Piercing the empty sky

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anjali
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Piercing the empty sky

Post by anjali » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:31 am

I enjoy periodically rereading a book within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition called, The Hundred Verses of Advice. It's a collection of pith instruction verses by Padampa Sangye with commentary by Dilgo Khyense Rinpoche. I was reading verse 51 yesterday and happened to recall an anecdote about Linji.
Verse 51
In a state of emptiness, whirl the spear of pure awareness;
People of Tingri, the view is free from being caught by anything at all.


Your view should be as high and vast as the sky. Pure awareness, once it manifests within the mind's empty nature, can no longer be obscrured by the negative emotions, which become its ornaments instead. The changeless state that is the realization of the view is not something that comes into existence, remains, or ceases; within it, awareness observes the movement of thoughts like a serene old man watching children at play. Confused thoughts cannot affect pure awareness any more than a sword can pierce the sky.
Linji anecdote,
A monk asked, "Master, of what house is the tune you sing? To whose style of Chan do you succeed?"
The master said, "When I was staying with Huangbo I questioned him three times and was hit three times."
The monk hesitated.
The master gave a shout and then struck him, saying, "You can't drive a stake into the empty sky."
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Ogyen
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by Ogyen » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:53 am

Wow. I love this. I put the book on my wishlist.
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The Heart Drive - nosce te ipsum

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy

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Meido
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by Meido » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:06 am

Nice.

It brings to mind also a famous anecdote in Japanese Zen, when Kusunoki Masashige (14th century warrior) went to visit his Zen teacher Gokushu right before a decisive battle. He asked, "How should I stand between life and death?"

Gokushun replied, "Cut off two heads [i.e. dualism], and a solitary sword stands against the cold sky."
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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anjali
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by anjali » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:23 am

Meido wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:06 am
It brings to mind also a famous anecdote in Japanese Zen, when Kusunoki Masashige (14th century warrior) went to visit his Zen teacher Gokushu right before a decisive battle. He asked, "How should I stand between life and death?"

Gokushun replied, "Cut off two heads [i.e. dualism], and a solitary sword stands against the cold sky."
What a striking image. :thumbsup:
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Astus
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by Astus » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:32 am

The meaning is summed up by Tony Duff (Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra, p 59 n153) as: "You can hold up a spear or lance and whirl it around in the space above your head but nothing happens because the lance is being flourished within space. It is a metaphor for excellent practice in which the actual state of emptiness has been met."

A whole teaching using the simile: The Eight Flashing Lances

"Because nothing is attained, the Bodhisattva, through reliance on prajna paramita, is unimpeded in his mind."
(Heart Sutra)

"The bodies and minds of all sentient beings
Are altogether like an illusion.
The attribute of the body belongs to the four great elements;
The nature of the mind derives from the six types of sense objects.
Since in essence the four great elements are distinct from one another,
Who could constitute the one who holds them together?
If one gradually practices in this way,
Everything in its entirety will become pure,
Undisturbed, and pervade the dharmadhātu.
There will be no striving, going along with things, stopping, or extinguishing,
Nor will there be anyone who realizes it."

(Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, ch 3, in Apocryphal Scriptures, BDK ed, p 69-70)
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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KeithA
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by KeithA » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:53 am

More sky talk:

As long as I don’t aim I won’t miss.
With the catalpa bow, I shoot an arrow toward the open sky.

Ryokan (Tanahashi trans.)
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

narhwal90
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by narhwal90 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:15 pm

My doctrine makes no distinction
between high and low, rich and poor.
It is like the sky, it has room for all.
Like water, it washes all alike.”
― Layman Pang

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SunWuKong
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by SunWuKong » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:05 am

narhwal90 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:15 pm
My doctrine makes no distinction
between high and low, rich and poor.
It is like the sky, it has room for all.
Like water, it washes all alike.”
― Layman Pang
"How miraculous and wondrous,
Hauling water and carrying firewood!"
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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anjali
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by anjali » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:46 am

Continuing a theme from the OP...
A monk asked, "Master, of what house is the tune you sing? To whose style of Chan do you succeed?"
The master said, "When I was staying with Huangbo I questioned him three times and was hit three times."
The monk hesitated.
The master gave a shout and then struck him, saying, "You can't drive a stake into the empty sky."
A nice poem by Dogen from Moon in a Dewdrop,
Given to Courier Nan
An explosive shout cracks the great empty sky.
Immediately clear self-understanding.
Swallow up buddhas and ancestors of the past.
Without following others, realize complete penetration.
Italics added.
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SunWuKong
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Re: Piercing the empty sky

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:45 am

“Our life in this world – to what shall I compare it?

It’s like an echo resounding through the mountains

and off into the empty sky.” –Zen master and poet, Ryokan
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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