92. Sweeping the Ground of the Mind; Sitting until There Is a Heaven within One’s Self-Nature

九二、打掃心上地 坐出性中天

1 Going back to its origin, the term “quiet sitting” refers to a method of self-cultivation that was practiced by China’s ancient Daoists [Taoists]. They sat in quietude seeking to nurture and protect their life force. Later Daoists referred to it as “refining the elixir.”

1 「靜坐」這個名詞,開宗明義的說,就是中國上古道家從靜中求養生保命的修煉方法。後世道家稱之為煉丹。

2 The Chan [aka Zen] school of Buddhism also teaches quiet sitting. What I teach is the “Chinese Original Quiet Sitting.”

2 佛家禪宗也講靜坐。惟個人所講的是中國正宗靜坐。

3 The Confucian process of self-cultivation, which goes through stages of “Settling, Quietude, Tranquility, Reflection, and Attainment” [12] also originated from quiet sitting.

3 孔門修養過程-定、靜、安、慮、得,也是從靜坐中而來。

4 The Confucians Cheng Yi [1033-1107 A.D.] and Zhu Xi [1130-1200 A.D.] of the Song Dynasty incorporated Chan ideas in their thoughts and advocated quiet sitting.

4 宋儒程子、朱子參融禪學,也主張靜坐。

5 In the Ming Dynasty, Yuan Liaofan adopted Buddhist techniques in writing his Desideratum of Quiet Sitting.[13]

5 明代袁了凡純用佛家方法寫了一本《靜坐要訣》。

6 Quiet sitting is “dazuo” which literally means sitting quietly. Dazuo’s original meaning is “to sweep the ground of the mind and to sit until there is a heaven within one’s self-nature.”

6 「靜坐」就是「打坐」。原意是「打掃心上地,坐出性中天」。

7 The first part is already hard to accomplish. It requires a person to assume a seated posture, rein in the worldly mind, and cast out illusory notions.

7 第一句話即不容易做到。要人於坐下後,收起凡心,除去妄想。

8 Once the illusions are cast out, there are still countless “flights of fancy” that keep coming and going.

8 妄念既除,尚有多少遊思,隨起隨滅。

9 As for “sitting until there is a heaven within one’s self-nature,” this is even more difficult.

9 要想「坐出性中天」,則更為困難。

First Lecture of Chinese Original Quiet Sitting, April 28, 1979


[12] "Settling, quietude, tranquility, reflection, and attainment" are the five stages of self-cultivation described in the first chapter of The Great Learning, one of the Confucian Four Books.
[13] Yuan Liaofan's (b.1535-1608) Desideratum of Quiet Sitting is a treatise in six chapters on the Tiantai Meditation techniques that Yuan learned from his teachers, Master Yungu and Dharma Master Miaofeng.