Kenshō the first Bhumi?

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shanehanner
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Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by shanehanner » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:08 pm

I’m primarily a student of Dzogchen so I’m not as familiar with how one makes sense of the terminology used in Zen and this misunderstanding has been bothering me for some time.

First, is Kenshō considered the first Bhumi, realization of emptiness?

In Hakiun: On Kenshō, he says “After you have become strong through study and practice, and the awakened nature suddenly manifests, you realize the essence of inner reality all at once“..”.awakening has an explosive quality about it.”

He also mentions that one isn’t practicing Zen until they have had the Kenshō experience.

I’m wondering if Kenshō is the same as “recognizing Rigpa” in Dzogchen. Which is to say one recognizes ones own awareness as the basis. From my understanding this does not necessarily mean one has achieved the first Bhumi but rather that one understands the teachings in a way that one can begin the Dzogchen path ultimately achieving the first Bhumi to the last.

Matylda
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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Matylda » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:12 pm

If you would read Torei Enji zenji Mujinto, it is in English, but with comment. by Daibi zenji you could understand complexity of kensho.
Kensho is not the first bhumi. If you read detailed listing by Nagarjuna, with kensho alone one lacks all qualities, like emenating 100 bodies at once and visiting at the same time 100 buddha realms and receiving instructions etc.
As for recognition of rigpa, no kensho is not about it... recognition of rigpa may come even in very initial stages of trekcho, specially if one did proper and loong rushen retreats, those are rather short momnets of awarness of rigpa - here I am not sure of the term 'awareness'..
Kensho comes with deep work of samadhi when in a moment self is desolved for a short moment, followed by sort of shock... it is completely different state of perception of oneself and others... of course there were stories about people who had kenshi without samadhi cultivation, but it is very very rare... some oldies did it. Tokusan for ex.
Actaully there is too much talk over so called kensho since after initial one it is quickly covered again by habits etc.

Real thing happens after long years of devoted zazen under strict eye of genuine teacher, and only under unnegotiable ability to cut off such experience like kensho, and being able to work again and again from the ground zero, lets put it that way.. otherwise even just initial kensho may be an obstacle in deep and genuine complete realization...

Anyway it is better to keep both dzogchen way and zen way apart, seperate since both paths work on their own level, and contain their own unique instructions and upaya.. there are some similarities,, concerning rushen some part are like way one has to practice mu koan, in trekcho there are also some similarities to certain level of zazen.. anyway my opinion is that comparisons are pure nonsnese.

in fact zen is fixed on complete realization of true nature, dzogchen is fixed on liberation through rainbow body, this in fact makes thogal the main dish, isnt it? you cannot find thogal in zen... yes you may probably find some experiences enjoyed by some great masters, but it is unlikly that you ever meet them or talk to them and very unlikely that they would share anything like that.. Hakuin did one step when he described how he attained great mirror primordial wisdom..

what is similar between rigpa and kensho i other terms, or outside terms? the depth of insight... initial rigpa is unstable... initial kensho is quickly gone... more rigpa more stability, deeper and more kenshos - closer to complete realization.. so it is somehow similar at that point.. and timing.. it takes years and years and decades of completely devoted pratice.. devoted to its extreme.. in both zen and dzogchen, so I wish good luck for students of both. real dzogchen masters risked their life, similarly real zen masters... if you meet a genuine zen master and dzogchen master there may be very similar, very strict, severe, and you cannot negotiate with them...
Last edited by Matylda on Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Temicco
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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Temicco » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:20 pm

I don't think that rigpa and kensho are fundamentally different at all -- they are described in the same way, and consist of knowledge of one's actual condition.

Anyway, a lot of Zen teachers don't really use the 10 bhumis paradigm at all -- the only references I recall seeing just paraphrase the Nirvana sutra's statement that even bodhisatvas of the 10th bhumi perceive buddha-nature as if through a veil. Zen in general doesn't parse things apart into clear conceptual categories.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Matylda » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:54 pm

shanehanner wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:08 pm
I’m primarily a student of Dzogchen so I’m not as familiar with how one makes sense of the terminology used in Zen and this misunderstanding has been bothering me for some time.

