Bliss in Zen (sukha)

jake
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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by jake » Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:33 pm

jundo cohen wrote:PS - Ours is a "way beyond words and letters". Some interesting research on the origins of this phrase in recent years. Radicals would burn all the Sutras and Commentaries before reading them, but most (like Dogen) would read them first then "burn them " (figuratively if not literally). The point is not to be ignorant of traditional Mahayana doctrine, but not to be imprisoned by it, to expose its juice by bending it into almost unrecognizable sometimes iconoclasic or seemingly heretical forms, and to leap free.
I find this quote you mention above quite interesting. It reminded me of a passage I read recently in Kukai On the Philosophy of Language. In Sho-ji-jisso gi (The Meanings of Sound, Letter, and Reality), Kukai writes:
Kukai wrote:"The teaching of the Tathagata is inevitably based on letters.(Note 1) The essence of letters is found in the six sense objects. At the root of the six sense objects are the three mysteries of the Dharmakaya Buddha. The equally-shared three mysteries pervade the dharmadhatu and are eternal. The five-fold wisom and the fourfold Dharmakaya encompass the tenfold world with nothing left out."[trans. Dreitlein]
I provide the quote above as a bit of reference for the Note 1 which, inter alia, cites Kumarajiva's translation of the Vimlakirtinirdesa
Vimlakirtinirdesa wrote:"Letters all have the mark of liberation. Why is that? Liberation is not inside, not outside, no in between the two. Letters are also not inside, not outside, nor in between the two. For that reason, Sariputra, liberation is taught without leaving behind letters. Why is that? because all dharmas have the mark of liberation." [trans. Dreitlein]
Sorry for being off topic. I wanted to raise this in hope it spurs some discussion elsewhere on the quote made above that Soto Zen is a way beyond words and letters.

Jake
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dharmagoat
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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by dharmagoat » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:12 pm

The language of Zen
Is the finger pointing at the moon.
How rude to point!

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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by dharmagoat » Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:25 pm

What moon?

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jundo cohen
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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by jundo cohen » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:57 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote: We all believe Samsara and Nirvana are indivisible etc., it's just that conventional language is necessary sometimes. So really, what you are questioning is my language, and claiming this shows I'm not "getting" some subtle thing about Zen, simply because I'm willing to conventionally use terms which are opposites, not exactly something strange, and I don't see how it's a substantive criticism of anything I wrote, rather than just a (frankly petty) stylistic one.
Yes, that is what I am doing, and that is why all the discussing of Zen here by non-Zen practitioners is extremely misleading, especially to newcomers who may come to a thread like this looking for information on Zen. As I showed above, although there is so much in common, those small points (even if you do not recognize it) make subtle but important (to us Zen folks anyway) differences in approach, even though there are many shared doctrines.

It is much as if I were to hand similar tomatoes and potatoes, cream, salt and pepper and other spices to a find French chef and to my mother, asking them to cook their "tomato soup". While both surely would produce a soup of tomatoes, and the French chef's way would undoubtedly be delicious, only mom's cooking is mom's cooking. That cannot be found elsewhere.

I think when folks who are not Zen Practitioners come here and sell their interpretations of Zen soup, or their version of Mom's Zen cooking, they are doing a serious disservice to new and interested participants who might come here looking for legitimate information on Zen Practice, Teachings and Beliefs from actual Zen Practioners ... not people with (in their view) "identical" beliefs or people who left without inspiration in the Practice decades ago. That is a real shame, and a great disservice to those people looking to come here to find information, and to discuss, Zen without encountering instead an army of non-Zen practitioners offering their own outsiders' opinions on where the Zenny folks are wrong or misunderstand their own religious views.

It is much as if I were to go to the Nichiren thread or the Tendai thread and tell them where they do not understand their own Practices, Teachings and Beliefs because, although I am not a Nichiren Practioner and left decades ago without being inspired by their Ways, my ways are "identical" and I can tell them where they are wrong in understanding their own beliefs.

Shame. I suggest that you stick to your own delicious, and undoubtedly skilfully made, bowl of soup and leave us to ours. Only mom is mom.

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundo cohen on Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Astus
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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by Astus » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:07 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:once it has become a "style" to adhere to, or a set of things to not do, it has lost it's original purpose entirely.
It's easy to repeat words and forget the meaning. Has always been like that. See this one from Fayan Wenyi (885-958):

"But when it came to continuation, their descendants maintained sects and factionalized their ancestries. Not basing themselves on reality, eventually they produced many sidetracks, contradicting and clashing with one another, so that the profound and the shallow became indistinguishable.

