Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

DGA
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by DGA » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:48 pm

Lindama wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:54 am
walk in my shoes... then, tell me that. As far as I know in zen, ordinary mind is not judgemental mind.... not even close
Bruce wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:02 am
Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality
Rely on the meaning, not just on the words
Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgemental mind
These were taught by the Buddha in sutras such as the Sutra of the Teaching of Akshayamati and the Sutra of the Questions of the Naga King Anavatapta. They are commented upon in works such as Asanga's Stages of Spiritual Practice.
Hi Lindama,

I must admit I'm a bit confused by your post. Two questions for you:

What is the difference between "ordinary mind" and "judgmental mind"? It seems to me that judgement is something that the ordinary mind does all day long: like and dislike, hope and fear, attraction and aversion...

I also don't understand what it is about Bruce's post that you disagree with.

Thanks in advance for setting me straight.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by bokki » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:47 am

Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality
Rely on the meaning, not just on the words
Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgemental mind
i have no idea who thinks what of this
but ill go trough it 4 u
"rely on.."
"do not rely on anything.."
what a bunch of confused ideas..
meaning, real meaning, wisdom mind..

LOL cant u just keep it simple?
lol philosophers!
think it up!
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10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
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Lindama
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Lindama » Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:33 am

DGA, don't know if I can "set you straight"... all I can try to do is tell you what I see. I hope I can articulate this....

first point, really the only point, since everything follows this. In zen, ordinary mind is not associated with what we would call ordinary in this so-called samsaric everyday world. This is not a belief, it must be felt. So, as I said below: "ordinary mind is not judgemental mind... not even close." Ordinary in zen is not related to being an ordinary Joe with ordinary bias and opinions just like everybody else. That idea is egoic in priding itself in it's universal delusion... like a club. it's all sorting in the mind. Look at the sorting in the quote below. even wisdom, tho I prefer it, is a form of sorting.

Ordinary mind in zen sinks into the immediacy, the intimacy, the suchness of life, of things just as they are. Ordinariness which doesn't move the mind into separation, into sorting thru what I like and don't like.... just like a walk in the woods when there is nothing to throw us into duality.
I've begun to forget the zennisms about this except "ordinary mind is the way".... thus you get my articulation above. But, I can never forget the heart opening of ordinary mind. it's not free from thought necessarily, it is free from separation, thus our story about it. So ordinary mind doesn't rely on separations such as meaning or words, teacher or message. If anything, wisdom mind is ordinary mind.... but saying it makes it irrelevant.

best I can do... one can walk in my shoes and/or see it clearly for one's self. preferably the latter... the former is just an invitation.

linda

DGA wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:48 pm
Lindama wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:54 am
walk in my shoes... then, tell me that. As far as I know in zen, ordinary mind is not judgemental mind.... not even close
Bruce wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:02 am
Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality
Rely on the meaning, not just on the words
Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgemental mind
These were taught by the Buddha in sutras such as the Sutra of the Teaching of Akshayamati and the Sutra of the Questions of the Naga King Anavatapta. They are commented upon in works such as Asanga's Stages of Spiritual Practice.
Hi Lindama,

I must admit I'm a bit confused by your post. Two questions for you:

What is the difference between "ordinary mind" and "judgmental mind"? It seems to me that judgement is something that the ordinary mind does all day long: like and dislike, hope and fear, attraction and aversion...

I also don't understand what it is about Bruce's post that you disagree with.

Thanks in advance for setting me straight.
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Lindama » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:59 am

if that doesn't do it for you.... bokki said it all.... "keep it simple"

several eons ago when I was in hi-tech.... it was known as the KISS principle... keep it simple stupid. if only I had heard it then :tongue:
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:13 am

There's relative mind, then there's the ultimate nature of relative mind.

Anyway, I think one can come at it from teacher or lineage, or even simply from the basic approach, felt on a visceral level...removed from credential or lineage.

Personally for me the biggest thing was questioning and ultimately giving up on all my Dharma "shoulds", once I did that things really opened up, I found a teacher, had a fair number of doubts resolved, etc.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:28 am

Astus wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:21 pm
Meido wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:03 am
Is this controversial?
No. Thank you for the clarification.
Second that.

Also agree with Lindama’s clarification on ordinary mind.

:namaste:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by zhufawuwo » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:28 am

Such a useful thread. Thank you to Meido Roshi and all the others who have chimed in.

It's very difficult for me not to get attached to Big Concepts like Traditions or Lineages or Practices and project my own expectations and desires. The self and its workings are so strong. :crazy:

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Matylda » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:18 pm

Meido wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:26 am

Dragged.

Basically (and vis a vis the other thread where this was raised): beginning Dharma practitioners commonly seek out specific practice methods, lineages, styles, schools, cultural aspects, ideal environments, etc. that they find fascinating. In some cases their attraction to these things has roots that may be valid and deep. But in many cases, it is largely just due to their own self-referential and irrelevant notions, romanticizing, fears, comforts, and so on.