First, is Kenshō considered the first Bhumi, realization of emptiness?

In Hakiun: On Kenshō, he says “After you have become strong through study and practice, and the awakened nature suddenly manifests, you realize the essence of inner reality all at once“..”.awakening has an explosive quality about it.”

He also mentions that one isn’t practicing Zen until they have had the Kenshō experience.

I’m wondering if Kenshō is the same as “recognizing Rigpa” in Dzogchen. Which is to say one recognizes ones own awareness as the basis. From my understanding this does not necessarily mean one has achieved the first Bhumi but rather that one understands the teachings in a way that one can begin the Dzogchen path ultimately achieving the first Bhumi to the last.
anyway concerning kensho it is best to ask Meido Roshi if he would be willing to answer... it might be helpful

ItsRaining
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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by ItsRaining » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:51 am

The understanding of Bhumi's and attainments in East Asia is slightly different to India and Tibet due to the influence of the Tiantai and later the Huayana school. In these schools the teachings are separated into 4-5 levels from preliminary to definitive. And in each level of teaching the stages of attainments are different. For example, Buddhahood in the Hinayana or the second level of Integrated teachings is not true Buddhahood but rather just a appearance from a true Buddha. In reality what happens is upon reaching the second last stage of the integrated or hinayana teachings they will move on to practicing teachings of a higher level such as the Perfect teaching while giving the appearance of still practicing a lower teaching as upaya. Or they just straight up move to the next level of teachings.

This also means the other attainments of the various levels also differ, for example, first Bhumi in the integrated teachings is only the first abiding in the Perfect teaching irc. So when trying to compare Kensho Bhumi's it makes it very difficult, what schema are these Zen masters using? One relying on the Tiantai and Huayan schools? Or one they created for them selves upon study of the sutras? To give one example, Bojo Chinnul of Korea using Huayan as a preliminary practice before Zen employs the Huayan schema of Li Tong Xuan to say Kensho = the first level of Faith in the perfect teaching (as opposed to the usual 1st stage of abiding) as it grants insight into one's fundamental Buddhahood and generating irreversible faith in this Buddhahood.

But it is only at the 10th abiding of practice does a practitioner fully integrate and actualise this realisation. As Robert Buswel puts it in his intro to Chinnul from the knowledge that one is fundamentally a Buddha a Bodhisattva gains the potential inherent from the state of Buddhahood automatically perfecting all following stages of practice.
If one accesses the initial state of mind involving the ten faiths, then effortlessly one reaches the first state of mind involving the ten abidings; and if one accesses that first abiding stage, one then effortlessly reaches the ultimate stage [of buddhahood]. In this wise, then, for bound, ordinary beings, the initial arousal of the thought of right faith is of crucial importance.” - Chinnul

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:28 am

shanehanner wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:08 pm
First, is Kenshō considered the first Bhumi, realization of emptiness?
I've heard it, rather, described as like a glimmer of nirvāṇa, like one of the mind-moments of the path.

Some people equate kenshō with complete and perfect awakening. I've heard it argued. I wouldn't know if that was reasonable or ridiculous.
नस्वातो नापिपरतो नद्वाभ्यां नाप्यहेतुतः उत्पन्ना जातु विद्यन्ते भावाः क्वचन केचन
There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none, that arise anew, neither out of themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random.
सर्वं तथ्यं न वा तथ्यं तथ्यं चातथ्यम् एव च नैवातथ्यं नैव तथ्यम् एतद् बुद्धानुशासनम्
All is so, or all is not so, both so and not so, neither so nor not so. This is the Buddha's teaching.

