Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Temicco
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Post by Temicco » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:09 pm

krodha wrote:I'm just curious as to whether these allegedly unrealistic expectations and requirements set forth for aligning with such a system are legitimate.

There are Indian and Tibetan systems which also promote the "immediate", "no path" structure, but when it comes down to it they aren't literally saying they produce instant and omniscient Buddhas.

Does Hongzhou really claim this? Or are they being misunderstood?
Just wanted to update, seeing as it's been a year --

My understanding of Hongzhou Chan hasn't changed. I still maintain they don't talk about any work to be done after awakening. I think the only possible explanation (if you're inclined to make the systems match up) is that they simply never talked about post-awakening stabilization (at least in the written records that have come down to us over the past 1200 years), and all references to "complete and full Buddhahood" are just getting at how Buddhahood is a single state without stages. But really, all of the Hongzhou records I've read simply never talk about anything to be done after bodhi.

As for buddhahood as it pertains to the practitioner, I'm pretty sure this is just an issue of definitions -- in Huineng's lineage, Buddha is just being in the awakened state, and its definition does not entail the practitioner having reached omniscience / the fifth path. The only Chan text I know of that does define being a Buddha as having constant mindfulness of one's nature is the Xiuxin yaolun, attributed to Hongren.

Also, I have since become aware of several references to and discussions of post-awakening stabilization in wider Chan teachings, just not in Mazu's immediate line, so I'll just list the names here of teachers that discuss it in case anyone's curious. Yingan, Guishan (in his admonitions), Foyan, Hongzhi, Yuanwu, and Dahui. Of those, Hongzhi and Yuanwu probably discuss it in the most detail. Yuanwu interprets the earlier masters like Linji as having indeed undergone gradual cultivation after gaining entry, but he does not do this quoting any of their words -- instead he references their circumstances, like how they stayed with their teachers for decades after awakening.
"It is just a matter of never letting there be even a moment's interruption in your awareness of your real nature."
--Yuanwu Keqin

"As long as you let go and entrust with belief, your daily life itself can be meditation."
--Daehaeng Kun Sunim

Dharma Flower
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Post by Dharma Flower » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:50 pm

The path of the bodhisattva is inseparable from the true practice of Chan. While actively cultivating the methods of dhyana, the Chan practitioner follows the bodhisattva path as the most effective way of lessening vexation, alleviating karma and helping sentient beings. When all the practices of the bodhisattva are harmonious and perfect, one is then practicing the One Buddha Vehicle.
http://www.dharmanet.org/coursesM/26/chan6a.htm
The above passage is significant, due to the common misconception that Zen is separate and distinct from the rest of Buddhism.

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KRB80
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Post by KRB80 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:58 pm

Chinul has a lot to say about the Sudden Enlightenment/Gradual Cultivation. I heartily recommend: https://www.amazon.com/Tracing-Back-Rad ... 0824814274 for in depth discussion/analysis.
We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all. - Kalu Rinpoche

Anonymous X
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Post by Anonymous X » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:48 am

Temicco wrote:
krodha wrote:I'm just curious as to whether these allegedly unrealistic expectations and requirements set forth for aligning with such a system are legitimate.

There are Indian and Tibetan systems which also promote the "immediate", "no path" structure, but when it comes down to it they aren't literally saying they produce instant and omniscient Buddhas.

Does Hongzhou really claim this? Or are they being misunderstood?
Just wanted to update, seeing as it's been a year --

My understanding of Hongzhou Chan hasn't changed. I still maintain they don't talk about any work to be done after awakening. I think the only possible explanation (if you're inclined to make the systems match up) is that they simply never talked about post-awakening stabilization (at least in the written records that have come down to us over the past 1200 years), and all references to "complete and full Buddhahood" are just getting at how Buddhahood is a single state without stages. But really, all of the Hongzhou records I've read simply never talk about anything to be done after bodhi.
Zongmi's criticism of Hongzhou Chan is summarized here:
“Expressions such as “all have the buddha nature” are not a pointing out that hits the bull’s-eye. In its pointing out [Hongzhou] just says: “The potentiality for speech [and action is the buddha nature].” If one questions them in detail, they say: “Everything is a provisional name; there are no really existent dharmas.” Furthermore, speaking of the teachings of the buddhas in general, there are the two gates of negating and revealing. If we infer the real meanings [behind] these [two gates], there is true voidness and excellent existence. If we examine74 original mind, [we see that it] is endowed with substance and function. At present the Hongzhou and Niutou take “sweeping away traces” as the ultimate. They have just apprehended the intention behind the negative teaching, the meaning of true voidness. This just completes the substance and misses the intention behind the teaching that reveals, the meaning of excellent existence. It omits the functioning.”
“What is [Hongzhou] lacking?
[Zongmi] answers: The true mind’s original substance has two types of functioning. The first is the intrinsic, original functioning; the second is the conditioned, responsive functioning. It is like a bronze mirror. The bronze material is the intrinsic substance. The brightness of the bronze is the intrinsic functioning. The reflections that the brightness gives off are the conditioned functioning. The reflections appear [when the mirror] is face to face with objective supports. They appear in a thousand varieties, but the brightness is an intrinsically constant brightness. The brightness is just one flavor. In terms of the metaphor, mind’s constant calm is the intrinsic substance, and mind’s constant Knowing is the intrinsic functioning. This [Hongzhou’s] “potentiality for speech, potentiality for discrimination, action, etc.,” is the conditioned, responsive functioning. At present Hongzhou points to the potentiality for speech, etc., but this is just the conditioned functioning, and [Hongzhou] is lacking in the intrinsic functioning. Furthermore, in the teaching that reveals there is revealing by inference and revealing by direct perception.75 Hongzhou says: “The mind substance is not to be pointed to. It is just by means of the potentiality for speech, etc., that we can verify and come to know of the existence of the buddha nature.” This is revealing by inference. Heze directly says: “The mind substance is the potentiality for Knowing. Knowing is mind.” Revealing mind in terms of Knowing is revealing by direct perception. Hongzhou is lacking in this.”

I hope this gives some perspective on Hongzhou Chan and why Zongmi wrote what he did.

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Jesse
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Post by Jesse » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:32 am

Astus wrote:The nature of mind is buddha. Any other buddha besides the mind itself is illusion. In other words, once you've dropped fabricating objects and identities to hang on to there is no new identity to make up.
Doesn't that describe the realization of an Arahant? In Mahayana, once this stage is realized, we intentionally take rebirth as a Bodhisattva, correct? And this rebirth as a Bodhisattva is the pledge were take -- rebirth as a bodhisattva until all sentient beings are liberated. Yes?

Sorry, this is an older comment, I just wanted to clarify something for myself.
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

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Astus
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Post by Astus » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:38 am

Jesse wrote:Doesn't that describe the realization of an Arahant?
In Mahayana the arhat falls into identifying with the annihilation of appearances and clings to a formless absorption.
In Mahayana, once this stage is realized, we intentionally take rebirth as a Bodhisattva, correct?
Mahayana is the bodhisattva path from the beginning.
And this rebirth as a Bodhisattva is the pledge were take -- rebirth as a bodhisattva until all sentient beings are liberated.
The bodhisattva path begins with the arousal of bodhicitta. The goal is to become a buddha and save all beings. One does not remain stuck on a lower level intentionally.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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