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.

Actually today I experienced an example of this kind of thing. Since Korinji will be done in the spring and our first extended retreat period will begin, i've been reviewing applications from interested persons. One of these applicants let me know today that he's actually sent applications to several Zen places simultaneously. I told him I wished I'd known that earlier, as it would have made things easier: I'd have just told him to go elsewhere.

The reason is that it means to me he is not seeking relationship with a teacher and community in order to actualize Zen. He is not engaged in the careful, patient process of examining a teacher to see if there is affinity. He is just seeking *MONASTERY*, as he imagines such places must be. In other words, he is seeking a place or environment, not a teacher.

~ Meido
I just saw this subject, did not see it for any reason.

Yes, I can only cmpletely agree with Meido. Teacher is the point, nothing else. The lineage, may be famous and grand, but if it lacks good teacher now it is only a legend.
Great masters who had appeared in the past were great not because of the lineage, but because of their personal effort and greatness. A techer may be a layman, could be monastic, may live in very obscure conditions or in a grand and impressive monastery. I hav seen may many places both in Japan and in China, which had great history, but are actually dead, living only due to their legend, but what is their main concern is money, visitors, tourists and pilgrims. But there is no spirit of living being, who can guide.

A few teachers I had met who were out of the mainstream, some living in bad conditions, small houses, and no students... or almost no students. But still they were exemplary practitioners in the sense of realisation. It is what is really important in zen practice and zen way.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by chang zhao » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:54 pm

Meido wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:05 pm
But a problem in some Zen in the West, I think, is that the centrality, indispensability, and actual function of the teacher in Zen practice is not well understood. Some of the popular books that drew many folks for various reasons don't really hit that point so strongly. Thus the widespread misconception, among others, that one can figure it all out and practice one one's own (there is a time for self-guiding, naturally: it is after a few decades, when one's teacher says so).
Often there is another problem in some Zen: people don't understand well that the central point and the source of the practice is our own heart, not "the teacher".

Buddha Shakyamuni awakened when he left his teachers and was practising on his own.

Ananda was unable to awaken while studying under Buddha; he awakened only when he dropped hopes that a teacher would lead him.

It is not the teacher but the work of the heart that connects us with the path - with methods, people, etc...

The quality of the teacher depends on the ability to participate in that work of the heart.

(The quality of the practitioner too).

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Matylda » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:21 pm

chang zhao wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:54 pm

people don't understand well that the central point and the source of the practice is our own heart, not "the teacher".
It is deep mistake for people who just start zen practice. And one is beginner mostly for a few decades... our own heart is simply only common stream of thoughts, good and bad.. there is nothing to rely on. On the other hand an experienced zen teacher has more clarity than disciple and can easily help, cut unnecessary mental involvment and direct to samadhi through manifold or simple instructions, depends on a person.'Own heart' can be only considered on readiness of disciple to undergo practice under strict guidance of a teacher. That is all one can do.

In the course of time disciple, only if attains samadhis, may develope trust in so called heart, then ok, may go on, but still needs a teacher unless reaches firm and stable realization.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Matylda » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:41 pm

chang zhao wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:54 pm

Buddha Shakyamuni awakened when he left his teachers and was practising on his own.
We are are not Shakamuni Buddha obviously. So the comparison is somehow invalid.
Another thing, it is sometimes picked up that the Buddha had no teacher and went on his own.
But teachers point to one fact, that it was last human appearrence and all his training was done before with many teachers. For example Avatamsaka Sutra teaches about it.
In zen most famous story was of the previous Buddha who was teacher of Shakyamuni, and he hid himself to push Bodhisattva into deeper realization. Due to his upset mind Bodhisattva/Shakyamuni enetered deep samadhi while watching a true for of his master and attined samadhi standing for seven days on his tiptoes, motinless, and finally realizing great awakening. It all happened thanks to deep insight of his teacher who saw that Shakyamuni should be born among humans before Maitreya.. actaully it was Maitreya who was going to come as a buddha before Shakyamuni.

Next. It is not true that Siddharta's teachers were so bad that he had to abandon them. In fact one of them as far as I remember correctly number one, taught him deep meditation and after long years of ascetic practice it was the practice to which Buddha turned finally. After anuttara samyak sambodhi he immediatly went to this teacher to tell him about all what happened, unfortunately his teacehr died jus one day before He arrived. Then he decided that tthere is no one in the world who could understand his truth and enetered samadhi for another five weeks... later on he gave his first sermon.

So even Shakyamuni benefited from teachings of his human teacher.

How we, today in 2018 are able only to follow our hearts, and play down a zen teacher? it would be more than mistake. We would misguide ourselves badly. Isn't it?

