Books: Secrets and Chinese Meditation

The books we offer at Plum are not all at the same level. There are, of course, a lot of instructional books, some essays, some personal observations. We also sell some books which have have only one word  in common: unique.

Secrets of Chinese Meditation @

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For instance, we sell a book entitled The Secrets of Chinese Meditation. This is a book about Buddhist meditation techniques. It was originally published in 1964. This was an era when many in the Buddhist community did not believe Westerners could even understand Buddhism. This is not Meditation for Idiots. In little over 200 pages, Charles Luk carries forward so many forms of meditation, such as Meditation on…

  • The organ of smell
  • The organ of taste
  • The perception of objects of touch
  • The element water
  • Empty space

He talks about Koan from a very different perspective:
“Koans are, therefore, not riddles and riddle-like problems which students should solve before their enlightenment, for koans are all full of meaning which is clear only to those who have rid themselves of discrimination and discernment.”

He also addresses obstacles such as our feelings of doubt which he relates by quoting noble and faithful practitioners from the past. He talks of the many methods of meditation that became sects including the Pure Land, Tian Tai and even Taoist meditators. Then he has a chapter entitled “Authentic Experiments with Buddhist and Taoist Methods of Self-Cultivation.”

And pointing squarely at one of meditation’s big problems we read,
“We cannot blame the ancients who taught only a very limited number of chosen disciples by word of mouth, without leaving behind written instruction for posterity, to avoid cheap criticsm by sceptics and blasphemers who can never understand the holy teaching. Even nowadays serious Taoists refuse to show outsiders handwritten instructions from past masters in order not to be involved in useless discussion and controversy. For the same reason, my Tibetan guru forbade his disciples to reveal the pho-wa technique to those who are not initiated in his sect and this is why I am unable to present a translation of his teaching in this volume.”

Luk’s book is good for one obvious reason: it was written before meditation had become a commodity.

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