How useful are Chan records?

Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby Anders » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:57 pm

Although Thomas Cleary is often critisised for his attempts at Chinese translations (Japanese being his actual specialty), Cristopher Cleary who co-translated it, generally has a fine reputation for accuracy and faithfulness to the text.

I am wondering to what extent you think he mangled the text, Huseng?
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby White Lotus » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:23 pm

Huseng, to begin with, koan studies can seem totally inacessible, and even intimidating. You may find that there is not even a single koan in the Blue Cliff Record that you are able to interpret. dont worry about the way others interpret, find your own interpretation.

sit with a koan and work at it. its a little like unravelling a serious knot in a ball of string. sooner or later! crack, you can eat the nut. many of the koans are metaphorical, and so you will need to ask yourself what important element of buddhism is this koan getting at. sometimes a koan may be completely mundane, something from daily life and at other times a sticky metaphore.

take for example the following koan:
the bull escapes from his pen, charging towards the cliff... woops! his tail is caught in the gate. how can he get free.

this koan from the mumon kan may in my own approach be interpreted like this...
the bull (your true nature) is getting free of delusions about himself and the world. he charges towards Zen death. the death that brings life. the chasm of zen where he will entirely die to the delusion of self etc, but his ego (tail), only a little thing gets caught in the gate.

everyone has their own interpretation, this is the beauty and mystery of koans. when reading a koan you could ask yourself things like... does this koan point towards emptiness, or suchness or is it an example of pure love, etc etc. cracking koans can be fun, but be patient with yourself.

best wishes, White Lotus. x

koan toffee, simply the most delectable
chew you can get!
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: How useful are Chan records?

Postby el gatito » Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:59 am

:namaste:

Huseng wrote:I have no authority to make a final judgement call on who is and isn't a Zen practitioner, but my personal opinion right now is that if you're going to "do Zen", so to speak, a teacher is a prerequisite for practice. If someone should feel otherwise, I welcome them to put forth some points as to why they say so.


This night I had the pleasure to read this very topic. Many thanks to all who participated. Thanks indeed!

Speaking of some kind of a "balance" between the "academic approach" and the "practice" -- this discussion seems to be a bit inclined towards the "academic approach". But maybe I'm wrong?..

so what is "balance"?
on very top of the tree
small black bird singing

don't have any points
as to why the bird so does
so naturally

why doesn't the strong wind
blow away all birds from trees?
I can't care less

for I am neither
a small black bird nor a wind
just a stupid cat

who can't fly like birds
freely -- against the strong wind
mi-i-a-a-a-o-o-o-w!.. that's my cry..


:namaste:
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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby noclue » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:59 am

White Lotus wrote:Huseng, to begin with, koan studies can seem totally inacessible, and even intimidating. You may find that there is not even a single koan in the Blue Cliff Record that you are able to interpret. dont worry about the way others interpret, find your own interpretation.

sit with a koan and work at it. its a little like unravelling a serious knot in a ball of string. sooner or later! crack, you can eat the nut. many of the koans are metaphorical, and so you will need to ask yourself what important element of buddhism is this koan getting at. sometimes a koan may be completely mundane, something from daily life and at other times a sticky metaphore.

take for example the following koan:
the bull escapes from his pen, charging towards the cliff... woops! his tail is caught in the gate. how can he get free.

this koan from the mumon kan may in my own approach be interpreted like this...
the bull (your true nature) is getting free of delusions about himself and the world. he charges towards Zen death. the death that brings life. the chasm of zen where he will entirely die to the delusion of self etc, but his ego (tail), only a little thing gets caught in the gate.

everyone has their own interpretation, this is the beauty and mystery of koans. when reading a koan you could ask yourself things like... does this koan point towards emptiness, or suchness or is it an example of pure love, etc etc. cracking koans can be fun, but be patient with yourself.

best wishes, White Lotus. x

koan toffee, simply the most delectable
chew you can get!



Koans are about breaking through not interpretation or proliferation of concepts.

Both Wumen and Yuan Wu (compiler of the Blue Cliff Record) repeated advised to lay all such aside, to forget metaphors and symbols. All these are wide of the mark.

