amaro Nada Sound meditation I remember him talking about it in a recorded Dhamma talk.

Sufism I taught an Arab friend this meditation and we saw it online, just google it.
ItsRaining
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 7:45 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by ItsRaining »

AJP wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:03 am
avatamsaka3 wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:59 am Hi, I was reading the chapter on the Shurangama Sutra that describes the method he used to attain enlightenment: turning his faculty of hearing inward and emptying his awareness. Is there a commentary on this chapter that provides more detail on how this is done?
I’ve practiced it, it’s known as the Surangama Samadhi also the same method is found widespread in other traditions. Ajahn Amaro who is Theravada practices it and calls it listening to the Nada Sound. It’s also found in Sufism.

Sit quietly and wait for a gentle ringing sound to manifest in your ears gently focus your attention on it. Don’t be forceful just a gentle relaxed focus.

Also it’s not tinnitus!!

I experienced quite a lot of letting go as a result of the practice.
That’s not what the hearing method involves, it doesn’t include listening a gentle ringing sound it focuses on all sounds in general. A ringing sound is tinnitus...
AJP
Posts: 287
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:48 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by AJP »

ItsRaining wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:16 am
AJP wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:03 am
avatamsaka3 wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:59 am Hi, I was reading the chapter on the Shurangama Sutra that describes the method he used to attain enlightenment: turning his faculty of hearing inward and emptying his awareness. Is there a commentary on this chapter that provides more detail on how this is done?
I’ve practiced it, it’s known as the Surangama Samadhi also the same method is found widespread in other traditions. Ajahn Amaro who is Theravada practices it and calls it listening to the Nada Sound. It’s also found in Sufism.

Sit quietly and wait for a gentle ringing sound to manifest in your ears gently focus your attention on it. Don’t be forceful just a gentle relaxed focus.

Also it’s not tinnitus!!

I experienced quite a lot of letting go as a result of the practice.
That’s not what the hearing method involves, it doesn’t include listening a gentle ringing sound it focuses on all sounds in general. A ringing sound is tinnitus...
The Nada Sound is not tinnitus


From Wikipedia

The Śūraṅgama Sūtra, often spelled Shurangama Sutra or Surangama Sutra in English, is a Mahayana sutra and one of the main texts used in the Chán school in Chinese Buddhism. In the Surangama Sutra, Avalokitesvara says that he attained enlightenment through concentration on the subtle inner sound. The Buddha then praises Avalokitesvara and says that this is the supreme way to go.

"How sweetly mysterious is the Transcendental Sound of Avalokiteshvara! It is the pure Brahman Sound. It is the subdued murmur of the seatide setting inward. Its mysterious Sound brings liberation and peace to all sentient beings who in their distress are calling for aid; it brings a sense of permanency to those who are truly seeking the attainment of Nirvana's Peace . . ."

"All the Brothers in this Great Assembly, and you too, Ananda, should reverse your outward perception of hearing and listen inwardly for the perfectly unified and intrinsic sound of your own Mind-Essence, for as soon as you have attained perfect accommodation, you will have attained to Supreme Enlightenment."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nāda_yoga

I only practiced this for a while but the benefits were there.
ItsRaining
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 7:45 am

Re: Guanyin's method

Post by ItsRaining »

AJP wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:53 am
ItsRaining wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:16 am
AJP wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:03 am

I’ve practiced it, it’s known as the Surangama Samadhi also the same method is found widespread in other traditions. Ajahn Amaro who is Theravada practices it and calls it listening to the Nada Sound. It’s also found in Sufism.

Sit quietly and wait for a gentle ringing sound to manifest in your ears gently focus your attention on it. Don’t be forceful just a gentle relaxed focus.

Also it’s not tinnitus!!

I experienced quite a lot of letting go as a result of the practice.
That’s not what the hearing method involves, it doesn’t include listening a gentle ringing sound it focuses on all sounds in general. A ringing sound is tinnitus...
The Nada Sound is not tinnitus


From Wikipedia

The Śūraṅgama Sūtra, often spelled Shurangama Sutra or Surangama Sutra in English, is a Mahayana sutra and one of the main texts used in the Chán school in Chinese Buddhism. In the Surangama Sutra, Avalokitesvara says that he attained enlightenment through concentration on the subtle inner sound. The Buddha then praises Avalokitesvara and says that this is the supreme way to go.

"How sweetly mysterious is the Transcendental Sound of Avalokiteshvara! It is the pure Brahman Sound. It is the subdued murmur of the seatide setting inward. Its mysterious Sound brings liberation and peace to all sentient beings who in their distress are calling for aid; it brings a sense of permanency to those who are truly seeking the attainment of Nirvana's Peace . . ."

"All the Brothers in this Great Assembly, and you too, Ananda, should reverse your outward perception of hearing and listen inwardly for the perfectly unified and intrinsic sound of your own Mind-Essence, for as soon as you have attained perfect accommodation, you will have attained to Supreme Enlightenment."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nāda_yoga

I only practiced this for a while but the benefits were there.

Sorry but that’s not what Guanyin’s method entails, Nada Yoga is a Hindu practice I assume someone is confusing the two. That wiki article is simply incorrect. If you read Avaloketishvara’s instruction it doesn’t involve listening to some humming. It just states “Upon listening to sound as it enters the object is extinguished” there Is nothing about some specific sound.

That translation inserts several words not present in the original text such as “sound of the mind essence”. Neither sound nor mind essence is there is Chinese, instead it’s just Self Nature which is emptiness and emptiness has no sound, listening is used as a metaphor hear for Prajna.
Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”