Unfortunately, they still do not realize that the Great Way takes no sides; streams of truth are all of the same flavor. These sectarians spread embellishments in empty space and stick needles in iron and stone, taking disputation for superknowledge and lip-flapping for meditation. Sword-points of approval and disapproval arise, and mountains of egotism toward others stand tall. In their anger they become monsters, their views and interpretations ultimately turning them into outsiders. Unless they meet good friends, they will hardly be able to get out of the harbor of delusion. They bring on bad results, even from good causes."

(Ten Guidelines for Zen Schools)
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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jundo cohen
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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by jundo cohen » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:17 pm

Astus wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:once it has become a "style" to adhere to, or a set of things to not do, it has lost it's original purpose entirely.
It's easy to repeat words and forget the meaning. Has always been like that. See this one from Fayan Wenyi (885-958):

"But when it came to continuation, their descendants maintained sects and factionalized their ancestries. Not basing themselves on reality, eventually they produced many sidetracks, contradicting and clashing with one another, so that the profound and the shallow became indistinguishable.


Hi Astus,

And Fayan Wenyi, while criticizing other Zen and Buddhist flavors a plenty, also recognized that differences exist and each should exist side by side, like a great Buffet of Buddhism, recognizing difference by existing in harmony.

Take the example of the manner of the House of Ts’ao-Tung: they have the relative and absolute, light and darkness. The Lin-chi have host and guest, substance and function. Although their provisional teachings are not the same, their bloodlines commune. There is not one that does not include the others; when mobilized, all are mustered. It is also like Contemplation of the Realm of Reality, which discusses both noumenal principle and phenomenal fact, refuting both inherent solidity and voidness.

...

The Ts’ao-Tung has “knocking and calling out” for its function, the Lin-chi has “interchange” for its working; Yunmen “contains, covers, and cuts off the flows”; while the Kuei-Yang silently matches square and round. Like a valley echoing melodies, like matching talismans at a pass, although they are different in their manners, that does not inhibit their fluid integration.

In recent generations, Zen teachers have lost the basis; students have no guidance. They match wits egotistically and take what is ephemeral for an attainment. Where is the heart to guide others? No longer do we hear of knowledge to destroy falsehood. Caning and shouting at random, they say they have studied Te-shan and Lin-chi; presenting circular symbols to each other, they claim they have deeply understood Kuei-shan and Yang-shan.

Since they do not handle the all-embracing source in their answers, how can they know the essential eye in their actions? They fool the young and deceive the sagacious. Truly they bring on the laughter of objective observers and call calamity upon their present state. This is why the Overnight Illuminate said, “If you do not want to incur hellish karma, do not slander the Buddha’s true teaching.”

People like this cannot be all told of. They just leave their teachers’ heritage without any insight of their own. Having no basis upon which to rely, their restless consciousness is unclear. They are only to be pitied, but it is hard to inform them of this.

...

Whoever would bring out the vehicle of Zen and cite the doctrines of the Teaching must first understand what the Buddha meant, then accord with the mind of Zen masters. Only after that can you bring them up and put them into practice, comparing degrees of closeness.

If, in contrast, you do not know the doctrines and principles but just stick to a sectarian methodology, when you adduce proofs readily but wrongly, you will bring slander and criticism on yourself.

Yet the canon of sutras is nothing but pointing out tracks; the complete all-at-once Higher Vehicle is just like a signpost. Even if you can understand a hundred thousand concentrations and countless doctrines and methods, you only increase your own toil and do not get at the issue.

What is more, comprehending the provisional and returning to the absolute, gathering the outgrowths back to the source, not admitting a single atom in the realm of absolute purity while not rejecting anything in the methodology of enlightened activity, inevitably deciding the case on the basis of the facts, getting to the substance and removing the complications, has no connection whatsoever with the source of Zen.

There are many great people who are experts in the scriptures, real devotees of broad knowledge of the ancients, who flaunt their eloquence like sharp blades and set forth their wealth of learning like stocks in a storehouse; when they get here, they must be taught to be still and silent, so that the road of speech cannot be extended. Finding that all their memorization of words and phrases has been an account of others’ treasures, for the first time they will believe in the specialty of Zen, which is the separate transmission outside of doctrine.


http://terebess.hu/zen/fayan.html#a2

... the specialty of Zen, which is the separate transmission outside of doctrine.

