In ancient times, "Public Cases" were records of dialogues involving Ch'an masters, their fellow masters and their students. These records were known as gong-ans (J. koans) and remain a vibrant part of today's study of Ch'an and Zen, having been passed down and studied for many centuries. With the dawning of the Internet age, a new category of Public Cases has emerged: answers to questions that have been emailed to Ch'an, Zen and Buddhist teachers. The great 12th century Ch'an master Ta-Hui Tsung-Kao wrote many letters answering laypersons' questions on Ch'an and Buddhism, and this format is now known as the "Ta-Hui Method."
The questions which are listed below come from our Ask A Monk page and were answered in the traditional fashion by Ven. Shih Ying-Fa, Abbot of CloudWater Zendo.
If you would like to ask a question and receive an answer from Ven. Ying-Fa or a member of the Nien-Fo Ch'an Order, please click here.