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 muni » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:56 am

Huseng wrote:

Since that what is seeking, is mind seeking itself = the point of transmissions.


On paper it works like that, but not in real life.




Oh!
If life is real and life is suffering from birth, sickness, aging, death, how then beings can ever be free? How can they be free after many lifes from being a merely conditioned compounded impermanent dependent chain/phenomenon of suffering?

Of course you certainly mean suffering is experienced very real. Then buddhism offers us the dependent origination-emptiness. All empty phenomena are dependent on our empty mind right now.
To study has its importance , but to seriously understand this by conceptual focus, need no practice pointed by an awaken, to awaken.

Oh yes, for those interested, Zen has also four noble truths. Should be a sticky on the forum for all.
:namaste: http://www.zenguide.com/principles/four ... truths.cfm
Last edited by muni on Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Huifeng » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:12 am

Thinking about all this what a Zen Master is and is not, most of the discussion was making me definitely think that the use of the (I guess equivalent) term in Chinese, 禪師 (Chánshī), really doesn't work this way. So, thought I'd put this down for the record.

Having a general idea in my own mind how the term is and was used, and checking with a few other sources, basically it's pretty simple. A chánshī is a shī of chán, hehe, or a chánshī is somebody who has some expertise in meditation. The level of expertise is rather unspecific, but that's how a lot of things work in language; and likewise for the type or depth of meditation.

So, a chánshī is a very broad idea in Chinese, including the whole range of Buddhist meditation adepts and also non-Buddhists, too. (The originally Indic term chán now being more generic to encompass other forms of spiritual practice.) It can in some circumstances refer to those of the Chán lineage (禪宗), who may (or may not) have received recognition, transmission, entrustment or one or other of a number of related ideas, the meanings of which have changed over time. But this sense is not the only sense or usage of the term.

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

Postby muni » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:48 am

"To study has its importance , but to seriously understand this by conceptual focus, need no practice pointed by an awaken, to awaken".

Translation of this: We need practice and only those awaken can point out (transmission), in order to recognize our nature.
:namaste:
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:01 am

muni wrote:If life is real and life is suffering from birth, sickness, aging, death, how then beings can ever be free?


Eliminate the nominally real causes for saṃsāra.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:01 am

muni wrote:"To study has its importance , but to seriously understand this by conceptual focus, need no practice pointed by an awaken, to awaken".

Translation of this: We need practice and only those awaken can point out (transmission), in order to recognize our nature.
:namaste:


I disagree. Everything you need is in the canon. That's why it was written down.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:09 am

Sara H wrote:That's what it sounds like to me what he's saying.


I understand Chan/Zen texts. I have translated them as well. Both Japanese and Chinese.

I understand there is a meaning that they often try to hint at "beyond words and letters", but I feel Indic texts are superior in being able to convey the methods to achieving liberation in a concise and coherent manner.

Along with saying all of Zen is essentially fraud.


I'm saying the idea of "receiving transmission" is a social construct and a myth which most Zen Buddhists are emotionally invested in.

I don't believe in said myth. I hope we can have a meritocracy where individuals are judged based on what they say and do rather than whatever title they are given.

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...


The power of the myth is clearly strong enough to cross vast cultural and linguistic barriers.

If it works for the institution, then so be it. It has value, perhaps, in ensuring institutional authority is maintained rather than dispersed.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day I am just one man. Take what I say with a grain of salt.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby muni » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:20 am

Huseng wrote:
muni wrote:"To study has its importance , but to seriously understand this by conceptual focus, need no practice pointed by an awaken, to awaken".

Translation of this: We need practice and only those awaken can point out (transmission), in order to recognize our nature.
:namaste:


I disagree. Everything you need is in the canon. That's why it was written down.


Okay. Of course we can study, practice ourselves in many ways. But regarding transmission or pointing out, that cannot by a master who has not recognized nature.

I found something Zen. Not sure it is useful.

