Master Sheng-yen is Abbot of Nung Ch'an Monastery in Taiwan and author of over 70 books. This paperback contains his translation and commentary on The Sutra of Complete Enlightenment, a formative text in the development of East Asian Buddhism. Twelve enlightened beings question the Buddha on all aspects of spiritual practice. Master Sheng-yen notes at the outset: "The purpose of practice is to discover for ourselves the essence of our very being — the Buddha-nature. It is very meaningful and worthwhile for us to practice until this intrinsic nature — our wisdom — is uncovered."
The 84,000 dharma doors refer to the infinite and uncountable ways one can enter the place of enlightenment. Stilling the mind, eliminating comparisons, accepting impermanence, cultivating compassion — these are proper steps on the path of practice. Master Sheng-yen spends a great deal of time discussing the impact of "vexations" (all kinds of mental states such as joy and resentment, sadness and happiness, as well as greed, hatred, delusion, arrogance, and doubt). Even these obstacles to the refinement of our minds can be teaching tools on the road to enlightenment. Master Sheng-yen opens many dharma doors in his discussion of this ancient Buddhist text.