How to Persevere in Chan Practice 

In his discourse, The Essentials of Chan Investigation, the modern Chan Master XuYun (Empty Cloud, 1839-1959) advises all fellow practitioners: "In Chan Investigation, the most important thing is to have an earnest determination to leave birth and death and to generate a persevering mind. Only if there is a persevering mind of earnestness, then the great questioning sensation arises and discrimination, attachment, and vexations will come to an end by themselves. When the time comes, the ripening melon (referring to the realization) will naturally depart from the vine. "

Therefore, all Chan practitioners should generate a persevering mind of earnestness in order to fulfill the prerequisite of Investigating Chan, "putting down all conditions, letting not one thought arise." Meanwhile, for accomplishing the purpose of investigating Chan, all Chan practitioners should also have a profound practice and simultaneous experience of the "Chan Package" (One Compound of Chan) which includes "Chan Mind, Chan Shuttle, and Chan Realization" in the whole process of Chan investigation. The teaching of this "Chan Package" is briefly listed for reference:

  1. Chan Mind:
    This is the beginner's mind of an ordinary sentient being who begins to take the first step in turning his or her mind toward insight (illumination). This step is sometimes called "the initial generation of the Bodhi mind." Then, what is Bodhi? Bodhi is a Sanskrit term which can be translated as enlightenment, awakening, or realization. Chan practitioners should generate great vows to practice and attain a Bodhi mind (great mind) of helping all sentient beings to have insight into their own natures and attain liberation and Buddhahood.
  2. Chan Shuttle:
    Chan practitioners should keep piloting perseveringly the shuttle on which the Chan practice and Bodhisattva way alternate without stopping at every moment in daily life. In order to prevent the shuttle from being stuck, practitioners are recommended to apply the following powerful,supportive and skillful means:
    1. Practice the "Enhancing Mind Vow" by taking the great vow up everyday and/or at the moment while seeing sentient beings in suffering.
    2. Practice "Letting Go" by transferring the merits to all sentient beings in the whole universe everyday.
    3. Practice "Dissolving Obstructions" by doing the " Renewal" everyday for whatever is harmful to all sentient beings owing to our attachments.
  3. Chan Realization:
    After the realization of Chan, the Chan Shuttle will continue to progress spontaneously. Moment by moment, Chan practitioners are naturally manifest "the function and effortless action of great wisdom and great compassion." In a word, Chan practitioners are always peacefully abiding in the Chan mind (pure awareness) in every moment.