"Even existing dharmas must be discarded,
So how can we cling to Dharmas which don’t exist!
Ah ha! Futilely the Ancients busily pursued
enlightenment, then departed.
The countenance, existing of its own accord
I wonder who named it buddha or sentient being?
Even one true Dharma cannot survive.
Outside the window, the cherry tree
is singing this news".
http://naturalmind.wordpress.com/2008/1 ... ng-of-zen/
:namaste:
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:35 am

Well let's consider the provisional nature of all teachings. They assume great importance whether they're Buddhist or from some other tradition, because they make great demands of us and embody so much lived experience. But we ought not to forget that they are fingers pointing at the moon. Zen teaches that and it is an important point. So at the end of the day the teaching itself can be discarded, but only when we are really past the point of needing it, which I'm sure few are.

A few analogies: sadhana is like a thorn that is used to remove a thorn. Or like a stick used to stir the fire, but eventually it too is consumed.

That is the subject of some of those pithy zen aphorisms like 'putting legs on a snake'. But I think it is also the meaning of the characteristic scepticism of written texts. Whatever can be written down is not really alive. (cf 'The letter kills....')

As far as whether or not anyone is enlightened I would hope that whoever has understood the teaching of Buddhism in whatever school, finds some way of being useful to the community.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:41 am

muni wrote:"Even existing dharmas must be discarded,
So how can we cling to Dharmas which don’t exist!
Ah ha! Futilely the Ancients busily pursued
enlightenment, then departed.
The countenance, existing of its own accord
I wonder who named it buddha or sentient being?
Even one true Dharma cannot survive.
Outside the window, the cherry tree
is singing this news".
http://naturalmind.wordpress.com/2008/1 ... ng-of-zen/
:namaste:


Diamond sutra, chapter 6 (BTTS): "You must let go of dharmas. Even more so let go of non-dharmas." (法尚應捨、何況非法)
"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: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby oushi » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:56 am

Are wisdom, knowledge, meaning, understanding... not dharmas?
If one let go of those, what is left to hold onto?
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:03 am

Sara H wrote:It's not meant to be understood by the head.
There is more than one way to understand something actually.
Most of what is written in Zen texts is meant to be understood from what has been refered to as "the mind of meditation"
In other words, if you've had a kensho, you get it, because you've experienced directly what they are talking about.
It then makes perfect sense. If you try to understand it from a logical or rational point of view, it doesn't work.


As I see it, either one understands something, comprehends how something works in a rational way, or not. Direct experience is where one does not use concepts. Thus, directly experiencing the nature of mind is what is called kensho. It's not a negation of understanding, nor something beyond understanding, it's simply not an explanation but an experience. However, once there is talk about something, it is intellectual. A teaching is necessarily bound to concepts. Following a teaching requires understanding of those concepts. Then the result can be the direct experience of emptiness.

Zen is a method where one doesn't go through a series of teachings and techniques but directly goes to insight into the nature of mind. How is that? By resting one's attention instead of pursuing phenomena. That's why neither explanations nor methods are needed. But usually without proper knowledge of Buddhism this direct style is insufficient to help people, so even in Zen they talk about watching the breath and pondering sayings.

As for the irrationality of Zen stories, please look at the second quote here: Cleary on Cultish Zen.
"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: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby muni » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:16 am

oushi wrote:Are wisdom, knowledge, meaning, understanding... not dharmas?


Of course I am not Zen, so illegal here, but where is the dividing line other than in own clinging. Guru Rinpoche "You are not enlightened by fabricated dharmas, indicated dharmas, explained dharmas, cultivated dharmas.

Beyond thought, word, description".

This means not one should not study of course. 84000; for each being a guidance. :smile:
I feel it is useful while studying not to cling to the teaching itself like master Thich Nhat Hanh explained with his ladder, in order to move on, one should let go the step on which one is standing. Teaching in this way as well. This can by practice.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby oushi » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:26 am

muni wrote:
oushi wrote:Are wisdom, knowledge, meaning, understanding... not dharmas?


Of course I am not Zen, so illegal here, but where is the dividing line other than in own clinging. Guru Rinpoche "You are not enlightened by fabricated dharmas, indicated dharmas, explained dharmas, cultivated dharmas.

Beyond thought, word, description".

This means not one should not study of course. 84000; for each being a guidance. :smile:
I feel it is useful while studying not to cling to the teaching itself like master Thich Nhat Hanh explained with his ladder, in order to move on, one should let go the step on which one is standing. Teaching in this way as well. This can by practice.

