CHAN MEDITATION: FROM ROCK BOTTOM TO SKY HIGH
Six years ago, my life situation was at the worst it’s ever been, and I was desperate to find something to help myself feel better. I found a free Chan meditation class on the internet and, after months of delaying, I was finally able to attend. The class was held at Lu Mountain Temple, home to Bodhi Light International. This is where I met my teacher, Master YongHua. This is where my life turned around, and where (almost) all of my dreams have come true.
AMBITION, ADVENTURE & HITTING ROCK BOTTOM
When I was younger, I was ambitious and fearless. I studied microbial engineering — which wasn’t enough for me, so I took business as a second major. After graduating with two Bachelor’s degrees, I started working at a promising and fast growing biotech pharmaceutical company. Within two years, my productivity was proven to be outstanding.
Maybe people would have considered my life to be successful. But for some reason, my mind was always complaining. I was never satisfied. I was unhappy. Despite my family’s disapproval, I quit my job and I came to California with only two pieces of luggage. I left my family, my boyfriend, my cat, my new furniture and everything else behind. I wanted to unload all of my baggage, to search for what I really wanted to do with my life.
Usually, these stories come with happy endings. Other people share their stories about how they left everything behind, started a new life, and felt a lot happier. Guess what! That was not my case. After about three years, I found myself even more depressed than I’d been before. I was totally confused, and I didn’t know what I needed to do. My money was running out, the economy had just collapsed while I was looking for a job (remember 2007?), and I was in a horrible relationship too. I started a small business out of desperation to survive. My life was at rock bottom. I couldn’t get up early in the morning because millions of thoughts were harassing me every night. My business was barely scraping by.
HOW CHAN MEDITATION HELPED ME SOLVE MY BUSINESS PROBLEMS
One day, I got up early in the morning and I finally made my big step to Lu Mountain Temple. I committed to meditate, no matter what urgent business problems would arise. At first, it was really hard to resist the temptation to check my emails and monitor my business, so I started waking up at 5am every morning and meditating before I even opened my computer or cell phone. I had to see if Chan meditation really works in the incredible ways that Master YongHua explained in his Dharma talks.
After a few days, I noticed that I started to have fresh ideas about how to resolve problems in my business. Often during my meditation, I suddenly went, “Aha, why didn’t I think of that before?” I went back to the temple and asked, “Master, I sat in meditation and suddenly, I had this ‘Aha’ moment, and I just knew what to do and how to solve problems. It’s amazing because I didn’t do anything. All I did was DO NOTHING!” Master YongHua answered me, “That’s what we call awakening. Your awakening has started. If you meditate more, you will be able to unfold your inherent wisdom.”
HEALING MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY FATHER
After a few months, I decided to ask Master YongHua another question. “Master, I have so much anger toward my father. This is the biggest problem in my life. I feel like I won’t be able to live well with this anger toward him after he passes away. Can meditation help me with this problem too?” Master YongHua answered, “Yes if you make more progress and have stronger Samadhi (concentration) Power, your father won’t be able to make you suffer. When your father sees that he can’t afflict you anymore, then he will have to change. He can change to be very good to you, or he might change to be the total opposite. Until then, don’t call him.”
Because my business had already improved tremendously through meditation, I trusted Master YongHua. I meditated and participated in all the retreats held at Lu Mountain Temple. Again and again I came back to face the pain, but it never really went away. I sat in meditation and cried. I thought I’d never be able to get past it. “This pain is not going to go away. Why is my father so bad to me? What did I ever do to him? Why is his ego more important than his love for me? I don’t understand.” It was really hard and I wanted to run away millions of times.
FINALLY MAKING THE CALL
After a couple of years, I approached Master YongHua about it. “You told me that I made some progress this year. Can I talk to my father now?” He said, “Yes, you can try and talk to him now.” I was really anxious to call my father, because I broke down miserably every time I tried to talk to him in the past. When I called him this time, he was still the same person. He was controlling, bossy, rude, judging and self-centered. But my mind didn’t move. My mind was at peace. When I responded to him, something was different. And then suddenly, my father changed the way he treated me. He heard that my voice was not judging how he was treating me, and suddenly, he changed his way of relating to me as well.
Ever since that day, my relationship with my father no longer has any tension. We understand each other much better. I don’t have this heavy feeling inside my chest like I used to. And after that day, I wasn’t angry at the world like I used to be. It felt like a heavy load was lifted from my shoulders. Ever since that day, my mind has been much more at ease and centered. And on top of that, my business has grown so quickly, my income actually increased tenfold in three years.
CHAN MEDITATION IN THE PARK
I am so grateful to have learned Chan Meditation. That’s why I decided to spread this wonderful teaching and practice with others. I even started a program called Chan Meditation in the Park, as a Chan Meditation Meetup group. If you’d like to learn more, check out our website, chanmeditation.net!