Chan Practice

1 of 4

The practice of Chan rests on the traditional three disciplines of Buddhism:

  • precepts
  • concentration (meditation)
  • cultivation of wisdom.

In this lesson we take a brief look at these three disciplines.


If one's mind is not pure, one's conduct will not be pure. Therefore, one must begin by cultivating the precepts individually.

Master Sheng Yen

The precepts are guides to ethical and moral living for all Buddhist whether laypersons or monastics. For laypersons the five basic precepts are not to kill, not to steal, not to commit sexual misconduct, not to lie, and not to use intoxicants. For monastics, there are five additional basic precepts, though the full precepts for monks and nuns can number over 280. Without observing the precepts one would have difficulty eliminating suffering and vexations in one's life, would not serve as a good example to others, and would be less capable of helping others.

Note: In Lesson 6 you will learn about the Bodhisattva precepts, which go a step further to set the parameters for the Bodhisattva path that leads to the supreme enlightenment of Buddhahood itself.