In 1987, the Grand Master Wei Chueh built Lin Quan (“Spiritual Spring”) Monastery in response to his disciples’ needs for a place of spiritual cultivation and refuge. Soon it became apparent that, in this small mountain monastery, a rare Buddhist master and great teacher has emerged. With an inimitable aura of calmness, a penetrating mind, and the ability to clearly elucidate the profound wisdom of the Buddha, the Grand Master was instrumental in revitalizing Chan (Zen) Buddhism in Taiwan. Soon Lin Quan Monastery was too small to accommodate the ever-increasing number of followers eager for his teaching.
In the Grand Master’s compassionate vow to provide a complete environment for all who wish to learn the Buddha Dharma, the design of Chung Tai Chan Monastery began in 1992. After three years of planning and seven years of construction, under the Grand Master’s leadership and the devotion and generous support of disciples and friends, this landmark building opened its doors on September 1, 2001, initiating a new era for the propagation of Buddhism at Chung Tai.
The Chung Tai Tradition
The Buddha Dharma is vast and deep and offers many possible paths. To properly bring into focus one’s spiritual practice, Grand Master WeiChueh applies these three concepts: “Three Links of Cultivation,” “The Four Tenets of Chung Tai,” and “The Five Approaches of Propagation Modern Buddhism.”
Three Links of Cultivation—A Principle for Complete Spiritual Practice
Integration of three disciplines—cultivation of merit, scriptural understanding, and meditation—is Chung Tai’s guiding principle for a well-rounded Buddhist practice, each being an inseparable link that complements and reinforces the other two links. Cultivating merits involves performing good deeds and service to the monastery and to the public. Diligent study of the Dharma establishes right views and insight. Meditation calms and clears the mind. Integration of the three disciplines ensures proper progress on the path to Buddhahood.
The Four Tenets of Chung Tai—Concrete Guidelines to Practice the Dharma
The inconceivable and profound Chan (Zen) teachings are intimately tied to daily living. The four tenets of Chung Tai are concrete guidelines for practicing Buddhism in daily life:
“To our elders be respectful: respect subdues arrogance
To our juniors be kind: kindness dispels anger
With all humanity be harmonious: harmony overcomes rudeness and violence
In all endeavors be true: truthfulness eradicates deceit. “
The Five Approaches of Propagating Modern Buddhism
Buddhism also needs to adapt and respond to the environment and culture of modern societies. The Grand Master advocates “The Five Approaches of Propagating Modern Buddhism—Buddhism in Academic Research, Buddhism in Education, Buddhism in Culture and the Arts, Buddhism in Science, and Buddhism in Daily Living.” The Five Approaches accommodate the needs and interests of different people and cultures, opening a multitude of doors for the discovery of the benefits of Buddhism and the achievement of true liberation.