Revered by Buddhists in the United States and China, contemporary Master Sheng-yen shares his wisdom and teachings in this first comprehensive English primer of Chan, the Chinese tradition of Buddhism that inspired Japanese Zen. Often misunderstood as a system of mind games, the Chan path involves a process of self-transformation grounded in carefully hewn spiritual disciplines and premises. Master Sheng-yen provides an unprecedented understanding of Chan, its precepts, and its practice. Beginning with a basic overview of Buddhism and meditation, the book then details the progressive mental exercises traditionally followed by all Buddhists. Known as the Three Disciplines, these procedures develop moral purity, meditative concentration, and enlightening insight through the "stilling" of the mind. Master Sheng-yen then expounds Chan Buddhism, recounting its centuries-old history in China and illuminating its fundamental tenets. He contemplates the nature of Buddhahood, specifies the physical and mental prerequisites for beginning Chan practice, and humbly considers what it means to be an enlightened Chan master.