一切實非實亦實亦非實
非實非非實是名諸佛法

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Matylda » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:48 am

ItsRaining wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:51 am
So when trying to compare Kensho Bhumi's it makes it very difficult, what schema are these Zen masters using? One relying on the Tiantai and Huayan schools? Or one they created for them selves upon study of the sutras?
It is very simple.. in China of the Sung dynasty and later on in Japan the Ten Oxherding Pictures show the stages of zen practice.. bhumis and all theory are not used, at least not outside buddhist unis, where some prof's may play with comperative studies, which have no influence on actual practice in zen monasteries. But it is possible in modern China or Korea there is bigger use of mahayana methods describing stages etc. when I was in monks quarters in Kanzanji in China I read their intensive teisho/lectures programm and there was a lot of sutra studies in fact. Very different what is done in Japanese zen monasteries.

ItsRaining
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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by ItsRaining » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:03 am

Matylda wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:48 am
ItsRaining wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:51 am
So when trying to compare Kensho Bhumi's it makes it very difficult, what schema are these Zen masters using? One relying on the Tiantai and Huayan schools? Or one they created for them selves upon study of the sutras?
It is very simple.. in China of the Sung dynasty and later on in Japan the Ten Oxherding Pictures show the stages of zen practice.. bhumis and all theory are not used, at least not outside buddhist unis, where some prof's may play with comperative studies, which have no influence on actual practice in zen monasteries. But it is possible in modern China or Korea there is bigger use of mahayana methods describing stages etc. when I was in monks quarters in Kanzanji in China I read their intensive teisho/lectures programm and there was a lot of sutra studies in fact. Very different what is done in Japanese zen monasteries.
I have very rarely seen the Ten Ox Herding Pictures used in a traditional Chan other than in the last 50 or so years so it is also to say that are universal since the Song Dynasty. During that time I believe the classifications if the class Five houses were more popular e.g the Lords and Officials 君臣 of Cao Dong.

Use of Mahayana stages in Chan has always been rare with true exception of Chinnul who paints a vey clear picture of it. Sutra Studies has been important for Chan in China for hundreds of years, I’m not sure why it seems side lined in Japanese Buddhism, that seemed to have had some negative effects on how some Western teachers in the Japanese tradition transmit their teachings.

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Matylda » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:01 pm

ItsRaining wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:03 am

I have very rarely seen the Ten Ox Herding Pictures used in a traditional Chan other than in the last 50 or so years so it is also to say that are universal since the Song Dynasty. During that time I believe the classifications if the class Five houses were more popular e.g the Lords and Officials 君臣 of Cao Dong.

Use of Mahayana stages in Chan has always been rare with true exception of Chinnul who paints a vey clear picture of it. Sutra Studies has been important for Chan in China for hundreds of years, I’m not sure why it seems side lined in Japanese Buddhism, that seemed to have had some negative effects on how some Western teachers in the Japanese tradition transmit their teachings.
I cannot say what does it mean traditional chan. Actually chinese zen went through very deep transformation during Ming dynasty. Meeting of chan and zen in Japan in the second part of the 17th century showed much differences between two. Yuan dynasty added its toll to those changes.

Anyway Buddhism including chan were in deep regression later on. XX century made some change for a while, untill Mao regime.

Tozan five ranks are in use in Japan as well, scpecially in rinzai training.

Suta studies are not done within zen monasteries in Japan.. what they have are rather goroku - collections of sayings of zen masters, and koan books.
As for sutra study, it is of course done by zen monks in Japan, as well as mahayana philosophy, but at universities, buddhist unis. One has to keep in mind that about 90% of zen monks in Japan complete their Buddhist studies which take 4-6 years before entering monastery. Sometimes they go earlier to the monastery just after junior high and later go to buddhist uni.

Westerners have no Buddhist unis for their traditions. Right?
However one does not need to have complete knowledge of sutra etc. when practicing zen. zen goes to the very core of dharma, and sutra may be used as a checkpoint of realization. Zen is unique in this sense.

I cannot simply judge Western teachers, but from what I read a little or listened to does not remind very much of zen.. sometimes they simply keep to some private opinions and students listen to it. Maybe it is problem of shallow roots of zen in Western societies still. Anyway it is not subject of this topic.
What I have seen in China, and it was not much, it was as if they combined in a zen monastery some sort of zazen and study at the same time. Originally in old Chinese zen there was not much sutra study in the monasteries, this we know from Chinese and Japanese masters who practiced in China in the 13-14th cent. and later on were active in Japan. But for sure all of them were familiar with mahayana sutras and pretty well versed in them.

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Astus » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:23 pm

shanehanner wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:08 pm
is Kenshō considered the first Bhumi
Going by the stages is the gradual path. Seeing nature means the realisation of buddha-mind, and as such it is the attainment of buddhahood.

"[The teaching that one can] cultivate the six perfections and the myriad practices in order to achieve Buddhahood—this is the progressive [approach to Buddhahood]. Since beginningless time, there has never been a Buddha [who achieved that state] progressively. Just be enlightened to the One Mind and there will not be the slightest dharma that can be attained—this is the true Buddha."
(Huangbo: Essentials of the Transmission of Mind, in Zen Texts, BDK ed, p 14)
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"

krodha
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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by krodha » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:06 pm

Astus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:23 pm
shanehanner wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:08 pm
is Kenshō considered the first Bhumi
Going by the stages is the gradual path. Seeing nature means the realisation of buddha-mind, and as such it is the attainment of buddhahood.

"[The teaching that one can] cultivate the six perfections and the myriad practices in order to achieve Buddhahood—this is the progressive [approach to Buddhahood]. Since beginningless time, there has never been a Buddha [who achieved that state] progressively. Just be enlightened to the One Mind and there will not be the slightest dharma that can be attained—this is the true Buddha."
(Huangbo: Essentials of the Transmission of Mind, in Zen Texts, BDK ed, p 14)
Zen and Chan technically teach progressive refinement just as every other system does.

Realization and insight are always sudden and immediate, but just as in other Buddhist systems, that knowledge is unstable and must be carefully cultivated from then on in order to eventually actualize buddhahood.

Temicco shared some excerpts that demonstrate this:

From Yuanwu:
  • When you reach the point where feelings are ended, views are gone, and your mind is clean and naked, you open up to Zen realization. After that it is also necessary to develop consistency, keeping the mind pure and free from adulteration at all times. If there is the slightest fluctuation, there is no hope of transcending the world.
And,
  • Keep working like this, maintaining your focus for a long time still, to make your realization of enlightenment unbroken from beginning to end.
Shido Bunan states:
  • If you can really get to see your fundamental mind, you must treat it as though you were raising an infant. Walking, standing, sitting, lying down, illuminate everything everywhere with awareness, not letting him be dirtied by the seven consciousnesses. If you can keep him dear and distinct, it is like the baby's gradually growing up until he's equal to his father-calmness and wisdom dear and penetrating, your function will be equal to that of the buddhas and patriarchs.
From Hongren:
  • [E]ven though phenomena are essentially empty, it is necessary to preserve the basic true mind with perfect clarity, because then delusive thoughts do not arise, and egoism and possessiveness disappear.
Again from Shido Bunan:
  • Although our school considers enlightenment [satori] in particular to be fundamental, that doesn't necessarily mean that once you're enlightened you stop there. It is necessary only to practice according to reality and complete the way. According to reality means knowing the fundamental mind as it really is; practice means getting rid of obstructions caused by habitual actions by means of true insight and knowledge. Awakening to the way is comparatively easy; accomplishment of practical application is what is considered most difficult. That is why the great teacher Bodhidharma said that those who know the way are many, whereas those who carry out the way are few.
I found this quite interesting, especially given the much asserted “non-gradual” view of Zen. Evidently the equipoise and post-equipoise process that other systems deal with is also very much the case for Zen, and in this sense initial awakening can be viewed as something like first bhūmi, with equipoise beginning as fragmented and becoming slowly less so as obscurations are exhausted.

