Venerable Chi Chern Lecture on “Living Our Life in the Diamond Sutra”

By Zhang Jinde, Taipei

How can we put the teachings of the Diamond Sutra into practice in our daily life? Venerable Chi Chern, one of the Dharma heirs of the late Master Sheng Yen, was invited to give a lecture at the Life cafe lecture series organized by the School of Life and Living of Dharma Drum University on January 23 on the topic of Living Our Life in the Diamond Sutra to offer insight on how the teachings of the Diamond Sutra are relevant in people’s daily life.

Venerable Chi Chern begins by highlighting the importance of cherishing the Buddhadharma and urging all to believe karmic cause and effect, saying that the Diamond Sutra can help eliminate one’s mental obstructions in practicing Buddhism. He says that Buddhism talks about the law of karmic causality so that we understand that there are always causes for the karmic results we receive. By being aware of this principle, we can better ourselves in facing and dealing with our problems, and further use the methods of Chan practice to regulate our mind and relax, as well as readily deal with the problem at hand and let go of it.

The Dharma master thinks that another key point of the Diamond Sutra is to help us gain confidence in practicing Buddhism. According to the sutras, one should give as many as the numerous sands of the Ganges-which is an inconceivable notion for many; Venerable Chi Chern uses the example of people who refuse to drink tea in the evening on account that they won’t be able to sleep if they do, without ever giving it a try, to remind everyone that the past mind, the present mind, and the future mind are all unobtainable. Furthermore, we should always live in the moment, rather than falling into the habit of fretting over what has yet to come. After all, problems can only be resolved by facing them head-on.

Although the practices mentioned in the Diamond Sutra are difficult to do, the Buddha, patriarchs, and great practitioners have all accomplished them in the past, and so can we. Venerable Chi Chern points out that the reason people fail in their spiritual practice is because they lack in faith, compassion, and wisdom. Hence he encourages everyone to first strengthen their faith. And more importantly, one’s faith should be based on the right view of the Buddhadharma so one will realize one’s aspiration and thereby gain the momentum to engage in genuine practice in daily life.