As I understood, you are talking about the ladder, and I am asking about the hand that grasps it. You let go of one understanding, and grasp another one... this builds a desire to someday find a golden rung. But what is used to grasp this or that teaching? Meaning, understanding, wisdom? Shouldn't it be let go of? If meaning is a dharma, and it is let go of, how can one cling to anything? So, isn't "meaning" the very root cause of grasping? The finger that can point, or distract. In my native language "meaning" is "marking". Meaning itself should be let go of, as it has no true existence. It is just a pointer. If we drop all pointers, what are we left with? Things are they really are, right?
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby muni » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:34 am

oushi wrote:As I understood, you are talking about the ladder, and I am asking about the hand that grasps it. You let go of one understanding, and grasp another one... this builds a desire to someday find a golden rung. But what is used to grasp this or that teaching? Meaning, understanding, wisdom? Shouldn't it be let go of? If meaning is a dharma, and it is let go of, how can one cling to anything? So, isn't "meaning" the very root cause of grasping?


Yes, there are no levels but a variety of beings with different capabilities.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby oushi » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:40 am

muni wrote:
oushi wrote:As I understood, you are talking about the ladder, and I am asking about the hand that grasps it. You let go of one understanding, and grasp another one... this builds a desire to someday find a golden rung. But what is used to grasp this or that teaching? Meaning, understanding, wisdom? Shouldn't it be let go of? If meaning is a dharma, and it is let go of, how can one cling to anything? So, isn't "meaning" the very root cause of grasping?


Yes, there are no levels but a variety of beings with different capabilities.

Depth of understanding is irrelevant, because "ultimate" understanding is no understanding. Things as they really are, do not need understanding to be, right?
Teacher is somebody who will make you stop relying on meaning.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby muni » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:44 am

oushi wrote:
muni wrote:
oushi wrote:As I understood, you are talking about the ladder, and I am asking about the hand that grasps it. You let go of one understanding, and grasp another one... this builds a desire to someday find a golden rung. But what is used to grasp this or that teaching? Meaning, understanding, wisdom? Shouldn't it be let go of? If meaning is a dharma, and it is let go of, how can one cling to anything? So, isn't "meaning" the very root cause of grasping?


Yes, there are no levels but a variety of beings with different capabilities.

Depth of understanding is irrelevant, because "ultimate" understanding is no understanding. Things as they really are, do not need understanding to be, right?

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

Postby oushi » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:54 am

muni wrote: :smile:

Still, it's just a tip of an iceberg... "I" is meaning. How can meaning drop meaning? How can "I" drop itself through understanding? "I" can tell myself to stop understanding, but it will not work, because it is not me who directs awareness, or creates thoughts. Understanding comes out of nowhere. I don't even know what understanding really is. Different characteristics of objects goes through my mind, and suddenly BANG! I understand. What is that????

Thorn cannot pick itself. We needs help of Buddha, or Master.

That's where all the methods come in, and the practice begins. :smile: But at least we know what we want from teacher, and we will not fallow him blindly.
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby greentara » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:56 pm

Sarah H, I don't know if I can agree with the language of "A person who has met the following criteria" The Buddha or a great yogi is an anomaly, who is later fitted with the clothing of a particular doctrinal teaching. As if you can capture and limit the extraordinary!
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Re: What a Zen Master is, and what a Zen Master isn't.

Postby randomseb » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:57 pm

What lesson I take out of this thread is that we are all guilty of the cardinal sin of having views, specifically the "My religion is the proper one and everyone else is wrong!" view. This of course is directly opposite to what Buddha taught, no matter what canon you refer to for your learning.

There are countless paths all leading to the same place. Perhaps you need something as clear and precise (excessively so!) as the Visuddhimaga to guide you in a gradual way, perhaps you can grasp the matter directly through directly examining the mind, perhaps you are somewhere in between these two extremes!

This is the beauty of Buddha's teachings, there is one for every capacity of being.

Don't cling to dogmatic views!

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

Postby muni » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:07 pm

Huseng wrote:... or thinking someone is wiser than the flock...


To say my practice/method is higher than yours which is lower, that is stupid, lacking wisdom-compassion.
Comparing methods is not helpful.
We can share like we do and throw over our shoulder what is not useful.

"Buddha mind is in each individual person."
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