A Householder's Training

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A Householder's Training

Postby thornbush » Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:02 am

Someone asked the Sixth Patriarch, Hui Neng:
Prefect Wei asked, "How should we train ourselves at home? Will you please teach us."

Then He replied:
"Learned Audience, those who wish to train themselves (spiritually) may do so at home.
It is quite unnecessary for them to stay in monasteries.

And continues:
The Patriarch replied,
"I will give you a 'formless' stanza.
If you put its teaching into practice you will be in the same position as those who live with me permanently.
On the other hand, if you do not practice it, what progress can you make in the spiritual path, even though you cut your hair and leave home for good (i.e., join the Order)?

And He goes into the stanza:
For a fair mind, observation of precepts (Sila) is unnecessary.
For straightforward behavior, practice in Dhyana (contemplation) may be dispensed with.
On the principle of gratefulness, we support our parents and serve them filially.
On the principle of righteousness, the superior and the inferior stand for each other (in time of need).
On the principle of mutual desire to please, the senior and junior are on affectionate terms.
On the principle of forbearance, we do not quarrel even in the midst of a hostile crowd.
If we can persevere till fire can be obtained through rubbing a piece of wood,
Then the red lotus (the Buddha-nature) will shoot out from the black mire (the unenlightened state).
That which is of bitter taste is bound to be good medicine.
That which sounds unpleasant to the ear is certainly frank advice.
By amending our mistakes, we get wisdom.
By defending our faults, we betray an unsound mind.
In our daily life we should always practice altruism,
But Buddhahood is not to be attained by giving away money as charity.
Bodhi is to be found within our own mind,
And there is no necessity to look for mysticism from without.
Hearers of this stanza who put its teaching into actual practice
Will find paradise in their very presence.

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Sutr ... nd_Answers
(Those who need a commentary, click here and scroll to the bottom until one sees the similar stanza}
Now, as fellow Chan-nists or Zennies, how is this workable for you today?
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Re: A Householder's Training

Postby dumb bonbu » Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:26 pm

hi thorny, i'm curious as to -

For a fair mind, observation of precepts (Sila) is unnecessary.
For straightforward behavior, practice in Dhyana (contemplation) may be dispensed with.


perhaps you could help shine a light on this? ty :smile:
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: A Householder's Training

Postby thornbush » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:20 am

My tainted view....
When Sila and Dhyana are practiced with the Mind and not merely with outward appearances of the body, that is true practice without outflows and grasping.
In all moments, the Mind watches itself through sila and dhyana, hence the body need not become like a slave to a grindstone of 'practice'.
True Practice of sila and dhyana starts with the Mind, where Right Views are formed and developed.
See the late Ven Master Hsuan Hua's short commentary:
http://www.cttbusa.org/6patriarch/6patr ... ntents.asp
Commentary:
The Way must be walked.
If you do not walk it,
How is it the Way?
Virtue must be cultivated.
If you do not cultivate it,
How is it virtue?

The straight mind is without greed, hatred and stupidity. Precepts are designed to protect you from these three poisons, but if your mind is straight, what function do the precepts serve? The straight mind has no waves, no ignorance, and does not need to toil at holding the precepts. The straight mind is Ch’an. Ch’an is used to rid you of your faults. Someone says, “The Sutra says, ‘Why toil at following rules?’ so I won’t hold the precepts.” Is that person’s mind straight or not? He doesn’t care whether or not his mind is straight and his “conduct sure,” he just cares about not having to follow any rules. If his mind is not straight, how can he not hold precepts? If he continues to be selfish, greedy, habit-ridden, envious, and obstructive, how can his mind be straight?

Your parents gave birth to you. You should repay their kindness by being filial and good to them.

The honored and the lowly, the master and the servant, should be courteous and polite to each other.

What is patience? Refusing to speak of the shortcomings of others, not slandering, not being jealous or obstructive: all that is patience. Do not say, “This man is evil. I saw him shoplifting!” The incident never occurred, but the rumor spreads. “He took the precepts and then went out drinking!” It never happened, but someone started talking...

Do not discuss people’s bad points. Bring up their good points. The impatient person never speaks of the good, only of the bad. If you have no bad points, the impatient person will create them for you.

In China, about four thousand years ago, wood drills were used to make fire. Wood was drilled and drilled until fire flared up.

If wood can make fire and the mud can grow a red lotus, then it is not absolutely necessary to leave home in order to cultivate. If you cut off your desire while still at home, you can have success.

One who criticizes you is your Good Knowing Advisor. Just as “bitter medicine” cures your disease, the critic’s words may be unpleasant, but they are sound advice. “Do not be lazy,” says the teacher. “Do not go to sleep!” The student says, “All you ever do is watch over me!” Americans in particular respond that way, because they are so remarkably independent. They don’t listen to anyone’s advice. They want to be unsurpassed and supremely honored. “Right or wrong,” they say, “I listen only to myself. I don’t care what anybody says. I may turn into a senseless block of wood, but nonetheless I am going to stand on my own principles.” I understand Americans. They don’t like to hear words which are hard against the ear.

Correcting failings gives rise to wisdom. If you do not change your faults, you are stupid. That need not be discussed in detail.

Guarded errors expose a petty mind. If you indulgently cherish your problems and make excuses, saying, “No! You don’t understand. There were extenuating circumstances. It wasn’t that way at all! I had to do it, you see...” you become your own lawyer and argue your defense with flashy rhetoric. I have many such disciples. They think that I am stupid and that they can deceive me.

Do what you are supposed to do every day. Be just and benevolent, always benefiting others. But do not say, “I gave $100,000. I have bought Buddhahood!” “Charity is not the means to attain the Way.” You have to cultivate by searching out Bodhi only in the mind, not outside.

Although we have been discussing the Western Paradise, the verse refers to the Christian heaven as well. Heaven is not just in heaven. Heaven is right before your eyes.

Similar teaching in this Sutra:
http://www.cttbusa.org/42sections/42sec_e.asp
Section 40
The Way Is Practiced in the Mind

The Buddha said, "A Shramana who practices the Way should not be like an ox turning a millstone.
Such a one walks the Way with his body, but his mind is not on the Way.
If the mind is concentrated on the Way, what further need is there to practice?"
The fortieth section explains that cultivation of the Way is actually done in our mind, not in external forms. If the mind isn't absorbed in the Way and we merely pay attention to externals, then we are like an ox turning a millstone. The ox just goes around and around pulling the grinder all day and never getting away from it.

The Buddha said, "A Shramana who practices the Way should not be like an ox turning a millstone."When a Bhikshu cultivates the unsurpassed Way, he shouldn't be like an ox turning a millstone--just going back and forth and round and round in the mill, and never getting free to go outside the mill. Such a one walks the Way with his body, but his mind is not on the Way. Although you physically appear to be cultivating the Way--bowing to the Buddha, reciting sutras, and holding mantras--your mind isn't attentive to the work. Our thoughts are not on cultivating the Way.

If the mind is concentrated on the Way, what further need is there to practice? If your mind can truly cultivate the Way, if you can cultivate single-mindedly without any false thinking, and if you can constantly be in samadhi, then what need is there to practice? Under those circumstances, it is all right for you not to practice.

That is to say, you have subdued your mind. If you have no more thoughts of sexual desire, then your mind is subdued. If you are continually having false thoughts of sexual desire, then you may put on an impressive front, as if you were an honest person, but inside you will be unreliable, because all that goes on in your mind is false-thinking about sexual matters. No matter how good you look on the outside, it's of no use.

In cultivating, then, you must pay attention to the mind. If you can tame your mind, you'll be able to attain the fruition very quickly. If you don't tame your mind, if you continually think about sex, then you are just like the ox who grinds and grinds on its millstone. The work is very bitter, but the ox cannot escape and get out of the mill.
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Re: A Householder's Training

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:42 am

When Sila and Dhyana are practiced with the Mind and not merely with outward appearances of the body, that is true practice without outflows and grasping.
In all moments, the Mind watches itself through sila and dhyana, hence the body need not become like a slave to a grindstone of 'practice'.


Beautiful. Offering are meaningful if given within the context of sunyata.

:bow:
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Re: A Householder's Training

Postby dumb bonbu » Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:09 pm

hi thorny, thankyou for the kind explanation...it very much reminds me of the admonition against hakarai or self-calculation that Shinran spoke of. :smile:

plus you've given me a little taster of the 42 Sections Sutra which is currently on my shelf waiting to be picked up! :reading:
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
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dumb bonbu
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

Re: A Householder's Training

Postby sraddha » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:54 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:
Beautiful. Offering are meaningful if given within the context of sunyata.

:bow:



Definately! I wondered how an offering should be made -- and only once anatma is practiced and understood, is it a true offering -- otherwise it is a tainted offering.
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Re: A Householder's Training

Postby thornbush » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:22 am

Best offering me thinks is one's own unwavering Bodhicitta...when all Dharma practice has this and the 4 Noble Truths & Noble 8-fold Path, then we can be assured it is the right path as how Buddhas and Bodhisattvas intended.
Anything lacking these merely obtains for one samsaric rewards and realms...
http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf21.htm#essay
The Avatamsaka Sutra states: To neglect the Bodhi Mind when practicing good deeds is the action of demons.

This teaching is very true indeed.
For example, if someone begins walking without knowing the destination or goal of his journey, isn't his trip bound to be circuitous, tiring and useless?
It is the same for the cultivator.
If he expends a great deal of effort but forgets the goal of attaining Buddhahood to benefit himself and others, all his efforts will merely bring merits in the human and celestial realms.
In the end he will still be deluded and revolve in the cycle of Birth and Death, undergoing immense suffering. If this is not the action of demons, what, then, is it? For this reason, developing the supreme Bodhi Mind to benefit oneself and others should be recognized as a crucial step.

Again, just my tainted view here...
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