Are Zen teachers awakened?

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clyde
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Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by clyde »

This is a question for Zen students (not Zen teachers nor about other traditions, only those that follow from Bodhidharma).

Is it your understanding that all Zen teachers have had an awakening (commonly expressed in Zen as “seeing one’s true nature”) though to varying degrees? It’s my understanding that it’s so and matches my limited exposure to some Western Zen teachers.

But I’m curious how others see it.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”
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Dan74
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Dan74 »

I agree.

The extent to which they truly embody it in a variety of situations is another matter though.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by narhwal90 »

Don't know if they are awakened or not, I'm good as long as they are more awake than I. Circumstances vary thus I have to pay attention and choose appropriately.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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clyde wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm This is a question for Zen students (not Zen teachers nor about other traditions, only those that follow from Bodhidharma).

Is it your understanding that all Zen teachers have had an awakening (commonly expressed in Zen as “seeing one’s true nature”) though to varying degrees? It’s my understanding that it’s so and matches my limited exposure to some Western Zen teachers.

But I’m curious how others see it.
Seeing nature is final awakening it’s like hollow completely...but even hollow completely with any traces of dual such as ‘I‘ versus ‘it’ is not final awakening. I only know up to ‘I’ versus ‘it.’ Sorry if I confuse anyone with this. I am not able to understand how awakened beings still have both without being confused by karma.
Make personal vows.

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LastLegend
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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The issue here is karma and people of other Traditions know about it. That’s why there are methods to deal with that. By karma it includes everything from Buddhist learning accumulated by five aggregates. That’s why awakening has nothing to do with anything at all. As much as people like to separate traditions it comes down to the very nature that’s shared by everyone or everyone has not sure to word that correctly.
Last edited by LastLegend on Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Make personal vows.

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LastLegend
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Yeah preliminarily eating vegetables and keeping precepts etc, but eventually it got nothing to do with awakening. I hope it’s common sense not to kill anyone or do something crazy. But aspirations is a big deal (in my opinion).
Make personal vows.

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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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If that’s told to someone who has been meditating and has accumulating many views over two decades they will flip out. But views are products of skandhas. Tough conversation to have.

People still think I came up with this. I don’t.
Make personal vows.

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clyde
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by clyde »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:10 pm
Dan74 wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:08 pm I agree.

The extent to which they truly embody it in a variety of situations is another matter though.
[Post removed]

All Zen teachers without exception.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Dan74 »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:10 pm
Dan74 wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:08 pm I agree.

The extent to which they truly embody it in a variety of situations is another matter though.
Post removed.
I am not in the position to judge really.

Generally speaking, my understanding is that everyone who deserved the name 'Zen teacher' must have had a degree of awakening and some measure of stability in its functioning.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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clyde wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm This is a question for Zen students (not Zen teachers nor about other traditions, only those that follow from Bodhidharma).

Is it your understanding that all Zen teachers have had an awakening (commonly expressed in Zen as “seeing one’s true nature”) though to varying degrees? It’s my understanding that it’s so and matches my limited exposure to some Western Zen teachers.

But I’m curious how others see it.
Are you a Zen teacher Clyde? A Zen practitioner?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Dan74 wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:50 ameveryone who deserved the name 'Zen teacher'
Zen teacher, as in anyone who somebody called a Zen teacher, or anyone who received such a title from an organisation, or what version do you mean?
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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Matt J
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Matt J »

I would say no, unless they are quite skilled at hiding their knowledge.

Stephen Bodian, as a public example, was teaching Zen at a time he stated he had not seen his true nature (according to him). I am sure there are other public examples.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by humble.student »

clyde wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:33 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:10 pm
Dan74 wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:08 pm I agree.

The extent to which they truly embody it in a variety of situations is another matter though.
Are you including Jundo and Brad Warner here, Dan?
All Zen teachers without exception.
Anyone can hang out a shingle.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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My minimum standard for a teacher is final awakening, so I am a student. This type of teachers immediately knows a particular delusional thought arises in me as soon as I have it.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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clyde
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by clyde »

Grigoris wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:47 pm
clyde wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm This is a question for Zen students (not Zen teachers nor about other traditions, only those that follow from Bodhidharma).