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Astus » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm

krodha wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:06 pm
Realization and insight are always sudden and immediate
An unstable realisation is not realisation at all, only a passing feeling. Attaining a stage of the path means not losing it later.
but just as in other Buddhist systems, that knowledge is unstable and must be carefully cultivated from then on in order to eventually actualize buddhahood.
Knowledge does need actualisation, hence the process of learning, understanding, and cultivation. But then seeing nature would mean not the perception of buddha-mind, but merely the concept that mind is buddha.
Temicco shared some excerpts that demonstrate this
Clearly, there are various teachers with various teachings.
I found this quite interesting, especially given the much asserted “non-gradual” view of Zen.
Yangshan said:

"The roots of delusion are deep. They’re difficult to cut off and uproot. So [the Buddha] established expedient means to grab your attention. These are like showing yellow leaves to a crying child, who imagines they’re gold and thus stops crying. You act as though you’re in a shop where someone sells a hundred goods made from gold and jade, but you’re trying to weigh each item. So you say that Shitou has a real gold shop? Well in my shop there’s a wide range of goods! If someone comes looking for mouse turds then I give him some. If someone comes looking for real gold then I give it to him."
(Zen's Chinese Heritage, p 187)
Evidently the equipoise and post-equipoise process that other systems deal with is also very much the case for Zen, and in this sense initial awakening can be viewed as something like first bhūmi, with equipoise beginning as fragmented and becoming slowly less so as obscurations are exhausted.
"Those with deluded minds appear to be cultivating and seeking buddhahood, but they are unenlightened to their self-natures. Hence are they of small capacities. If one is to be enlightened to the sudden teaching, one cannot cultivate externally (i.e., superficially): one should just constantly activate correct views in one’s own mind, and the enervating defilements of the afflictions will be rendered permanently unable to defile one. This is to see the nature."
(Platform Sutra, ch 2, p 32)
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: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by krodha » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:25 pm

Astus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm
krodha wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:06 pm
Realization and insight are always sudden and immediate
An unstable realisation is not realisation at all, only a passing feeling. Attaining a stage of the path means not losing it later.
The insight is what one does not lose, but the experiential equipoise resting in a direct knowledge of one’s nature does indeed come and go.

What remains is the insight, like seeing a snake in a dark room to actually be a rope, that insight is never lost. There is no way someone could convince you that the rope is a snake ever again.

Same goes for seeing the nature of phenomena. That insight never diminishes. But equipoise in jñāna does indeed lapse back into normal vijñāna because the view is unstable due to habitual patterns of grasping and conceptual proliferation.
Astus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm
but just as in other Buddhist systems, that knowledge is unstable and must be carefully cultivated from then on in order to eventually actualize buddhahood.
Knowledge does need actualisation, hence the process of learning, understanding, and cultivation. But then seeing nature would mean not the perception of buddha-mind, but merely the concept that mind is buddha.
Initial knowledge merely requires a recognition of the dharmatā of mind or phenomena. The equipoise that the knowledge results from is initially fragmented and unstable however.
Astus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm
Temicco shared some excerpts that demonstrate this
Clearly, there are various teachers with various teachings.
However these are Zen teachers, and their description of the path is very much like those we find elsewhere, such as Dzogchen for example. The fluctuation between equipoise and post-equipoise is a common theme.
Astus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm
I found this quite interesting, especially given the much asserted “non-gradual” view of Zen.
Yangshan said:

