Just wanted to update, seeing as it's been a year --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?
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.