Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Caodemarte
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Caodemarte » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:21 am

In case of confusion, there is no current Hongzhou school as such and has not been for several centuries. It has been absorbed or merged with other schools. All forms of Buddhism are expedient means.

Sudden awakening or sudden enlightenment as it is called is not at issue as, at least in Zen, it is always sudden. The continuing debate in Korea is over the "need" for cultivation after sudden awakening. So the debate is about sudden enlightenment/sudden cultivation vs. sudden enlightenment/gradual cultivation.The question of differing capacities is irrelevant as this is not really a training discussion, but rather more to do with the nature of awakening, which is always sudden and complete. Defining the meaning of complete and its implications is the hard part, as far as I understand the debate.

Temicco
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Temicco » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:10 am

krodha wrote: Awakening [bodhi] occurs in a flash in every system. Bodhi is not buddhahood.


In Hongzhou, bodhi is sufficient for budhahood, and thus the tradition is mainly centered around getting practitioners to reach bodhi.

krodha wrote:Bodhi just means one has awakened to recognize dharmatā, but is not a removal of the two obscurations.


With bodhi comes recognition of the emptiness of obscurations; for the awakened there is nothing to remove. This isn't stirctly Hongzhou; Niutou says that "if in the mind there is nothing different from the mind, one does not have to stop desire. / As its nature is empty, it will disappear if it is allowed to drift on." Yongjia similarly notes that "the awakened one does not seek truth [and] does not cut off delusion. / Truth and delusion are both vacant and without form."

krodha wrote: Then it isn't a school at all, but rather just a club for cig car ba's. Not very realistic or reasonable.


Well, it wasn't terribly practical -- gong-an and hua-tou proliferated after the turn of the 10th century (Linji died in the late 9th century), and Chan never really went back (as another user noted). Although, the Honghzou masters did employ violence and shouting, and this is what awakened Linji, for example. Not sure if that really counts as a "technique". Most of the legwork was to be done by students themselves -- cutting off conceptual thought and not letting the mind settle anywhere or cling to anything.

kroha wrote: There hasn't been a practitioner of that ability for centuries... and that being the case I'm not sure how Hongzhou can pretend they have a lineage (this is, if your definition is accurate, which it most likely isn't). You might very well be misunderstanding Hongzhou.


Perhaps I am misunderstanding it, but I don't think I am. The Hongzhou masters stressed that ending delusive habits really just required sustained effort, not that it was something possible only for practitioners of high capacities. In fact, not believing in yourself was a major part of the problem. It doesn't take a person of insanely high capacity to believe in their abilities and then carry out the advice given to them. You just have to be very serious about your practice.
"The nature of mind has no defilement; it is basically perfect and complete in itself.
Just get rid of delusive attachments, and merge with realization of thusness."
--Baizhang Huaihai

"It is just a matter of never letting there be even a moment's interruption in your awareness of your real nature."
--Yuanwu Keqin

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Astus
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Astus » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:21 pm

"For the Chan school, understanding ... is instantaneous, now, not a matter of time!"
(Record of Linji, p 13, tr Sasaki)

To put back stages into Chan is turning it into general Mahayana.
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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Matt J
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Matt J » Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:16 pm

Tell that to Zongmi, Chinul, and Sheng Yen for starters.

Astus wrote:"For the Chan school, understanding ... is instantaneous, now, not a matter of time!"
(Record of Linji, p 13, tr Sasaki)

To put back stages into Chan is turning it into general Mahayana.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/

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Astus
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Astus » Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:30 pm

Matt J wrote:Tell that to Zongmi, Chinul, and Sheng Yen for starters.


Zongmi and Jinul mixed Chan with Huayan, Shengyan with Tiantai.
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"

Caodemarte
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Caodemarte » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:46 pm

Given the historical development of Zen I am not sure how you could take Hua-yen and Tiantai out of the mix.

From my readings of Zongmi, Chinul, and especially the more contemporary Sheng Yen all held that awakening "is instantaneous, now, not a matter of time." No stages of awakening although it may be useful to conventionally (and conventionally only) speak of "stages" in cultivation as in the 10 Ox Herding pictures.

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tomamundsen
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:03 pm

Caodemarte wrote:From my readings of Zongmi, Chinul, and especially the more contemporary Sheng Yen all held that awakening "is instantaneous, now, not a matter of time." No stages of awakening although it may be useful to conventionally (and conventionally only) speak of "stages" in cultivation as in the 10 Ox Herding pictures.


Not true for Sheng Yen. Check out his video Is enlightenment equivalent to Buddhahood?

A mystical experience does not equal enlightenment. There are also levels of enlightenment which are not necessarily equivalent to Buddhahood. Becoming a Buddha means one is completely enlightened, with both perfect merit and perfect wisdom. That is Buddhahood.

krodha
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby krodha » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:21 pm

Temicco wrote:With bodhi comes recognition of the emptiness of obscurations;

That is not how it works, unfortunately.

Caodemarte
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Caodemarte » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:21 pm

tomamundsen said, "Not true for Sheng Yen."

I don't see a contradiction here, although it is quite possible these slippery words have glided through my fingers. Sheng Yen is not saying that awakening is a gradual, step-by-step process or that Buddha nature has gradations. In Footprints of the Ox - and I am sure elsewhere - he notes that the word enlightenment is used differently at different times, sometimes as a synonym for cultivation sometimes for Buddha nature. As I read it, in the clip he is conventionally (and conventionally only) speaking of "stages" in cultivation whereby a person's levels of understanding may change. Debates on Sudden Enlightenment/Gradual Cultivation vs. Sudden Enlightenment/Sudden Cultivation or Sudden Enlightenment/No need for further cultivation take place in Zen. There is no debate on Gradual Enlightenment.

BTW, in Sheng Yen's school and Korean Seon you resolve a kung-an completely or you don't at all in its practice of the Lin-chi tradition. You can't shallowly or deeply resolve it (although your level of mental understanding may be deep or shallow). You do not need to practice a series of kung-ans, although, in practice, you may return to your first one. Japanese Rinzai Zen is criticised because its stress on using a series of koans to deepen cultivation or examine different aspects stinks too much of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment for their tastes (Some Japanese Soto teachers criticise the use of kung-ans at all as slipping into the idea of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment). Of course, Japanese Rinzai teachers do not agree that they are slipping into notions of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment.

So back to the show!
Last edited by Caodemarte on Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tomamundsen
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:56 pm

Caodemarte wrote:tomamundsen said, "Not true for Sheng Yen."

I don't see a contradiction here, although it is quite possible these slippery words have glided through my fingers. Sheng Yen is not saying that awakening is a gradual, step-by-step process or that Buddha nature has gradations. In Footprints of the Ox - and I am sure elsewhere - he notes that the word enlightenment is used differently at different times, sometimes as a synonym for cultivation sometimes for Buddha nature. As I read it, in the clip he is conventionally (and conventionally only) speaking of "stages" in cultivation whereby a person's levels of understanding may change. Debates on Sudden Enlightenment/Gradual Cultivation vs. Sudden Enlightenment/Sudden Cultivation or Sudden Enlightenment/No need for further cultivation take place in Zen. There is no debate on Gradual Enlightenment.

BTW, in Sheng Yen's school and Korean Seon you resolve a kung-an completely or you don't at all in its practice of the Lin-chi tradition. You can't shallowly or deeply resolve it (although your level of mental understanding may be deep or shallow). You do not need to practice a series of kung-ans, although, in practice, you may return to your first one. Japanese Rinzai Zen is criticised by because its stress on using a series of koans to deepen cultivation or examine different aspects stinks too much of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment for their tastes (Some Japanese Soto teachers criticise the use of kung-ans at all as slipping into the idea of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment). Of course, Japanese Rinzai teachers do not agree that they are slipping into notions of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment.

So back to the show!


Gotcha, thanks! That is a much more comprehensive answer.

Temicco
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Temicco » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:38 pm

krodha wrote:
Temicco wrote:With bodhi comes recognition of the emptiness of obscurations;

That is not how it works, unfortunately.


How so? You'd be hard-pressed to find any Hongzhou source saying that there's anything to do after bodhi. How are you saying it works?
"The nature of mind has no defilement; it is basically perfect and complete in itself.
Just get rid of delusive attachments, and merge with realization of thusness."
--Baizhang Huaihai

"It is just a matter of never letting there be even a moment's interruption in your awareness of your real nature."
--Yuanwu Keqin

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Astus
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Astus » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:04 pm

Caodemarte wrote:Given the historical development of Zen I am not sure how you could take Hua-yen and Tiantai out of the mix.

From my readings of Zongmi, Chinul, and especially the more contemporary Sheng Yen all held that awakening "is instantaneous, now, not a matter of time." No stages of awakening although it may be useful to conventionally (and conventionally only) speak of "stages" in cultivation as in the 10 Ox Herding pictures.


