Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Foxxy
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Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Foxxy » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:20 pm

Hi, I was talking to a friend today and I was surprised to find out that zen masters like Huangbo and Yunmen,
Wumen, Bodhidharma, never taught nor sat seated meditation to realize true nature. Is this true? I always assumed that zen and meditation were inseparable.

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Astus
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Re: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Astus » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:42 am

Foxxy wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:20 pm
Hi, I was talking to a friend today and I was surprised to find out that zen masters like Huangbo and Yunmen, Wumen, Bodhidharma, never taught nor sat seated meditation to realize true nature. Is this true? I always assumed that zen and meditation were inseparable.
Although it is common to relate Zen and dhyana, that is merely an etymological connection. The central theme of Zen is to see the nature of mind and become buddha through that, not through various gradual techniques. It was Dogen, in 13th century Japan, who equated actual seated meditation with enlightenment, however, it's important to note that he did not posit zazen as a way toward a goal, but as the goal itself, plus he was against the idea of seeing nature (kensho) as something to be realised.

One day the Councilor Wang visited the master. When he met the master in front of the Monks’ Hall, he asked, “Do the monks of this monastery read the sutras?”
“No, they don’t read sutras,” said the master.
“Then do they learn meditation?” asked the councilor.
“No, they don’t learn meditation,” answered the master.
“If they neither read sutras nor learn meditation, what in the world are they doing?” asked the councilor.
“All I do is make them become buddhas and patriarchs,” said the master.
The councilor said, “‘Though gold dust is valuable, in the eyes it causes cataracts.’”
“I always used to think you were just a common fellow,” said the master.

(Record of Linji, p 38, tr Sasaki)

Q: What is dhyana and what is contemplation?
A: The non-arising of a single thought is dhyana. The original nature is your increate Mind. Contemplation in samadhi happens when opposites and external objects do not cause a single thought to arise.
...
Q: Does he who practices stilling the mind do it only while sitting in meditation?
A: The practice of stilling the mind means not only doing it while sitting, but also while walking, standing or lying down and, uninterruptedly, during all other actions at all times. This is referred to as truly abiding in permanence.

(Treatise On Entering The Tao of Sudden Enlightenment, tr Lok To)
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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Dan74
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Re: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Dan74 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:56 pm

At what point did your friend say that it was that every surviving Zen lineage in China, Japan and Korea, went off the rails and began doing sitting meditation and what's more, placing an inordinate emphasis on it?

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Meido
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Re: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Meido » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:27 pm

Foxxy wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:20 pm
Is this true?
Almost certainly not. But Zen does not rely upon zazen or any other specific practice.

The Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks compiled in 645 already describes Bodhidharma and his disciples as dhyana masters. A little later, The Record of the Masters and Students of the Lankavatara mentions Bodhidharma teaching meditation practitioners. Huangbo is recorded mentioning Bodhidharma's sitting in his record. In the Linji-lu there are mentions of meditation halls and platforms, and Linji is famously reported to have been sleeping in the meditation hall at one point when Huangbo walks in. Etc.

It is clear that meditation was a common, daily activity in these circles from a very early time. It is also clear that meditation practice became a defining aspect of the Zen path. What writings do make pains to point out throughout history, however, is that Zen has no fixed methods at all, that to attach to methods is to misuse them, that true meditation is not limited to the sitting posture, and that the treasure of one's intrinsic wisdom is of course not something "gained" from practice. A famous episode pointing this out:
Kattoshu Case 139 - Nanyue Polishes a Tile

Mazu Daji of Jiangxi in Hongzhou studied under Nanyue Huairang and from him secretly received the Mind Seal.

During his training Mazu had surpassed the other monks and gone to live at the temple Chuanfa yuan, where he practiced seated meditation throughout the day. Recognizing him as a vessel of the Dharma, Huairang went and asked, "Worthy monk, why do you sit in meditation?"

Mazu replied, "I wish to become a buddha."

Thereupon Huairang picked up a tile and started to rub it against a stone in front of Mazu's hermitage. Finally Mazu asked him what he was doing. Huairang replied, "Polishing it to make a mirror."

"How can you make a tile into a mirror by polishing it?" asked Mazu.

"How can you become a buddha by sitting in meditation?" responded Huairang.

Mazu asked, "Then what should I do?"

Huairang asked, "It's like riding in an ox cart. If the cart doesn't move do you hit the cart or do you hit the ox?"

Mazu had no reply.

Huairang continued, "Are you practicing seated meditation? Are you practicing to be a seated buddha? As for seated meditation, meditation isn't limited to sitting or lying down. As for being a seated buddha, "buddha" isn't limited to any fixed form. In the nonabiding Dharma, you should neither grasp nor reject. If you sit to be a buddha, this kills the buddha. If you cling to the sitting posture, you will never realize the essential principle."

When he heard this, Mazu felt as though he had just imbibed ghee.
Now, one can read the above in a shallow manner and think, "Mazu was scolded because he was doing sitting meditation. Sitting meditation is obviously rejected." But that would be incorrect, and completely misses the point. And vis a vis this discussion, the fact is that Mazu was doing such practice in the first place: it is because meditation practice was so commonly being done that a critique of mistaken practice like this one had a punch.

The 6th Patriarch made the same points stressing that the true Zen samadhi is the unity of samadhi and prajna manifested in all one's activities, true meditation is to be without obstructions and to clearly see one's nature. All of this is just Zen 101.

What is true is that sitting meditation has always been only one method among many. Zazen is almost universally useful, so it gets a lot of emphasis. It also gets the most attention from Westerners. But the primary method of Zen - past and current - is in fact not zazen but sanzen: encounter and mutual exploration of Zen with the teacher. It is only within that context that everything we read about in these Chan and Zen records occurs.
Dan74 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:56 pm
At what point did your friend say that it was that every surviving Zen lineage in China, Japan and Korea, went off the rails and began doing sitting meditation and what's more, placing an inordinate emphasis on it?
But don't you know, the many great masters of past centuries up to the present day obviously had no idea what they were doing and were all deluded regarding the path.
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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Astus » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:40 pm

Meido wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:27 pm
Foxxy wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:20 pm
Is this true?
Almost certainly not. But Zen does not rely upon zazen or any other specific practice.
It should be perhaps added that meditation is one of the many standard practices in a monastery, just like chanting and studying sutras, various rituals, and upholding the precepts. Did the teachers of past follow the Vinaya? Did they recite scriptures and dharanis? Of course. But none of the common practices themselves make Zen, nor do they qualify it, and that's why they are not discussed, nor is there a Zen version of those.
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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Meido » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:16 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:40 pm
It should be perhaps added that meditation is one of the many standard practices in a monastery, just like chanting and studying sutras, various rituals, and upholding the precepts. Did the teachers of past follow the Vinaya? Did they recite scriptures and dharanis? Of course. But none of the common practices themselves make Zen, nor do they qualify it, and that's why they are not discussed, nor is there a Zen version of those.
Right. Broadly, I like to say that Zen itself is ultimately not so much a tradition of practice within Buddhism, but an approach to Buddhist practice. From the standpoint of that approach, taking as its foundation discovery of one's nature, I do not see any practice from any tradition that we must say can never be used, or any that we must say is always indispensable.

So even if it could be proven that such-and-such master did or didn't do something like zazen, it wouldn't really matter. There are certainly some folks today who can't or shouldn't do some practices, including zazen. We might say it's a shame for them since zazen is so useful, perhaps, but we could never say Zen is dependent on zazen.
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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Temicco » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:29 pm

To add to other comments, here's my usual list of counterevidence to this view:
  • Ehu Dayi's Zuochan Ming ("Inscription on Sitting Meditation")
  • Foxin Bencai's Zuochan yi ("Guidelines for Sitting Meditation")
  • Changlu Zongze's Zuochan yi ("Guidelines for Sitting Meditation")
  • Huangbo's definition of what amounts to sitting meditation as being liberation
  • Linji's "better take your ease sitting..."
  • Zhaozhou's recommendation to sit for twenty years in order to understand
  • The preface to Hongzhi's yulu, which mentions him having become awakened through sitting meditation, and having taught it to students
  • Yuanwu practiced zuochan under Zhenru, and later recommended it to certain students in his letters
  • Foyan said zuochan was one way of doing the work
"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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Foxxy » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:47 am

Right. Broadly, I like to say that Zen itself is ultimately not so much a tradition of practice within Buddhism, but an approach to Buddhist practice.
I could never put it into words other than " Zen is more so a sword than a religion/tradition". But i really like the way you put it.

