What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:05 am

randomseb wrote:...the texts left by the patriarchs are not that confusing, once you understand that they are making references to the "thisness" of situations.


Have you read them in the original archaic Chinese?
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Matt J » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:06 am

This versus that.

Zen master versus not Zen master.

Intellectual versus anti-intellectual.

In group vs. out group.

In my mind, it's all lines painted in the air.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:15 am

jeeprs wrote:I think there are people here who *do* get that, But if they're not 'part of the in-group', if they haven't 'received dharma transmission from a true master' then what are they? Outcastes? Heretics? This is what is causing difficulties for me in reading your posts. There seems an implicit view that you 'get it' and other people who comment don't 'get it' on account of institutional affiliation.


I've noticed a degree of elitism in the western versions of Zen.

A lot of internet Zen Masters like to hint at how they get it (understanding the profound unspeakable truth) and anyone else who challenges them is simply clinging to form and delusion. People who look at things logically with an inclination towards reasoned analysis are particularly delusional. They need to realize how their intellectualism is a hindrance. In other words, disengage critical thought.

That's a recipe for forming a cult incidentally.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:19 am

Matt J wrote:In my mind, it's all lines painted in the air.


So, you're basically announcing on an internet forum your own good qualities?
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:31 am

Huseng wrote:
jeeprs wrote:I think there are people here who *do* get that, But if they're not 'part of the in-group', if they haven't 'received dharma transmission from a true master' then what are they? Outcastes? Heretics? This is what is causing difficulties for me in reading your posts. There seems an implicit view that you 'get it' and other people who comment don't 'get it' on account of institutional affiliation.


I've noticed a degree of elitism in the western versions of Zen.

A lot of internet Zen Masters like to hint at how they get it (understanding the profound unspeakable truth) and anyone else who challenges them is simply clinging to form and delusion. People who look at things logically with an inclination towards reasoned analysis are particularly delusional. They need to realize how their intellectualism is a hindrance. In other words, disengage critical thought.

That's a recipe for forming a cult incidentally.


It never occurs to you that you could simply be wrong?
Or that perhaps both have a point? That there may be some arrogant Zen Master's and, they are right that you cannot understand this intellectually?

Have you considered the possibility that you might not understand everything here?

You know, there's a great story about one of the Ancestors who was the one in the painting of a rice cake story.

Dogen talked about this, in one of the chapters of the Shobogenzo.

This guy, (who later went on to become a great Ancestor, but wasn't at the time, he was still thinking of things from the ordinary mind) was so well educated, and well versed on all the sutra's and scriptures, that he was famous, and had a lofty title that he was known by.

One day he went to buy rice, and basically bragging to the woman about his fame and knowledge, the woman asked him a basic question that he at first gave a very scholarly answer to, and then when she probed further, she stumped him.

It was a basic question about the Nature of things that anyone who had had a direct experience would know.

He didn't know the answer, in spite of being famous for his scholarly knowledge.

True story, as far as we know.

Have you considered the possibility that you could be wrong?

That thousands, if not millions of people over thousands of years might be on to something you have not realized?

Just a thought.

Sara
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:40 am

Huseng wrote:
Sara H wrote:While I was sitting, these words came up regarding you:

In form and feel we clutch at things,
and then compound delusion later on by following ideals.


It's a combination of two lines from the Sandokai.



So, you've concluded based on what I post on an internet forum that I am compounding delusion?


I told you what came up regarding this while I was sitting.




The way I interpreted this, with regard to the line that came up in meditation, is to be reminded that ideals, in Buddhism are regarded as a from of delusion.
And following them, and chasing after things how they should ideally be, in our minds, is only compounding our own delusion.


So, you've basically written off the pursuit of arhatship, noble bodhisattvahood and buddhahood -- these are all forms of delusion in your version of Buddhism.


No, I havn't written off anything of the sort.

I've said you're not understanding the meanings of things.

Sara
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IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
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We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:08 am

Sara H wrote:It never occurs to you that you could simply be wrong?


