Revered by Buddhists in the United States and China, Master Sheng-yen shares his wisdom and teachings in this first comprehensive English primer of Chan, the Chinese tradition of Buddhism that inspired Japanese Zen. Often mistunderstood as a system of mind games, the Chan path leads to enlightenment through apparent contradiction. while demanding the mental and physical discipline of traditional Buddhist doctrine, it asserts that wisdom (Buddha-nature) is innate and immediate in all living beings, and thus not to be achieved through devotion to the strictures of religious practice. You arrive without departing. Master Sheng-yen provides an unprecedented understanding of Chan, its precepts, and its practice. Beginning with a basic overview of Buddhism and meditation, 'Hoofprint of the Ox' detials the progressive mental exercises traditionally followed by all Buddhists. Known as the Three Disciplines, these procedures develop moral purity, meditiative concentration, and enlightening insight through the 'stilling' of the mind. Master Sheng-yen then expounds Chan Buddhism, recounting its centuries-old history in China and illuminating its fundamental tenets.
He contemplates the nature of Buddhahood, specifies the physical and mental prerequisites for beginning Chan practice, and humbly considers what it means to be an enlightened Chan master. Drawing its title from a famous series of pictures that symbolizes the Chan path as the search of an ox-herd for his wayward ox, 'Hoofprint of the Ox' is an inspirational guide to self-discovery through mental transformation. A profound contribution to Western understanding of Chan and Zen, this book is intended for practicing Buddhists as well as anyone interested in learning about the Buddhist path.