Ven. Guoxing teaches on Surangama Sutra

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SilenceMonkey
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Ven. Guoxing teaches on Surangama Sutra

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Ven. Guoxing will be giving lectures on the Surangama Sutra. He's an awesome chan teacher whom I've had the privilege of sitting with at a 7 day chan retreat, and Surangama Sutra is his specialty.

There are two Sundays of teaching in chinese only:
https://www.facebook.com/ChanMeditationCenter

In July and August he will continue teaching on Sundays on the Surangama Sutra and it will be bilingual:
https://www.chancenter.org/en/event/online-dharma-talk

He and Ven. Guoyuan rotate every year or so as head teachers in the Chan hall at Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan and at the Chan hall in New York. Both of them speak english.
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FiveSkandhas
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Re: Ven. Guoxing teaches on Surangama Sutra

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Thank you for this information.

Some years ago I read many of Ven. Hsuan Hua's commentaries, lectures, etc. on this sutra, which he also seemed to prize deeply. This was my only real exposure to the sutra.

I am not familiar with Ven. Guoxing, although I am aware of Dharma Drum Mountain as a famous and respected institution. I am curious if you would be willing to describe or share any of Ven. Guoxing's insights into the Sutra, or if you could recommend any good English-language resources along such lines.
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi

"You should go and study with someone else. Soon." -Dongshan
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Ven. Guoxing teaches on Surangama Sutra

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FiveSkandhas wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:16 am I am curious if you would be willing to describe or share any of Ven. Guoxing's insights into the Sutra, or if you could recommend any good English-language resources along such lines.
Honestly, I’ve never heard him talk on this Sutra. But I’ve always felt I’ve wanted to hear it from him. I think he is brilliant at describing the unreality of phenomena. He has great metaphors that you can connect with in an experiential way.

I remember sitting in a cafe at Dharma Drum Mountain with a nun friend of mine, and Ven Guoxing was at another table, talking to a woman about Dharma. My nun friend made an off hand comment, “There he goes talking about the Surangama Sutra again. He’s probably telling her that her mother is not her mother.” And she chuckled to herself. He often gives the teaching that the person you’re Skyping with is not the person, just an appearance. (相 chn. xiang, skt. lakshana) And this is to show that all appearances are unreal.

Sometimes he also talks about reality in terms of time. He was once giving a lecture where he said “Imagine you are viewing me through a video camera.” He walked from the right side of the stage to the left, showing the movement from point A to point B. Then he walked backwards to the first point (point A). He walked slowly to point B, but paused every few steps to show the still images that make up a full motion through time. It’s how stop motion films work, and I suppose all films. He was teaching that this is how the mind perceives appearances and goes on to construct our personal reality. This then becomes a meditation method, to observe in this way.

As for resources on Shurangama Sutra, there was a thread asking for this not too long ago:
https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.p ... en#p556104
Last edited by SilenceMonkey on Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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FiveSkandhas
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Re: Ven. Guoxing teaches on Surangama Sutra

Post by FiveSkandhas »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:45 am
FiveSkandhas wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:16 am I am curious if you would be willing to describe or share any of Ven. Guoxing's insights into the Sutra, or if you could recommend any good English-language resources along such lines.

Honestly, I’ve never heard him talk on this Sutra. But I’ve always felt I’ve wanted to hear this from him. I think he is brilliant at describing the unreality of phenomena. He has great metaphors that you can connect with in an experiential way.

I remember sitting in a cafe at Dharma Drum Mountain with a nun friend of mine, and Ven Guoxing was at another table, talking to a woman about Dharma. My nun friend made an off hand comment, “There he goes talking about the Surangama Sutra again. He’s probably telling her that her mother is not her mother,” chuckling to herself. He often gives the teaching that the person you’re Skyping with is not the person, just an appearance. (相 chn. xiang, skt. lakshana) And this is to show that all appearances are unreal.

Sometimes he also talks about reality in terms of time. He was once giving a lecture where he said “Imagine you are viewing me through a video camera.” He walked from the right side of the stage to the left, showing the movement from point A to point B. Then he walked backwards to the first point (point A). He walked slowly to point B, but paused every few steps to show the still images that make up a full motion through time. It’s how stop motion films work, and I suppose all films. He was teaching that this is how the mind perceives appearances and goes on to construct our personal reality. This then becomes a meditation method, to observe in this way.
Thanks for that. Sounds like an engaging and skillful teacher.

It is interesting how deeply some Chan masters revere this sutra. What interests me is on the face of it, it seems closer to the esoteric mode than Chan/Zen proper.

I am aware there has often been more concourse between esotericism and Chan in history than neat sectarian categories would suggest. Still, it's interesting to me that this particular sutra arouses such devotion in many great masters. It has a long history in Japanese Zen too.
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi

"You should go and study with someone else. Soon." -Dongshan
SilenceMonkey
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Ven. Guoxing teaches on Surangama Sutra

Post by SilenceMonkey »

FiveSkandhas wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:54 am
It is interesting how deeply some Chan masters revere this sutra. What interests me is on the face of it, it seems closer to the esoteric mode than Chan/Zen proper.
Very interesting that you say this. I’m wondering what you’re meaning by this?

I haven’t studied the Shurangama Sutra beyond the first few chapters. But somehow the Shurangama mantra feels deeply esoteric to me... I was always curious about this mantra. It seems to have something profound and mysterious that I can’t put into words.

They also say that if you want to be a monk or a nun, you’ll have to memorize the Shurangama mantra. If you can do that, there will be no problem with joining a monastery. (Someone said this to me, half joking.)

I believe it was also a mantra that Xuyun had a strong connection with.
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