I have the right to disagree and voice my disagreement.

I don't have much veneration for the flocks of internet Zen Masters who like to hint at or imply their own realizations while putting the reasonable critics down as being delusional intellectuals.

Or that perhaps both have a point? That there may be some arrogant Zen Master's and, they are right that you cannot understand this intellectually?



If they have understood something, I'd like to see it have an effect on their demeanour and capacity for lucid discourse, otherwise it is just hot air. I'd like to see these purported Zen masters who write books actually display a reasonable degree of understanding of basic Buddhadharma and more importantly Buddhist ethics. One of the famous powers is the power of speech. The deeper your wisdom, the greater your capacity for wise and effective speech.

I will judge a person based on their words and deeds.


He didn't know the answer, in spite of being famous for his scholarly knowledge.


The official anti-scholastic position of Soto Zen is ironic given how much time and effort they spend studying their Chan records and Dogen's prolific works. The major Zen Buddhist dictionaries in Japan were compiled at a Soto Zen University.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby randomseb » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:30 am

Huseng wrote:
randomseb wrote:...the texts left by the patriarchs are not that confusing, once you understand that they are making references to the "thisness" of situations.


Have you read them in the original archaic Chinese?


I have not, chinese people, korean people, japanese people, and so on, have, and their versions are the same, in meaning if not exact terminology. Western people are not the only ones who say these things. Contemporary masters from Asia teach the same notions, and they do so in English directly, even if they had to learn it first. Your lumping it all in the category "western zen" is just wrong. There are plenty of sutras about this that are not chan/zen specific, how do you have any doubts? Persevere!

If it's any help for your understanding, Patriarchal Zen, that is to say what Zen was originally, is almost the same as Tibetan Mahamudra, conceptually. You can also find hints of this at the top level of other buddhist paths, as well as in other major religions.

:group:

As a side note, how are these "internet zen masters" you are complaining about any different than what you are doing?
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:44 am

randomseb wrote:I have not, chinese people, korean people, japanese people, and so on, have, and their versions are the same, in meaning if not exact terminology.


My point is that the Chan records are very terse and arcane texts which require delicate interpretation and translation to really understand. Many of them are shorthand notes full of scribal errors from past centuries with plagiarized parts of earlier texts which need to be identified and framed in the appropriate context.

In other words, a surface reading in English is just going to give the translator's interpretation.


As a side note, how are these "internet zen masters" you are complaining about any different than what you are doing?


I'm willing to talk things out in a reasoned and coherent way.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby randomseb » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:58 am

So your complaint is that because you don't understand the texts, the texts aren't valid? Some of them are single, whole texts in their own right, unlike stuff such as "the records", which is indeed a mishmash of all sorts of strange stuff.

Have you ever read the 6th Patriarch's platform sutra? Hui Hai's text? Stonehouse's poetry and gathas? These are very straightforward!

Have you read the Diamond Sutra? The Heart Sutra? The Threefold Lotus Sutra? The Surangama Sutra? Vimalakirti Sutra? Just to name a few.. Or even texts from the original cannon of Buddha's own words, translated from Pali or sanskrit, in that preachy repetitive format these things were originally recorded as (because it made it easier to remember back before these were ever written down?)

Check out the Song of Mahamudra by Tilopa for a version of this teaching in Tibet.. That is to say, from India, that then ended up in Tibet and is still going strong today
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:06 am

randomseb wrote:So your complaint is that because you don't understand the texts, the texts aren't valid? Some of them are single, whole texts in their own right, unlike stuff such as "the records", which is indeed a mishmash of all sorts of strange stuff.


I quite well understand the texts and read them in the original Chinese. I just think Indic works and the Chinese works which emulate them are superior.


Have you ever read the 6th Patriarch's platform sutra? Hui Hai's text? Stonehouse's poetry and gathas? These are very straightforward!


That's only part of the Chan canon. I'm talking about the Chan records, the gong'an and then in Japan the works of figures like Dogen.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:18 am

You know, Huseng,
regarding your references to Zen Master arrogance,

some people might suggest that thinking you know better than generations of people who have done this all their lives, including people who are more scholarly educated than yourself, is a bit arrogant.


Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:26 am

Sara H wrote:some people might suggest that thinking you know better than generations of people who have done this all their lives, including people who are more scholarly educated than yourself, is a bit arrogant.


Sure, and they're entitled to their opinion and I hope they engage in productive discussion with me so we can hammer out our perspectives on things.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby randomseb » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:32 am

Yes, the chan Records are very funky, but some of it is not that complicated and shouldn't be too hard to convert to english, such as this translation by Jeffrey Broughton:

Question: "Worldy people apply themselves to various sorts of learning. Why do they fail to obtain the path?"

Answer: "Because they see a self, they do not obtain the path. If they were able to avoid seeing a self, then they would obtain the path. Self means Ego. The reason why the sage meets suffering without being sad and encounters pleasure without being happy is that he does not see a self. The reason why he has neither suffering nor pleasure is that he has lost self. When you attain to emptiness, even the self is lost, so what further thing can there be that is not lost? If you can lose self, everything from the onset will be nonexistent.
The self arbitrarily produces calculations, and then one is affected by birth, aging, sickness, death, sadness, commiseration, suffering, defilements, cold, heat, wind, rain, and everything that is not in accord with one's wishes. These are all manifestations of false thought.
In the manner of a magicians sleight of hand, departing and staying are not under the control of a self. Why? Arbitrarily the ego of worldly people produces resistance and opposition,.and they fail to acknowledge that departing and staying are not under the control of the ego.
The defilements exist because of the grasping of the self, and from this springs departing and staying. If you know that departing and staying are not under the control of the self, then for you 'mine' will be a sleight-of-hand dharma incapable of holding you back. If you do not resist sleight-of-hand dharmas, then no matter what may come,.you will not be hindered. If you are capable of not resisting transformations, then, no matter what may happen, you will have nothing to repent of.

Text #5 - Record I - #25


Some of them though will twist your brain into a knot if you try to think about them too much, but one long sample is enough typing for now :rolling:

I do like this one from Text #4 - Second Letter:

In a place of namelessness they mistakenly think of erecting names, and because of these names, is and is-not are born


That cuts right to the heart of the matter huh?

“Just as it is known
That an image of one's face is seen
Depending on a mirror
But does not really exist as a face,
So the conception of "I" exists
Dependent on mind and body,
But like the image of a face
The "I" does not at all exist as its own reality.”
― Nāgārjuna
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:49 am

randomseb wrote:[to Huseng]So your complaint is that because you don't understand the texts, the texts aren't valid?


That's what it sounds like to me what he's saying.

Along with saying all of Zen is essentially fraud.

Perhaps he thinks it's a giant conspiracy, that spans multiple generations, across multiple continents, in multiple countries, across multiple lineages some of which were completely not in contact with each other...
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We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
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We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:54 am

Huseng wrote:
Sara H wrote:some people might suggest that thinking you know better than generations of people who have done this all their lives, including people who are more scholarly educated than yourself, is a bit arrogant.


Sure, and they're entitled to their opinion and I hope they engage in productive discussion with me so we can hammer out our perspectives on things.


Well why don't you simply call them?

They have telephone numbers.

And Skype.

Pick up the phone and call them.

The phone number for Shasta, is 530.926.4208

You can simply call somebody and talk to them.

Do you have a specific text you are wondering about?

You mentioned Dogen, perhaps I can help you there?
I'm pretty versed in Dogen.

Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby shel » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:25 am

Sara H wrote:2) If they are not a Buddha, (and they most likely are not) then they are not free from Greed, Anger, and Delusion, and therefor, still have greed, have anger, and have delusion.

Hi Sara,

For some reason you don't respond to questions about this part of your Zen master definition, though the reason for that may be apparent.

If Zen mastery means not necessarily being freed from greed, anger, and delusion, then Zen means not necessarily being freed from greed, anger, and delusion. Zen is Buddhism however, and Buddhism, generally speaking, is all about being freed from greed, anger, and delusion. There is a rather drastic contradiction going on here. So how is this contradiction resolved?

