Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

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Luke
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Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Luke » Wed May 08, 2013 9:08 pm

I have read many times that the word Zen comes from the Sanskrit word "dhyana" which means "meditation" or "samadhi," but Zen Buddhists generally don't care about different states of samadhi and are usually more concerned with non-thinking and non-meditation than they are with meditation.

So perhaps Zen should have been called something else instead! lol

Does anyone else find this ironic?

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by oushi » Wed May 08, 2013 10:09 pm

There are many types of meditation, so what does meditation mean precisely? If you find the answer, you will be able to compare it with the teachings of Zen.
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Meido » Wed May 08, 2013 10:41 pm

Luke wrote:.....Zen Buddhists generally don't care about different states of samadhi and are usually more concerned with non-thinking and non-meditation than they are with meditation.
Samadhi (Jp.: zanmai) is a term used often in Zen. It is used several ways:

Samadhi can refer to a state of meditative absorption in which dualistic habit and fixation is lessened.

Samadhi can refer to specific states that are expressions of deepening and integrating the recognition of one's nature, which are meticulously examined and cultivated within the course of Zen training. For example the Jewel Mirror Samadhi (hokkyo zanmai) and the alternate samadhis of hen and sho (hen sho ego zanmai).

Samadhi can refer to the fruition of Zen, which is Zenjo (Skt: Dhyana-samadhi) in which the recognition of kensho is the perfection of vipashyana, and the continual arising of that recognition in the midst of activity is the perfection of shamatha. These in union are Zenjo. It could also be described as the union of wisdom and means, essence and function, emptiness and compassion, Manjusri and Samantabhadra, actualization of the 4 wisdoms/3 bodies, etc.

Non-thinking or no-thought (munen) refers to a mind which functions freely without stopping or fixating. This is also called no-mind (mushin).

Non-meditation is the encompassing of all activity of body, speech and mind within meditation. That is, one is never not practicing.

What I wrote above reflects Rinzai common usage of these terms. Other traditions may have different or additional usages. What was your question?

~ Meido
Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - 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
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Jinzang » Thu May 09, 2013 2:48 am

"Non-meditation" is a kind of meditation. (How very Zen.) Seriously, meditation pursued long enough will eventually lead to samadhi and there are numerous examples of it in the biographies of Zen masters.
"It's as plain as the nose on your face!" Dottie Primrose

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Wayfarer » Thu May 09, 2013 3:08 am

Because the Western mind tends to be rather sensationalist, it is often looking for some kind of Wow! experience in relation to meditation. Like 'the world stood still'. I think that does happen, but it is rare. From my experience, which is not at all much, one can enter into some states of samadhi without actually noticing it. These states are very subtle, and sometimes they're beneath the threshold of conscious awareness. The most that ever happens in my case is sometimes a sense of real peace and quietude. But it often passes quickly as the monkey mind starts up again.

There is another point - this is that 'realization' and 'experience' are not the same. You can have experiences during meditation, but they tend to come and go. But realizations are deeper. That is when you really understand 'the way things are'. That might not even constitute an experience. Often there is no 'wow' factor, although sometimes there is. But the point about realizations is that they tend to be more stable and more significant than experiences as such.

In any case, Zen does emphasis the importance of sitting practice, no matter what kinds of experiences arise or don't arise.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Astus » Thu May 09, 2013 9:37 am

If my memories are correct, the term "Zen school" appeared rather late, around the 11th century, when a group of people wanted to strengthen their position in the Chinese Buddhist scene against the "others", namely the "teaching schools". And by Zen they never meant actual meditation, but rather the inexpressible experience of the true nature (while the "teachings" are the expressed side).
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, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by oushi » Thu May 09, 2013 9:41 am

Astus wrote:And by Zen they never meant actual meditation, but rather the inexpressible experience of the true nature.
And what is the difference between those two? There may be many methods and techniques, but isn't meditation an inexpressible experience of the true nature?
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Astus » Thu May 09, 2013 9:52 am

oushi wrote:And what is the difference between those two? There may be many methods and techniques, but isn't meditation an inexpressible experience of the true nature?
The gradual path of meditation (going through preliminaries, shamatha and vipashyana) culminates in the direct realisation of the true nature. So what counts as meditation is not actually that realisation but the path toward it.
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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oushi
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by oushi » Thu May 09, 2013 9:58 am

Astus wrote:
oushi wrote:And what is the difference between those two? There may be many methods and techniques, but isn't meditation an inexpressible experience of the true nature?
The gradual path of meditation (going through preliminaries, shamatha and vipashyana) culminates in the direct realisation of the true nature. So what counts as meditation is not actually that realisation but the path toward it.
From Bodhidharmas Bloodstream Sermon:
"Buddha is Sanskrit for what you call aware, miraculously aware. Responding, arching your brows blinking your eyes, moving your hands and feet, its all your miraculously aware nature. And this nature is the mind. And the mind is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the path. And the path is Zen. But the word Zen is one that remains a puzzle to both mortals and sages. Seeing your nature is Zen. Unless you see your nature, it’s not Zen."

What do you think about this?
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Astus » Thu May 09, 2013 10:39 am

oushi wrote:What do you think about this?
It is a quote from a Zen text.
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, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by oushi » Thu May 09, 2013 10:46 am

Astus wrote:
oushi wrote:What do you think about this?
It is a quote from a Zen text.
Ok.
What do you think Zen is, according to this Zen text?
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Astus » Thu May 09, 2013 10:51 am

oushi wrote:What do you think Zen is, according to this Zen text?
A sudden path to realising the nature of mind. That is, not a gradual method that goes through stages, but simply the insight into emptiness.
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, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by dzogchungpa » Thu May 09, 2013 5:18 pm

Jinzang wrote:"Non-meditation" is a kind of meditation. (How very Zen.).
I don't know how Zen it is, but it is certainly very Tibetan:
http://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&q=nonmeditation
It takes a great being to be daring enough to cultivate a bad reputation. - Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Meido » Thu May 09, 2013 6:05 pm

Nice one from the recorded sayings of Joshu [Zhaozhou, 778–897], if I remember it correctly:

A monk asked, "What is meditation?"
The master replied, "Non-meditation."
The monk asked, "How can meditation be non-meditation?"
The master replied, "It's alive!"

~ Meido
Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - 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
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Holybla » Thu May 09, 2013 6:06 pm

Zen and nonmeditation are not meditation. Meditation is using the mind to concentrate on something. Your nature is beyond the mind.

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Astus » Thu May 09, 2013 7:33 pm

Holybla wrote:Zen and nonmeditation are not meditation. Meditation is using the mind to concentrate on something. Your nature is beyond the mind.
Or rather there is nothing beyond mind. The true nature is no nature.

"There is a koan that asks, "What is your original face before your parents were born?" One might naturally assume that there is some special thing called "original face," but that is not the right approach. When we open the hand of thought, letting go, the original self is already there. It's not some special mystical state. Don't seek it somewhere else. When we open the hand of thought, what is there, in that moment, is our original face."
(Kosho Uchiyama: Opening the Hand of Thought, p. 154)
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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Jesse
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Jesse » Fri May 10, 2013 12:19 am

When we open the hand of thought, letting go, the original self is already there. It's not some special mystical state
:thanks:
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Wayfarer » Fri May 10, 2013 3:48 am

Right. So why bother getting up before dawn to meditate or taking the trouble to study sutras? Surely just better to open the hand of thought and just go about your daily routine. After all there's nothing special to attain and no 'special state'.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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oushi
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by oushi » Fri May 10, 2013 7:17 am

'Surely just better to open the hand of thought (opened) and just go (closed) about your daily routine. After all there's nothing special to attain and no 'special state'.'

For the 'opened hand of thoughts' there is no special state.
For the 'closed hand of thoughts', there is 'opened hand of thoughts' state.
jeeprs wrote:So why bother getting up before dawn to meditate or taking the trouble to study sutras?
Meditation constitutes of technique and meditative state (dhyana->Zen). Many techniques, one Zen. This meditative state is the highest meditation, as it transcends both doing and not doing, by not using the mind. In opened hand of thoughts, mind is not used, it acts. Before you can let it act, sometimes it is necessary to tame it (thus long practice of removing karma, taming the Ox). If it is wild, and you have no trust in it, you will close the hand of thoughts moment after opening it, like grasping reins.

So, it may be not difficult to open the hand, but to "make" it stay like this, is a different story.
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Post by Simon E. » Fri May 10, 2013 7:44 am

And you know this how ?
"Any major dude with half a heart
Will surely tell you my friend,
Any minor world that breaks apart
Can fall together again.
Any major dude will tell you."

Steely Dan.

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