PS I like your signature, but can't say I share your optimism about the last part - online (and often off-line) it tends to be the case of the blind leading the blind. True teachers are few and far in between and need to be looked for. I say "need to" only for those who want to practice, but for those who want to play games, the web is pretty ideal.
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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby Dae Bi » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:58 pm

I believe White lotus' interpretation is very good. The only thing lacking(no fault of his own) is demonstrating this understanding. Unfortunately, on a forum such as this, practicable demonstrations aren't possible. So let my try to answer with an emoticon :bow:
David


First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is.
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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby noclue » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:27 am

beliefs are exactly the problem...
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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby Dae Bi » Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:15 am

The only problem is the one which one creates :thinking:
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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby noclue » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:08 am

Quite so!

There are no real problems, but we are convinced there are. Problem making is what we do so well. Second only to belief-making.

As to "the one who creates" he is just another one of these beliefs.

But back to the koans, my friend. Have a good read of the Blue Cliff Record, there are plenty of comments on what not to do in koan introspection.

But really, if it was only about metaphors and symbols, where would "direct pointing at the Mind" be?

_/|\_
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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby Dae Bi » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:22 am

Right here, right now!
Peace, love and mungbeans. :bow:
David


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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby noclue » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:29 am

Yes, 24/7.

So what need is there of Zen? (and "How useful are Chan records?")
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Re: How useful are Chan records?

Postby White Lotus » Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:33 pm

:namaste: Noble No Clue,
you said...
But really, if it was only about metaphors and symbols, where would "direct pointing at the Mind" be?


Yes, it is not only about metaphors and symbols, sorry if i implied it was!

everything is Mind, where is the need for pointing? What is within you is mind, what is outside you is mind. all is mind. what is the feeling of the wall you are looking at. is this sensation any different from gazing on a computer screen. what do you feel within you. all is your own nature. your own nature is mind, mind is your own nature.

but you know, if there were not metaphors and symbols (eg example words and phenomena) where would the pointing be?

Koans are not all pointing at the Mind (though in a fundamental sense they are), there are many angles to them. not all mepaphor not all symbol. it may be attractive to attach to one particular interpretation of all koans, and if we do this it is not emptiness, nor is it nothingness.

a supreme pointer to emptiness and beyond is to crack the Hua Tou "No". (Mu, Wu)

is it Mind? No. is it emptiness? No. is it Love? No. Why No? i say yes (but thats against the rules... saying yes!), and all these little games that come from the No Hua Tou. great fun, down right frustrating, great for loosening up the Mind. When it is cracked there is a direct experience of emptiness/no thingness that tangibly bursts and pours into the cranium. helps one to see the emptiness that one initially is. as you see more clearly the emptiness blows away and you are left with Mind. can you ever crack No fully? No. but you can counter it? No... Yes! i see. Very hard to describe the process of cracking the No hua tou. you have to do it for yourself. when it is initially cracked, you will see the fundamental nature of the word No. this in itself acts as a great pointer to emptiness/nothingness that is ones True nature in its embryonic state. as ones understanding of ones own nature develops it looses any kind of feeling of emptiness and 'is'.

im sorry Dae Bi that i am unable to demonstrate an understanding of koans, we must all approach them ourselves and form our own opinions and get our own answers, but i say, whatever happens dont take the approach... one hair penetrates all holes. that is to miss the 68 other flavours of ice cream. its fine to say that Mind is a hair, but if we see mind only in its fundamental state we miss it in all its myriad appearances. when you know that face from before birth, you have already tried 68 varieties... but... it that face still empty? (69?)

with love from White Lotus.

koans, hard work,
but very rewarding.
need to be chewed
with patience.
give yourself a chance.
why No?
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: How useful are Chan records?

Postby el gatito » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:06 pm

:namaste:

Regardless of "usefulness" of the Ch'an records.. If anyone knows of any unpublished, or "unofficial" perhaps, or "in progress", or otherwise unknown translation(s) into English of the "Expanded Record of Chan Master Hongzhi" { a.k.a. Hongzhi chan shi guanglu } or { 宏智禪師廣錄 } -- kindly post a link.. Note: the online version in Chinese (arranged in 9 fascicles) is available online (thanks to "CBETA Chinese Electronic Tripitaka"). Thank you.

:namaste:
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