Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

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Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Queequeg » Fri May 27, 2016 6:58 pm

A new book by Prof. Brook Ziporyn has just been published:

Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

https://books.google.com/books?id=WYD_CwAAQBAJ&dq

Looks promising!
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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Iconodule » Fri May 27, 2016 7:39 pm

Here's something I wondered- how pronounced is Tiantai as a specific school in Chinese Buddhism today? Are there actually teachers/ monasteries explicitly advocating the Tiantai approach?
Enter eagerly into the treasure house that lies within you, and so you will see the treasure house of heaven. For the two are the same, and there is but on single entry to them both. The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - Saint Isaac of Syria

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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Queequeg » Fri May 27, 2016 7:52 pm

my sense is that if there is, its a revival.

IIRC, Cheguan, a Korean monk who authored the Outline of the Fourfold Teachings was brought to China in the 10th c. to help revive Tiantai that had already been lost at that point.
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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Iconodule » Fri May 27, 2016 8:59 pm

I suppose it's not like an esoteric transmission, that is, anyone who wants can read the tiantai treatises and teach/ practice from them today.
Enter eagerly into the treasure house that lies within you, and so you will see the treasure house of heaven. For the two are the same, and there is but on single entry to them both. The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - Saint Isaac of Syria

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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Queequeg » Fri May 27, 2016 10:50 pm

Iconodule wrote:I suppose it's not like an esoteric transmission, that is, anyone who wants can read the tiantai treatises and teach/ practice from them today.


There is a good question there.
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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Iconodule » Sat May 28, 2016 12:08 am

Now that I think about, I remember Ven Hsing Yun's book Only a Great Rain had some Tiantai methods in it. Not so much teaching Tiantai as a school but taking it for granted as part of Chinese Buddhism.
Enter eagerly into the treasure house that lies within you, and so you will see the treasure house of heaven. For the two are the same, and there is but on single entry to them both. The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - Saint Isaac of Syria

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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat May 28, 2016 12:23 am

Iconodule wrote:Here's something I wondered- how pronounced is Tiantai as a specific school in Chinese Buddhism today? Are there actually teachers/ monasteries explicitly advocating the Tiantai approach?


It seems to me that the answer lies in Chinese...

There are two outstanding Tiantai teachers (teacher and disciple) mentioned in English:

Dixian Guxu 諦閑古虛 (1858-1932)
Tanxu 倓虚 (1875-1963),there's also a book on his life Heart of Buddha, Heart of China

It should also be noted that anyone can study and practice any school of Buddhism within a monastery, so there is no need for organisations like Fo Guan Shan or Dharma Drum Mountain to call themselves Tiantai, or anything in particular for that matter.
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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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat May 28, 2016 12:24 am

Iconodule wrote:Now that I think about, I remember Ven Hsing Yun's book Only a Great Rain had some Tiantai methods in it. Not so much teaching Tiantai as a school but taking it for granted as part of Chinese Buddhism.


Exactly. If you look into Shengyan's Orthodox Chinese Buddhism, you will find Tiantai teachings there as well.
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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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Queequeg » Sat May 28, 2016 1:04 am

Iconodule wrote: Tiantai methods

Astus wrote:Tiantai teachings


I'm curious what these terms refer to...
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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sat May 28, 2016 10:06 am

Queequeg wrote:
Iconodule wrote: Tiantai methods

Astus wrote:Tiantai teachings


I'm curious what these terms refer to...


As an example, Shengyan uses the five identities to explain the stages of enlightenment in relation to buddha-nature and sudden awakening. Thich Thanh Tu in Keys to Buddhism gives the six stages of breath meditation as the gradual method. Ting Chen in The Fundamentals of Meditation Practice describes the six gates with breath meditation and outlines the basics of Mohezhiguan. Does that make them Tiantai teachers?