"The roots of delusion are deep. They’re difficult to cut off and uproot. So [the Buddha] established expedient means to grab your attention. These are like showing yellow leaves to a crying child, who imagines they’re gold and thus stops crying. You act as though you’re in a shop where someone sells a hundred goods made from gold and jade, but you’re trying to weigh each item. So you say that Shitou has a real gold shop? Well in my shop there’s a wide range of goods! If someone comes looking for mouse turds then I give him some. If someone comes looking for real gold then I give it to him."
(Zen's Chinese Heritage, p 187)
Again this goes back to the common misconception that those who practice Zen are actualizing buddhahood in one fell swoop. Sure, a rare few may have that capacity, but not the vast majority. Those with such capacity in Dzogchen for example haven’t been seen for hundreds of years according to the Dalai Lama, hence it is said they are rarer than stars in the daytime.
Astus wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm
Evidently the equipoise and post-equipoise process that other systems deal with is also very much the case for Zen, and in this sense initial awakening can be viewed as something like first bhūmi, with equipoise beginning as fragmented and becoming slowly less so as obscurations are exhausted.
"Those with deluded minds appear to be cultivating and seeking buddhahood, but they are unenlightened to their self-natures. Hence are they of small capacities. If one is to be enlightened to the sudden teaching, one cannot cultivate externally (i.e., superficially): one should just constantly activate correct views in one’s own mind, and the enervating defilements of the afflictions will be rendered permanently unable to defile one. This is to see the nature."
(Platform Sutra, ch 2, p 32)
This is addressing those who have not yet known equipoise at all.

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Astus » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:07 pm

krodha wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:25 pm
The insight is what one does not lose, but the experiential equipoise resting in a direct knowledge of one’s nature does indeed come and go.
If there is an equipoise, that is a temporary state of mind, not the buddha-mind.
But equipoise in jñāna does indeed lapse back into normal vijñāna because the view is unstable due to habitual patterns of grasping and conceptual proliferation.
An arya bodhisattva from the first bhumi is free from samsara, and does not perceive anything as real, but it is taught that not even on the tenth bhumi can they perceive the dharmakaya. So, if one sees buddha-mind, one is a buddha.
Initial knowledge merely requires a recognition of the dharmatā of mind or phenomena. The equipoise that the knowledge results from is initially fragmented and unstable however.
That is fine for the gradual path of the paramitas, but not for the supreme buddha-vehicle, i.e. Zen.
However these are Zen teachers, and their description of the path is very much like those we find elsewhere, such as Dzogchen for example. The fluctuation between equipoise and post-equipoise is a common theme.
What you cannot find is any precise description of the path, like what you see in practically every other school. That's because Zen is per definition not gradualist. That doesn't mean teachers cannot employ methods meant for less capable people, hence Yangshan's remark about selling both gold and mouse turd.
a rare few may have that capacity, but not the vast majority
Zen was meant for the rare few only.
This is addressing those who have not yet known equipoise at all.
It explicitly says that cultivation of anything is the gradual path of the deluded, while seeing the nature eliminates defilements permanently. Without defilements what is there to practice?
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: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Meido » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:56 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:07 pm
What you cannot find is any precise description of the path, like what you see in practically every other school.
Of course you can. The Rinzai Zen path for one is extremely well defined. Try the writings of Shido Bunan, Hakuin, Torei, etc. to start. Crucial details to actualize the path are not found in popular books, however, and are largely clarified through oral instruction.
Astus wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:07 pm
It explicitly says that cultivation of anything is the gradual path of the deluded, while seeing the nature eliminates defilements permanently. Without defilements what is there to practice?
I read it rather to say that common cultivation of external practices must always fall short lacking seeing the nature, so it seems I agree with Krodha's take.

From a practice standpoint, though, the crucial point is contained in the words, "one should just constantly activate correct views in one’s own mind." This has nothing to do with theoretical certainty that defilements are empty and do not bind; it refers to the seamless, sustained upwelling of the unified samadhi/prajna. Departing from but then returning to this, again and again, describes the post-awakening practice to dissolve jikke.

If one experiences departure from this samadhi, even for a moment, the path is not completed at all. If one does not know what is actually meant by that samadhi, then even with kensho the path is still barely begun in terms of actualization.
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Astus » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:16 pm

