Filed in Zen (Chan), Devotion

A Special Transmission

Teachings from the heart of the Chan Buddhist traditionGuo Jun

Article Preview

To access this entire article and all other member-supported
content, join Tricycle as a Supporting or Sustaining Member

At the simplest level, we seek to emulate the virtue of our ancestors in our minds, our hearts, our speech, and our actions. The word “virtue” in the West has a kind of self-righteous, holier-than-thou connotation. This is not the way we think of virtue in China. There are many ways to write “virtue” in Chinese. In the way I’m using it here, one side of the ideogram represents a double person; the other side is the character for “heart.” Virtue can be thought of as having the heart of two people. You are able to feel and give more. You have extra compassion and empathy. It also implies courage.

When we seek to emulate the virtue of our ancestors it is not necessarily for their lofty ideals. If our grandmother was generous, the best way to pay respect to our grandmother is to be like her and be a generous person. If your grandfather was courageous, the best way to pay respect to your grandfather is to be a courageous person. Have that virtue in you.

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.

Become a Supporting Member

*With Autorenew

  • You Get
  • Tricycle | The Magazine - a one-year subscription to premier Buddhist quarterly
  • Tricycle Retreats - a new online video teaching every every week by a contemporary Buddhist teacher
  • Tricycle | The Digital Edition - web based edition of the magazine
  • The Wisdom Collection - nearly two decades of teachings by the world's most compelling teachers, from the pages of Tricycle
  • Tricycle Gallery - the best in Buddhist art to download and share with friends
  • Tricycle Book Club - online discussions with leading Buddhist authors
  • Tricycle Discussions - teacher-led explorations of dharma in daily life
  • The Tricycle Blog - our diary of the global Buddhist movement
  • Daily Dharma - heart advice delivered direct to your inbox
  • The Tricycle Newsletter - the latest news, teachings, events, and more, every Monday

Become a Supporting Member

Become a Sustaining Member

*With Autorenew

  • You Get
  • Tricycle | The Magazine - a one-year subscription to premier Buddhist quarterly
  • Tricycle Retreats - a new online video teaching every every week by a contemporary Buddhist teacher
  • Tricycle | The Digital Edition - web based edition of the magazine
  • The Wisdom Collection - nearly two decades of teachings by the world's most compelling teachers, from the pages of Tricycle
  • Tricycle Gallery - the best in Buddhist art to download and share with friends
  • Tricycle Book Club - online discussions with leading Buddhist authors
  • Tricycle Discussions - teacher-led explorations of dharma in daily life
  • The Tricycle Blog - our diary of the global Buddhist movement
  • Daily Dharma - heart advice delivered direct to your inbox
  • The Tricycle Newsletter - the latest news, teachings, events, and more, every Monday

Become a Sustaining Member