Western Myth of Zen

Matylda
Posts: 658
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Matylda » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:22 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:26 pm
Meido wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:06 pm
Astus wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:55 pm
Aside from Hakuin's incorporation of breath techniques, do you know of any other Buddhist school in East Asia that did something similar?
The general approach to Zen practice as a yogic or wholly psycho-physical undertaking rather than something purely psychological and intellectual doesn't originate with Hakuin, as I have said before in other threads. The records of early (Kamakura) Zen in Japan clearly show that this emphasis existed strongly in the teachings of the late Song Chan masters (e.g. Bukko) who arrived in Japan.

I can't speak for other E. Asian Buddhist schools, except to say that my experience training with a modern Chan teacher revealed the same understanding.

~ Meido
The arrival of Bodhidharma to China corresponds with an increased incorporation of anatomical and medical understandings of the relation of the human body to practice in India. Depending on when you think he arrived, he arrived either slightly before or slightly after the fall of the Gupta empire. It must be the case that he carried these kinds of instructions with him, though whether they were passed on in any significant way is anybody's guess.

In any case, sūtras like the Suvarnaprabhaṣa, the Nandagarbhavikranti, etc., exhibit a sophisticated knowledge of Ayurveda, and so on. As we know, these trends reached their apogee in the 10th century when Indian Vajrayāna grounded its entire practice in a specific understanding of the physiology and anatomy of the body. However, we also see an approach to this understanding in the so-called lower tantras which date to the 7th century.

In general, Mahayāna yogis began to incorporate these kinds of understandings into their practice, which in my opinion was first promulgated in the form of upadeśas to close disciples. Perhaps these Indian techniques never gained the popularity they experienced in India and the Himalayas because China already had a sophisticated medical system with an elaborate and functional anatomy and physiology. In any case, after the fall of the Gupta, In India we see the evolution of body-based systems of practice and trend away from the intellectual edifices of Madhyamaka and Yogacara, a trend away from intellectual analysis towards yogic experience. It is obvious to me, that this fusion of yogic praxis with local understandings of anatomy and physiology becomes a more prominent feature of Mahāyana practice as time moves on. For example, in Tibet, the vast intellectual edifice of Dzogchen Upadesha teachings (as opposed to the mind series and space series) serves merely to articulate the technical principles of the body-based experience which is crucial in Dzogchen Upadesha teachings, and without which there is no Dzogchen Upadesha practice to speak of. My point is that there is no reason to assume that Chan and Zen practice are not similarly influenced by body-based yogic experience, and that there has been very little translated yet into English that really speaks to such things — since academic scholars are generally more interested in intellectual analysis, even when they dress it up in poetry.

Indeed. I think that most of the physical and physiological instructions were passed only in private. I could never find for example any litrature records concerning breathing like tanden kokyu, kikai kokyu or most significant sennin kokyu, which are mostly given along growing samadhi experience, ability and power of practicing disciple. However one may hear them in dokusan/sanzen room at certain point of practice. There are many more concerning feet, palms and other anatomical parts. Since those experiences of samadhi were not uncommon in ancient times it is hardly possible that they were not passed since ancient times by experienced teachers. And indeed ancient medical knowledge goes together with it. Those theachings/instructions are still preserved in Japanese zen by some teachers. There is also very famous book by Hara Tanzan about energies of the body and the way to increase, control and preserve them. Hara Tanzan was a soto zen master with great samadhi powers, the abbot of Daiyuzan Saijoji. Short book on the subject by him is here http://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/836909 the title is JIKKEN KENKO HO
But the subject was extremly seldom picked up by any zen teacher in Japan. Hakuin and Tanzan were exceptions.
As for the breathing in the beginning of zazen practice is widely given teaching on fukushiki shin kokyu, however this kind of deep abdominal breathing is very initial instruction, which lasts for many years for most people. But even this instruction has many miscellaneous tips which are not given right away, like things concerning anus, retention, relaxation of inner and subtle muscles or tension of these muscles.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7091
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Astus » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:11 pm

