Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

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Queequeg
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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Queequeg » Fri May 29, 2020 9:42 pm

I was going to respond, but then saw the posts above.

Oh, my.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by tkp67 » Fri May 29, 2020 9:43 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 9:42 pm
I was going to respond, but then saw the posts above.

Oh, my.
Citations dispelling that notion would really quell all arguments.

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Queequeg » Fri May 29, 2020 9:49 pm



I kid.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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jake
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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by jake » Fri May 29, 2020 9:54 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 9:49 pm


I kid.
I had a conversation with a 5yr old that was just like that!

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Malcolm » Fri May 29, 2020 9:58 pm

jake wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 9:54 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 9:49 pm


I kid.
I had a conversation with a 5yr old that was just like that!
98 percent of all twitter conversations are like that.

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by LastLegend » Fri May 29, 2020 10:25 pm

We will do multiple choice from now on.
npr wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 2:01 pm
Hello to you,
A question Please

What is Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’ ?
A) There is no the Absolute
B) There is the Absolute
C) The Absolute is seemingly an experience that can only be described by enlightened beings but we are not their experience.
D) Zen doesn’t care and doesn’t answer such question
E) All of the above
Is the ‘One Mind’ considered as The Absolute?
In analyzing this question, there are actually two parts: what is One Mind? What is the Absolute?

What is One Mind?

A) One mind isn’t two minds
B) One mind is not one or two minds
C) The mind that’s not divisive
D) How one mind be expressed in language at all?
E) One Mind is enlightenment experience itself.
Oneness with the Buddha is Oneness with the Absolute? or is it that **Everything** is Emptiness of self-being ?
A) Yes to question one
B) Yes to question one but what the h does that mean?
C) Yes, to question two
D) Yes to question two, but how the h does it help you because I was confused as f 10 years ago? Maybe I am wrong. It does actually help.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Dan74 » Fri May 29, 2020 10:28 pm

jake wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 9:54 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 9:49 pm


I kid.
I had a conversation with a 5yr old that was just like that!
:rolling:

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by haha » Sat May 30, 2020 4:51 am

npr wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 2:01 pm

Is the ‘One Mind’ considered as The Absolute ? Oneness with the Buddha is Oneness with the Absolute? or is it that **Everything** is Emptiness of self-being ?
If the reply applies to all Mahayana sects, kindly indicate
One can regard the definition of the one mind from the following passage from Huang-po’s Essentials of Mind Transmission (Ch’uan-hsin fa yao)
The Buddhas and all living beings are only one mind; there is no other reality. This mind, from beginninglessness, has never been born and never passed away. It is neither blue nor yellow; it has no shape and no form. It does not belong to existence or nonexistence; it does not count as new or old. It is neither long nor short, neither large nor small. It transcends all limiting measurements, all labels, all traces, all oppositions. This very being is it; when you stir thoughts, you turn away from it. It is like space, which has no boundaries and cannot be measured.

This one mind is itself Buddha. Buddha and sentient beings are no different; it’s just that sentient beings seek externally, grasping appearances, losing the more they seek. If you try to have Buddha seek Buddha, or use mind to grasp mind, you will never succeed. What you don’t realize is that if you stop thoughts and forget ruminations, the Buddha spontaneously appears.

This mind itself is Buddha; buddhas are sentient beings. As sentient beings, this mind is not diminished; as buddhas, this mind is not increased. Even the six perfections, myriad practices, and countless virtues are inherent and do not need to be added by cultivation; when the appropriate circumstances are encountered they are employed, and when those circumstances end they rest.
Worldly people who hear it said that the buddhas all communicate the truth of mind think it means there is some special truth in the mind to realize or grasp, so they wind up using mind to search for mind. They do not realize that mind itself is the truth, and the truth itself is mind. It will not do to use mind to seek mind, for that way you will never realize it, even in a million years. It is better to be mindless right away, and then you find fundamental reality.
Huang-po, Extracts from Essential Method of Transmission of Mind
Translated by Thomas Cleary
In: The five houses of Zen, 1997
Transmission of Mind
https://terebess.hu/zen/huangbo.html
If this mind itself is Buddha, then what the use of oneness with the Buddha does have. Is there anything out there as the Absolute that one needs to yoke?

One can associate Huang-po’s teaching with Trisvabhava model (i.e. the way Asanga presented).