Meido wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:56 pm
Of course you can. The Rinzai Zen path for one is extremely well defined.
Could you be more specific here please? I mean, the descriptions of the path are like the Visuddhimagga, Yogacarabhumisastra, Abhisamayalamkara, or the various lamrim texts. The closest to those I know of are the works of Zongmi and Yongming, but even those are quite sketchy, relatively speaking.
Crucial details to actualize the path are not found in popular books, however, and are largely clarified through oral instruction.
If it is not clearly delineated how ignorance is turned into wisdom, how could they qualify for explaining the path?
I read it rather to say that common cultivation of external practices must always fall short lacking seeing the nature, so it seems I agree with Krodha's take.
If so, how is there any difference between the gradual path of the paramitas and Zen?
If one does not know what is actually meant by that samadhi, then even with kensho the path is still barely begun in terms of actualization.
Is there a definition of that samadhi, that specifies it and points out how it is different from, for instance, the Surangama-samadhi?
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: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Sentient Light » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:37 pm

Matylda wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:48 am

bhumis and all theory are not used, at least not outside buddhist unis, where some prof's may play with comperative studies, which have no influence on actual practice in zen monasteries.
Vietnamese Thien teaches the bhumis, called 'dia' (with the hard D, too lazy to figure out the ascii input for it right now). At least it has been taught extensively in my tradition, and I know of at least one another tradition (technically, still the same major lineage, tbh) that actively teaches it as well.

I don't know what 'kensho' might be in Vietnamese, if that's a concept that's ever used, so I'm not sure how it correlates to the bhumis, but we definitely talk about the bhumis (and at least I have been explicitly instructed to not talk about them... "A bodhisattva does not need declare to the world they are a bodhisattva." Details of the bhumis rest between teacher and student).
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Meido » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:42 am

Astus wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:16 pm
Could you be more specific here please? I mean, the descriptions of the path are like the Visuddhimagga, Yogacarabhumisastra, Abhisamayalamkara, or the various lamrim texts. The closest to those I know of are the works of Zongmi and Yongming, but even those are quite sketchy, relatively speaking.
The masters I mentioned all say explicitly what the path consists of. Torei in particular lays it out from beginning to end, including foundations, common pitfalls, dangers of stopping half-way or fixating upon a partial realization, etc...so much so that his most famous text has long been used as a standard guide for trainees. Anyone studying Hakuin's Keiso Dokuzui would have the same map, which tallies of course with everything Shido Bunan wrote earlier. It is all extremely clear upon reading, though reading and grasping the layout of the path naturally is not at all equivalent to the process of walking the ground.
Astus wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:16 pm
If it is not clearly delineated how ignorance is turned into wisdom, how could they qualify for explaining the path?
It is clearly delineated how this is conceived to happen, but details of how to actualize what is discussed and what is in fact signified by specific experiences that are mentioned to which the reader has not yet attained are of course uncovered over time, with experiential transformation, and in communication with the teacher who can display the embodied result and confirm the significant points. These writings are general maps useful to avoid getting lost, but one's actual guide on the ground gives the practical instructions that fit the often varying conditions. None of these writings are - or could be - sufficient for anyone to walk the path alone without a teacher's guidance, except possibly in the case of a person of extremely deep roots and unusual capacity. But since such persons are so exceedingly rare as to not be worth talking about, we general don't.
Astus wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:16 pm
If so, how is there any difference between the gradual path of the paramitas and Zen?
Zen considers the paramitas to be wholly fulfilled within the path of recognizing one's nature and then, taking that as the foundation of subsequent practice, dissolving habitual delusion along the path of embodying seamless realization. At the moment one genuinely recognizes one's nature, the essential point of all practices and paths is known with certainty, and a great confidence arises. Who cares about gradual vs. sudden at that point?
Astus wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:16 pm
Is there a definition of that samadhi, that specifies it and points out how it is different from, for instance, the Surangama-samadhi?
There are many so-called samadhis describing various aspects of the function of wisdom and gates such as the senses (e.g. samadhi of hearing, as pointed to in Hekiganroku 46), the elements (e.g. fire samadhi), the secret three-year practice of jewel mirror samadhi and alternating samadhi of hen/sho realized in penetration of the five ranks along the Rinzai path, etc. But in Zen practice these are all reducible to the one essential point, which is the fulfillment of vipashyana and shamatha in non-departure from the seamless upwelling of what is recognized in kensho.