Meido wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:06 pm
The general approach to Zen practice as a yogic or wholly psycho-physical undertaking rather than something purely psychological and intellectual doesn't originate with Hakuin, as I have said before in other threads. The records of early (Kamakura) Zen in Japan clearly show that this emphasis existed strongly in the teachings of the late Song Chan masters (e.g. Bukko) who arrived in Japan.
Are there instructions or descriptions discussing such practices? For instance, Wumen Huakai and Gaofeng Yuanmiao were mostly the contemporaries of Bukko, but I have not seen them discussing such techniques, so that suggests - perhaps incorrectly - that physical practices were not part of mainstream kanhua Chan. Dogen could also be mentioned, even though he was in China in the early 13th century. So, while it might be a misconception that Chan (and Buddhism in general) is rather disembodied, some sources to the contrary could help clarify 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"

User avatar
Meido
Posts: 469
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:50 am
Contact:

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Meido » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:34 pm

Nice information, thanks Malcolm and Matylda.
Matylda wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:22 pm
Indeed. I think that most of the physical and physiological instructions were passed only in private. I could never find for example any litrature records concerning breathing like tanden kokyu, kikai kokyu or most significant sennin kokyu, which are mostly given along growing samadhi experience, ability and power of practicing disciple. However one may hear them in dokusan/sanzen room at certain point of practice. There are many more concerning feet, palms and other anatomical parts.
This describes my experience. My teachers would point out instances in various texts that referred to aspects of such things, or passages that served to remind regarding orally transmitted points. But without the face to face practice instructions, none of it would likely be viewed as such. For example, in the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra (Thurman translation here) we read:

Thereupon the Lord touched the ground of this billion-world-galactic universe with his big toe, and suddenly it was transformed into a huge mass of precious jewels, a magnificent array of many hundreds of thousands of clusters of precious gems...

However one might attempt to puzzle this out, lacking the oral instructions regarding what it reveals about body usage in Zen cultivation one is unlikely to see how (in one Zen lineage at least) it is something considered significant and useful.
Matylda wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:22 pm
As for the breathing in the beginning of zazen practice is widely given teaching on fukushiki shin kokyu, however this kind of deep abdominal breathing is very initial instruction, which lasts for many years for most people. But even this instruction has many miscellaneous tips which are not given right away, like things concerning anus, retention, relaxation of inner and subtle muscles or tension of these muscles.
And, in the West I see many Zen teachers who don't even have an idea regarding basic fukushiki kokyu. For example, there are many who have read some English translation of a Zen book that advises students in zazen to "push their hips forward." But they don't know that "hips" translates koshi i.e. the lower trunk. And anyway, the hips are not the iliac crests (what most modern people point to when you ask them to show you "hips").

So they force their students to arch their backs (anterior pelvic tilt), creating postures of extreme lordosis, with the result that the diaphragm can't function freely and the breath is pushed upward into the chest. They sit this way for years, with symptoms of energetic imbalance and no real depth of samadhi. But because teacher so-and-so said "push forward your hips", they won't hear of it if you question them. Well, in fact, I've seen photos of some recent Japanese practitioners like this also, so it could be a disease of modern body usage.

This is an example at least of what can happen when one relies solely on one's own understanding of written texts.

From the standpoint of Zen practice, we have to see that initially as beginners we actually have no idea at all how to breathe, stand, walk, and so on...let alone to use practice methods like zazen with any depth.
Astus wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:11 pm
Are there instructions or descriptions discussing such practices?
Well, yes: orally transmitted instructions and descriptions.

I can't speak for all Zen naturally, but there are written instructions with illustrations in our lineage, notations in the lineage documents, etc. not intended for public distribution. I expect it is the same in others, and I wonder what kinds of interesting untranslated things are held in the archives of many monasteries. In terms of practice, though, the things I have seen at best really just summarize oral instruction or point out aspects of it; one wouldn't be able to catch all the points from the written instructions alone (at least, it would be much more difficult, slow, and risky). One also in that case wouldn't have access to the many supplemental exercises that can be prescribed by a teacher according to a student's specific conditions.

As Matylda notes, there are a few instance where something was written down for public consumption, famously for example Hakuin's Yasen Kanna. But in that case at least it is simplified, which is why it could be useful to many people in that form.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - 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

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7091
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Astus » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:26 pm
It must be the case that he carried these kinds of instructions with him, though whether they were passed on in any significant way is anybody's guess.
The Yijinjing is a "qigong" manual attributed to Bodhidharma, and one of the sources of "Shaolin kung-fu", even though it was actually written in the early 17th century.
Perhaps these Indian techniques never gained the popularity they experienced in India and the Himalayas because China already had a sophisticated medical system with an elaborate and functional anatomy and physiology.
Likely such methods from India were incorporated in some format into Daoist teachings, as similar techniques (daoyin) have been applied by them even before Buddhism appeared in China.
In any case, after the fall of the Gupta, In India we see the evolution of body-based systems of practice and trend away from the intellectual edifices of Madhyamaka and Yogacara, a trend away from intellectual analysis towards yogic experience. It is obvious to me, that this fusion of yogic praxis with local understandings of anatomy and physiology becomes a more prominent feature of Mahāyana practice as time moves on.
Xuanzang visited India after the Guptas, but apparently his Yogacara couldn't compete with the native works of Zhiyi and Fazang. Even during the Yuan dynasty the later Indian developments in Buddhism could not penetrate Chinese Buddhism.
My point is that there is no reason to assume that Chan and Zen practice are not similarly influenced by body-based yogic experience, and that there has been very little translated yet into English that really speaks to such things — since academic scholars are generally more interested in intellectual analysis, even when they dress it up in poetry.
If there are translations of Daoist alchemy and yoga, not just philosophical works, why would Chan be an exception?
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"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 28686
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Malcolm » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:20 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:52 pm

My point is that there is no reason to assume that Chan and Zen practice are not similarly influenced by body-based yogic experience, and that there has been very little translated yet into English that really speaks to such things — since academic scholars are generally more interested in intellectual analysis, even when they dress it up in poetry.
If there are translations of Daoist alchemy and yoga, not just philosophical works, why would Chan be an exception?
It may be the case that Chinese and Japanese Buddhists were eventually quite content with Daoist medicine, anatomy, and physiology, and saw no need to improve on it. Thus, there may be no such texts, as Matylda mentions.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

Matylda
Posts: 658
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Matylda » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:03 pm

Astus wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:52 pm
If there are translations of Daoist alchemy and yoga, not just philosophical works, why would Chan be an exception?
The point is that one cannot find in any early and later Chinese zen texts much information about zazen direct instructions, if any then they are very obscure. And it does not mean that they were not existant. They were passed simply in face to face manner. And this tradition is kept untill today. What we may find today is still very little comparing to vastness and popularity of zen, which goes for last fifteen hundred years.
What one may find today within Tibetan vajrayana was almost unavailable before to public. English literature on the subject broke the silence and became in a way pretty public.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7091
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Astus » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:51 pm

Matylda wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:03 pm
The point is that one cannot find in any early and later Chinese zen texts much information about zazen direct instructions, if any then they are very obscure.
That's because Chan was not conceived as the "meditation school", especially not in the format of emphasising sitting. Quite the contrary, as one can see in the Platform Sutra and other teachings, that approach of focusing on calm contemplation was rejected, simply because that is at best the gradual path of the bodhisattva. At the same time, since meditation sutras and treatises were already available, it would have made no sense to repeat them, so instead one could just read those if needed, as for instance recommended by Zongze's manual (坐禪儀) in his/Baizhang's Qinggui (百丈清規, The Baizhang Zen Monastic Regulations, BDK ed, p 255-257).
And it does not mean that they were not existant. They were passed simply in face to face manner.
Don't you think it strange that while it was the Chan school that started to publish private instructions and personal stories on a large scale somehow wanted to keep their take on meditation secret?
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"

Matylda
Posts: 658
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Matylda » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:54 pm

Astus wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:51 pm
Don't you think it strange that while it was the Chan school that started to publish private instructions and personal stories on a large scale somehow wanted to keep their take on meditation secret?
What do you mean by 'Chan school that started to publish private instructions'? Where and how?

