Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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Ted Biringer
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Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

Post by Ted Biringer »

If there is one teaching that is peculiar to Buddhism alone among all the world’s religions, I would say it is the principle of sunyata (Voidness or Emptiness). If I were to choose one doctrine among others that best represents the core of Buddhism, I would also choose the principle of sunyata. If someone were to further ask me what is the Buddhist doctrine that is most difficult to explain and comprehend, most misunderstood and misrepresented, I would again say it is the principle of sunyata.
Garma C.C. Chang, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality, p.64


The vast significance and central importance of emptiness in Zen can be seen in two of its often repeated axioms, ‘All things are essentially empty’ and ‘Emptiness is the true nature of all things.’ ‘All things are essentially empty’ means all things are empty of selfhood, all dharmas lack independent existence. ‘Emptiness is the true nature of all things’ means emptiness is the reality or essential nature (ontology) of all the various things, beings, and events (i.e. the myriad dharmas).

Contrary to widespread notions, to be empty does not mean to be unreal, nonexistent, or provisional, nor does it mean that variety, plurality, and uniqueness are delusory or illusory, as if the myriad dharmas were ‘made up of’ or ‘reducible to’ one uniform or homogeneous essence or substance. I stress this point because prospective Zen interpreters have historically demonstrated a tendency for presenting distorted notions about emptiness. Such distortions usually amount to a privileging of emptiness (essence, reality) over form (appearance, manifestation). Such privileging is caused and perpetuated by false presuppositions consistent with dualism. Briefly, this happens when the form (appearance) and emptiness (reality) of dharmas are conceived and treated as independent realities. When form and emptiness are conceived of as separate, distinct realities, they become subject to comparisons of superiority and inferiority. Naturally, emptiness, being envisioned as uniform, universal, and pure is seen and treated as superior to form, which is envisioned as variable, particular, and disparate. Such fallacies concerning emptiness and form spawn teachings and practices that foster quietism and detachment, many of which can be seen thriving in the present day.

From at least as early as its Sixth Ancestor, Huineng (638-713 C E), Zen has been closely associated with the prajna-paramita sutras – the most comprehensive treatment of emptiness (sunyata) in the Buddhist literature. According to Zen lore, Huineng realized enlightenment simply upon hearing a prajna-paramita scripture, the Diamond Sutra, recited in the street. Huineng’s record, the Platform Sutra, proclaims the supreme vision of the Diamond Sutra, promising enlightenment not only to those that practice its teachings, but even to those that simply memorize it.

Numerous subsequent Zen records make frequent use of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology to present the wisdom of emptiness, that is, insight into the nondual nature of reality. The gist of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology can be expressed by the formula A is not-A, therefore A is A; not-A is A, therefore not-A is not-A. In other words, form is emptiness (i.e. not-form), therefore form is form; emptiness is form (i.e. not-emptiness), therefore emptiness is emptiness.

The basic reasoning of this can be understood by envisioning ‘A’ as a particular dharma, and ‘not-A’ as everything else in the universe. With this it can be seen that thinking, speaking, or acting in relation to ‘A’ requires one to distinguish what is ‘A’ from what is ‘not-A’ – thus it is seen that the existence of ‘A’ presupposes (i.e. is dependent on) the existence of ‘not-A.’ By the same reasoning, the existence of ‘not-A’ is seen to presuppose the existence of ‘A.’

To clarify, and emphasize the crucial point, since the existence of ‘A’ can only be discerned by its contrast with the existence of ‘not-A’, the existence of ‘A’ is dependent on the existence of ‘not-A’ – therefore, the existence of ‘A’ is inclusive of the existence of ‘not-A’ and vice versa. In other words, the whole of existence-time (uji) that is not explicit in/as ‘A’ is and must be implicit in/as ‘A’ – hence, the reality of ‘A’ is constituted of both what is ‘A’ and what is ‘not A.’ Therefore, ‘A’ (and by extension, any particular dharma) is a manifestation of the whole universe, total existence-time. This vision of dharmas – as particular forms of/as the totality of space-and-time (uji; existence-time) – is explicitly asserted and graphically presented by Dogen’s teachings on the ‘self-obstruction’ or ‘total exertion’ of ‘a particular dharma’ (ippo gujin).

