Yes, you need a teacher.

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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Astus
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Astus » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:25 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:32 pm
This is talking about associates, not teachers. It is therefore irrelevant.
The word translated as companion (sahāya) is a synonym for friend (mitta), as it's shown clearly in the same poem a few stanzas later where the "evil companion" (pāpaṃ sahāyaṃ) is opposed to the "eminent friend" (mittaṃ uḷāraṃ). There are also the Sigalovada Sutta (DN i.186) and the Meghiya Sutta (AN 9.3 / iv.357) where the two words are exchangeable.

"One should avoid an evil companion,
who shows what is harmful, one settled in
unrighteousness.
One should not freely associate
with one who is intent and heedless;
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn.

One should resort to the learned, a bearer of Dhamma,
an eminent friend gifted with ingenuity.
Having known the benefits and removed doubt,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn."

(Snp 1.3, tr Bhikkhu Bodhi, p 164-165)
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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Malcolm
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Malcolm » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:37 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:25 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:32 pm
This is talking about associates, not teachers. It is therefore irrelevant.
The word translated as companion (sahāya) is a synonym for friend (mitta), as it's shown clearly in the same poem a few stanzas later where the "evil companion" (pāpaṃ sahāyaṃ) is opposed to the "eminent friend" (mittaṃ uḷāraṃ). There are also the Sigalovada Sutta (DN i.186) and the Meghiya Sutta (AN 9.3 / iv.357) where the two words are exchangeable.

"One should avoid an evil companion,
who shows what is harmful, one settled in
unrighteousness.
One should not freely associate
with one who is intent and heedless;
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn.

One should resort to the learned, a bearer of Dhamma,
an eminent friend gifted with ingenuity.
Having known the benefits and removed doubt,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn."

(Snp 1.3, tr Bhikkhu Bodhi, p 164-165)

Yes, so what? You are still citing passages about what kind of associates one should have. Thus, they are entirely besides the point.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Astus
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Astus » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:41 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:37 pm
Yes, so what? You are still citing passages about what kind of associates one should have. Thus, they are entirely besides the point.
They are about the good friend one should have, or as you translated, the virtuous mentor, what is often simplified to the word teacher. Furthermore, the point that is still left unaddressed is that a recommendation is not a requirement.
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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Malcolm
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Malcolm » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:46 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:41 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:37 pm
Yes, so what? You are still citing passages about what kind of associates one should have. Thus, they are entirely besides the point.
They are about the good friend one should have, or as you translated, the virtuous mentor, what is often simplified to the word teacher. Furthermore, the point that is still left unaddressed is that a recommendation is not a requirement.

I told you it is an imperative. Your citations are besides the point.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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The Cicada
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by The Cicada » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:53 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:46 pm
I told you it is an imperative.
In the Kempon Hokke, the Lotus Sutra and the Buddha are our teachers!

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Malcolm
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Malcolm » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:11 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:41 pm
Furthermore, the point that is still left unaddressed is that a recommendation is not a requirement.
The Śūraṅgama-samādhi Sūtra states:

Those who seek the Dharma must rely on a virtuous mentor.

The Jayamati Sūtra states:

Those who desire the Dharma should rely on a virtuous mentor.

The Nirvana Sūtra states:

Son of a good family, all sentient beings are just the same — without serving a virtuous mentor, they will not perceive the nature of the Buddha.

And:

Those who do not know how to serve the virtuous mentor will not know the very secret tathāgatgarbha.

And:

One who does not rely on a virtuous mentor is a person who has not entered into the teaching of the Bhagavan Buddha, called "one with perverted craving." Such a person cannot be cured by the Bhagavan Buddha.

As I said, it is an imperative, not an option.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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The Cicada
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by The Cicada » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:14 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:11 pm
Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:41 pm
Furthermore, the point that is still left unaddressed is that a recommendation is not a requirement.
The Śūraṅgama-samādhi Sūtra states:

Those who seek the Dharma must rely on a virtuous mentor.

The Jayamati Sūtra states:

Those who desire the Dharma should rely on a virtuous mentor.