SunWuKong
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by SunWuKong » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:41 am

Astus wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:55 pm
Meido wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:48 pm
The primary Western myth of Zen is that Zen practice and awakening are psychological affairs.
Aside from Hakuin's incorporation of breath techniques, do you know of any other Buddhist school in East Asia that did something similar?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anapanasati

Tiantai and Chan. - its worth noting in this context, that the four foundations it is practiced in is body (the body as the body, distinct from perceptions of the body), feelings (perceptions), mind (mind/heart), and Dharmas

Also worth noting is the practice spills over into whats termed Wuji (primpordial) QiGong - which is practiced awareness of breathing + centering the awareness of the body in the dan tien + allowing the mind to be empty

Then of course there is traditional yoga taught in the Far East as well, even in Buddhist areas
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

SunWuKong
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by SunWuKong » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:49 am

Meido wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:48 pm
Aside from Hakuin's incorporation of breath techniques, do you know of any other Buddhist school in East Asia that did something similar?
You can't really publish what zazen is.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7091
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Astus » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:10 am

Matylda wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:54 pm
What do you mean by 'Chan school that started to publish private instructions'? Where and how?
Mainly in the lamp transmission (傳燈) and sayings records (語錄).
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"

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7091
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Astus » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:21 am

That is mindfulness and not control of breath (pranayama).
Tiantai and Chan.
Tiantai has the "Six Dharma Gates to the Sublime", while in Chan the whole curriculum of calming and contemplation was categorised as a lower level practice.
its worth noting in this context, that the four foundations it is practiced in is body (the body as the body, distinct from perceptions of the body), feelings (perceptions), mind (mind/heart), and Dharmas
The smrtyupasthana is considered mainly a sravakayana method.
Also worth noting is the practice spills over into whats termed Wuji (primpordial) QiGong - which is practiced awareness of breathing + centering the awareness of the body in the dan tien + allowing the mind to be empty
In what teaching?
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"

Matylda
Posts: 658
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Matylda » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:07 am

Astus wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:10 am
Matylda wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:54 pm
What do you mean by 'Chan school that started to publish private instructions'? Where and how?
Mainly in the lamp transmission (傳燈) and sayings records (語錄).
They do not contain zazen instructions which we are talking about. Those are rather 'mind pointers', sort of koan, jodo or kusen.. not zazen instructions concerning body, breath and samadhi. This we simply cannot find in go-roku literature. They rather contain what is called ji-sho-i, condition under which certain individuals attained realization. It has nothing to do with zazen instructions. Moreover academic assertions that zen was not conceived as the "meditation school", especially not in the format of emphasising sitting etc. is mere intelectual fabrication and misses greatly the point.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7091
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Astus » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:51 pm

Matylda wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:07 am
They do not contain zazen instructions which we are talking about.
I did not write zazen instructions, I wrote "private instructions and personal stories". It could also be added that meditation manuals were very much present both in the format of translated scriptures and treatises from India, and those authored in China. So if Chan had had anything to add there, it would have done so.
Moreover academic assertions that zen was not conceived as the "meditation school", especially not in the format of emphasising sitting etc. is mere intelectual fabrication and misses greatly the point.
Can you show something that proves the "academic assertions" wrong? As for how I take it, Chan was posited as the supreme vehicle above the bodhisattvayana, so the standard Mahayana methods are not within the scope of Chan teachings. Of course, that does not mean those are rejected.

I think Baizhang explains this quite well:

"The complete teaching discusses purity; the incomplete teaching discusses impurity. Explaining the defilement in impure things is to weed out the profane; explaining the defilement in pure things is to weed out the holy.
Before the nine-part teaching had been expounded, living beings had no eyes; it was necessary to depend on someone to refine them. If you are speaking to a deaf worldling, you should just teach him to leave home, maintain discipline, practice meditation and develop wisdom. You should not speak this way to a worldling beyond measure, someone like Vimalakirti or the great hero Fu.If one is speaking to an ascetic, the ascetic has already given his assent three times and his discipline is complete. This is the power of discipline, concentration, and wisdom. To still speak in this way to him is called speaking at the wrong time, because the speech is not appropriate to the situation; it is also called suggestive talk. To an ascetic one must explain the defilement in pure things - you should tell him to detach from all things, existence, non-existent, or whatever, to detach from all cultivation and experience, and even to detach from detachment.
While in the course of asceticism, one strips away influences of habit. If an ascetic cannot get rid of the diseases of greed and aversion, he too is called a deaf worldling; still he must be taught to practice meditation and cultivate wisdom."

(Sayings and Doings of Pai-Chang, p 29-30)

Zongmi put it this way:

"(In the Buddha's preaching of the previous five teachings, some are gradual and some are sudden. In the case of [sentient beings of] medium and inferior capacity, [the Buddha] proceeded from the superficial to the profound, gradually leading them forward. He would initially expound the first teaching [of Humans and Gods], enabling them to be free from evil and to abide in virtue; he would then expound the second and third [teachings of the Lesser Vehicle and the Phenomenal Appearances of the Dharmas], enabling them to be free from impurity and to abide in purity; he would finally discuss the fourth and fifth [teachings], those that Refute Phenomenal Appearances and Reveal the Nature, subsuming the provisional into the true, [enabling them] to cultivate virtue in reliance on the ultimate teaching until they finally attain Buddhahood. In the case of [sentient beings of] wisdom of the highest caliber, [the Buddha] proceeded from the root to the branch. That is to say, from the start he straightaway relied on the fifth teaching to point directly to the essence of the one true mind. When the essence of the mind had been revealed, [these sentient beings] themselves realized that everything without exception is illusory and fundamentally empty and tranquil; that it is only because of delusion that [such illusory appearances] arise in dependence upon the true [nature]; and that it is [thus] necessary to cut off evil and cultivate virtue by means of the insight of having awakened to the true, and to put an end to the false and return to the true by cultivating virtue. When the false is completely exhausted and the true is present in totality, that is called the dharmakāya Buddha.)"
(Inquiry into the Origin of Humanity, p 58)
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"

SunWuKong
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by SunWuKong » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:46 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:21 am
That is mindfulness and not control of breath (pranayama).
Tiantai and Chan.
Tiantai has the "Six Dharma Gates to the Sublime", while in Chan the whole curriculum of calming and contemplation was categorised as a lower level practice.
its worth noting in this context, that the four foundations it is practiced in is body (the body as the body, distinct from perceptions of the body), feelings (perceptions), mind (mind/heart), and Dharmas
The smrtyupasthana is considered mainly a sravakayana method.
Also worth noting is the practice spills over into whats termed Wuji (primpordial) QiGong - which is practiced awareness of breathing + centering the awareness of the body in the dan tien + allowing the mind to be empty
In what teaching?
I dunno, theres more than one kind of pranayama, one is forced breath exercises, the other is unforced & If Chan categorizes it as Lower Level its at their expense... & finally i'll have to log in to wikipedia to research the footnotes on the QiGong, will get back with you later. Sorry i can't help any more than that
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Matylda
Posts: 658
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Matylda » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:58 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:51 pm
Matylda wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:07 am
They do not contain zazen instructions which we are talking about.
I did not write zazen instructions, I wrote "private instructions and personal stories". It could also be added that meditation manuals were very much present both in the format of translated scriptures and treatises from India, and those authored in China. So if Chan had had anything to add there, it would have done so.
Moreover academic assertions that zen was not conceived as the "meditation school", especially not in the format of emphasising sitting etc. is mere intelectual fabrication and misses greatly the point.
Can you show something that proves the "academic assertions" wrong? As for how I take it, Chan was posited as the supreme vehicle above the bodhisattvayana, so the standard Mahayana methods are not within the scope of Chan teachings. Of course, that does not mean those are rejected.

I think Baizhang explains this quite well:

"The complete teaching discusses purity; the incomplete teaching discusses impurity. Explaining the defilement in impure things is to weed out the profane; explaining the defilement in pure things is to weed out the holy.
Before the nine-part teaching had been expounded, living beings had no eyes; it was necessary to depend on someone to refine them. If you are speaking to a deaf worldling, you should just teach him to leave home, maintain discipline, practice meditation and develop wisdom. You should not speak this way to a worldling beyond measure, someone like Vimalakirti or the great hero Fu.If one is speaking to an ascetic, the ascetic has already given his assent three times and his discipline is complete. This is the power of discipline, concentration, and wisdom. To still speak in this way to him is called speaking at the wrong time, because the speech is not appropriate to the situation; it is also called suggestive talk. To an ascetic one must explain the defilement in pure things - you should tell him to detach from all things, existence, non-existent, or whatever, to detach from all cultivation and experience, and even to detach from detachment.
While in the course of asceticism, one strips away influences of habit. If an ascetic cannot get rid of the diseases of greed and aversion, he too is called a deaf worldling; still he must be taught to practice meditation and cultivate wisdom."

(Sayings and Doings of Pai-Chang, p 29-30)

Zongmi put it this way:

"(In the Buddha's preaching of the previous five teachings, some are gradual and some are sudden. In the case of [sentient beings of] medium and inferior capacity, [the Buddha] proceeded from the superficial to the profound, gradually leading them forward. He would initially expound the first teaching [of Humans and Gods], enabling them to be free from evil and to abide in virtue; he would then expound the second and third [teachings of the Lesser Vehicle and the Phenomenal Appearances of the Dharmas], enabling them to be free from impurity and to abide in purity; he would finally discuss the fourth and fifth [teachings], those that Refute Phenomenal Appearances and Reveal the Nature, subsuming the provisional into the true, [enabling them] to cultivate virtue in reliance on the ultimate teaching until they finally attain Buddhahood. In the case of [sentient beings of] wisdom of the highest caliber, [the Buddha] proceeded from the root to the branch. That is to say, from the start he straightaway relied on the fifth teaching to point directly to the essence of the one true mind. When the essence of the mind had been revealed, [these sentient beings] themselves realized that everything without exception is illusory and fundamentally empty and tranquil; that it is only because of delusion that [such illusory appearances] arise in dependence upon the true [nature]; and that it is [thus] necessary to cut off evil and cultivate virtue by means of the insight of having awakened to the true, and to put an end to the false and return to the true by cultivating virtue. When the false is completely exhausted and the true is present in totality, that is called the dharmakāya Buddha.)"
(Inquiry into the Origin of Humanity, p 58)
Well, if you will become a zen master, then you will understand the real meaning of above quotations. As for now you may only repreat the words but true meaning is still hidden. Relative instructions do not exclude final meaning. But for untrained to omit elative instructions and teachings leads to wording and misunderstanding. You should consult zen master and investigate the matter thoroughly. An it takes very long time to arrive at the true realization of the above meaning. Anyway to exclude zen from zazen and its manifold instructions is a grievous mistake.

White Lotus
Posts: 1173
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by White Lotus » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:38 pm

A good book which includes Hakuin's teaching on taoist yoga (and the Hara - if my memory doesn't fail me.) is:"Wild Ivy". :smile:
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 28686
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:46 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:21 am

The smrtyupasthana is considered mainly a sravakayana method.

By whom?
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 28686
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:47 pm

Matylda wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:58 pm
Well, if you will become a zen master, then you will understand the real meaning of above quotations.
Pretty sure Astus considers himself a Zen master already.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7091
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Western Myth of Zen

Post by Astus » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:41 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:46 pm
By whom?
By those who say that the sravakayana is the four noble truths.
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"

Post Reply

Return to “Zen”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests