By Rebecca Li
A modern guide to the transformative practice of silent illumination from Chan Buddhist teacher Rebecca Li.
Silent illumination, a way of penetrating the mind through curious inquiry, is an especially potent, accessible, and portable meditation practice perfectly suited for a time when there is so much fear, upheaval, and sorrow in our world. It is a method of reconnecting with our true nature, which encompasses all that exists and where suffering cannot touch us.
The practice of silent illumination is simple, allowing each moment to be experienced as it is in order to manifest our innate wisdom and natural capacity for compassion. It can be integrated into all aspects of daily life and is meaningful for secular and Buddhist audiences, new and seasoned meditators alike.
After guiding readers through the history and practice of silent illumination, Rebecca Li shows us how we can recognize and unlearn our “modes of operation”—habits of mind that get in the way of being fully present and engaged with life. Cultivating clarity on the empty nature of these habits offers us a way to unlearn and free ourselves from unhelpful modes such as harshness to self, perfectionism, quietism, striving for spiritual attainment, and more. Illumination offers stories and real-life examples, references to classic Buddhist texts, and insights from Chan Master Sheng Yen to guide readers as they practice silent illumination not just on their cushions, but throughout their lives.