The Zen practitioner that focuses their attention on dharmas in accordance with the Diamond Sutra’s methodology is enlightened to (i.e. sees, knows, experiences) the truth that dharmas are dharmas by virtue of their being particularities – that is, by their existing as some-thing differentiated from every-thing. Experiencing the world through the perspective presented by the Diamond Sutra, the practitioner is made intimately aware of the fact that reality only and always consists of particular (part-icular) instances of total existence-time – apart from specific manifest phenomena (i.e. dharmas) there is no existence or time.

Thus, it is accurate to say that, to experience (epistemology) existence (ontology) is to distinguish something from everything; if something is not distinguished from everything, nothing can be experienced. By applying ourselves to the Diamond Sutra’s methodology we first come to discern that the existence of a particular dharma is dependent on the existence of everything ‘other than’ that dharma. Next, we come to discern that the existence of everything ‘other than’ that dharma is dependent on the existence of that dharma. Proceeding along these lines, we come to discern how each dharma inherently presupposes (contains, includes) every ‘other dharma’ and all ‘other dharmas.’

In sum, the Diamond Sutra presents (makes present) the dynamic interdependence of form and emptiness by demonstrating that ‘form’ is essential to, therefore inclusive of ‘emptiness’ (and vice versa).

Peace,
Ted
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Re: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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Ted Biringer wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:32 pm If there is one teaching that is peculiar to Buddhism alone among all the world’s religions, I would say it is the principle of sunyata (Voidness or Emptiness). If I were to choose one doctrine among others that best represents the core of Buddhism, I would also choose the principle of sunyata. If someone were to further ask me what is the Buddhist doctrine that is most difficult to explain and comprehend, most misunderstood and misrepresented, I would again say it is the principle of sunyata.
Garma C.C. Chang, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality, p.64


The vast significance and central importance of emptiness in Zen can be seen in two of its often repeated axioms, ‘All things are essentially empty’ and ‘Emptiness is the true nature of all things.’ ‘All things are essentially empty’ means all things are empty of selfhood, all dharmas lack independent existence. ‘Emptiness is the true nature of all things’ means emptiness is the reality or essential nature (ontology) of all the various things, beings, and events (i.e. the myriad dharmas).

Contrary to widespread notions, to be empty does not mean to be unreal, nonexistent, or provisional, nor does it mean that variety, plurality, and uniqueness are delusory or illusory, as if the myriad dharmas were ‘made up of’ or ‘reducible to’ one uniform or homogeneous essence or substance. I stress this point because prospective Zen interpreters have historically demonstrated a tendency for presenting distorted notions about emptiness. Such distortions usually amount to a privileging of emptiness (essence, reality) over form (appearance, manifestation). Such privileging is caused and perpetuated by false presuppositions consistent with dualism. Briefly, this happens when the form (appearance) and emptiness (reality) of dharmas are conceived and treated as independent realities. When form and emptiness are conceived of as separate, distinct realities, they become subject to comparisons of superiority and inferiority. Naturally, emptiness, being envisioned as uniform, universal, and pure is seen and treated as superior to form, which is envisioned as variable, particular, and disparate. Such fallacies concerning emptiness and form spawn teachings and practices that foster quietism and detachment, many of which can be seen thriving in the present day.

From at least as early as its Sixth Ancestor, Huineng (638-713 C E), Zen has been closely associated with the prajna-paramita sutras – the most comprehensive treatment of emptiness (sunyata) in the Buddhist literature. According to Zen lore, Huineng realized enlightenment simply upon hearing a prajna-paramita scripture, the Diamond Sutra, recited in the street. Huineng’s record, the Platform Sutra, proclaims the supreme vision of the Diamond Sutra, promising enlightenment not only to those that practice its teachings, but even to those that simply memorize it.

Numerous subsequent Zen records make frequent use of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology to present the wisdom of emptiness, that is, insight into the nondual nature of reality. The gist of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology can be expressed by the formula A is not-A, therefore A is A; not-A is A, therefore not-A is not-A. In other words, form is emptiness (i.e. not-form), therefore form is form; emptiness is form (i.e. not-emptiness), therefore emptiness is emptiness.

The basic reasoning of this can be understood by envisioning ‘A’ as a particular dharma, and ‘not-A’ as everything else in the universe. With this it can be seen that thinking, speaking, or acting in relation to ‘A’ requires one to distinguish what is ‘A’ from what is ‘not-A’ – thus it is seen that the existence of ‘A’ presupposes (i.e. is dependent on) the existence of ‘not-A.’ By the same reasoning, the existence of ‘not-A’ is seen to presuppose the existence of ‘A.’

To clarify, and emphasize the crucial point, since the existence of ‘A’ can only be discerned by its contrast with the existence of ‘not-A’, the existence of ‘A’ is dependent on the existence of ‘not-A’ – therefore, the existence of ‘A’ is inclusive of the existence of ‘not-A’ and vice versa. In other words, the whole of existence-time (uji) that is not explicit in/as ‘A’ is and must be implicit in/as ‘A’ – hence, the reality of ‘A’ is constituted of both what is ‘A’ and what is ‘not A.’ Therefore, ‘A’ (and by extension, any particular dharma) is a manifestation of the whole universe, total existence-time. This vision of dharmas – as particular forms of/as the totality of space-and-time (uji; existence-time) – is explicitly asserted and graphically presented by Dogen’s teachings on the ‘self-obstruction’ or ‘total exertion’ of ‘a particular dharma’ (ippo gujin).

The Zen practitioner that focuses their attention on dharmas in accordance with the Diamond Sutra’s methodology is enlightened to (i.e. sees, knows, experiences) the truth that dharmas are dharmas by virtue of their being particularities – that is, by their existing as some-thing differentiated from every-thing. Experiencing the world through the perspective presented by the Diamond Sutra, the practitioner is made intimately aware of the fact that reality only and always consists of particular (part-icular) instances of total existence-time – apart from specific manifest phenomena (i.e. dharmas) there is no existence or time.

Thus, it is accurate to say that, to experience (epistemology) existence (ontology) is to distinguish something from everything; if something is not distinguished from everything, nothing can be experienced. By applying ourselves to the Diamond Sutra’s methodology we first come to discern that the existence of a particular dharma is dependent on the existence of everything ‘other than’ that dharma. Next, we come to discern that the existence of everything ‘other than’ that dharma is dependent on the existence of that dharma. Proceeding along these lines, we come to discern how each dharma inherently presupposes (contains, includes) every ‘other dharma’ and all ‘other dharmas.’

In sum, the Diamond Sutra presents (makes present) the dynamic interdependence of form and emptiness by demonstrating that ‘form’ is essential to, therefore inclusive of ‘emptiness’ (and vice versa).

Peace,
Ted
Nice!
Make personal vows.

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Astus
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Re: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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Ted Biringer wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:32 pmNumerous subsequent Zen records make frequent use of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology to present the wisdom of emptiness, that is, insight into the nondual nature of reality. The gist of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology can be expressed by the formula A is not-A, therefore A is A; not-A is A, therefore not-A is not-A. In other words, form is emptiness (i.e. not-form), therefore form is form; emptiness is form (i.e. not-emptiness), therefore emptiness is emptiness.
In what Zen record can one find such an explanation about A's and not-A's?
The basic reasoning of this can be understood by envisioning ‘A’ as a particular dharma, and ‘not-A’ as everything else in the universe.
That would be a reification of A, thus a denial of emptiness. A is itself not-A, because there is never A in itself. If it meant simply that A is not anything else, that's just A=A, very much the common view of ordinary beings.
In sum, the Diamond Sutra presents (makes present) the dynamic interdependence of form and emptiness by demonstrating that ‘form’ is essential to, therefore inclusive of ‘emptiness’ (and vice versa).
There can be no interdependence of emptiness and form, unless one mistakenly reifies those concepts. Form is empty, because no form exists on its own, and that absence of an identifiable essence is what is called emptiness.
As for interpenetration, better check Huayan teachings on the four dharmadhatu. However, that has little to do with Huineng, the Diamond Sutra, or 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: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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Astus wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:14 am
Ted Biringer wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:32 pmNumerous subsequent Zen records make frequent use of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology to present the wisdom of emptiness, that is, insight into the nondual nature of reality. The gist of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology can be expressed by the formula A is not-A, therefore A is A; not-A is A, therefore not-A is not-A. In other words, form is emptiness (i.e. not-form), therefore form is form; emptiness is form (i.e. not-emptiness), therefore emptiness is emptiness.
In what Zen record can one find such an explanation about A's and not-A's?
The basic reasoning of this can be understood by envisioning ‘A’ as a particular dharma, and ‘not-A’ as everything else in the universe.
That would be a reification of A, thus a denial of emptiness. A is itself not-A, because there is never A in itself. If it meant simply that A is not anything else, that's just A=A, very much the common view of ordinary beings.
In sum, the Diamond Sutra presents (makes present) the dynamic interdependence of form and emptiness by demonstrating that ‘form’ is essential to, therefore inclusive of ‘emptiness’ (and vice versa).
There can be no interdependence of emptiness and form, unless one mistakenly reifies those concepts. Form is empty, because no form exists on its own, and that absence of an identifiable essence is what is called emptiness.
As for interpenetration, better check Huayan teachings on the four dharmadhatu. However, that has little to do with Huineng, the Diamond Sutra, or Zen.
That’s good, but the question in Chan is what knows that? Not to trap anyone in this mode of thinking.
Make personal vows.

