Transcending worldliness while engaging with the world
Some people have asked, “Is Master Heng Chang’s teaching a branch of Falun Gong?” I’d like to answer, "No, perhaps this is a huge misunderstanding. They must have thought that I taught paganism. Therefore, I would like to answer absolutely not." What kind of Dharma am I teaching then? I am a disciple of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. He belonged to the Guiyang lineage. The Guiyang lineage was passed down from the Partriarch Hui Neng, Master Guishan Lingyou and Master Yangshan Huiji. The Guiyang lineage is actually a Chan (Meditation) school. However, the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua taught me most essentially the cultivation of the Great Compassion Mantra and the 42 Hand-Eye Dharma. These are very important Dharma transmissions in Buddhism, in Mahayana Buddhism, following Kuan Yin Bodhisattva’s methodology.
When I was younger, I learned meditation under the guidance of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. By 1992, 1993, and 1994, I had had 3 years of seclusion, and had memorized the Avatamsaka Sutra. At that time, the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua told me to continue memorizing and developing the philosophy as well as the Dharma teaching of the Avatamsaka Sutra. He told me to use this Avatamsaka Sutra as the most important philosophy to teach the Dharma. Therefore, since that time, I have not only studied diligently the Dharma philosophy, but also practiced and cultivated according to the teachings of the Avatamsaka Sutra. In 1999, 2000, and 2001, I entered seclusion the second time, studied the rest of the Avatamsaka Sutra, and cultivated according to its philosophy. Consequently, despite the fact that I belonged to the meditation lineage, I also studied and developed the Dharma teachings of the Avatamsaka Sutra. From the year 2000, I have written books and annotations. The most important book is A General Explanation of the Avatamsaka Sutra, then, Chapter Pure Conduct and Chapter Worthy Leader were the first Avatamsaka Sutra chapters that I translated, researched, and expanded with commentary. Later on, I rewrote and re-translated The Chapter Pure Conduct, The Chapter Worthy Leader and The Chapter Freedom from Worldliness. These were very important books for my cultivation. The above attestation proves that I don’t belong to Falun Gong. Rather, as I already said, I descended from the Guiyang Meditation lineage, but I truly cultivated according to the Avatamsaka Sutra teachings and guidance. In addition, I have also cultivated the Dharma of the Thousand-Hand Thousand-Eye Great Compassion Mantra (Maha Karuna Dharani). This is the main Dharma that I have cultivated. The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua has a unique Dharma in the Great Compassion Mantra, namely the Dharma of 42 Hands and Eyes, teaching us how to engage with the world, how to develop 42 ways and means to save living beings. These are the 42 views, which we call expedients of looking through this worldly life. Thus, they are called Hands and Eyes. Hand is expedient; Eye is wisdom. Hand-Eye: Wisdom of Expedients.
That is my forte that I have spent many months and years to practice. Therefore, I have nothing to do with Falun Gong teachings. Other people have thought that I specialize in teaching how to open chakras. Absolutely not. People thought I could open chakras, but actually, it is a huge misunderstanding. Long ago, when I studied the sutras, I discovered that the word chakra was from India but was not commonly used in China. People practice Yoga to develop the energy centers, to transform the energy centers of desire, psychology, and intellect into the spiritual energy center called chakra. In Buddhism, it is called the development of the lotus flower with a thousand petals on the crown of our head. Based on this understanding, I explain to people who believe in chakra opening that they should not ask anyone to open their chakras to avoid entering the path of pagan practice. However, many people still think that I teach chakra opening.
No, I don’t teach chakra opening!
I explained clearly about the characteristic, quality, meaning, and ways to cultivate each of those energy centers. Eventually, I introduced the method of how to develop moral, wisdom, and compassion in cultivation. I don’t believe that someone else can open chakras for us. That would not be the right path. That would be impossible! No one opened chakras for the Buddha. He cultivated himself. I want to correct the misunderstanding that I ever taught chakra opening. It is simply not true. During the period of cultivation, the philosophy of chakra disappeared when it got to China because China has had an enduring tradition of practicing for one’s vitality to transform into energy which transforms into good spirit which then transforms into emptiness. Therefore, Chinese people didn't want to import any methodology from India and Western Region into their Central Highland for practice. Those are the two different traditions of cultivation. Consequently, we don’t see the Chinese using the method of developing centers of energy as in India. On the contrary, the Chinese use microcosmic and macrocosmic orbit breathing methods. I myself am a Buddhist, but I’m also familiar with the microcosmic orbit breathing method because the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua was a Chinese who knew this method very well, and he taught me how to practice it as a health improvement exercise. He never said this was a method to attain enlightenment. No, he said this was a very important method for the cultivators. If cultivators are alone on a mountain or in someplace, then how do they maintain their health? They can practice microcosmic orbit breathing to keep the body healthy. So please understand that I don’t teach methodologies that don’t belong to Buddhist scriptures, such as Falun Gong Dharma (which doesn’t belong to Buddhism). I also don’t teach ways to open up others’ chakras, leading to the misinformation that someone can open your chakras for you. No, definitely not.
I only rely on the traditional Dharma that has been passed down thousands of years called the Great Compassion Mantra. Thus, how to summarize my philosophy?
Dear everyone, it’s summarized in four words: Transcending Worldliness and Engaging with the World.
Transcending Worldliness is a wonderful philosophy of the Avatamsaka Sutra, which helps us to liberate from the mundane and dusty world. This philosophy helps us to transcend, open our altruistic mind and selflessness, and attain our non-dual true mind; this is the path of transcending worldliness. What is the path of Engaging with the World? It is the path for us to use compassion and forgiveness to enter the world and transform all beings who are suffering. Therefore, for my path of cultivation, I use the Great Compassion Mantra, the 42 Hand-Eye Dharma so that people around us can feel compassionate, won’t stop evolving, won’t stop improving, won’t stop opening the heart of compassion since life is filled with so much suffering and everyone makes mistakes. Now, we must transcend from all suffering and mistakes, from things that obstruct us. Then, it is the path of Engaging with the World. Hence, my Dharma only consists of four words, Transcending Worldliness and Engaging with the World. This surely has nothing to do with Falun Gong, chakra opening or reiki. Everyone, please understand, and thank you for listening to this Dharma Espresso.
Wishing you to be joyful and awake.
Dharma Master Heng Chang
(Translated and transcribed by Compassionate Service Society)