krodha wrote: ...
This idea that sentient beings are able to miraculously awaken to fully omniscient buddhahood in one fell swoop just because they practice zen is wholly unrealistic. The path does not dictate the capacity of the practitioner.
Awakening to instant buddhahood is essentially unheard of. I'm not sure where the idea that this is the case for zen practitioners, or any practitioners for that matter, originated from. A misreading of the principle texts, I would argue.
"Practice-realization" is simply resting in jñāna, which is unsteady and intermittent until the time of buddhahood.
Perhaps most of the old time Zen masters did not look upon "awakening to omniscient buddhahood ... instant buddhahood" in the way you imagine.
"Buddhahood" in most of the Zen traditions is something one already has and is but simply may not realize, not something we become. One might say that this is an "otherworldly" kind of immanent Buddhahood, except "otherworldly" is not the right word for it. Even though there is in ordinary vision, a "this" and an "other" which appear far apart, in reality there is no "this" or "other", and thus "this world" is seen not to have been what one previously thought it was. We are perfect Buddhas all along, although also alive in Samsara amid all its imperfections. When realizing this fact, the "imperfections" of Samsara remain, yet are also seen to be empty. Expecting that one was going to somehow turn into a "can do no wrong" being in this life may seem rather unrealistic, but seeing that "no wrong can be done from the start because all is empty" is a very different approach to "perfect Buddhahood".
Qualities of a Buddha such as omniscience were also seen in interesting ways. For example, there is an omniscience which arises in this Practice, the ability to see all minds, all phenomena, all thoughts of man in every blade of grass and sentient being. Oh, it will not help you predict next week's weather or who will win the Derby at Churchill Downs (could the Buddha even do that?), but it will let one know all there is to know just as, in tasting the salt of one drop of sea water, one can taste the entire sea.
If one knows the nature, and the nature is all, then one knows all.
If one is the nature, and the nature is all, then one is all.
If the nature is Buddha, and Buddha is all, then one knows the omniscience of Buddha.
Likewise, in emptiness, there is no separation to allow killing or killer or victim, no stealing and nothing which can be taken or lacking, etc. Thus the "Perfections" and all injunctions of the Precepts are seen as fulfilled in such way from the startless start, and can never be broken.
Because of this, attaining the "Bhumis" was not treated in quite the same way as in other corners of the Mahayana. There is nothing to attain that has not been attained all along, no need of improvement because nothing lacking.
Even the "perfection of Buddhahood" might be a kind of "perfection of Emptiness" which transcends small human judgments and distinctions of "perfection vs. imperfection". Even all the seeming imperfections of Samsara are now witnessed as shining inherently in the light of Buddha, and the "imperfections" truly are not just "imperfections" when newly seen as the Perfection and Purity of Buddha that sweeps in all small human measures of "perfection vs. imperfection, pure vs. impure, etc".
However, in Soto Zen, it is also incumbent upon us to "bring Buddha to life" in this world by acting as a Buddha would. Thus, saying "no killing is possible in emptiness" is one thing, but in this world we should then act to avoid killing, turning away from violence, living in peace. Only then does the Buddha of the "other" become manifest in this world (even though never apart from this world from the start). Kodo Sawaki said “You are already Buddha, so practise seriously”.
As our great Ancestor Huang Po taught ...
That which is before you is it, in all its fullness, utterly complete. There is naught beside. Even if you go through all the stages of a Bodhisattva's progress toward Buddhahood, one by one; when at last, in a single flash, you attain to full realization, you will only be realizing the Buddha-Nature which has been with you all the time; and by all the foregoing stages you will have added to it nothing at all.
https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=v5B ... l.&f=false
Soto Teacher Taigen Dan Leighton notes on Dogen and the appearance of the underground Bodhisattvas in the Lotus Sutra ...
This might then imply that the underground bodhisattvas in chapter fifteen of the Lotus Sutra emerge through immediate insight into the emptiness of all bhumis, or stages .... These bodhisattvas, diligently practicing in the open space, or emptiness, under the ground, would thus be ever ready to emerge and benefit beings in any future evil age, thanks to their seeing into the ultimate emptiness of all systems of progressive cultivation, and the unmediated emptiness of any and each particular stage or position in such systems.
http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/art ... _and_space
Although from another flavor of Buddhism, awhile back I stumbled on Lama Surya Das making a like point echoing a viewless view of the Bhumis (page 50 here) ...
https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=6tC ... en&f=false
The great Dogen commentator, NIshiari Bokusan, noted the following (from last paragraph of page 55) ...
https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=yHD ... 22&f=false
A writer from the Katagiri Lineage relates this ...
Throughout his teaching career, Katagiri Roshi taught, “You are Buddha; all beings are Buddha.” ...
Buddha is the Reality of Awakeness, which is the True Self, the True Life, the True Nature of each being. It is the subjectless, objectless Awakeness which is being directly experienced by all beings now.
The historical Buddha, who lived in India approximately 2,500 years ago, was a person who profoundly realized the Reality of Awakeness. He clearly saw that this Reality was his True Self. He realized that the seemingly separate individual that he seemed to be was an empty, illusory manifestation of the True Self or Buddha. He realized this was true for all the seemingly separate beings and phenomena in the universe.
The Reality of Awakeness or Buddha is the boundless, all-inclusive Reality of here and now. Different terms are used to point to this Reality—Totality, Wholeness, the Universe, Dharma, Truth, Thusness, the True Self, Supreme Enlightenment, the One Buddha Mind, and other terms as well. ...
Suzuki Roshi used to say, “Since you are Buddha, you must be Buddha. That is our practice.” In a lecture he gave at the monastery at Tassajara in July 1968 he said, “When it is hot you should be hot Buddha. When it is cold you should be cold Buddha.”
He went on to say that each individual, each thing, each event, each situation, each experience is Buddha. Each thought, each feeling, each emotion, each desire, each perception, each state of consciousness is Buddha. When you realize that you are Buddha and understand everything as an unfolding of the Truth, then whatever you experience is the actual teaching of Buddha, and whatever you do is the actual practice of Buddha.
It is late here, but I will provide some more detailed sources and quotes.
Oh, and Shikantaza is not about attaining Jhana, but just sitting in and as the total completion of Buddha.