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Re: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Astus » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:07 am

Temicco wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:29 pm
  • Ehu Dayi's Zuochan Ming ("Inscription on Sitting Meditation")
  • Foxin Bencai's Zuochan yi ("Guidelines for Sitting Meditation")
  • Changlu Zongze's Zuochan yi ("Guidelines for Sitting Meditation")
Those are works from the 12th and 14th centuries, plus they are rather short, more like reminders than manuals. The rest you mention are not teachings on seated meditation, but brief references to it, showing the marginal nature of the matter.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by seeker242 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:54 pm

More often than not, people who insist it was never taught or practiced, are really just people looking for an excuse to not do it, because they don't like doing it. I would not put too much stock in what those people say.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Temicco » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:57 pm

Astus wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:07 am
Temicco wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:29 pm
  • Ehu Dayi's Zuochan Ming ("Inscription on Sitting Meditation")
  • Foxin Bencai's Zuochan yi ("Guidelines for Sitting Meditation")
  • Changlu Zongze's Zuochan yi ("Guidelines for Sitting Meditation")
Those are works from the 12th and 14th centuries, plus they are rather short, more like reminders than manuals. The rest you mention are not teachings on seated meditation, but brief references to it, showing the marginal nature of the matter.
Yes, but they show quite clearly that the idea that "zen masters like Huangbo and Yunmen, Wumen, Bodhidharma, never taught nor sat seated meditation to realize true nature" is not the case.

The later material is there because Wumen is 13th century, and these are his rough contemporaries.
"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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Astus » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:08 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:57 pm
but they show quite clearly that the idea that "zen masters like Huangbo and Yunmen, Wumen, Bodhidharma, never taught nor sat seated meditation to realize true nature" is not the case.
But what is lacking are the Tang era instructions by the ancestors of the so called five schools (note: there are some attributed to the putative Northern School). On the other hand, moving to Song times, there is kanhua chan as the favoured method, and it remained such down to this day.
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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Temicco » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:17 pm

Astus wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:08 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:57 pm
but they show quite clearly that the idea that "zen masters like Huangbo and Yunmen, Wumen, Bodhidharma, never taught nor sat seated meditation to realize true nature" is not the case.
But what is lacking are the Tang era instructions by the ancestors of the so called five schools (note: there are some attributed to the putative Northern School). On the other hand, moving to Song times, there is kanhua chan as the favoured method, and it remained such down to this day.
Which instructions, specifically? Do you mean e.g. the Lengqie shizi ji?

Kanhua was favoured in the Linjizong, but what about the Caodong?

Anyway, my view isn't that zuochan was a central method -- just that the evidence suggests that it was indeed practiced and recommended by many Chan teachers, or more precisely, that it was considered by the dominant narratives to have been practiced and recommended by many Chan teachers. I think the idea of zuochan being non-essential is appropriate, but the idea of it being marginal such that it merits complete de-emphasis goes a bit too far.
"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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Astus » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:42 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:17 pm
Which instructions, specifically? Do you mean e.g. the Lengqie shizi ji?
I mean the works like the Ru dao an xin yao fangbian famen 入道安心要方便法門, Xiu xin yao lun 修心要論, Dasheng wu fangbian 大乘五方便, Yuan ming lun 圓明論, and Guanxin lun 觀心論.
what about the Caodong?
It was a short lived project that eventually incorporated the same kanhua path. On the other hand, nianfo, and especially name recitation, has been a popular practice in Chan communities, and it still is, but often neglected by Westerners.
I think the idea of zuochan being non-essential is appropriate, but the idea of it being marginal such that it merits complete de-emphasis goes a bit too far.
It depends on who you read. Those who emphasised sudden enlightenment had to relegate meditation to the gradual techniques.

