What Buddha Actually Did According to pudgala2

User avatar
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:09 am

What Buddha Actually Did According to pudgala2

Postby pudgala2 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:47 pm


The first public Zen postings appear in Chapter I of the Sutra Spoken by
the Sixth and Last Zen Patriarch Hui-neng (637-713 CE)

"One day the [Fifth Zen] Patriarch assembled all his disciples and said to them:

'The question of incessant rebirth is a very momentous one, but instead of trying
to free yourselves from that bitter sea of life and death, you men, day after day,
seem to be going after tainted merits only. Merit will be of no help to you if your
essence of mind is polluted and clouded.

'Go now and seek for the transcendental wisdom that is WITHIN your own minds and
then write me a stanza about it. He who gets the clearest idea of what Mind-essence
is will be given the insignia of the Patriarch; I will give him the secret teaching of
the Dharma, and will appoint him to be the Sixth Patriarch.

'Go away quickly, now, and do not delay in writing the stanza; deliberation [long
and careful consideration or discussion]
is quite unnecessary and will be of no use.
The one who has realized Essence of Mind can testify to it at once as soon as he is
spoken to about it. He cannot lose sight of it, even if he were engaged in a battle."

The Sutra Spoken by the Sixth Patriarch is a translation of a speech given by an
illiterate laborer named Hui-neng (637-713 CE). The scholar(s) who translated this
transcription into English around 1932 chose to use the then obscure word
sentient in the following way:

Chapter IV Discourse on Repentance
"We have now vowed to deliver an infinite number of sentient beings; but what
does that mean? It does not mean that I, Hui-neng is going to deliver them.

"AND WHO ARE THESE sentient beings, potential WITHIN our minds? They are
the delusive mind, the deceitful mind, the evil mind, and such like—all these are
sentient beings. Each of them has to be delivered by oneself by means of his own
Essence of Mind; only by his own deliverance, is it genuine.

"NOW, WHAT DOES IT MEAN, 'delivering oneself by one's own Essence of Mind?'
It means the deliverance of the ignorant, delusive, and the vexatious beings that
spring up WITHIN our own mind, by means of Right Views. With the aid of Right
and Prajna [perspicacity], the barriers thrown up by these delusive and
ignorant beings
may be broken down; so that each of us will be in a position to
deliver himself by his own efforts. The false will be delivered by truthfulness; the
delusive by enlightenment; the ignorant by wisdom; and the malevolent by
benevolence; such is genuine deliverance."

So for 1300 years (82 years in English—2014) this sutra has not been read or
understood by Zen Buddhists or was ignored by Zen Buddhists who chose to go along
with the popular Buddhist crowd and perpetuate the belief that sentient beings are
living beings to be saved or benefiteda residual unconscious Christian belief in souls!
This belief makes absolutely no sense in light of the Sutra Spoken by the Sixth Zen Patriarch.

In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at
second hand [Traditionally], and without examination.
~ Mark Twain

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously
translates what he hears into something he can understand.
~ Bertrand Russell

There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose
to ignore
what they already know.
~ John Heywood

And this is why I gussy up my postings with colorful EMPHASIS:
—there's no formatting for a burning bush!

The topic of this posting is about what Buddha actually did or accomplished sitting alone in the forest.
A secondary topic is about the essential nature of sentient beings.

My user name is pudgala2 which means persona2 and has nothing to do with the Pudgalavada—I am Zen.
Zen is declarative and does not argue—you either get it or you don't—deliberation is pointless.

My avatar symbolizes the Noble Eightfold Path Process (internalized by practice) leading to the release
or dissolution of the surrounding mental barrier of residual karmic sentient beings (unconsciously
internalized beliefs, opinions, attitudes, moods, etc.) that make up the ego causing suffering.

Remember: ego is the religious centerpiece of its own arbitrarily acquired belief system—both victim and victimizer.


User avatar
Posts: 3007
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: What Buddha Actually Did According to pudgala2

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:16 pm

Interesting presentation!

I don't know if I agree with the notion of 'sentient beings' being 'a residual unconscious Christian belief in souls!'

There is room for debate over the meaning of 'soul' in relation to Buddhism. Buddha did not teach there is a soul, for sure, but also did not teach that there isn't. 'Soul' is simply a terminology he didn't use. If 'soul' is seen as something 'permanently existent and self-originating', then, for sure, Buddhism teaches that there is no such being. But if 'soul' is regarded as 'the totality of the being including their unconscious aspirations and tendencies and deepest concerns' then it is quite meaningful to speak of 'soul' as distinct from 'ego' (or 'persona' which is derived from the masks worn by dramatic actors in Roman plays.)

As regards the notion that the Buddha teaches 'only the truth of suffering and it's cause', Bikkhu Bodhi had an essay in Tricycle recently which questions this, in which he takes some responsibility for propogating it in the first place:

One statement popularly ascribed to the Buddha is quoted so often that it has become virtually an axiom of modern Buddhism. The statement appears in several formulations, the broadest of which runs: “I teach only suffering and the cessation of suffering.” A variant reads: “I teach only two things: suffering and the end of suffering.” And another variant makes the point even more sharply: “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.”

Surprise, surprise! Nowhere in the Pali canon does the Buddha himself actually say this. The statement ascribed to him is not altogether without a basis in the canon, but the way the original is commonly expressed represents a translation error rooted in a grammatical misunderstanding....

Source (requires subscription).

So I think there are some points to take issue with, but much to agree with also.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Posts: 1049
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:03 pm
Location: Germany

Re: What Buddha Actually Did According to pudgala2

Postby Kaccāni » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:55 pm

Those interpretations do make sense to me as beings which reside in sentience itself. Would match my interpretation of "ending the cycle of rebirths" as "letting go of thought-stories".

I suppose that is then "Buddhaism", not Buddhism.
Shush! I'm doing nose-picking practice!

User avatar
Former staff member
Posts: 6198
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What Buddha Actually Did According to pudgala2

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:14 am

Chapter 3 of the Diamond Sutra is already clear that a bodhisattva should save beings without the concept of beings, otherwise he is not a bodhisattva at all.

Then, the Vimalakirti Sutra has a whole chapter (ch. 7) regarding how sentient beings to be viewed.

[Mañjuśrī] also asked, “If one wishes to save sentient beings, what should be eradicated?”
Answer: “If one wishes to save sentient beings, the afflictions should be eradicated.”

(BDK edition, p 126)

And the idea that beings are no different from afflictions has also been articulated in Chan from early on.

False thoughts are sentient beings. For the body and mind to be motionless is called “to save sentient beings.”
(Shenxiu: The Five Expedient Means, in "The Northern School and the formation of early Ch’an Buddhism"; tr. McRae, p 181)

So, I don't see how the definition of sentient begins has been misunderstood by the tradition or followers. That there is no self but only the five aggregates has been the teaching of the Buddha ever since. This is not a Zen specific teaching, it is fundamental in all Buddhist traditions. Even saying that sentient beings are no different from buddhas and afflictions are enlightenment is just common Mahayana.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.

1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Return to “Zen”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests