Buddha Nature in Zen

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:17 pm

I know that in East Asian Buddhism, Buddha Nature is emphasized. Is there any special emphasis or perspective on this idea in Zen which differentiates it?

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well wisher
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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by well wisher » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:55 pm

Source: https://www.zen-buddhism.net/famous-zen ... harma.html
Bodhidharma was an energetic teacher who called all Buddhists, monks or lay people to make their best effort in this lifetime. He was opposed the idea of earning merits by making donations. Instead, he affirmed that everyone has Buddha-nature and encouraged each and everyone to Awaken.

Bodhidharma is the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism in a line of descent from the Buddha via his disciple Mahākāśyapa, Buddha's successor after his death.

Besides being known as the father of both Zen Buddhism and Shaolin martial arts, he remains today as a prime symbol of determination, willpower, self-discipline, and is the perfect embodiment of Buddhist Enlightenment.
My own guess based on personal experience with Chan / Zen practices: The Buddha nature is like the un-defiled clear mind, with no fetters; no attachment nor aversion, just pure clarity and focused without any delusional thoughts.
So the various forms of meditation practices helps a lot to catch glimpses of it, to be focused and clear away idle thoughts - by observing and being neutral to the thoughts. But so far I cannot maintain it for too long.
-------------

However, some contrasting points to consider from other Theravada-related websites below.
Which I also found make some sense, like in the applied form of profound emptiness,
to help avoid getting too attached to the concept of "Buddha-nature" itself:

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/true-or ... ha-nature
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... ature.html - Freedom From Buddha Nature - by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Last edited by well wisher on Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Astus
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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by Astus » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:04 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:17 pm
I know that in East Asian Buddhism, Buddha Nature is emphasized. Is there any special emphasis or perspective on this idea in Zen which differentiates it?
Do you ask if there is a special "Zen theory" of buddha-nature? If so, then the answer is no. First of all, because there is no such systematic doctrine that can be called "Zen". Secondly, because teachings that are conventionally labelled Zen simply rely on established Mahayana doctrine.

Apart from the above two points, a common and quite central concept in most Zen teachings is that the "mind is buddha", that is, that the nature of mind is identical to the nature of buddha. This forms the basis of the sudden awakening style, that one simply has to recognise one's own mind to be originally empty and thereby attain liberation from all defilements and ignorance.

So, if you really want to know the authentic Zen perspective, then just see right now that your current chain of thoughts is without any basis, that there is nothing to rely on anywhere, and there has never been anything that could be gained or lost.
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: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:41 pm

Astus wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:04 pm
Do you ask if there is a special "Zen theory" of buddha-nature?
Yes.
Astus wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:04 pm
If so, then the answer is no ... teachings that are conventionally labelled Zen simply rely on established Mahayana doctrine.

... a common and quite central concept in most Zen teachings is that the "mind is buddha", that is, that the nature of mind is identical to the nature of buddha. This forms the basis of the sudden awakening style,
This is close to what I was wondering about - whether Zen's "no-mind" was considered to be the same thing as Buddha nature. I've realized I am quite ignorant about the history and doctrines of East Asian Buddhism and Zen.

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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by Astus » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:29 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:41 pm
history and doctrines of East Asian Buddhism and Zen.
Start with The Awakening Of Faith In Mahayana (full book version including some commentary: PDF), as it is likely the most influential treatise on the topic in East Asian Buddhism.

'Question: If such is the meaning of the principle of Mahayana, how is it possible for men to conform themselves to and enter into it?
Answer: If they understand that, concerning all things, though they are spoken of, there is neither that which speaks, nor that which can be spoken of, and though they are thought of, there is neither that which thinks, nor that which can be thought of, then they are said to have conformed to it. And when they are freed from their thoughts, they are said to have entered into it'

(AFM)
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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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:32 pm

ty _/\_

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SunWuKong
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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by SunWuKong » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:17 pm

#1 - Four myths about Zen Buddhism’s “Mu Koan”
https://blog.oup.com/2012/04/four-myths ... s-mu-koan/

#2 - "For example, the Tibetan scholar Go Lotsawa outlined four meanings of the term Tathāgatagarbha as used by Indian Buddhist scholars generally: (1) As an emptiness that is a nonimplicative negation, (2) the luminous nature of the mind, (3) alaya-vijñana (store-consciousness), (4) all bodhisattvas and sentient beings.[3]" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha-nature

Tathāgatagarbha in Zen more than likely involves a debate between (1) and (2), negation vs. luminosity.

If mind is not luminous, what is? Zen is simply letting thoughts, etc. come and go. Allow the mind to settle and calm, yet while attending to it as totally as possible. You could take a short course in Zazen and see this first-hand actually.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Astus
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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by Astus » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:55 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:17 pm
Tathāgatagarbha in Zen more than likely involves a debate between (1) and (2), negation vs. luminosity.
Those are Tibetan issues. Better go with East Asian doctrines when discussing Zen.
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: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by SunWuKong » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:01 pm

Astus wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:55 pm
SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:17 pm
Tathāgatagarbha in Zen more than likely involves a debate between (1) and (2), negation vs. luminosity.
Those are Tibetan issues. Better go with East Asian doctrines when discussing Zen.
Ah, okay. It seemed similar to the argument in the article in that when asked if a dog has Buddha Nature Joshu replies Mu, but many commentators say the opposite is actually the case. https://blog.oup.com/2012/04/four-myths ... s-mu-koan/
But I understand, i heard somewhere it is also a pun. Koans don't always have straight-forward answers
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by dude » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:40 am

"Koans don't always have straight-forward answers"

That's for boot kickin' sure.

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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by SunWuKong » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:03 pm

dude wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:40 am
"Koans don't always have straight-forward answers"

That's for boot kickin' sure.
"If the Mu dog shits, wear it!"
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

WesleyP
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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by WesleyP » Fri May 31, 2019 1:13 pm

I have been doing Zen practice.

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LastLegend
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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by LastLegend » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:52 am

well wisher wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:55 pm


My own guess based on personal experience with Chan / Zen practices: The Buddha nature is like the un-defiled clear mind, with no fetters; no attachment nor aversion, just pure clarity and focused without any delusional thoughts.
So the various forms of meditation practices helps a lot to catch glimpses of it, to be focused and clear away idle thoughts - by observing and being neutral to the thoughts. But so far I cannot maintain it for too long.
Can be easily mistaken for consciousness but consciousness’ function is to clearly differentiate and should be the functioning child of nature. What’s get in the way is a mesh of habits including personal self talk at subtle level.
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that remains unchanged stationary can be seen when looking at an object.

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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by LastLegend » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:08 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:17 pm

Tathāgatagarbha in Zen more than likely involves a debate between (1) and (2), negation vs. luminosity.

If mind is not luminous, what is? Zen is simply letting thoughts, etc. come and go. Allow the mind to settle and calm, yet while attending to it as totally as possible. You could take a short course in Zazen and see this first-hand actually.
1) If Zen is simply sitting and letting thoughts come and go, then Zen is really in trouble.
2) Buddha nature whether it’s taught in Tibetan or East Asian, it’s the same nature we are talking about. Luminous does not literally means light in a literal sense or a moment of spark when you are directly experienced your consciousness. But hey the physical affects of light are there. In Vietnamese also Chinese Buddhism, they have what’s called “Minh Tâm Kiến Tánh Thành Phật,” probably a famous phrase by Hui Neng. Minh can be translated as clear or luminous. Clear means the consciousness is able to clearly differentiate. Asian languages can be figurative: words like “sáng” means light or daylight or bright. Words like clear, luminous, bright, shine, light does not literally point to the physical effects but to the mind. I think the word “clear” most accurately points to the mind. That whole sentence can be literally translated: “Clear mind seeing nature become Buddha.” It actually describes the process: mind being clear (consciousness is able to clearly differentiate), and through that paramount Grand consciousness, seeing nature. Most of us are stuck with the first phrase due to karmic habits/mesh of self (including personal self talk at subtle level-traces of ignorance) where consciousness continues to serves our karmic habits. Now nature the ever present not apart from us, can be understood as “non-discriminating knowing.” I think that’s best accurate way that I know to describe it. But it gets complicated since it can be easily confused with pristine or Grand consciousness, we just practice being clear but this is the long route. The quicker route would be “Great Death.”
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that remains unchanged stationary can be seen when looking at an object.

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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by LastLegend » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:21 am

Astus wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:04 pm

Apart from the above two points, a common and quite central concept in most Zen teachings is that the "mind is buddha", that is, that the nature of mind is identical to the nature of buddha. This forms the basis of the sudden awakening style, that one simply has to recognise one's own mind to be originally empty and thereby attain liberation from all defilements and ignorance.

So, if you really want to know the authentic Zen perspective, then just see right now that your current chain of thoughts is without any basis, that there is nothing to rely on anywhere, and there has never been anything that could be gained or lost.
Does it work bro? Lol
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that remains unchanged stationary can be seen when looking at an object.

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O_156
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Re: Buddha Nature in Zen

Post by O_156 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:51 am

Some might find this short talk by Shohaku Okumura Roshi interesting. Dogen Zenji's take on Buddha Nature.


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