Dongyang Dehui's collection of Pure Rules (BDK edition: Baizhang Zen Monastic Regulations) contains a manual for zazen (p 255-257), and there it is recommended, besides the Surangama Sutra and Zongmi's 18 volume Manual of Procedures for the Cultivation and Realization of Ritual Practice according to the Scripture of Perfect Enlightenment (圓覺經道場修證儀), it is Zhiyi's zhiguan manual. So, from this we can see as well that there are no strict boundaries and no strong sectarian identities in Chinese Buddhism usually.
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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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Queequeg » Sun May 29, 2016 2:37 pm

Astus wrote:As an example, Shengyan uses the five identities to explain the stages of enlightenment in relation to buddha-nature and sudden awakening. Thich Thanh Tu in Keys to Buddhism gives the six stages of breath meditation as the gradual method. Ting Chen in The Fundamentals of Meditation Practice describes the six gates with breath meditation and outlines the basics of Mohezhiguan. Does that make them Tiantai teachers?


I don't know enough about this to say... though I would point out, teaching some Tiantai theory or methods does not make one a Tiantai teacher.

Dongyang Dehui's collection of Pure Rules (BDK edition: Baizhang Zen Monastic Regulations) contains a manual for zazen (p 255-257), and there it is recommended, besides the Surangama Sutra and Zongmi's 18 volume Manual of Procedures for the Cultivation and Realization of Ritual Practice according to the Scripture of Perfect Enlightenment (圓覺經道場修證儀), it is Zhiyi's zhiguan manual. So, from this we can see as well that there are no strict boundaries and no strong sectarian identities in Chinese Buddhism usually.


I don't know if your comment about sectarianism in China is a comment limited to the scope of the modern period, but I think you're over stating the case if you're commenting on Chinese Buddhism generally.

The Tiantai schools definitely had a self conscious identity, and I think the same can be said of Huayan. IIRC, in the Tang and Sung, sectarian identities were common - this is the Buddhism that was transmitted to Japan and is the reason Japanese Buddhism is characterized by sectarianism (though modern ideas of sectarianism are very different that what they had through the medieval period.) Zhiyi's writings contain extensive criticism of other schools - his Four Teachings is more or less a means of critiquing various interpretations of emptiness, and Mohozhikuan says some remarkable things that I believe some would have great difficult accepting. Zhiyi won patronage by winning a debate against representatives of Northern and Southern schools. His example was followed by other Tiantai masters, especially Zhanran who is considered a great champion of Tiantai.

My point stands - if there is a Tiantai school in China now, its a revival, not a continuous lineage. To my knowledge there is no line of abbots at Mt. Tiantai claiming a continuous lineage back to Zhiyi.

I'm not trying to refute your claims, btw, just emphasizing I don't think we're talking about the same things.
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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Iconodule » Sun May 29, 2016 2:51 pm

Japanese sectarianism had a lot more to do with the way the government required every sect to be registered independently. Sects would vie for patronage and were assigned a quota for ordinands.

The Chinese schools could be argumentative but the boundaries were not so firm and not a matter of law.
Enter eagerly into the treasure house that lies within you, and so you will see the treasure house of heaven. For the two are the same, and there is but on single entry to them both. The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your soul. Dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which you are to ascend. - Saint Isaac of Syria

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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Queequeg » Sun May 29, 2016 3:19 pm

Iconodule wrote:Japanese sectarianism had a lot more to do with the way the government required every sect to be registered independently. Sects would vie for patronage and were assigned a quota for ordinands.

The Chinese schools could be argumentative but the boundaries were not so firm and not a matter of law.


Japanese sects were indeed more fluid through the medieval period. That's what I was referring to in the parenthetical.
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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sun May 29, 2016 8:40 pm

8
Queequeg wrote:The Tiantai schools definitely had a self conscious identity, and I think the same can be said of Huayan. IIRC, in the Tang and Sung, sectarian identities were common - this is the Buddhism that was transmitted to Japan and is the reason Japanese Buddhism is characterized by sectarianism (though modern ideas of sectarianism are very different that what they had through the medieval period.)