If you were to utilize one of those handy speed dial numbers to get the official resolution to the contradiction the answer would be something like: "Well Sara, the title of Zen master is conferred as an honorific [because no one can own it]. No one, with perhaps the exception of someone like Zen Master Rama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Lenz), refers to themselves as a Zen master."

An honorific is essentially a show of respect or mark of high status, for having completed some list of required training like you've shown, but does not require performance or demonstration of ability, such as being freed from greed, anger, or delusion.

At this point someone like myself might notice that, hey, a myth is defined as 'an exaggerated or idealized conception of a person or thing' and 'a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation.'

Or is there some other explanation for the contradiction you present in your definition of what a Zen master is and isn't, Sara?
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:45 am

shel wrote:If Zen mastery means not necessarily being freed from greed, anger, and delusion, then Zen means not necessarily being freed from greed, anger, and delusion. Zen is Buddhism however, and Buddhism, generally speaking, is all about being freed from greed, anger, and delusion. There is a rather drastic contradiction going on here. So how is this contradiction resolved?


It's not a contradiction Shel. Most Buddhists are not free from greed, anger, and delusion.

Buddha's are rare in any lifetime.

We train ourselves to be free from their influence, and usually become much less influenced by them, and it can be done in one lifetime.

The honorific means they can sit, very deeply, and have come to a more advanced form of training, are generally able to maintain a stillness with more compassion, or love, or wisdom, than the average normal person, and can teach Buddhism to others and have been certified to do so. It's a form of respect, and, I would add, it's an outdated western term. Most "Zen Masters" don't call themselves that. They call themselves Zen Teachers, or Monks, or Priests, etc.
"Zen Master" is kindof a Hollywood term. I use it here, because I'm trying to get to the heart of the matter, and not beat around the bush. Some people think of them that way. So I'm using it here, to address concerns about it directly.

Most Buddhist in general are not free from greed, anger, and delusion though.


Years of practice usually brings about a person who is much less, likely to be pulled off-center from greed, anger, and delusion, (or it happens much less) and so has cultivated much more compassion, love and wisdom.

And, some people do become Buddhas.

We honor people who put in the effort. And who are willing to teach how to do this to others.

In Gassho,

Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:00 am

I think part of the misunderstanding here Shel, is that you're sortof assuming that they are claiming to all be Buddha's and then being disappointed that they are not.

But I don't know any Zen Teacher who's ever claimed that all Zen Teachers, Zen Master's or whatever you want to call them are Buddha's.

That simply seems to be some sortof popular misconception.

There is more than one stage of Enlightenment. All Enlightenment is one continuous flow, but there is a difference between someone who has had a glimpse of Enlightenment, and who is still occasionally thrown off-center by greed hate and delusion, as they learn to sit in that glimpse that they've found; --and someone who's a Buddha who's learned to sit in it completely, no matter what is thrown their way.

It takes years of practice, after one has had a kensho, to be able to learn how to do that.

The kensho just gives you the certainty to know that you can. -That it is possible. And so when times get really rough, and things really want to throw you off-center, you can have faith in that, because you KNOW the Immaculacy of the Unborn.

But it still takes years and years of practice, to be able to do that successfully, all the time.

Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby oushi » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:26 am

What is the point of precisely describing something relative? :shrug:
This is where the fight is taking place. How does the mind grasp, how does it cling? Through understanding. My understanding vs your understanding. Description is an aura created around deluded grasping, to justify it, make it look true. There is no need for Zen Master to reveal this. Just look for those things your mind is grasping for. People know that it's impossible to grasp buddha nature with understanding, but at the same time, are not willing to drop this tool, because if not understanding then what?

Why does the mind grasp, how does it grasp? I have no problem answering this questions, no problem in explaining how the mind functions.But...How to stop it? Here, a Master is needed to "make it real". I mean, real master because it's not an easy job. Mind surgery.
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