Instantaneous awakening.

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Re: Instantaneous awakening.

Postby Astus » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:27 am

The constant excuse for saying anything shows some uncertainty regarding what instantaneous awakening is. However, Chan teachers, starting with Heze Shenhui, were quite clear about it that non-thought is all there is to realise. That there is nothing that could be grasped/attained, everything is originally empty, the mind is pure from the beginning - these were all known teachings well before the emergence of Chan. The difference between gradual and instantaneous lies in how the gradual path gives a step by step instruction to how to reach non-attachment, while the direct path is just not attaching to anything. That's how there is actually no such thing as sudden enlightenment, as it all depends on the individual's qualities. Either one understands it immediately or not. And even if there is a clear realisation that the six sensory impressions are insubstantial, it is easy to fall back to one's habitual clinging to phenomena, thus many Chan teachers emphasised continuous training, or the so called "sudden enlightenment, gradual practice" format.

So, how is there instantaneous awakening? One only needs to observe the emerging and disappearing phenomena of sights, sounds, feelings and thoughts to confirm that there is nothing anywhere in one's realm of experience that stays even for a moment, so there is nothing to hold on to or reject. Why is this information/instruction useless most of the time? Because knowing how to observe is already a technique one learns through calming the mind and detaching from constant conceptualisation. Because even if one can personally confirm that all sorts of identification and clinging are false and mistaken, that attachment is the true source of dissatisfaction and suffering, as a result of habits one easily forgets about all that.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Instantaneous awakening.

Postby Simon E. » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:28 am

hop.pala wrote:
when you know that you have always had awakening you will realise that its not necessary to see or experience anything special. you are a buddha just as you are.


Ok all right.Later write something about the kleshas.

you are buddha

You are?



I'm not.
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Re: Instantaneous awakening.

Postby Jesse » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:11 pm

it is easy to fall back to one's habitual clinging to phenomena, thus many Chan teachers emphasized continuous training, or the so called "sudden enlightenment, gradual practice" format.


That's why both practices are necessary for most people. Instant path and the long arduous one. At least with instantaneous awakening, it gives faith that enlightenment is possible. Not that you can't experience it in other ways, but anyone who doesn't practice Zazen really should.. I probably would of abandoned Buddhism long ago without it...
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Instantaneous awakening.

Postby White Lotus » Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:39 pm

in one or two sentences: what are we all worrying about?

it is only ego that says there is something to attain or be attained. actually there is no attainment. And yet... one has changed. but speaking in this way is discrimination and so fails to express anything true. what do you see, hear and smell. all this is Mind. can mind be attained or have you always had it... again we fall into discrimination. everything i say has an equal and opposite opinion. so best to say nothing, but that wouldnt help here. what do you see, right now before you at this present moment? thats it.

the kleshas are mere bubbles on the stream of life. mere appearances, but practically speaking they make life difficult. the six paramitas are delusion. they dont exist, but we are encouraged to practice them anyway and they make life easier. Hui Neng said it is not a good idea to talk about these things to practicers in other schools. that these ideas could be harmful to those not ready for them.
it is not at all surprising that the southern school attracted a lot of criticism from the other schools of buddhism.

in all fairness to Hui Neng, he did say that instantaneous awakening was in the context of seeing own nature. as also said Bodhidharma. however, by the time we meet his disciple Matsu we find that such seeing is not necessary. that the mind just as it is is Buddha. what sin are you looking for, what klesha? it cant be found. what room is there in emptiness for defilements. why are you meditating? why not polish a brick until it becomes a mirror. what scriptures are you reading? is not all reality scripture. such ideas were found in the southern school and in Huangjo school of Matsu. criticism will understandably come. it must however be said that whatever is taked about by students of zen has nothing to do with zen. all that can be said is mere discrimination, the simplifying and judging manas. in ordinary experience one cannot get away from judgement, however... fundamentally it does not exist nor not exist.

my own take on ch'an/zen is that it has grown out of the scriptures such as the Lankavatara and is a remarkable expression of the teachings contained in the mahayana scriptures. remarkable. who would ever have thought that non discrimination could be expressed through the spontaneous display of stream of consciousness in word and action. so creative.
everything i am saying here is entering into discrimination. i do not find it satisfying, would be far happier saying:
''its just a nice day''. those five words are a clearer demonstration than any clever or apparently logical point of view or argument. they point directly to reality as it is, or isnt and they are spontaneous and not contrived.

best wishes, Tom.

finding meaning in a heap of rubbish...
one sees what one has always seen,
but not in the way that one has always seen.
finding words to express the fundamental, just wont work
go beyond word, beyond name, beyond form...
and you have what youve always had... your treasure.
if its a word, if its a name... a concept: that isnt it.
and yet you are free to pick and choose. to assert or reject.
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.
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Re: Instantaneous awakening.

Postby theanarchist » Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:58 pm

Astus wrote:. However, Chan teachers, starting with Heze Shenhui, were quite clear about it that non-thought is all there is to realise.



Nope, non-thought can also be a temporary result of shamata practice which does not equal with liberation/awakening.

And an awakened person can and will have thoughts. But unlike us the awakened/liberated person will have direct realisation that neither the thoughts nor any other phenomenon have a solid reality. That insight is in sutrayana archieved by vipassana practice.

As long as you cling to non thought you are definitely not liberated.
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Re: Instantaneous awakening.

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:42 pm

theanarchist wrote:Nope, non-thought can also be a temporary result of shamata practice which does not equal with liberation/awakening.

And an awakened person can and will have thoughts. But unlike us the awakened/liberated person will have direct realisation that neither the thoughts nor any other phenomenon have a solid reality. That insight is in sutrayana archieved by vipassana practice.

As long as you cling to non thought you are definitely not liberated.


Non-thought (wunian/munen) is not lack of thoughts, nor a temporary result of any calming practice.

The Sixth Patriarch taught:

"Nonthought is to be without thought in the context of thoughts."
(Platform Sutra, ch 4; p 43; tr McRae)

"in wisdom’s contemplation both interior and exterior are clearly penetrated, and one recognizes one’s own fundamental mind. If you recognize your fundamental mind, this is the fundamental emancipation. And if you attain emancipation, this is the samādhi of prajñā, this is nonthought.
What is nonthought? If in seeing all the dharmas, the mind is not defiled or attached, this is nonthought. [The mind’s] functioning pervades all locations, yet it is not attached to all the locations.
...
to be enlightened to the Dharma of nonthought is for the myriad dharmas to be completely penetrated. To be enlightened to the Dharma of nonthought is to see the realms of [all] the buddhas. To be enlightened to the Dharma of nonthought is to arrive at the stage of buddhahood."

(ch 2; p 33, 34)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Instantaneous awakening.

Postby White Lotus » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:49 pm

agreed that nothought/wunien is a level of enlightenment. but it can be said metaphorically that there are 84,000 levels of enlightenment. is wunien supreme enlightenment? wu nien is not an artificial emptying of the mind as one finds in shamatha. it is where all concepts and names are seen to be untrue and hence emptyness of ideas. even emptiness of emptiness is seen as an impediment. since one is unable to attach to or reify any paricular concept or approach towards enlightenment one remains without thought. this is wu nien. a mind that is free from attachments, even free from the notion of Wu nien. no position whatsoever is clung to. this is no thought. (is that right Astus?). one should be free/liberated to enter thought... its just that any thoughts one has are seen as simplifications/generalizations and untrue.

i agree with Sheng yen that one can be said to have no mind/Wu hsin and that infact there is no mind anywhere to be found. only the 'appearance' of a mind, but i disagree with him that there is a true mind to be realised beyond the 'ordinary' mind. to me ordinary mind is enlightenment (on a certain level/entering the weeds to explain to others). there may be degrees of purification that have been attained: one may see that one has no self or even apparent mind, one may see that even emptiness is a mere word and that 'seeing' emptiness still does not reach to the perfection of the ordinary mind. it may be said that ordinary mind is emptiness, but do we really need to see this? it is this ordinary mind that sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels. seeing emptiness or attaching to 'higher levels' such as Wu Nien, or 'the unborn'/anutpattica prevents one from appreciation the ordinary original mind. this was the genius of Ma Tsu (Basso).
if we say there is a level of purity to be realised through prajna/seeing or through pracice of meditation we deny the buddhas words that there is no dharma to be realised. though there is room for such seeing.

i have sought for teachings by Shen Hui, perhaps the most famous disciple of Hui Neng and have only read some of his words quoted by Suzuki in "the Zen Doctrine of No Mind". Astus is there a book i might read that has the teachings of Shen Hui. would love to read more of his material.

it is with profound respect for the enlightened words of members of Dharma Wheel that i am grateful.

so enlightenment is to see this ordinary mind youve been born with and live by... later on you can explore other levels of enlightenment such as no self, no mind, no thought, seeing your own nature and emptiness. but in the end your fundamental mind remains the same as it always has. ordinary/original mind.with best wishes, Tom.
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.
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