The Nirvana Sūtra states:

Son of a good family, all sentient beings are just the same — without serving a virtuous mentor, they will not perceive the nature of the Buddha.

And:

Those who do not know how to serve the virtuous mentor will not know the very secret tathāgatgarbha.

And:

One who does not rely on a virtuous mentor is a person who has not entered into the teaching of the Bhagavan Buddha, called "one with perverted craving." Such a person cannot be cured by the Bhagavan Buddha.

As I said, it is an imperative, not an option.
If I were less honest, with others and myself, I might simply brush these quotes off as ecumenical classism inserted into the scriptures. But this is the Age of the Degenerate Dharma. Seeing the way that some are willing to warp the Dharma to suit their own politics and proclivities regarding other issues, I'm more than confident that the doctrine of the "transmission through the Sutra scrolls" is correct for the present day. The teacher is the teaching itself.

Furthermore, one has to wonder to what extent Buddhadharma has been successfully transmitted across cultures even through face to face interaction these days. Looking at ethnic Asian Buddhist teachers and looking at some of their students, I often get the sense that the transfer didn't "take."

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by DGA » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:41 pm

The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:53 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:46 pm
I told you it is an imperative.
In the Kempon Hokke, the Lotus Sutra and the Buddha are our teachers!
Are there leaders among the Kempon Hokke?

If so, do those leaders promote particular doctrines and practices to others in a systematic, or at least ongoing, fashion?

And if so, are there particular qualifications that distinguish one who is a recognized leader from one who is not? Do those leaders get titles that might translate into English as, say, "Reverend" or "Venerable"?

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by DGA » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:42 pm

The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:14 pm
Looking at ethnic Asian Buddhist teachers and looking at some of their students, I often get the sense that the transfer didn't "take."
This is uncontroversial.

There are failures and have been failures.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by The Cicada » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:02 am

DGA wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:41 pm
The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:53 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:46 pm
I told you it is an imperative.
In the Kempon Hokke, the Lotus Sutra and the Buddha are our teachers!
Are there leaders among the Kempon Hokke?

If so, do those leaders promote particular doctrines and practices to others in a systematic, or at least ongoing, fashion?

And if so, are there particular qualifications that distinguish one who is a recognized leader from one who is not? Do those leaders get titles that might translate into English as, say, "Reverend" or "Venerable"?
The answer to these questions is yes, but it doesn't change the doctrine. The issue here is who or what is the "teacher."
DGA wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:42 pm
The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:14 pm
Looking at ethnic Asian Buddhist teachers and looking at some of their students, I often get the sense that the transfer didn't "take."
This is uncontroversial.

There are failures and have been failures.
Exactly, DGA.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by conebeckham » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:20 am

Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:29 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:46 pm
The quotes I provided are imperatives.
Imperatives are what one should do, it is the recommended way. A necessity, a need, is somewhat stronger and more restrictive.
Im-per-a-tive.
Adjective 1.Of vital importance; crucial. 2. Giving an authoritative command; imperative.

Noun
An essential or Urgent thing.


Sounds necessary to me.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by DGA » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:47 am

conebeckham wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:20 am
Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:29 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:46 pm
The quotes I provided are imperatives.
Imperatives are what one should do, it is the recommended way. A necessity, a need, is somewhat stronger and more restrictive.
Im-per-a-tive.
Adjective 1.Of vital importance; crucial. 2. Giving an authoritative command; imperative.

Noun
An essential or Urgent thing.


Sounds necessary to me.
The imperative form of a verb (imperative mood) indicates a command, an order. It's not the subjunctive mood.

Example: when you are drunk and having trouble producing your documents to law enforcement in Austria or Germany, and the officer shouts mach schnell, du Arschloch! at you, the imperative form of the verb machen (to make or do) is not a recommendation or a best practice or even an exhortation to do your very best, it's just something you must do.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by DGA » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:51 am

The Cicada wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:02 am
DGA wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:41 pm
The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:53 pm


In the Kempon Hokke, the Lotus Sutra and the Buddha are our teachers!
Are there leaders among the Kempon Hokke?