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Matylda » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:45 pm

chang zhao wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:54 pm

Ananda was unable to awaken while studying under Buddha; he awakened only when he dropped hopes that a teacher would lead him.
Ananda had still Mahakashyapa to depend on and it was Mahakashyapa whom Buddha entrusted Ananda... actually a boy with many difficulties to control his mind, as we know from mahayana sutras. And zen tradition points out in a clear way how he attained his awakening under Mahakshyapa, who was the only Buddha's disciple with whom Shakyamuni shared his seat. Ananda was not left alone by any means.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Matylda » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:50 pm

chang zhao wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:54 pm

It is not the teacher but the work of the heart that connects us with the path - with methods, people, etc...
It is rather a myth with the heart and so on. There is no heart to rely on in the first place. Determination and motivation ok, but it is still under teacher's control. Otherwise in can take easily wrong direction of self guidance. Pretty dreadful. Teacher and disciple's work is fine... but there is nothing that can surpass or exceed a real zen teacher, really nothing.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Matylda » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:56 pm

chang zhao wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:54 pm

The quality of the teacher depends on the ability to participate in that work of the heart.
No, if you mean teacher him- or herself, then not. His/her quality depends only on the depth and power of his realization. Nothing to do with heart etc. Heart is a construct, realization is selflessness, or no-self. There is nothing like this in it. Heart is misleading and can point finally to different emotins even most subtle. One maybe end up in some form realm, though I doubt it.

But if one means by heart determination coming from great faith, great doubt and great effort, then ok. such qualities one needs to have or develope. And in the course of practice rather develope, there are almost no people now who can go on their own.. we all need teachers. The realized ones.

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by clyde » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:03 pm

Must one size fit all?

This is a Zen forum and I understand that traditional forms of Zen (and other Buddhist traditions) place emphasis on a face-to-face student-teacher relationship and those forms are proven paths.

But the goal of Zen (and all Buddhist traditions) is awakening and living in accord with the Dharma. I don’t believe there is one path or requirement . . . except being a living sentient being.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Crazywisdom » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:59 pm

In the case of vajrayana a master has to be skilled in the creation of mandalas and conferring empowerments, which means he or she has to be skilled in the practice of the tantras, which are books about methods.
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Astus » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:15 pm

clyde wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:03 pm
Must one size fit all?
One size must fit all, otherwise there is no path. It is rather a matter of what size one imagines there.
But the goal of Zen (and all Buddhist traditions) is awakening and living in accord with the Dharma.
There is actually no rule that one has to train under a specific teacher for a specific length of time in Zen in order to attain awakening. It is a fairly individual matter how long it takes for a person to realise that there is nothing to gain nor to lose. Nor is it said that one should simply settle with the first person that looks like what one imagines a teacher to be. Furthermore, following a teacher is no guarantee for anything.
But(!), there can be, and likely is, a huge amount of misconception about Buddhism in anyone's head who is just getting to know it. A proper teacher is really a convenient way to learn, just as becoming a member of a community is similarly beneficial. While in the end it is up to each person to develop the factors of enlightenment, it can hardly happen without being clear about what they are and how to make them come about.
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: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by seeker242 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:55 pm

Matylda wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:21 pm
chang zhao wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:54 pm

people don't understand well that the central point and the source of the practice is our own heart, not "the teacher".
It is deep mistake for people who just start zen practice. And one is beginner mostly for a few decades... our own heart is simply only common stream of thoughts, good and bad.. there is nothing to rely on. On the other hand an experienced zen teacher has more clarity than disciple and can easily help, cut unnecessary mental involvment and direct to samadhi through manifold or simple instructions, depends on a person.'Own heart' can be only considered on readiness of disciple to undergo practice under strict guidance of a teacher. That is all one can do.

In the course of time disciple, only if attains samadhis, may develope trust in so called heart, then ok, may go on, but still needs a teacher unless reaches firm and stable realization.
Sure, but at the same time, the teacher ultimately can't save you. And it's a mistake to think they can regardless if one is a beginner or not. Pretty sure that's what chang zhao was alluding to. At least that how I read it. A teacher is merely a guide, not a savior. If they could save you, they just would and then there would be no need to practice anything. One could easily say the source of our practice is our "own heart", or whatever you want to call it, because the teacher obviously can't do the practice for you. That is up to you and you alone.
Last edited by seeker242 on Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by clyde » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:58 pm

There’s no argument that a skillful teacher is a benefit to a practitioner.

Based on my experience and observations, more practitioners have benefited from belonging to a sangha than from following a teacher. And even the Buddha is reported to have said,
Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: Dont follow a lineage (etc.), follow a teacher

Post by Matylda » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:30 am

clyde wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:58 pm
There’s no argument that a skillful teacher is a benefit to a practitioner.

Based on my experience and observations, more practitioners have benefited from belonging to a sangha than from following a teacher. And even the Buddha is reported to have said,
Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Unless one will not meet a true teacher, a group of practitionrs could be a help. Ultimately without teacher there is no zen practice.. one can check for example in Gakudo yojin shu by Dogen zenji.
I think that most people simply did not meet a true zen teacher. Therefore they depend on their personal views about practice, which are often far off zen. Zazen if without guidance does not make one a genuine zen practitioner. There are many people like this today.

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