Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Viach
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Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Viach » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:58 am

Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Astus » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:26 pm

Viach wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:58 am
Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?
If you mean whether Zen can be taught without mentioning the term "four noble truths", then yes, it can be. If you mean whether Zen teaches something independent from the meaning of the four noble truths, then no.
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: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Matylda » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:12 pm

Viach wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:58 am
Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?
it is very theoretical question, so not so important I guess. zen includes all dharma, so it includes 4 nt.
the 4th truth about the way, is divided into 3 higher trainings, sila samadhi and prajna.. and those 3 are included in zen practice
however those 3 are complete in zazen, koan, kensho, satori, shikan taza or realization...

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by zengarten » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:24 pm

No, Zen doesn't need it. The Shrimala Sutra in the Mahayana tradition does not only offer an interesting alternative to Bodhisattva vows (more altruistic in my mind) and a philosophy of the atman, it also states that the only important truth is the one that speaks about the overcoming of suffering. I was thinking that the author of this sutra may have had the same problem with the truth(e)s than me, e.g. that birth is not suffering because the newborn is not able to experience suffering (due to a lack of ego-consciousness). There are other logic problems on the path, like that certain physical suffering can actually not be overcome (as ageing and dying can't, only metaphorically), and it is for example only possible to understand what is "right" if you are already enlightened, so there is no path to enlightenment, but the awakening will show you what is right - which at the same time makes it natural to act like that instead of gradually approaching it.

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:13 pm

zengarten wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:24 pm
...and a philosophy of the atman
Give a quote to back this up please.
it also states that the only important truth is the one that speaks about the overcoming of suffering. I was thinking that the author of this sutra may have had the same problem with the truth(e)s than me, e.g. that birth is not suffering because the newborn is not able to experience suffering (due to a lack of ego-consciousness).
Another quote.
...only possible to understand what is "right" if you are already enlightened...
No. That is what the Eightfold Noble Path or the fourth Noble Truth is about. Remember?
...so there is no path to enlightenment, but the awakening will show you what is right - which at the same time makes it natural to act like that instead of gradually approaching it.
This statement makes no sense.
"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: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by zengarten » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:06 pm

"The Dharmakāya (essence of truth) of the Buddha has the perfection of permanence, the perfection of pleasure, the perfection of self, the perfection of purity. Whatever sentient beings see the Dharmakāya of the Tathagāta that way, see correctly. Whoever see correctly are called the sons of the Lord born from his heart, born from his mouth, born from the Dharma, who behave as manifestation of Dharma and as heirs of Dharma."
And: "“O Lord, the extinction of suffering is not the destruction of the Dharma.
The ‘extinction of suffering’ signifies the Dharma body of the Tathāgata,
which is from beginningless time uncreated, non arising, indestructible, free
from destruction, eternal, inherently pure, and separate from all the stores
of defilement."

This relates to the qualities given for the atman in the MPNS.

"Even though he has said that all phenomena [dharmas] are devoid of the Self, it is not that they are completely/ truly devoid of the Self. What is this Self? Any phenomenon [dharma] that is true [satya], real [tattva], eternal [nitya], sovereign/ autonomous/ self-governing [aisvarya], and whose ground/ foundation is unchanging [asraya-aviparinama], is termed ’the Self ’ [atman]"

The one noble truth:
"“O Lord, among these four noble truths, three are impermanent and one is
permanent. Why? Because three of the [four] noble truths are conditioned.
What is ‘conditioned’ is impermanent and what is ‘impermanent’ is false and
deceptive in nature. What is ‘false and deceptive in nature’ is not true, is
impermanent, and is not a refuge. Therefore, the [three] noble truths, namely,
‘there is suffering,’ ‘there is the source of suffering,’ and ‘there is the path,’
are not the supreme truth for they are neither permanent nor a refuge.

“The one noble truth, namely, ‘the extinction of suffering,’ is separate from
the conditioned. What is ‘separate from the conditioned’ is permanent. What
is ‘permanent’ is not false and deceptive in nature. What is ‘not false and
deceptive in nature’ is true, permanent, and a refuge. Therefore, the noble
truth of the extinction [of suffering] is the supreme truth.”
+++

I can't help you if you can't see that it is illogic to practice what is right without being awakened. How would you know what is right? Everything on the eightfold path must rely on insight, so insight has to be at the beginning. Without insight, even Shakyamuni could not have given a teaching of the path - he only understood after his insight. Therefore insight/awakening is the one and only important event. And as awakening means the end of suffering from suffering (but not the end of sickness, aging and dying) the only important truth is that suffering can be overcome - not that it can be overcome by a gradual way or that it has to be defined by birth, sickness, ageing or death. All this is already complicated dogma to make s.th. more handy for the common folks out there (or, as Shrimala put it, the other truths are just upaya, skilled means).

The Buddha himself did NOT practice the eightfold path before awakening. He practiced meditation. Than he taught the path. So the Buddha himself is the model for what I've just explained. The eightfold path is just one of many possible explanations after insight.

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:25 pm

zengarten wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:06 pm
"The Dharmakāya (essence of truth) of the Buddha has ... the perfection of self..."
What is the Chinese or Sanskrit term being translated as "self" here? Who is the translator of the particular version of the text? Can you post the source please?
I can't help you if you can't see that it is illogic to practice what is right without being awakened. How would you know what is right? Everything on the eightfold path must rely on insight, so insight has to be at the beginning.
If you start with insight, as you claim, then what is the value of meditation practice?

Either you meditate to acheve insight or you have insight and do not require meditation. So which is it?
The Buddha himself did NOT practice the eightfold path before awakening. He practiced meditation.
You do know that meditation is part of the Eightfold Noble Path, right? Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.

The Buddha taught the Noble Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths so that we can gain insight.

The Buddha practiced the Noble Eightfold Path to gain insight.
"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."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by zengarten » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:45 pm

Sources - Shrimala: Diana Paul (BDK translation)
MPNS - Yamato & Page. Page has another translation by Stephen Hodge of another MPNS version which comes to basically the same conclusions (in my mind) but is not public (I got it from Page once when he taught in Bangkok) as Hodge said he would publish only his final version with BDK. I am not sure if that has happened yet or will ever happen. He published a paper that tells me he might not be okay with the content of the MPNS himself and thus rather delaying it: https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... e-mpns.pdf

I am not an expert in Sanskrit etc., so you may look up the footnotes there yourself.

What for meditation - when you already have insight? You may not need it anymore. But meditation is probably the best means leading to insight and kind of deepening it.

Well, perhaps you read the Palicanon again. Shakyamuni went through trial and error phases, e.g. ascetism which he gave up. Yes, that is illogic, too, as it is said that after birth he had already exclaimed that he is the only one under heaven etc. So how could he err? Of course, this is just storytelling. Nevertheless, he gained awakening not after knowing a path, but vice versa - he told about the path only after they bothered him to do so after his enlightenment. Otherwise, logically, he would have told the path from the beginning. Which again he didn't.

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:38 pm

zengarten wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:45 pm
Nevertheless, he gained awakening not after knowing a path, but vice versa
Your logic is, well, illogical...

He attained liberation from following a path (which included meditation) and taught the path following his liberation.

Anyway, his liberation was achieved by accumulating merit and wisdom over countless lifetimes (some of which are outlined in the Jataka).
"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."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by zengarten » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:49 pm

How would he have known of THE path? He didn't. His path was full of errors. So if this path led to awakening, it is not the eightfold path he taught after awakening. So either he taught the wrong path - because it was not his own, the one with the "mistakes" that nevertheless led to awakening - or he only understood the right path (the extraction of what on the path turned out to be right, to his understanding) AFTER enlightenment. He needed to be enlightened to understand what that path could be. But he didn't have to take this path himself, as his biography shows. His past was actually full of women, immodesty etc. (where was that "accumulated merit" then?). Any path can lead to enlightenment, obviously.

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:00 pm

zengarten wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:49 pm
How would he have known of THE path? He didn't. His path was full of errors. So if this path led to awakening, it is not the eightfold path he taught after awakening. So either he taught the wrong path - because it was not his own, the one with the "mistakes" that nevertheless led to awakening - or he only understood the right path (the extraction of what on the path turned out to be right, to his understanding) AFTER enlightenment. He needed to be enlightened to understand what that path could be. But he didn't have to take this path himself, as his biography shows. His past was actually full of women, immodesty etc. (where was that "accumulated merit" then?). Any path can lead to enlightenment, obviously.
You clearly need to find a teacher.
"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."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:06 pm

“Self” is what “buddha” means. “Permanence” is what “dharma body”
means. “Bliss” is what “nirvāṇa” means. “Purity” is what “dharma”
means. Bhikṣus, why do you say, “To have any perception of self reflects
arrogance and pride, and leads to transmigration in saṃsāra”? [With that
attitude] when any of you declare, “I cultivate my perception of impermanence,
suffering, and nonself,” these three types of practice will have
no real meaning.
https://www.bdkamerica.org/system/files ... 2013_0.pdf

Does this clear things up?
"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."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Seeker12 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:15 pm

Astus wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:26 pm
If you mean whether Zen can be taught without mentioning the term "four noble truths", then yes, it can be. If you mean whether Zen teaches something independent from the meaning of the four noble truths, then no.
:good:
Therein is nothing to remove
And thereto not the slightest thing to add.
The perfect truth viewed perfectly
And perfectly beheld is liberation.

Uttaratantra Shastra

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by zengarten » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:29 pm

There is nothing unclear to me here.
You will not find a teacher that can solve those incongruencies of the scriptures. That is why zen went beyond them.
I teach that myself: You will NOT find enlightenment if you get stuck in words and dogma (a.k.a. on a "guaranteed" eightfold path). This path is rather an ethical advice, the best words Shakyamuni could find. Not the best words zen could find thereafter. What leads to awakening cannot be put in rules, and someone violating that eightfold path may very well find or express enlightenment (thus the un-right behavior in some classic zen anectdotes).

I should add that the topic of this thread was given as a zen topic, not a Theravadin one.

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Sentient Light » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:29 pm

Someone edited the wikipedia to read this:
There is some debate as to whether or not the Tathagātagarbha constitutes true self or not, although that perfect self is nowhere denied in the sutra, but affirmed.[citation needed]
Both the wiki page and our dissent user here are ignoring this very explicit part of the same translation they're working from:
“The tathāgatagarbha is without any prior limit, is nonarising, and is
indestructible, accepting suffering, having revulsion toward suffering, and
aspiring to nirvana. O Lord, the tathāgatagarbha is not a substantial self,
nor a living being, nor ‘fate,’ nor a person.
The tathāgatagarbha is not a
realm for living beings who have degenerated into the belief of a substantially
existent body or for those who have contrary views, or who have minds
bewildered by emptiness.
Atmavadin propagandists spreading literal lies, trusting that you folks won't actually read the texts.

(EDIT: I just udpated the wikipedia page.)
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:47 pm

zengarten wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:29 pm
You will not find a teacher that can solve those incongruencies of the scriptures. That is why zen went beyond them.
You really have no idea what you are talking about. There are countless Zen teachers out there explaining the Sutra. If you found one they would clear up your miscomprehensions.
What leads to awakening cannot be put in rules...
Who said anything about rules?
I should add that the topic of this thread was given as a zen topic, not a Theravadin one.
Who said anything about Theravada?
"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."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by zengarten » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:54 pm

I actually hoped that others would read the two sutras. My first response should have been: Why don't you look up the sources for yourself? But as it was obviously a moderator asking me for quotes, I was a bit ... more friendly.

I see no problem with your quote.On the contrary. What one has to understand that the atman here has nothing to do with a personal ego/self, "I" or s.th. like that. But it has "characteristics" (like "eternal", "pure").

And to Grigorio: Please bring me one of those teachers. I have seen and read hundreds.

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:06 pm

zengarten wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:54 pm
What one has to understand that the atman here has nothing to do with a personal ego/self, "I" or s.th. like that. But it has "characteristics" (like "eternal", "pure").
There is no personal or universal atman in Buddhism.

The Tathagatagarbha and the Dharmakaya are not atman or Atman.
"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."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by KeithA » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:56 pm

Viach wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:58 am
Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?
The Four Noble Truths is the foundational teaching of Buddhism. So, without it, it's just pop Zen.

Having said that, it is common for Zen teachers to not mention it very much, which I think is unfortunate. That there is dukkha and an end to dukkha is the central direction of Buddhism, imho.

_/|\_
Keith

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Re: Does Zen Buddhism need Four Noble Truths? If so, why?

Post by zengarten » Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:48 am

I am used of users ignoring certain "academic" facts in forums. Of xourse there is an atman, I quoted the passage from the MPNS. But one should not understand it literally - not as "self" as opposed to "non-self" as one is used to do - but as s.th. with the given characteristics pure, eternal etc. which clearly are not the same as emptiness. That's at least some food for thought. The buddha-nature is not just emptiness in those sutras - but eternal, pure and bliss. For me this is a teaching that solves the danger to fall from emptiness into nothingness into nihilism.It's like some teacher said: Don't cling to non-self, either.

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