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Astus » Sat May 30, 2020 8:21 am

Wondering about a concept that exists only in an English translation is unlikely to be fruitful. It was Blofeld's approach to render terms like tathata and dharmadhatu as absolute. Here's his explanation from the introduction (p 16-17):

"Zen followers (who have much in common with mystics of other faiths) do not use the term 'God', being wary of its dualistic and anthropomorphic implications. They prefer to talk of 'the Absolute' or 'the One Mind', for which they employ many synonyms according to the aspect to be emphasized in relation to something finite. Thus, the word 'Buddha' is used as a synonym for the Absolute as well as in the sense of Gautama, the Enlightened One, for it is held that the two arc identical. A Buddha's Enlightenment denotes an intuitive realization of his unity with the Absolute from which, after the death of his-body, nothing remains to divide him even in appearance. Of the Absolute nothing whatever can be postulated; to say that it exists excludes non-existence; to say that it does not exist excludes existence. Furthermore, Zen followers hold that the Absolute, or union with the Absolute, is not something to be attained; one does not enter Nirvana, for entrance to a place one has never left is impossible. The experience commonly called 'entering Nirvana' is, in fact, an intuitive realization of that Self-nature which is the true Nature of all things. The Absolute, or Reality, is regarded as having for sentient beings two aspects. The only aspect perceptible to the unenlightened is the one in which individual phenomena have a separate though purely transitory existence within the limits of space-time. The other aspect is spaceless and timeless; moreover all opposites, all distinctions and 'entities' of every kind, are here seen to be One. Yet neither is this second aspect, alone, the highest fruit of Enlightenment, as many contemplatives suppose; it is only when both aspects are perceived and reconciled that the beholder may be regarded as truly Enlightened. Yet, from that moment, he ceases to be the beholder, for he is conscious of no division between beholding and beheld. This leads to further paradoxes, unless the use of words is abandoned altogether. It is incorrect to employ such mystical terminology as 'I well in the Absolute' , 'The Absolute dwells in me', or 'I am penetrated by the Absolute', etc.; for, when space is transcended, the concepts of whole and part are no longer valid; the part is the whole - I AM the Absolute, except that I am no longer 'I'. What I behold then is my real Self, which is the true nature of all things; see-er and seen are one and the same, yet there is no seeing, just as the eye cannot behold itself."
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: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Wayfarer » Sat May 30, 2020 8:32 am

That’s just the kind of writing that got me interested in Buddhism in the first place. I know it’s likely to get a lot of criticism but it makes sense to me. (But then, I am a technical writer by profession, who’s knowledge of Buddhism, such as it is, has mainly been acquired by reading, so it stands to reason that I would respond to this kind of thing.) In some ways, the word ‘absolute’ is just a placeholder.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Astus » Sat May 30, 2020 9:51 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 8:32 am
the word ‘absolute’ is just a placeholder.
A placeholder for what? It seems that it requires specification, otherwise one habitually understands it according to whatever vague concept one associates with it, thus going to derail oneself right at the beginning and misinterpret the whole Dharma. Like for instance looking for some ultimate state to become, or trying to obtain some special insight from encounters.
But Huangbo taught quite directly what one can learn from almost any introductory book:

"Students of the Way should be sure that the four elements composing the body do not constitute the 'self, that the 'self' is not an entity; and that it can be deduced from this that the body is neither 'self' nor entity. Moreover, the five aggregates composing the mind (in the common sense) do not constitute either a 'self or an entity ; hence, it can be deduced that the (so-called individual) mind is neither 'self nor entity. The six sense organs (including the brain) which, together with their six types of perception and the six kinds of objects of perception, constitute the sensory world, must be understood in the same way. Those eighteen aspects of sense are separately and together void. There is only Mind-Source, limitless in extent and of absolute purity.
Thus, there is sensual eating and wise eating. When the body composed of the four elements suffers the pangs of hunger and accordingly you provide it with food, but without greed, that is called wise eating. On the other hand, if you gluttonously delight in purity and flavour, you are permitting the distinctions which arise from wrong thinking. Merely seeking to gratify the organ of taste without realizing when you have taken enough is called sensual eating."

(Blofeld, p 38-39)

In Buswell's translation (PDF p 53-55):

"Practitioners of the Way, have no doubt that the four great elements constitute the body, that these four great elements have no self, and that the self has no master. Know that this body has no self and no master. The five aggregates are mind, but the five aggregates have no self and no master. Know therefore that this mind has no self and no master. The six sense bases, six sense objects, and six sense consciousnesses come into contact with each other and become subject to production and cessation, so this is also the case with them as well. Since these eighteen elements of cognition are empty, everything is empty. There is only the original mind, which is serene and pure.
There is the nutriment of consciousness and the nutriment of wisdom. The body consisting of the four great elements is tormented by hunger and disease. Nurturing this body with only what it needs, without generating greed and craving, is called the nutriment of wisdom. Self-indulgently clinging to what is tasty, mistakenly giving rise to discrimination, seeking out only what pleases your taste buds, and without generating any sense of loathing — this is called the nutriment of consciousness."
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: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by npr » Sat May 30, 2020 10:13 am

Whether there is or there isn't 'Absolute', it seems that there's no 100% agreement on that within the participants of this thread

What do you think about that? Regardless if the correct translation is companionship (what's to companionship and to Brahma anyway??) or uonion with:
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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Astus » Sat May 30, 2020 11:13 am

npr wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 10:13 am
What do you think about that? Regardless if the correct translation is companionship (what's to companionship and to Brahma anyway??) or uonion with
Brahma is a type of gods in Buddhism, and through the practice of the brahmaviharas one can gain birth in that heaven. It is not the ultimate goal of Buddhism.
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: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Wayfarer » Sat May 30, 2020 11:19 am

Astus wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 9:51 am
Wayfarer wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 8:32 am
the word ‘absolute’ is just a placeholder.
A placeholder for what?
A placeholder for something we have a vague intuitive grasp of, but that we don’t know.

And you can’t ‘specify’ or ‘define’ any such thing as ‘the absolute’. What is it to define? It is to say what something isn’t, to delimit a meaning - ‘de-fine’, give finite meaning. The more specific a word is, the easier it is to define. A spanner is a spanner because it’s not a screwdriver. Big words, like consciousness, or dharma, or other terms on that level, gain their meaning in terms of the way they are used in a domain of discourse, and within the domain of discourse of comparative religion, ‘the absolute’ has a meaning, but that doesn’t make it easy to define.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Astus » Sat May 30, 2020 1:05 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 11:19 am
within the domain of discourse of comparative religion, ‘the absolute’ has a meaning, but that doesn’t make it easy to define.
The question at hand is about "Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’", and as the term itself was taken from Blofeld's translation, it turned out that Huangbo's records did not actually name anything "The Absolute", but it's rather the translator's choice to render various common Buddhist terms as such. So it's not just that there is no absolute, nobody has even mentioned it before Blofeld.
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: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by LastLegend » Sat May 30, 2020 1:05 pm

npr wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 10:13 am
Whether there is or there isn't 'Absolute', it seems that there's no 100% agreement on that within the participants of this thread.
There is.
There isn’t because that’s the way of saying to avoid attachment because attachment will cloud the absolute which is our innate enlightened Wisdom that’s alert, clear (non-deluded), and empty. It’s also called Mahaprajna. Mahaprajna itself has no discrimination, self, or any dharma. It’s like that innately. Discrimination is long habit and a product of consciousness and consciousness comes from Mahaprajna. :lol: It’s not easy to put into words.
Last edited by LastLegend on Sat May 30, 2020 1:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Wayfarer » Sat May 30, 2020 1:14 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 1:05 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 11:19 am
within the domain of discourse of comparative religion, ‘the absolute’ has a meaning, but that doesn’t make it easy to define.
The question at hand is about "Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’", and as the term itself was taken from Blofeld's translation, it turned out that Huangbo's records did not actually name anything "The Absolute", but it's rather the translator's choice to render various common Buddhist terms as such. So it's not just that there is no absolute, nobody has even mentioned it before Blofeld.
I think ‘the absolute’ is not a bad candidate for translation of ‘the unconditioned’ (as used in, for instance, the translations in Sutta Central.) After all, nothing can be ‘partially unconditioned’.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by LastLegend » Sat May 30, 2020 1:27 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 1:05 pm
npr wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 10:13 am
Whether there is or there isn't 'Absolute', it seems that there's no 100% agreement on that within the participants of this thread.
There is.
There isn’t because that’s the way of saying to avoid attachment because attachment will cloud the absolute which is our innate enlightened Wisdom that’s alert, clear (non-deluded), and empty. It’s also called Mahaprajna. Mahaprajna itself has no discrimination, self, or any dharma. It’s like that innately. Discrimination is long habit and a product of consciousness and consciousness comes from Mahaprajna. :lol: It’s not easy to put into words.
Once this innate is seen, we progress ourselves towards samadhi. Perfect samadhi is that of Bodhisattva. When saying stoping thoughts, that’s fine as long as there is non-deluded awareness present otherwise it’s not good, but that will likely produce samadhi of Arahant.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by LastLegend » Sat May 30, 2020 2:18 pm

It’s that easy or I think it’s easy so I become naughty and lazy and create karma. :lol: Then I meet karma I just wanna f hide. :lol: Personal experience.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Re: Zen’s stand regarding ‘The Absolute’

Post by Astus » Sat May 30, 2020 2:22 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 1:14 pm
I think ‘the absolute’ is not a bad candidate for translation of ‘the unconditioned’ (as used in, for instance, the translations in Sutta Central.) After all, nothing can be ‘partially unconditioned’.
Where exactly is asaṅkhata translated as the absolute there? Also, translating it as unconditioned (as done by Bodhi and Sujato) seems quite reasonable, as it's the opposite of conditioned.

Blofeld does not translate it (無為) as the absolute.

"From thought-instant to thought-instant, no form; from thought-instant to thought-instant, no activity (無為) - that is to be a Buddha!"
(p 40)

"Its strength once spent, the arrow falls to earth.
You build up lives which won't fulil your hopes.
How far below the Transcendental (無為) Gate
From which one leap will gain the Buddha's realm!"
(p 62)

"it is without any such distinctions as long and short, it is beyond attachment and activity (無為), ignorance and Enlightenment."
(p 63-64)
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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