Gassho, J
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Astus
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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by Astus » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:34 pm

jundo cohen wrote:... the specialty of Zen, which is the separate transmission outside of doctrine.
It's buddha to buddha, mind to mind. Not a transmission of words and methods. The skilful means of a bodhisattva comes from wisdom. Wisdom comes from seeing appearances to be unborn. Seeing comes from understanding. Understanding comes from clear explanations. The clarity of explanations depend on the flexibility of the teachers, the efficient use of skilful means. If "Zen style" works, good. If it creates confusion and distrust, it is not good at all.
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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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:16 pm

I think when folks who are not Zen Practitioners come here and sell their interpretations of Zen soup, or their version of Mom's Zen cooking, they are doing a serious disservice to new and interested participants who might come here looking for legitimate information on Zen Practice, Teachings and Beliefs from actual Zen Practioners ... not people with (in their view) "identical" beliefs or people who left without inspiration in the Practice decades ago. That is a real shame, and a great disservice to those people looking to come here to find information, and to discuss, Zen without encountering instead an army of non-Zen practitioners offering their own outsiders' opinions on where the Zenny folks are wrong or misunderstand their own religious views.
Actually, in many places the conversation diverged into more of a friendly comparison of traditions, something that could have been positive, but your reflexive reactions cut that off. I submit that you are more concerned about your interpretation of Zen being presented than you are Zen people having a place to discuss Zen.

From my perspective, there have been no real positive claims of anything on my part (or SDs earlier) than that ther eis some real similarity between mediation instructions. On the other hand, you have had ample opportunity to explain where I am wrong, and how Zen is subtly different (which I don't deny) but have so far presented only some confusing arguments about "Zen language" that I asked for clarification on. No answer so far, unless this general complaint about me (and whoever else) is your answer.
Shame. I suggest that you stick to your own delicious, and undoubtedly skilfully made, bowl of soup and leave us to ours. Only mom is mom.
Nope, i'll follow the conversations I like, and unless I'm actually putting down Zen (rather than your claims about it, which is not the same thing), I have every right to do so. I'm sorry if that interrupts your efforts at recruitment or homogenizing the Zen section to line up with your personal take on it, but that's how it seems to be.

Also, many people here have background across different traditions, so hanging out in an area which is not one's main practice is not a bad thing sometimes. If other people feel i'm being somehow insulting to Zen, I invite them to PM me because I'd actually like to know. If what it really comes down to is that you are uncomfortable with me though, sorry, I feel you can deal with that.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by White Lotus » Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:28 pm

bliss has the quality of gold. it is beautiful and very stable... hence perhaps the buddhas golden colour. it comes at a stage in ones practice, though like the energising of the energy channels in the body probably rarely lasts more than two or three days. very beautiful, but a perk of practice; not practice itself. it should be relinquished because it is very sticky. if we were all in bliss nothing would be done, we would just sit still for hours doing nothing in particular!

by relinquishing bliss one can channel the energy into progress towards enlightenment.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.

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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by Grigoris » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:26 pm

jundo cohen wrote:It is much as if I were to hand similar tomatoes and potatoes, cream, salt and pepper and other spices to a find French chef and to my mother, asking them to cook their "tomato soup". While both surely would produce a soup of tomatoes, and the French chef's way would undoubtedly be delicious, only mom's cooking is mom's cooking. That cannot be found elsewhere.
'ccept that there is only one ingredient, Tathagatagarbha, cooked by the mom of all moms, Prajnaparamita.

Fortunately for us, no amount of sectarian nonsense can cover up that fact.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by jundo cohen » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:33 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
jundo cohen wrote:It is much as if I were to hand similar tomatoes and potatoes, cream, salt and pepper and other spices to a find French chef and to my mother, asking them to cook their "tomato soup". While both surely would produce a soup of tomatoes, and the French chef's way would undoubtedly be delicious, only mom's cooking is mom's cooking. That cannot be found elsewhere.
'ccept that there is only one ingredient, Tathagatagarbha, cooked by the mom of all moms, Prajnaparamita.
Yes, you are absolutely right. However, the absolute is realized and approached in various ways by various seekers walking varied paths. Perhaps no two people realize such in precisely the same way, perhaps even Christians and Jews and atheists seek to know and express such in their own ways too. Many beautiful ways for many beautiful people.

From the Genjo ...

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.

Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.


The moon is reflected in Chef Pierre's bowl and mom's bowl. :smile: All delicious.

Gassho, J
Last edited by jundo cohen on Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Grigoris
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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by Grigoris » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:44 pm

jundo cohen wrote:The moon is reflected in Chef Pierre's bowl and mom's bowl. :smile:
Of course you completely misunderstood what I said, but you are entitled to do so.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Bliss in Zen (sukha)

Post by AlexMcLeod » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:36 am

Hahaha!
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.


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