If so, do those leaders promote particular doctrines and practices to others in a systematic, or at least ongoing, fashion?

And if so, are there particular qualifications that distinguish one who is a recognized leader from one who is not? Do those leaders get titles that might translate into English as, say, "Reverend" or "Venerable"?
The answer to these questions is yes, but it doesn't change the doctrine. The issue here is who or what is the "teacher."
My point is that they are teaching a doctrine, which means it's more complicated that you are letting on.

What does it mean, to your mind, when you say that the Lotus Sutra and Buddha Shakyamuni are one's teachers? What do these claims mean in a practical sense, to your understanding?
DGA wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:42 pm
The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:14 pm
Looking at ethnic Asian Buddhist teachers and looking at some of their students, I often get the sense that the transfer didn't "take."
This is uncontroversial.

There are failures and have been failures.
Exactly, DGA.
Exactly what? There are some students who are failures, as you say. That's obvious--that's samsara. What does that prove, to your mind? What is your point?

I hasten to point out the obverse of your claim, which is equally obvious: among those non-Asian disciples of Asian Buddhist masters, there are those who are certainly NOT failures, and who are in fact authentic treasures. Some is not all. Surely you are not trying to generalize from the particular?
Last edited by DGA on Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by DGA » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:01 am

The Cicada wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:14 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:11 pm
Astus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:41 pm
Furthermore, the point that is still left unaddressed is that a recommendation is not a requirement.
The Śūraṅgama-samādhi Sūtra states:

Those who seek the Dharma must rely on a virtuous mentor.

The Jayamati Sūtra states:

Those who desire the Dharma should rely on a virtuous mentor.

The Nirvana Sūtra states:

Son of a good family, all sentient beings are just the same — without serving a virtuous mentor, they will not perceive the nature of the Buddha.

And:

Those who do not know how to serve the virtuous mentor will not know the very secret tathāgatgarbha.

And:

One who does not rely on a virtuous mentor is a person who has not entered into the teaching of the Bhagavan Buddha, called "one with perverted craving." Such a person cannot be cured by the Bhagavan Buddha.

As I said, it is an imperative, not an option.
If I were less honest, with others and myself, I might simply brush these quotes off as ecumenical classism inserted into the scriptures.
If you find the idea of making such a claim beneath your dignity, then why did you bring it up? Does this seem even plausible to you?
But this is the Age of the Degenerate Dharma. Seeing the way that some are willing to warp the Dharma to suit their own politics and proclivities regarding other issues, I'm more than confident that the doctrine of the "transmission through the Sutra scrolls" is correct for the present day. The teacher is the teaching itself.
Two non sequiturs ^^^. First: Yes, there are those who go around in circles, convinced their creative renderings of Buddhist teachings are of value, as discussed already. How does it follow that a doctrine of the "transmission through the Sutra scrolls" is correct for the present day? Second: What does it mean that "the teacher is the teaching itself" when you displace the teacher with what appears to be a cult of the book, based on the thin description you have given so far?

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by DGA » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:15 am

Since the Lotus Sutra has been brought up as an example...

One of my favorite passages in Buddhist literature is the parable in Chapter Four, the lost son of the rich man who comes home not recognizing himself or his home. It's an obvious parable of the relation between the master and disciple. The master creates a situation in which the disciple comes to realize that he has the keys to the castle within himself--that ultimately his nature is identical to the master's. It's not a parable of someone interacting with a book, or venerating the written word. It's earthier and more prosaic than that. It's a parable of someone using the body (in this case shoveling shit) to actualize oral teachings given in an ordinary meat-space environment (a farm).

It seems to me that if one takes one's inspiration from this particular sutra, one will not exactly resist the imperatives that come with a teacher-disciple relationship.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by srivijaya » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:08 pm

Modern UK Dharma centers can be a good place to start in one's quest for a teacher :smile:
UK D-C.jpg
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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Simon E. » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:25 pm

What precisely is the motivation behind this post?
Taking advantage of a temporary situation. Back for a short time only folks.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by srivijaya » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:54 pm

What do you imagine it is?