The point I hastily referred to was that they matched Chan ideas with those of other schools. Regarding Shengyan, see "Orthodox Chinese Buddhism", p 100-103. There he explains enlightenment using the Tiantai concept of the six identities.

Sudden enlightenment in the Platform Sutra is seeing the nature of mind once and attaining buddhahood. This has actually made it into a Zen slogan (見性成佛 - see nature, become buddha). There were others who followed this view in the Chan school, and there were those who taught otherwise. Nevertheless, the Platform Sutra is one of the central sources of authentic Chan, and has been for a long time now.

Some quotes from the Platform Sutra (BDK Edition):

"bodhi is fundamentally pure in its self-nature. You must simply use this mind [that you already have], and you will achieve buddhahood directly and completely."
(p 17)

"To use wisdom to contemplate all the dharmas without grasping or rejecting is to see the nature and accomplish the enlightenment of buddhahood."
(p 31)

"If one is to be enlightened to the sudden teaching, one cannot cultivate externally (i.e., superficially): one should just constantly activate correct views in one’s own mind, and the enervating defilements of the afflictions will be rendered permanently unable to defile one. This is to see the nature."
...
If you recognize your own mind and see the nature, you will definitely accomplish the enlightenment of buddhahood.

(p 32)

"If you recognize the self-nature, with a single [experience of] enlightenment you will attain the stage of buddhahood."
(p 33)

"To be enlightened to the Dharma of nonthought is to arrive at the stage of buddhahood."
(p 34)

"Eradicating the true and eradicating the false, one sees the buddha-nature. This is to accomplish the enlightenment of buddhahood upon hearing these words."
(p 49)

"The self-natures are endowed with the three bodies.
Generating illumination, the four wisdoms are created.
Without transcending the conditions of seeing and hearing,
One transcendentally ascends to the stage of buddhahood."

(p 60)

"The self-nature becomes enlightened itself, sudden enlightenment and sudden cultivation. There is no gradual progression. Therefore, one does not posit all the dharmas. The dharmas are quiescent—how could there be a progression?"
(p 75)
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"

krodha
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby krodha » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:02 am

Temicco wrote:
krodha wrote:
Temicco wrote:With bodhi comes recognition of the emptiness of obscurations;

That is not how it works, unfortunately.


How so? You'd be hard-pressed to find any Hongzhou source saying that there's anything to do after bodhi. How are you saying it works?

In the end it doesn't really matter what Hongzhou says. If they want to pretend they have a thriving lineage of what Tibetans refer to as "cig car ba" that's on them... nice fantasy.

The condition of sentient beings is what it is, the cause for arising and cessation of obscurations is what it is.

If Hongzhou wants to pretend otherwise... not my problem.

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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:12 am

krodha wrote:If Hongzhou wants to pretend otherwise... not my problem.

Eh, but the Ch'an forum is a place for people to discuss stuff like Hongzhou Ch'an. Generally on this Ch'an sub-forum, these are valid Buddhist teachings.

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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby krodha » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:37 am

*Double post
Last edited by krodha on Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

krodha
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby krodha » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:41 am

tomamundsen wrote:
krodha wrote:If Hongzhou wants to pretend otherwise... not my problem.

Eh, but the Ch'an forum is a place for people to discuss stuff like Hongzhou Ch'an. Generally on this Ch'an sub-forum, these are valid Buddhist teachings.

That's true, 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?

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Matt J
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Matt J » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:41 am

Chinul and Zongmi are probably best known for the "sudden enlightenment, gradual cultivation" model in Zen. This is fairly well established in both source texts and academic sources, so I'm somewhat surprised by the reaction here.

You can read more about it in Buswell's Selected Works of Chinul below:

http://international.ucla.edu/media/files/02_Chinul_web-y0-bnm.pdf

Here's Chinul's answer to a question about what sudden enlightenment, gradual cultivation means:

Chinul: As for “sudden awakening,” when the ordinary person is deluded, he assumes that the four great elements are his body and the deluded thoughts are his mind. He does not know that his own nature is the true dharma-body; he does not know that his own numinous awareness (yo˘ngji 靈知) is the true Buddha. As he wanders hither and thither, looking for the buddha outside his mind, a spiritual mentor might direct him to the entrance to the road [leading to salvation]. If in one moment of thought he then follows back the light [of his mind to its source] and sees his own original nature, he will discover that the ground of this nature is innately free of afflictions (kleśa), and that he himself is originally endowed with the nature of wisdom that is free from the contaminants (āsrava), which is not a hair’s breadth different from that of all the buddhas. Hence it is called sudden awakening.

