I was first introduced to Master Paul Chuang and his wife, Lien, by a mutual friend, Ting, who was one of Paul’s students. I had been to several Buddhist communities in Christchurch, New Zealand, but I had been doubtful about the authenticity of the teachings I had experienced. I had asked Ting to introduce me to Paul. I recognized immediately that he was a powerful practitioner, and requested that he teach me. His wife was radiant with compassion.
In return for this great kindness I took notes and reported with as much accuracy as I could the substance of these teachings. Paul is well versed in the sutras and teachings of the Buddha, and the various Buddhist schools of the Northern tradition. He is seeking to adapt these teachings for a modern context. Paul wishes to build a bridge between the old language of the Buddha dharma and the modern world of technology, so that they may accessible and relevant to students in the 21st century. Although respectful of the old traditions, he consistently emphasizes the necessity to return to a mind empty of old language so that, unobscured and unhindered, we may liberate ourselves.
My task, which I was honored to perform for this couple who showed me the utmost kindness and patience, was to express Paul’s ‘zero wisdom’ in the English language. Inevitably the transference from Mandarin to English was problematic. These writings are the result of a process of rewriting, checking and then rewriting again, with Paul and lien’s feedback and guidance.
What these writings can never convey is the intuition and power of Paul’s mind and his clarity of thought. In a few simple words he was able to dispel much confusion about the teachings, and enable me to recognize the wrong views and misunderstandings of my practice. He offered invaluable tools by which I could proceed further in investigating my mind in a workable and practical way.
After having suffered the trauma of my mother’s sudden death, I have gained during the year that I have sat in the Chuang’s beautiful shrine room, listened to Paul, and enjoyed Lien’s cooking, peace and healing. Immediately, on entering their home, which they so generously opened to me, a feeling of peace was tangible. Their gentle and practical compassion towards me during a time in my life where I was in deep pain, has been the most simple, profound and wordless example of the practice of compassion, about which I had read much, but had realized very little.
May this transcription of these teachings bring enlightenment to all sentient beings.
May they be an offering to Chuang Lao Tzu (莊老師) , his wife Lien, and to the Buddha dharma.