Studies at the Monastery

Studies at the Monastery

In order to acquire the penetrative wisdom, studying at Fa Yun Monastery combines the learning and the practice together. The learnings consist of lectures on the Mahayana Buddhist scriptures and commentaries while the practices involve meditation.

Meditation is a process of refining wholesome mental faculties. There are two types of meditation: development of tranquility (samatha), i.e., concentration, and development of insight (vipassana), i.e., wisdom. In Buddhism, both are important as they complement each other. Without insight wisdom, samatha alone leads to the various states of absorptions but not to Enlightenment; whereas one lacking mental concentration would be futile in the attempt to fully develop wisdom that culminates in Enlightenment. Hence there is the emphasis on both samatha and vipassana meditation.

One of the key contemplations used during vipassana meditation, is Satipatthana, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. This fourfold

contemplation consists of:

  1. To contemplate the body as impure
  2. To contemplate feelings as suffering
  3. To contemplate the mind as impermanent
  4. To contemplate dharma as without a self

These various Buddhist Teachings that are taught during classes are also used as contemplation ideas during meditation.

Through meditation practice, the students become mindful of their body, speech, and mind, thereby enabling them to develop virtuous conduct. By the combined learning, practice of samatha and vipassana, realizations into the Dharma will eventually flow forth.