Meido wrote: ↑
Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:26 am
It doesn't make sense to seek out lineages, methods, styles and so on, and certainly not to choose a teacher based on them. This is because the path is actualized within human relationship with a teacher with whom one shares affinity. One should therefore just seek one's shisho
, the teacher (of any tradition) with whom one has deep affinity, and take that relationship as the foundation of one's path and the source
of lineages, methods, and the rest. To seek a teacher based
on those things rather than affinity is exactly backwards.
In Zen this ties into what is meant by "transmission outside the scriptures, not dependent on words and letters": the lifeblood of the path is realized within face to face human relationship, that is, within the ba
("field") of the teacher. It is also related to what is meant by "direct pointing at the mind" as the function of the teacher.
That sounds to be the very opposite of one of the four reliances: "Rely on the teaching rather than the person."
(Nirvana Sutra, 4.3, BDK ed, p 193; 大般涅槃經
, also Vimalakirti Sutra ch 13 維摩詰所說經
), that Nagarjuna explains as "Relying on the truth in itself is keeping to the twelve categories of texts and not keeping to the authority of a person."
(MPPS, ch 15, tr Lamotte-Chodron, p 425; 大智度論
). Mipham explains this point in the following manner: "No matter what kind of person a teacher is, he cannot purify or liberate you. If the teaching he gives is truly meaningful, it is proper to adhere to it. But if it is not meaningful, it is improper to adhere to it. Thus, one should not rely on the person but on the teaching."
(Gateway to Knowledge, vol 3, p 123) Shengyan talked in a similar fashion: "If their views of the Dharma are correct, then even if their behavior reveals some weaknesses, they should not be considered false masters. On the other hand, if teachers do not have a correct view of the Dharma, they cannot be considered authentic or virtuous masters."
(Zen Wisdom, p 27
In light of the above, why would the person be the most important in Zen?