If we have this recognition of our nature, confirmed by a genuine teacher, then we have entered the gate of Zen practice. If we are on the path of clarifying and embodying it, taking a heroic aspiration of the four vows as motivation, then we are actually walking that path. Everything else is really just distraction, including over-reliance on written guides intended to supplement, rather than serve as surrogates for, intimate instruction from the teacher.
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

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Re: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Astus » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:08 pm

Meido wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:42 am
Zen considers the paramitas to be wholly fulfilled within the path of recognizing one's nature and then, taking that as the foundation of subsequent practice, dissolving habitual delusion along the path of embodying seamless realization.
Do you mean that the paramitas are fulfilled at seeing the nature, or after eliminating all afflictions at the end of subsequent practice? The former does not make sense to me, while the latter option seems to mean that Zen proposes a parallel path, or maybe the same path in a different format.
Who cares about gradual vs. sudden at that point?
It is a matter that concerns the status of Zen in relation to the other schools and the general Mahayana teachings. If it does not offer a method more efficient than others, it is simply a Chinese, and then a Japanese, presentation of Mahayana, and not a separate path (at least in terms of substance).
the fulfillment of vipashyana and shamatha in non-departure from the seamless upwelling of what is recognized in kensho.
Usually the unique views of a school has their role in vipasyana, where one has to experientially validate them. So if there is such a samadhi in Zen, what is the view that is confirmed there?
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: Kenshō the first Bhumi?

Post by Meido » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:22 am

Astus wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:08 pm
Do you mean that the paramitas are fulfilled at seeing the nature, or after eliminating all afflictions at the end of subsequent practice? The former does not make sense to me, while the latter option seems to mean that Zen proposes a parallel path, or maybe the same path in a different format.
I meant they are fulfilled within the overall path.

It's fine to describe this as a different or uncommon approach. Torei describing this:
Nowadays there is much talk about the sublime and the profound, or conversely criticism of the Two Vehicles (Sravaka and Pratyeka), belittling their authority. [Students of] the partial, the round, the exoteric and the esoteric schools contend with each other, yet they have not even accomplished the confirmation of the Two Vehicles, let alone that of the Bodhisattva Vehicle. And as for the One Buddha Vehicle, how could they conceive of it even in their dreams? What use to them are the partial, round, exoteric and esoteric teachings?

None of this applies to our patriarchal school, which surpasses expedient means. When by bitter interviews [with one's master] and painful training at last the principle is attained, then the Buddha-Dharma of the exoteric and the esoteric schools appears directly before the eyes. Looking at the Sutras after having smashed the many prison gates and broken free, it seems as if they were one’s own teachings.
And describing its functioning:
Our patriarchal Zen school does not depend on the traces of the teachings, but has a special meaning: energy, free and unobstructed, responding in accord with the situation, that is what it is about.
Anyway, as you know Zen discourse doesn't really talk about the paramitas much, but has its own descriptions of post-awakening cultivation, e.g. fulfillment of the four wisdoms/three bodies mapped onto the five ranks, and so on.
Astus wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:08 pm
It is a matter that concerns the status of Zen in relation to the other schools and the general Mahayana teachings. If it does not offer a method more efficient than others, it is simply a Chinese, and then a Japanese, presentation of Mahayana, and not a separate path (at least in terms of substance).
Yes, but this concern is not one shared by practitioners. So apart from occasionally correcting gross misrepresentations of Zen, I personally have no interest in Zen's status in relation to other schools. As an expression of the Ekayana, i.e. in Zen meaning that it takes recognition of one's nature as the entrance to and foundation of subsequent practice, rather than a later result - and as a path accomplished through the body by means of the kuden, oral instructions, from one's teacher - Zen certainly views itself to be not bound by common Mahayana teachings, and rather efficient. Others are free to disagree.
Astus wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:08 pm
Usually the unique views of a school has their role in vipasyana, where one has to experientially validate them. So if there is such a samadhi in Zen, what is the view that is confirmed there?
What is the view of kensho?
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

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