Things Pertaining to Bodhi: The Thirty-seven Aids to Enlightenment

Shambhala Publications

The Thirty-seven Aids to Enlightenment are a set of fundamental teachings of Buddhism in the form of a list. The list’s seeming simplicity belies the fact that it is actually a kind of road map to enlightenment for anyone who follows it with diligence and sincerity. The Thirty-seven Aids comprise seven groups of practices conducive to awakening. Each of the seven groups is itself a list of enlightenment factors, which add up to a total of thirty-seven: (1) The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, (2) The Four Proper Exertions, (3) The Four Steps to Magical Powers, (4) The Five Roots, (5) The Five Powers, (6) The Seven Factors of Enlightenment, and (7) The Noble Eightfold Path. Master Sheng Yen’s down-to-earth teachings take the reader on a progression through each of the practices, illustrating how they relate to the reader’s own path toward enlightenment.
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About the author

Chan Master Sheng Yen (1930–2009) was a widely respected Taiwanese Chan (Chinese Zen) master who taught extensively in the West during the last thirty-one y ears of his life, with twenty-one centers throughout North America, as well as dozens of others throughout the world. He has co-led retreats with the Dalai Lama, and he is the author of numerous books in Chinese and English, including Song of Mind, The Method of No-Method, and his autobiography, Footprints in the Snow.
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Shambhala Publications
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Published on
Jun 8, 2010
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Philosophy / Zen
Religion / Buddhism / Rituals & Practice
Religion / Buddhism / Zen
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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 misunderstood 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 details the progressive mental exercises traditionally followed by all Buddhists. Known as the Three Disciplines, these procedures develop moral purity, meditative 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.
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