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Re: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:36 pmThat’s good, but the question in Chan is what knows that?
'None of what the Tathāgata calls ‘thoughts’ are actually thoughts. Therefore they are called thoughts. Why? Because the past thought is unobtainable, the present thought is unobtainable, and the future thought is unobtainable.'
(Diamond Sutra, ch 18)
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: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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Astus wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:54 pm
LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:36 pmThat’s good, but the question in Chan is what knows that?
'None of what the Tathāgata calls ‘thoughts’ are actually thoughts. Therefore they are called thoughts. Why? Because the past thought is unobtainable, the present thought is unobtainable, and the future thought is unobtainable.'
(Diamond Sutra, ch 18)
If thought alone is the problem? I don’t find knowledge can penetrate the great emptiness. It only serves its purpose to get closer to it.
Make personal vows.

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Ted Biringer
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Re: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

Post by Ted Biringer »

Astus wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:14 am
Ted Biringer wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:32 pmNumerous subsequent Zen records make frequent use of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology to present the wisdom of emptiness, that is, insight into the nondual nature of reality. The gist of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology can be expressed by the formula A is not-A, therefore A is A; not-A is A, therefore not-A is not-A. In other words, form is emptiness (i.e. not-form), therefore form is form; emptiness is form (i.e. not-emptiness), therefore emptiness is emptiness.
In what Zen record can one find such an explanation about A's and not-A's?
The basic reasoning of this can be understood by envisioning ‘A’ as a particular dharma, and ‘not-A’ as everything else in the universe.
That would be a reification of A, thus a denial of emptiness. A is itself not-A, because there is never A in itself. If it meant simply that A is not anything else, that's just A=A, very much the common view of ordinary beings.
In sum, the Diamond Sutra presents (makes present) the dynamic interdependence of form and emptiness by demonstrating that ‘form’ is essential to, therefore inclusive of ‘emptiness’ (and vice versa).
There can be no interdependence of emptiness and form, unless one mistakenly reifies those concepts. Form is empty, because no form exists on its own, and that absence of an identifiable essence is what is called emptiness.
As for interpenetration, better check Huayan teachings on the four dharmadhatu. However, that has little to do with Huineng, the Diamond Sutra, or Zen.
Thank you for your comments.

I am not sure I follow your reasoning accurately but it seems to me that your argument fails to follow the Zen/Buddhist doctrine of emptiness all the way through. That is, you seem to understand that "form is emptiness, emptiness is form" but you fail to follow that through to the ultimate conclusion, that is that "form is form, emptiness is emptiness."

Peace,
Ted
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Re: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:05 pmIf thought alone is the problem? I don’t find knowledge can penetrate the great emptiness. It only serves its purpose to get closer to it.
'Within continuing moments of thought one should not think of the previous [mental] realm. If one thinks of the previous thought, the present thought, and the later thought, one’s thoughts will be continuous without cease. This is called ‘fettered.’ If one’s thoughts do not abide in the dharmas, this is to be ‘unfettered.’ Thus it is that nonabiding is taken as the fundamental.'
(Platform Sutra, ch 4, BDK ed, p 43)
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: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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Astus wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:18 pm
LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:05 pmIf thought alone is the problem? I don’t find knowledge can penetrate the great emptiness. It only serves its purpose to get closer to it.
'Within continuing moments of thought one should not think of the previous [mental] realm. If one thinks of the previous thought, the present thought, and the later thought, one’s thoughts will be continuous without cease. This is called ‘fettered.’ If one’s thoughts do not abide in the dharmas, this is to be ‘unfettered.’ Thus it is that nonabiding is taken as the fundamental.'
(Platform Sutra, ch 4, BDK ed, p 43)
Disagree with translation. Mahaprajna itself is not in the ken of conceptual practice. Not in the ken of second vehicle.
Make personal vows.

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Re: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:37 pmMahaprajna itself is not in the ken of conceptual practice. Not in the ken of second vehicle.
What is conceptual in nonabiding?
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: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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Astus wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:17 pm
LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:37 pmMahaprajna itself is not in the ken of conceptual practice. Not in the ken of second vehicle.
What is conceptual in nonabiding?
If you say non-abiding it already invokes a certain way, Mahaprajna by default itself already non-abiding.
Make personal vows.

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Re: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:19 pmMahaprajna by default itself already non-abiding.
Is what you call Mahaprajna conceptual or not? If not, then nonabiding cannot be conceptual either.
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: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

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Platform Sutra says Maha means great Prajna means wisdom. Great wisdom cannot be anything artificially created whether we know that we create it or not. It must be by default already operating.
Make personal vows.

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Ted Biringer
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Re: Emptiness and the Diamond Sutra

Post by Ted Biringer »

Astus wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:14 am
Ted Biringer wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:32 pmNumerous subsequent Zen records make frequent use of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology to present the wisdom of emptiness, that is, insight into the nondual nature of reality. The gist of the Diamond Sutra’s methodology can be expressed by the formula A is not-A, therefore A is A; not-A is A, therefore not-A is not-A. In other words, form is emptiness (i.e. not-form), therefore form is form; emptiness is form (i.e. not-emptiness), therefore emptiness is emptiness.
In what Zen record can one find such an explanation about A's and not-A's?
Thank you for your comment.

Remember, I wrote that ‘A’ represents any particular dharma, and ‘not-A’ represents everything else in the universe. Thus ‘this particular piece of paper’ (‘A’) ‘is not this particular piece of paper’ (‘not-A’), therefore, it ‘is this particular piece of paper’ (‘A’).

In the first place [‘this particular piece of paper’ (‘A’)] we see a particular form – a sheet of paper.

In the second place [‘is not this particular piece of paper’ (‘not-A’)] we see this piece of paper is empty of a separate self or independent existence; A is not-A

In the third place [therefore, it ‘is this particular piece of paper’ (‘A’)] we see that this piece of paper is a real manifestation of total existence-time (a particular instance of buddha-nature that contains and transcends both ‘A’ and ‘not-A’).

To see this paper as only this particular form (an independent entity) is to see one-sidedly (to be deluded). To see this particular form as nothing is also to see one-sidedly (to be deluded). To see this particular form as empty of independent existence is to see this particular form as it is – A is not-A, therefore, A is A.

Once you see the truth of this you will not help but notice this methodology scattered within the Zen records. Since Dogen is the one I am most familiar with I will cite a couple examples from him:

Because the present Chinese person is not “a Chinese person,” “the Chinese person appears.”
Shobogenzo, Kokyo, Nishijima & Cross


Because the present Chinese person (A) is not “a Chinese person (is not-A),” “the Chinese person appears” (therefore A is A).

One more fairly straightforward example from Dogen:

Because they are “the three vehicles and twelve divisions of the teaching,” (A) they are not “three vehicles and the twelve divisions of the teaching.” (not-A) For this reason, we express them as “the three vehicles and twelve divisions of the teaching.” (Therefore, A is A)
Shobogenzo, Bukkyo, Nishijima & Cross

Having got the gist of it by now, try applying this basic methodology to the following and see if you don’t find some jewels:

Therefore, there is only one way to comprehend the state in experience, namely: “the many forms are already beyond non-form, and non-form is just the many forms.” Because non-form is the many forms, non-form is truly non-form. We should learn in practice that the form called “non-form” and the form called “the many forms,” are both the form of the Tathagata. In the house of learning in practice, there are two kinds of texts: sutras that are seen, and sutras that are not seen. This is what eyes in the vivid state learn in practice. If we have never experienced the ultimate state of putting on the eyes and looking at these texts, [our eyes] are not eyes that experience the ultimate.
Shobogenzo, Kenbutsu, Nishijima & Cross

Here is another example from Master Chih-i:

If, seeing Buddha, one knows there is no Buddha in Buddha, if, seeing Buddha’s marks and embellishments, one knows marks and embellishments are not marks and embellishments, and knows that Buddha and the marks are like space, and in space there is no Buddha, much less any marks and embellishments, then, seeing Buddha is not Buddha, one sees Buddha, and seeing marks are not marks, one sees the marks…
Stopping and Seeing, Trans. Thomas Cleary, p.17



Peace,
Ted
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