I'll try. This is a tall task and may hinder someone, if read in the microscopic fashion. These were originally written into two volumes of text books in Chinese titled, "Characteristics of Chan". Not only they are a bit cryptic, but also not enough examples to illustrate each one precisely. The best to realize and witness them is to sit and observe our existence - our interactions with nature. I will try to translate the 600 pages into one page for your reference. Like all sutras, please read beyond words. Please also note that these are not seven separate characteristics. They also interact.
1. Characteristic of Motion - grows, surpasses, adapts, evolves. i.e. we grow from kids to adults. so are plants and animals, our relationships, our health, the planets. The state of all galaxies is a static state of perpetual motion and interaction.
2. Characteristic of Equality. i.e. water, air, sun shine, life force, wisdom are provided regardless. Each living being is equally provided with the same from the environment without discrimination.
3. Characteristic of Balance. i.e. ying and yang, day and night, moon and earth, left and right brain, mind body and spirit, people to people, hot and cold, solar system. No balance, it will crash or be absorbed.
4. Characteristic of Integration. Each galaxy, each sub-system, human groups, family is an integrated system. A comet, a third person of a relationship, or a new employee, needs to be integrated to survive.
5. Everything possesses the same characteristics. Everything created by nature is embedded with these same characteristics and survives accordingly. Any deviation away from it risk its survival.
6. Characteristic of Peacefulness. Whether in the desert, or deep sea, everything is peaceful and calm. When it is not, it is an alarm to survival.
7. Characteristic of Fulfillment. If it does not fulfill or reciprocate to the environment it is in, it can not survive. In others every sentient beings has a purpose in the grand scheme. It is needed and has a purpose for it to be there. If not, it could be absorbed.
In short, these are the characteristics necessary to survive. Be mindful of them helps us to live with ease and joy.
Do feel free to change these labels, add more or delete some, or interpret anyway pleases you. Just avoid judgement or measurement of its accuracy. They are not the Ten Commandments.
When any of us are in sync with the universe, all characteristics merge into one automated response from our heart. And this is the key. If you prefer to call "heart" our "nature", that's okay too.
Words are for reference only. Like reading sutra, avoid "attachment to dharma". Enjoy and have fun.
Order of Chan
On 1/13/2012 8:11 AM, Amy Lemmon wrote: