I'm a great fan of the Linjilu
it is not a stand-alone teaching and can't be actually used for a complete path
Followers of the Way, there is talk of the Way to be practiced and the Dharma to be realized. Tell me, then, what Dharma is to be realized, what Way is to be practiced. At this moment, what do you lack for your functioning? And what do you need to restore by your training? Young students, not understanding anything, put their faith in wild fox sprites and so get entangled in their random talk and fancies such as that in the law, theory and practice must tally, to guard against the three karmic actions and so to attain Buddhahood. Such and other discourses are as frequent as April showers.
oushi wrote:Although Linji was the founder of Rinzai school, the shape of it was greatly modified by Hakuin. Those two approached Zen and practice quite differently. Zen in Linji style is very similar, with its straight teaching, to Dzogchen, whereas Hakuin approach is a mix of rough practices aiming for kensho.
I personally am interested mostly in the actual teachings of Linji. They are very "unusual", contradicting many well established ideas about the Dharma. Maybe that is the reason why, it would die out without the aid of Hakuin. Has any one of you studied Linjis teachings? What are your observations concerning his way of expressing the Dharma?
Huseng wrote:I think in Linji's case you need a master who is realized to convey the same experience to the student.
But correct me if I'm wrong.
Linji wrote:For a dozen years I have been looking for one (who is suitable), but have not been able to find as much as a mustard seed. I am afraid those Zen teachers are rather like newlywed brides, uneasy and worried about being chased out of their homes and starving to death.
Astus wrote:However, telling people that there is no self and so there is nothing to attach to in itself doesn't help.
Astus wrote:That's why there are methods and teachings, to explain and to show to all sorts of people what the Dharma is about.
Linji wrote:There is no Buddha to seek, no Way to accomplish, no Dharma to be obtained. If you seek Buddha in external forms, he would not be more than yourself. Do you want to know your original heart? You can neither know it nor separate yourself from it.
Of course, when one talks to advanced students it's a different speech than when talking to beginners. Linji gives advanced teachings, not for beginners.
Linji wrote:"As for me, if anyone comes with a question, I know him to the bottom, whether he be monk or layman. Whatever position he may come with, all are only words and names, dreams and phantoms."
You belittle yourselves by modestly saying: "we are but common men—he is a sage." You bald idiots! What is the frantic hurry to deck yourselves in a lion's skin when all the while you are yapping like wild foxes? A real man has no need to give himself the airs of a real man!
oushi wrote:Comparison is difficult here, you know, because it is impossible to do it both ways. So, there is nothing to correct, or prove. What is interesting in Linjis approach (not only) is his emphasis on the false teachers. He stressed it often. We face a dilemma here, because either you find a teacher while risking falling under a charlatans spell, or you stay away and risk misinterpretation.
Huseng wrote:oushi wrote:Comparison is difficult here, you know, because it is impossible to do it both ways. So, there is nothing to correct, or prove. What is interesting in Linjis approach (not only) is his emphasis on the false teachers. He stressed it often. We face a dilemma here, because either you find a teacher while risking falling under a charlatans spell, or you stay away and risk misinterpretation.
I've come to understand that in Zen and Chan a teacher is required. It isn't cultivated through systematic learning. It is a transmission outside the scriptures. The literature generally speaks of "excellent means" 妙用 being employed by masters at ripe moments where they knew the disciple's mind would be ready for awakening. Chan was never systematic or even logical. It is a teaching beyond words and letters. I know nowadays there are people trying to systematize Chan, but historically it always seems, at least in my readings and experience in Japan and Taiwan, that a master was required.
This is still generally held to be the case as far as I know in Japan and Taiwan.
oushi wrote:So, all this transmission thingy is a little bit exaggerated and appealing for teachers that want to build and sustain a school.
Huseng wrote:Overconfidence has been the ruin of many a man and woman.
In the Chan context, however, they definitely depend on a transmission outside the scriptures from master to disciple. This is undeniable.
Linji wrote:There is no special meaning in the transmission of Buddha and patriarchs. Though there is a verbal teaching, it falls into the temporary explanation of cause and effect of the Three Vehicles and the Five Natures, and of men and Devas.
Linji wrote:Followers of the Way, I hold the transmission of the generations from Mayoku Osho, Tanka Osho, Doitsu Osho, Rozan Osho, Sekikyo Osho.
oushi wrote:Not only does Linji stay away from "no self", but most of his message affirms "True man of no status".
Certainly he does not talk to a farmer walking by, nor is his teaching directed only to advanced students.
Well, the expression "true man without rank" (無位眞人) occurs in the Linjilu only in one story and used three times there. And that's it.
Linji wrote:Not so the True Man of the Way who goes with the concurrent causes to wipe out his old Karma and lets things follow their own course. He dresses himself as is fitting; when he wants to go, he goes; when he wants to stay, he stays. Not even for the fraction of a moment does he aspire to Buddhahood.
There is only the Independent Man of the Way who is now listening to the Dharma. He is the mother of all the Buddhas.
The aim of the profound teachings of all the Buddhas is rather to see the man who can ride all circumstances. The state of Buddha cannot say of itself “I am a Buddha-state.” It is rather the independent man of the Way who avails himself of all states.
Venerable ones, what do you seek? He who stands clearly revealed and distinct before your eyes, listening to the Dharma, this Independent Man of the Way lacks nothing at all.
But the man of the Way who does not depend on anything makes use of both the moving and the motionless.
Wherefore all the Devas rejoice, the spirits of the earth support your feet (gesture of adoration), and of all the Buddhas of the ten directions, none hold back with their praise. And how does this come to be so? Because the man of the Way who now is listening to the Dharma leaves no trace of his activities.
Astus wrote:The entire text makes several references to common Buddhist teachings and scriptures, something that a person new to East Asian Mahayana can make little sense of.
Astus wrote: Linji himself admits,
"It is not that I understood from the moment I was born of my mother, but that, after exhaustive investigation and grinding practice, in one instant I knew for myself." (p. 22)
Although he talks about direct and sudden enlightenment, just like many other Zen teachers before and after him, he was not without extensive knowledge of Mahayana. Teaching the essential meaning of Buddhism is not difficult for one who realised it personally, but it doesn't mean that the audience can make an immediate step into profound emptiness. Even those who exclusively focus on the Zen teachings under the guidance of a teacher spend years or even decades fully comprehending it. That is clear proof how even the most direct and sudden teaching fails to deliver immediate awakening. Just consider a very basic Buddhist teaching, impermanence. It is seemingly very easy to understand, everybody knows that nothing lasts forever. But a true insight into impermanence is liberation, something that just doesn't happen to everyone hearing about the fact that all things die. And that's why I say that the Linjilu presents an advanced view of Mahayana. I don't mean that it is or should be restricted, no way. But it takes a certain level of familiarity with the Buddhist path to have an actual impact on a practitioner.
Astus wrote:The Linjilu, which is not an actual record of verbal teachings but a literary work of the highly developed Chinese Buddhist community from the Song era, was meant for educated Chinese monks and literati.
Astus wrote:Let me ask then, taking a simple approach to Linji, what is his teaching in today's practical terms?
"Man of the Way" is simply an expression for "practitioner".
greentara wrote:"Linji's major concern seems to have been that his students resist intellection. Linji himself was able to speculate philosophically while still a natural man, using conceptual thought only when it served his purpose. But perhaps his students could not, for he constantly had to remind them that striving and learning were counterproductive"
Thats a change as Buddhism is top heavy with pundits, boffins, and countless experts giving talks. Even though I've heard of Hakuin, I wasn't that familiar with Lingi. The master Lingi cuts through the 'chatter', he sounds like a breathe of fresh air to me.
Linji wrote:You say that everywhere there is training and there is realization. Do not be deceived. Though something can be attained by training, it only creates the Karma of rebirth and death.
You say you train in the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Practices. As I see it, they are all productive of Karma. To seek the Buddha, to seek the Dharma, those produce only Karma in hell. To seek the Bodhisattvas is again producing Karma. Reading the Sutras and Treatises also produces Karma. The Buddhas and patriarchs are men who have nothing further to seek. So that whether it (the heart) moves or does not move, and whether consequently there is action or not, all are pure deeds (not producing Karma).
oushi wrote:Then draw further conclusions, as "independent Man of the Way lacks nothing at all", practitioner lacks nothing at all. That is a starting point, and you can easily start from here. Just apply it.
Astus wrote:If practitioners don't lack anything what is there to do? If there is nothing to do then nothing changes and it all remains just as before: samsara.
Linji wrote:Followers of the Way, if you know that fundamentally there is nothing to seek, you have settled your affairs. But because you have little faith, you run about agitatedly, seeking your head which you think you have lost. You cannot stop yourselves.
Astus wrote:Linji says "kill", but how do you "kill"?
Linji wrote:Just put your heart (mind) at rest and seek nothing outside. When things come towards you, look at them clearly. Have faith in the one who is functioning at this moment, and all things of themselves become empty.
Huseng wrote:I believe that a guru as a precondition for liberation was a later development in Buddhism in India which was eventually transmitted to China. Post-Gupta India saw the rise of feudalism with both Hindu and Buddhist doctrines shifting towards dependence on living authorities rather than scripture. In other words, more pressing concern with hierarchy and authority than before. That is not to say this is a negative thing that should be rejected, but just that in the classical exoteric approach having a guru is not a precondition for liberation.
'Ended is the word of the Master; we have a Master no longer.' But it should not, Ananda, be so considered. For that which I have proclaimed and made known as the Dhamma and the Discipline, that shall be your Master when I am gone.
Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.
pueraeternus wrote:I wonder if we can pinpoint more or less when in Buddhism does the primacy of the guru comes into play? Would that be the early stages of esoteric or vajrayana Buddhism?
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