Master Nan Huai-Chin is one of the most renowned and revered lay Buddhist Masters in Taiwan and China. A great teacher in all three traditions of spiritual cultivation in China, namely the Confucian tradition, the Buddhist tradition and the Taoist tradition, he has written more than 30 books in these subjects. His books are always insightful and lively. He speaks with the authority of first hand experience - being a great scholar, a great action master and a great teacher at the same time. Someone with such an aggregate of qualities are hard to find in this arid age in which words and deeds rarely match. These are no empty words! For a glimpse of his experience, we note that he studied the ancient Chinese martial arts in his youth and mastered the works of Confucian and Taoist sages at the age of seventeen. Later on he taught at the Central Military Academy and studied social welfare at the Jin Ling(Nan Jing) University. In 1942, at the age of twenty four, he went into a three-year cultivation retreat in the Er-Mei Mountains, one of the four sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in China. It was there that he verified his experience against the Chinese Tripitaka and composed gathas for each of the thirty two chapters of the Diamond Sutra (Published in his book What is the Diamond Sutra All About.) In 1945, he left for Tibet to learn from Tibetan Masters and was conferred the official title of Vajra Master by the Hutuktu (high ranking incarnate) Kung Ka of the Kagyu tradition. He is also the most eminent student of the renowned lay Chan Master Yuan Huan-Xian, making him an adept in both the Chan and the Tantric traditions.
His books are extremly popular in China and some of his more popular books went into 20th edition in Taiwan. There is no question that his teaching has transformed many young intellectuals and is one of the main forces of genuine buddhist resurgence in China. His books are also well respected by the academicians. In the words of Thomas Cleary, who has translated two of his books into English, "There is no question that Master Nan's work is a cut above anything else available from modern authors, either academic or sectarian,..." This sense of admiration and recognition is also well stated in the preface of To Realize Enlightenment.
We are glad to present extensive excerpts from two of his books translated into English by J.C. Cleary. The exceprts were drawn from the first chapter of Working Toward Enlightenment and the last chapter of To Realize Enlightenment.These books were translated from the original Chinese version entitled How to Cultivate the Buddha Dharma and are records of his lectures in Buddhist cultivation given in Taiwan. In these books, Master Nan referred extensively to more than twenty four scriptures from the Chinese Tripitaka but the presentation is accessible to all who are willing to try.
The BSPG library has many of Master Nan's books in English and Chinese, including the two books mentioned above. Please contact us if you would like to read them.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Samuel Weiser Inc for the permission to use these materials on our website.