As for “gradual cultivation,” although he has awakened to the fact that his original nature is no different from that of the buddhas, the beginningless proclivities of habit (vāsanā) are extremely difficult to remove suddenly. Therefore he must continue to cultivate while relying on this awakening so that this efficacy of gradual suffusion is perfected; he constantly nurtures the embryo of sanctity,and after a long, long time he becomes a sage. Hence it is called gradual cultivation. It is like the maturation of an infant: from the day of its birth, [an infant] is endowed with all its faculties, just like any other [human being], but its physical capacities are not yet fully developed; it is only after the passage of many months and years that it will finally mature into an adult.


Sheng Yen in Orthodox Chinese Buddhism says:

We see that sudden awakening is just the beginning of the awareness regarding the underlying, essential principle of all dharmas, or buddha-nature,m and is not the same as becoming a Buddha. Gradual practice is the cultivation of merit through concrete actions. Only through accumulating merit through gradual practice can one actually become a Buddha: so "sudden awakening to principle but gradual practice with regard to actions" is another way to clarify sudden and gradual. This explanation shows us what sudden awakening in Chan Buddhism means.


I did not study with Sheng Yen or one of his master's, so I cannot speak of how it is actually taught. But the "all or nothing" approach to Korean kung-ans as a general rule is absolutely false. I know someone who studied in depth with a Korean master, who was told as I was working with koans, that the more one works with a kung-an, the clearer it becomes.

This isn't to say that sudden/gradual is the only approach in Zen/Chan, but it is an approach.


Caodemarte wrote:tomamundsen said, "Not true for Sheng Yen."

I don't see a contradiction here, although it is quite possible these slippery words have glided through my fingers. Sheng Yen is not saying that awakening is a gradual, step-by-step process or that Buddha nature has gradations. In Footprints of the Ox - and I am sure elsewhere - he notes that the word enlightenment is used differently at different times, sometimes as a synonym for cultivation sometimes for Buddha nature. As I read it, in the clip he is conventionally (and conventionally only) speaking of "stages" in cultivation whereby a person's levels of understanding may change. Debates on Sudden Enlightenment/Gradual Cultivation vs. Sudden Enlightenment/Sudden Cultivation or Sudden Enlightenment/No need for further cultivation take place in Zen. There is no debate on Gradual Enlightenment.

BTW, in Sheng Yen's school and Korean Seon you resolve a kung-an completely or you don't at all in its practice of the Lin-chi tradition. You can't shallowly or deeply resolve it (although your level of mental understanding may be deep or shallow). You do not need to practice a series of kung-ans, although, in practice, you may return to your first one. Japanese Rinzai Zen is criticised because its stress on using a series of koans to deepen cultivation or examine different aspects stinks too much of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment for their tastes (Some Japanese Soto teachers criticise the use of kung-ans at all as slipping into the idea of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment). Of course, Japanese Rinzai teachers do not agree that they are slipping into notions of step-by-step or Gradual Enlightenment.

So back to the show!
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/

krodha
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby krodha » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:44 am

Awakening [bodhi] is sudden in every system.

The real controversy and question is regarding sudden, omniscient buddhahood.

Caodemarte
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Re: Path to Buddhahood in Chan/Zen

Postby Caodemarte » Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:51 am

Matt J said, "But the "all or nothing" approach to Korean kung-ans as a general rule is absolutely false. I know someone who studied in depth with a Korean master, who was told as I was working with koans, that the more one works with a kung-an, the clearer it becomes. "


Take a look at Buswell's "The Zen Monastic Experience" for a clear explanation of the Korean "all or nothing" approach or the Chogye website explanation of how Seon is done. Remember that becoming "clearer" is NOT resolving the koan. It may be evidence of "progress" or "retrogression."

As Dahui put it you cut one thread in the skein and you cut them all, if you resolve one great doubt you resolve all doubts. If you don't resolve all, you have not resolved anything. This is stressed in both Korean and Chinese Zen. However, no mainstream Lin-chi derived school disputes this and I doubt that any legitimate Zen school would. This is one reason why modern orthodox Korean and Chinese Zen strongly tend to use only one koan. It is also why they often criticize Japanese Rinzai koan systems, intended to examine and "polish" the post-kensho student from many angles, as potentially falling in to a gradual non-Zen approach.


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