"[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"

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Re: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Temicco » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:18 pm

Astus wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:42 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:17 pm
Which instructions, specifically? Do you mean e.g. the Lengqie shizi ji?
I mean the works like the Ru dao an xin yao fangbian famen 入道安心要方便法門, Xiu xin yao lun 修心要論, Dasheng wu fangbian 大乘五方便, Yuan ming lun 圓明論, and Guanxin lun 觀心論.
What was your point about them again?
It was a short lived project that eventually incorporated the same kanhua path. On the other hand, nianfo, and especially name recitation, has been a popular practice in Chan communities, and it still is, but often neglected by Westerners.
Starting when do you propose that Caodong incorporated the same kanhua path?
I think the idea of zuochan being non-essential is appropriate, but the idea of it being marginal such that it merits complete de-emphasis goes a bit too far.
It depends on who you read. Those who emphasised sudden enlightenment had to relegate meditation to the gradual techniques.

"[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)
I think this is a misreading of Huangbo. He is not explicitly commenting on sitting meditation here. At the end of his record, where he does suggest sitting and not permitting the mind's movements to disturb you, I would say that not only is this a recommendation of a kind of sitting meditation, but that there is no reason to consider it to be a gradual method as Huangbo understands the term.

Anyway, even if he had designated it as a gradual technique, I don't see how that would matter. It does not contradict my view whatsoever.
"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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Astus » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:10 pm

Temicco wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:18 pm
What was your point about them again?
That they discuss actual meditation methods.
Starting when do you propose that Caodong incorporated the same kanhua path?
I have no information on that. But it seems that the Ming era revivers of Caodong, Zhanran Yuancheng and Wuming Huijing, were not the advocates of silent illumination but they seem to fit in doctrinally and practically with everyone else.
He is not explicitly commenting on sitting meditation here.
The fifth paramita is mediation.
Anyway, even if he had designated it as a gradual technique, I don't see how that would matter. It does not contradict my view whatsoever.
At the beginning of the Extensive Record of Baizhang a useful difference is made between the ignorant and the practitioner, or the beginner and the advanced disciple. And Chan is for the advanced practitioner.

"If you are speaking to a deaf worldling, you should just teach him to leave home, maintain discipline, practice meditation and develop wisdom. ... If one is speaking to an ascetic, the ascetic has already given his assent three times and his discipline is complete. ... To an ascetic one must explain the defilement in pure things - you should tell him to detach from all things, existence, non-existent, or whatever, to detach from all cultivation and experience, and even to detach from detachment.
While in the course of asceticism, one strips away influences of habit. If an ascetic cannot get rid of the diseases of greed and aversion, he too is called a deaf worldling; still he must be taught to practice meditation and cultivate wisdom."

(Sayings and Doings of Pai-Chang, p 29-30)

Later he also states (p 35): "If you fast and control yourself, practice meditation and cultivate wisdom, these are afflicted roots of goodness."
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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Temicco » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:19 pm

Astus wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:10 pm
Temicco wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:18 pm
What was your point about them again?
That they discuss actual meditation methods.
Yes, I agree. So do the later texts that I mention. Even Huango arguably does, too.
Starting when do you propose that Caodong incorporated the same kanhua path?
I have no information on that. But it seems that the Ming era revivers of Caodong, Zhanran Yuancheng and Wuming Huijing, were not the advocates of silent illumination but they seem to fit in doctrinally and practically with everyone else.
I haven't read them, so I'll have to remain silent on the matter.
He is not explicitly commenting on sitting meditation here.
The fifth paramita is mediation.
Yes, but the term dhyana was used in specific ways in the sutras, and can't necessarily be equated with the "chan" in "zuochan" just because the words are the same. The perfection of dhyana always occurs in discussions of the 6 paramitas, but the term "zuochan" is not used like this nor associated with the paramitas in any Chan literature I've ever read. So, I think it is a misreading to think that the meaning is the same.
Anyway, even if he had designated it as a gradual technique, I don't see how that would matter. It does not contradict my view whatsoever.
At the beginning of the Extensive Record of Baizhang a useful difference is made between the ignorant and the practitioner, or the beginner and the advanced disciple. And Chan is for the advanced practitioner.

"If you are speaking to a deaf worldling, you should just teach him to leave home, maintain discipline, practice meditation and develop wisdom. ... If one is speaking to an ascetic, the ascetic has already given his assent three times and his discipline is complete. ... To an ascetic one must explain the defilement in pure things - you should tell him to detach from all things, existence, non-existent, or whatever, to detach from all cultivation and experience, and even to detach from detachment.
While in the course of asceticism, one strips away influences of habit. If an ascetic cannot get rid of the diseases of greed and aversion, he too is called a deaf worldling; still he must be taught to practice meditation and cultivate wisdom."

(Sayings and Doings of Pai-Chang, p 29-30)

Later he also states (p 35): "If you fast and control yourself, practice meditation and cultivate wisdom, these are afflicted roots of goodness."
Yes, I don't doubt that. But really, this ony supports my view -- meditation is not the essential point, but nevertheless it does not merit complete de-emphasis. It is an expedient with a long history, and is a favoured expedient in most Zen texts as far as I can see.
"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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:44 pm

It is worth recalling that 'sila-prajna-samadhi' are the three fundamental components of Buddhist practice and life, and that is pretty well universal across all schools.

I think one of the unstated factors that skews modern discourse about the topic is that moderns have a very 'instrumental' view of life. We think in terms of results - 'what is it for?' 'What use is it?' 'What does it do?' That is one of the factors that drives the conception of meditation as a 'technique' or 'means to an end'.

But I think one of the deep meanings of (for example) Dogen's texts, is that one has to put aside any sense of getting something or achieving some result from meditation. So it's not as if you make a big effort and then hit the payola, reap the rewards. That is still very 'self-oriented', so to speak. So 'practice for the sake of practice' - as my sig. says, and Suzuki Roshi says this many times in his well-known book, 'practice for no gaining idea'. That turns out to give you different perspective, as you're then acting from the spirit of dedication, and not to attain something.

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

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Astus
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Re: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Astus » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:20 am

Temicco wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:19 pm
Yes, I agree. So do the later texts that I mention.
Those later texts are hundreds of years apart from the early ones, so there is actually a big gap during the Tang era.
Even Huango arguably does, too.
He does not. He merely mentions sitting peacefully. But throughout the text he denigrates all effort and all practice as deluded attempts of the gradual path.

"However, there is fast and slow in realizing this mind: there are those who attain no-mind in a single moment of thought after hearing the Dharma; those who attain no-mind after [passing through] the ten faiths, the ten abodes, the ten practices, and the ten conversions; and those who attain no-mind after [passing through] the ten stages [of the bodhisattva]."
(Huangbo in Zen Texts, BDK edition, p 16)

It's either the sudden or the gradual path. And sudden means enlightenment right at the moment of hearing the Dharma. What more would be needed?

"To become profoundly enlightened into [this truth]— right now, and that’s it! Perfect and sufficient, nothing is lacking. One may cultivate energetically for three eons, passing through the various stages. Then in a single moment of realization one realizes only that originally one was oneself a Buddha, with not a single thing that could possibly be added."
(Huangbo, p 17)
Yes, but the term dhyana was used in specific ways in the sutras, and can't necessarily be equated with the "chan" in "zuochan" just because the words are the same. The perfection of dhyana always occurs in discussions of the 6 paramitas, but the term "zuochan" is not used like this nor associated with the paramitas in any Chan literature I've ever read. So, I think it is a misreading to think that the meaning is the same.
That might be so. But then it should be also mentioned that not only chan has a different meaning, but so does zuo, hence it is not about any cultivation, nor any posture.

"Externally, for the mind to refrain from activating thoughts with regard to all the good and bad realms is called ‘seated’ (zuo). Internally, to see the motionlessness of the self-nature is called ‘meditation’ (chan)."
(Platform Sutra, ch 5, BDK ed, p 45)
Yes, I don't doubt that. But really, this ony supports my view -- meditation is not the essential point, but nevertheless it does not merit complete de-emphasis. It is an expedient with a long history, and is a favoured expedient in most Zen texts as far as I can see.
Sure thing, just as all the other elements of Mahayana, meditation is used.
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: Did zen masters teach seated meditation?

Post by Astus » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:16 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:44 pm
one has to put aside any sense of getting something or achieving some result from meditation.
There is the gradual practice model used by Zongmi, Yongming, and Jinul, where practice does have a meaningful purpose. Dogen is a different case, although there is not much of a detailed system for it. However, the idea of aimless action fits only the level of buddhas, and that cannot be used for those who are not yet on the stage of complete awakening, even though there is a difference between not anxiously craving for enlightenment and genuine aimlessness.
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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