I think it's difficult to do justice to how Buddhism functioned in China, because in Buddhist studies the Japanese model of distinct schools has a strong influence. For instance, neither a Huayan, nor a Pure Land school existed in China. Even talking about a Chan school before the Song is complicated. As for Tiantai, I have not really looked into its history.

My point stands - if there is a Tiantai school in China now, its a revival, not a continuous lineage. To my knowledge there is no line of abbots at Mt. Tiantai claiming a continuous lineage back to Zhiyi.


I could find you two monks connected with a living Tiantai lineage. There could be more of course, but there's practically nothing in English.

Sik Kok Kwong (1919–2014)
Mingzhe 明哲大师 (1925-2012), 45th patriarch, a disciple and heir of Tanxu (source 1, 2).
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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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Queequeg » Sun May 29, 2016 10:00 pm

Astus wrote:
My point stands - if there is a Tiantai school in China now, its a revival, not a continuous lineage. To my knowledge there is no line of abbots at Mt. Tiantai claiming a continuous lineage back to Zhiyi.


I could find you two monks connected with a living Tiantai lineage. There could be more of course, but there's practically nothing in English.

Sik Kok Kwong (1919–2014)
Mingzhe 明哲大师 (1925-2012), 45th patriarch, a disciple and heir of Tanxu (source 1, 2).


That is very interesting...

Though you realize that by pointing out a continuous lineage, you're kind of bearing out that at least Tiantai school has a self conscious identity... which is at least one exception to the rule you seem to be overstating.

I'm not arguing that Chinese Buddhism has had anything resembling modern era Japanese sectarian distinctions. Neither did the Japanese. But to suggest that Chinese Buddhism is and always has been an ecumenical melange within a common monastic system is also not true.

See "Buddhism in the Sung." for an interesting treatment of Tiantai in particular in the Sung. Zhili most definitely saw Tiantai as a distinct school and he worked hard to establish exclusively Tiantai monasteries and temples...
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Re: Emptiness and Omnipresence: An Essential Introduction to Tiantai Buddhism

Postby Astus » Mon May 30, 2016 9:47 am

Queequeg wrote:Though you realize that by pointing out a continuous lineage, you're kind of bearing out that at least Tiantai school has a self conscious identity... which is at least one exception to the rule you seem to be overstating.


Tiantai came up with the lineage idea even before Chan, so I would not say that it lacks a sense of identity. However, the extent and meaning of that identity is another matter. For instance, my source 1 for Mingzhe is a lineage of the current abbot of Guanhaisi (a temple in Dalian). However, abbot Yihui is not only the 46th ancestor of Tiantai, but also the 46th of Linji and the 49th of Caodong. And as for what sort of instructions he gives to people is another matter. Just consider how Ven. Xingyun is a member of the Linji lineage, but Foguangshan is primarily a school of Humanistic Buddhism, and as such they include all 8 schools of Chinese Buddhism.

But to suggest that Chinese Buddhism is and always has been an ecumenical melange within a common monastic system is also not true.


That's not exactly what I meant. Certainly, individual monks and certain groups formed a type of affiliation with specific teachings and practices, and from that emerged an identity. However, the monastic system is bigger than a few literati monastics arguing about abstract ideas. Before the establishment of the public monastery system in the Song dynasty, inheritance was a matter of tonsure lineage, not association with any school. And when the public monasteries were fixed to lineages (Chan, Jiao (teaching), Lu (Vinaya)), it also meant stronger state control, and the fight for sponsorship, hence the sectarian outlook. (source: How Zen Became Zen, p 37-40) However, I don't see how that would account for what appeared in Japan, since the Tendai and Shingon schools were set up before that, and then there was the appearance of independent Pure Land schools, something unique to Japan, and not an influence from China. Rather, it seems to me that the Japanese state exerted a stronger control over Buddhism than the Chinese central administration; but it could be something else as well.
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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