"No words can explain enlightenment," says the seventh-century Zen classic Xin Ming, or "Song of Mind," yet, paradoxically, this poem is a masterpiece of expressing the inexpressible. In his commentary on it, Chan Master Sheng Yen takes a practical approach, opening up the language of the Xin Ming to show students how to approach meditation, how to deal with problems that arise in their spiritual practice, and how to accomplish the imperative task of integrating this practice into every aspect of one's life. "True understanding comes only with direct experience," according to Master Sheng Yen. "These lectures, the Buddhist sutras, songs, poems, and commentaries are useful only insofar as they encourage you to practice and incorporate the Dharma [teachings] into your daily life."
The book takes the form of a week-long retreat with Master Sheng Yen, with each chapter in the form of an evening talk given on a particular section of the "Song of Mind" text—giving this book a far more intimate and accessible feel than most commentaries on Zen texts and creating a feeling of being right there with the master as he brings the text to life.