The Five Mountain Order of Zen is formed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining public worship and teachings in accordance with the principles and doctrines of the Zen Buddhist Faith through a lineage of Masters, culminating in the teaching of Rev. Paul Dōch'ŏng Lynch, and thereafter through the teachings of Masters and Teachers appointed by him. The Five Mountain Sangha is an American Zen Organization in the Korean Sŏn lineage of Zen Master Seung Sahn.
The Community is focused on a lay Zen practice incorporating meditation, Kōan practice and expressing the Dharma within the circumstances of everyday life. Our approach is practice-centered, integrative and experiential. These teachings are carried on through the formal education and the intuitive realization of the Sangha's members to save all beings from suffering, through developing charity, love, compassion and awareness.
The community consists of Rev. Paul Dōch'ŏng Lynch, Rev. Greg Daebō LeBlanc, Rev. James Jiun Foster, and teachers as they are recognized, as individuals, who have been formally authorized. There are no affiliations with other Zen groups or religious denominations; however, membership in this community does not preclude individual affiliation with other groups. Within the Sangha, there is no hierarchy of Dharma Successors.
Ancestral Zen is universal; the medium and methods to realize it vary according to each individual’s circumstances. Each Dharma Successor in the community may apply varied practice approaches and resolve on the structure of any organization that s/he may develop to facilitate practice. The Dharma Successors recognize that they are ongoing students and the value of their teaching derives from the quality of their practice. As continuing students, these teachers are dedicated to the openness and flexibility of practice, wherein the wisdom of the unconditional may be manifest in life. A vital constituent of this community is the continuing examination and expansion of efficacious instruction approaches to ensure all-inclusive observation in all aspects of living.
Chán Master Dàhuì Zōnggăo (1089 – 1163), who was the primary disciple of Chán Master Yuánwù Kèqín, (the Author of the Bìyán Lù 碧巌録 "Blue Cliff Record"), noticed that his practitioners were beginning to attach to the words of his late Master with blind and superficial understand. Consequently, and without hesitation, he destroyed the Blue Cliff Record printing blocks, such that the book subsequently became out of print. It was certainly an unusual event for his disciple to do considering that Dàhuì was responsible for its printing in the first place. In the eyes of his contemporaries, what he did was outrageous. At that time, Master Dàhuì Zōnggăo had destroyed all the printing blocks, however, years later, later disciples cut new ones and the book entered into circulation once again.
Master Dàhuì is known as the functional founder of our modern method of practice, which is formally known as Kānhuà Chán The term literally means (the Chán that examines words and phrases,) mainly the huàtóu, and kōan method of insight and transcendence. Dàhuì attained enlightenment at an early age and was assigned as the principle teacher to the Lay Students who were practicing under the tutelage of Chán Master Yuánwù. Because of this, Dàhuì wrote many of his treatises with the Lay Student in mind. It is because this great teacher stepped out of the normal function of a monk and spent his time almost exclusively with Lay Students in his early years of practice, that we today have a methodology that can work within the life of a householder.
"To attain enlightenment, it is not necessary to abandon family life, quit your job, become a vegetarian, practice asceticism, flee to a quiet mountain top, or enter a ghost cave of dead Zen to entertain your subjective imaginings. If you have been practicing quiet meditation but your mind is still not calm and fee when in the midst of activity, this means your haven't been empowered by your quiet meditation. Furthermore, if you have been practicing quietude just to get rid of agitation, then when your are practicing quietude just to get rid of agitation, then when you are in the midst of agitation, the agitation will disturb your mind just as if you had never done any quiet meditation. When you are studying Zen, as you meet with people and deal with situations, never allow bad thoughts to continue. If a bad thought arises, immediately focus your attention and root the thought out. If, however, you just follow the thought unhindered, this will not only make it impossible to have any insight into your own true nature it will also make you a fool.
Good and bad come from you own mind. But what do you call your own mind, apart from your actions and thoughts? Where does your mind come from? If you really know where your own mind comes from, boundless obstacles caused by your own actions will be cleared all at once. After seeing that, all sorts of extraordinary possibilities will come to you without your seeking them."
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