Master Sheng-yen is abbot of the Nung Ch’an monastery in Taiwan and founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, which includes the Ch’an Meditation Center in New York City and Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Brush, New York. The interview was conducted during a ten-day silent illumination retreat led by Master Sheng-yen. The interviewer was Michael Liebenson Grady, a guiding teacher at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center who has been studying with Master Sheng-yen for the past five years. The translator was Jimmy Yu.
Michael Liebenson Grady: We have heard you make the distinction between buddhadharma and Buddhism. Could you say more about that?
Master Sheng-yen: In buddhadharma, there is only one taste, the taste of liberation. That is the one dharma. Buddhism, on the other hand, is a manifestation of causes and conditions according to the changing environment that the buddhadharma encounters and the disposition of its practitioners. According to varying conditions and changing times, there arises what is known as Buddhism.