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Simon E. » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:09 pm

My imagination falls short. Perhaps you could share your thinking with us?
Taking advantage of a temporary situation. Back for a short time only folks.

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Re: Yes, you need a teacher.

Post by Astus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:23 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:11 pm
The Nirvana Sūtra states:
Son of a good family, all sentient beings are just the same — without serving a virtuous mentor, they will not perceive the nature of the Buddha.
And:
Those who do not know how to serve the virtuous mentor will not know the very secret tathāgatgarbha.
And:
One who does not rely on a virtuous mentor is a person who has not entered into the teaching of the Bhagavan Buddha, called "one with perverted craving." Such a person cannot be cured by the Bhagavan Buddha.
Yes, that's more along the line of what I thought of as a requirement, a necessity.

"By not being able to get close to a good spiritual advisor, despite the fact [that each of them] has the buddha-nature, they cannot see it.
...
Like the athlete in the story who bemoaned the loss of his jewel when it was in fact inside his body, living beings are in a similar situation. Because they do not know how to approach a good spiritual advisor, they remain unaware of the hidden treasury that is the tathāgatagarbha, and they study and practice the doctrine of nonself. This is analogous to the mundane person who asserts the existence of self but does not understand the true nature of self. My disciples may also be like this. Because they do not know how to approach a good spiritual advisor, they study and put into practice the doctrine of nonself but they, too, do not understand the point of [the doctrine of] nonself. And if they do not understand the true nature of nonself, then how could they understand the true nature of self?"

(Nirvana Sutra, BDK ed, vol 1, p 231)

Apparently the Pratyutpannasamadhi Sutra has significantly more to say about teachers than the Surangamasamadhi or even the Nirvana Sutra.

"If this bodhisattva regards his teacher as he would regard the Buddha, he will master the meditation quickly. If he does not honor his good teacher, if he is disrespectful to his good teacher and imposes upon him, then even if he studies this meditation for a long time, keeps it for a long time, and practices it for a long time, if he does not honor his good teacher he will quickly lose it. ...
This bodhisattva should regard as a buddha whatever monk, nun, layman, or laywoman from whom he hears this meditation, and he should venerate the place where he hears the meditation."

(BDK ed, p 46; also on p 29)

The sutra also has advice for lay men and women (p 50-52), stating that "he should always have great love for his good teacher" and a "laywoman should always honor her good teachers", but there are also other things they should do. A layman: "he should not drink wine or give it to other people to drink; he should not have intercourse with women—neither should he himself do so, nor should he advise other people to do so; he should not have any affection for his wife and children; he should not long for sons and daughters; he should not long for property; he should always think longingly of abandoning [household life] and undertaking the life of an ascetic; he should always maintain the eightfold fast and for the duration of the fast he should always keep the fast at a Buddhist monastery;" And a laywoman: "she should not take any notice of lucky days; she should not be flirtatious; she should not be unrestrained; and she should not have desires."

Further clarifications on the requirement to have a teacher and the service provided to them:

"they should first honor and serve their good teachers and regard them as buddhas, and only then should they recite this meditation."
(p 85)

"Bhadrapāla, any bodhisattvas who, hearing of this meditation, wish to go to that place and hear and strive for this meditation, should serve their teachers for ten years or one hundred years; they should make them offerings and venerate them totally. These bodhisattvas should not be self serving but should follow their teachers’ teaching. They should always be grateful to their teachers."
(p 97)

"Setting aside these offerings, which are simply not worth mentioning, you should always cut off your own flesh and offer it to the good teacher; you should never begrudge him your person, much less anything else. You should serve the good teacher just as a slave serves his master. Those who seek this meditation should know this. Having mastered this meditation they should hold fast to it and always be grateful to their teachers."
(p 101-102)
As I said, it is an imperative, not an option.
conebeckham wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:20 am
Im-per-a-tive.
Adjective 1.Of vital importance; crucial. 2. Giving an authoritative command; imperative.
Noun An essential or Urgent thing.
Sounds necessary to me.
The difference I mean is like between "do not be lustful" and "no lustful mind can attain absorption", or in this case: "one should have a teacher" and "cannot be done without a teacher".
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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