Is it your understanding that all Zen teachers have had an awakening (commonly expressed in Zen as “seeing one’s true nature”) though to varying degrees? It’s my understanding that it’s so and matches my limited exposure to some Western Zen teachers.

But I’m curious how others see it.
Are you a Zen teacher Clyde? A Zen practitioner?
Ha! I’m neither a Zen teacher nor Zen student. I’m a student of Zen; that is, I have studied Zen teachings and ‘sit’, occasionally with various Zen teachers, but I don’t have a Zen teacher.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”
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clyde
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by clyde »

Astus wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:30 pm
Dan74 wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:50 ameveryone who deserved the name 'Zen teacher'
Zen teacher, as in anyone who somebody called a Zen teacher, or anyone who received such a title from an organisation, or what version do you mean?
Since I asked the question, I meant Zen teachers who have been authorized.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”
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clyde
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by clyde »

Matt J wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:36 pm I would say no, unless they are quite skilled at hiding their knowledge.

Stephen Bodian, as a public example, was teaching Zen at a time he stated he had not seen his true nature (according to him). I am sure there are other public examples.
I’m not familiar with Stephen Bodian. Is he a Zen teacher? And if so, what was he teaching? Only what he read and heard, and understood, but not achieved?!
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Malcolm »

clyde wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:46 pm
Astus wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:30 pm
Dan74 wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:50 ameveryone who deserved the name 'Zen teacher'
Zen teacher, as in anyone who somebody called a Zen teacher, or anyone who received such a title from an organisation, or what version do you mean?
Since I asked the question, I meant Zen teachers who have been authorized.
Well, how can you be sure the person who authorized a Zen teacher is qualified to do so. You are putting a lot of burden on a very tenuous chain of authority.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Matylda »

clyde wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm This is a question for Zen students (not Zen teachers nor about other traditions, only those that follow from Bodhidharma).

Is it your understanding that all Zen teachers have had an awakening (commonly expressed in Zen as “seeing one’s true nature”) though to varying degrees? It’s my understanding that it’s so and matches my limited exposure to some Western Zen teachers.

But I’m curious how others see it.
It is one of most important questions I think. Generally I do not think so.. In the West I never met anyone. In Japan there are only a few probably. In zen, a teacher cannot get his disciple beyond his own state of experience and realisation. If he has none, than we cannot expect any of his students to go through it in a genuine way.

Soto escaped into stating that shikan taza is all, so there is no way to check on them or their realisation, for this soto is harshly criticized. And in fact it almost completely lost zen spirit.
Rinzai got stuck in very formalistic koan curriculum, and many think of it as the whole thing. Nowdays some rinzai teachers, one of most important in Japan criticize this position, and point to attaining genuine samadhi and realisation, going beyond sensless koan training where seldom one attains kensho or seeing the nature.

However both schools have their own systems of appointing teachers. Even if they are not 'awakened' they are supposed to trasmit correct teachings and instructions. I gives at least some reassurance that people won't be cheated.
But again in both schools happen 'accidents', i.e. people of very meager experience become prominent teachers. Frankly, it happens more often with soto than with rinzai. So people who are not considered zen teachers in Japan for some reason, mostly good relation with Westerners, make themselves famous masters.
And those are not confirmed by the existing system mostly.

True awakening is exteremely difficult today in zen. Compare to it, it is exteremly easy to become a zen teacher or even a zen master.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Matylda »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:06 pm
clyde wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:46 pm
Astus wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:30 pm

Zen teacher, as in anyone who somebody called a Zen teacher, or anyone who received such a title from an organisation, or what version do you mean?
Since I asked the question, I meant Zen teachers who have been authorized.
Well, how can you be sure the person who authorized a Zen teacher is qualified to do so. You are putting a lot of burden on a very tenuous chain of authority.
Perfect remark!
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