Nianfo in Chan

Nianfo in Chan

Postby ChangYuan » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:13 pm

I was wondering if anyone knew how much the nianfo was chanted in Chan, or if there are other mantras that are chanted more commonly.
_/\_ Amituofo

The Inept Buddhist
User avatar
ChangYuan
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:09 pm

Re: Nianfo in Chan

Postby sraddha » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:50 pm

Hi,

Here is a link discussing Nianfo in Chan:

http://74.6.239.67/search/cache?ei=UTF-8&p=nianfo+in+chan&fr=yfp-t-501&u=www.japanese-religions.jp/publications/assets/JR33_a_Baskind.pdf&w=nianfo+chan&d=AOKchRlMTC5P&icp=1&.intl=us

Chan and Pure Land Practices in ChinaOne thing that should be kept in mind when considering the Zen style of the ºbaku monks is that they were steeped in the Buddhist culture of the Ming period, replete with conspicuous Pure Land aspects. (Hirakubo 1962: 197) What appeared to the Japanese Zen community of the mid-seventeenth century as the incongruous marriage of Pure Land devotional elements within more traditional forms of Chan practice had already undergone a long courtship in China that had resulted in what seemed to the Chinese monks as a natural and legitimate union. Recitation of Amitåbha’s (C. Amituo, J. Amida) name has an established place in some of the Chan school’s most fundamental practices and institutions. Already in the Chanyuan qinggui 禅苑清規,1regarded as the earliest Chan monastic code still in existence, the chanting of the Buddha’s name was already a standard practice at the funeral of a Japanese Religions Vol. 33 (1 & 2): 19-34* Project Researcher, International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Kyoto).1. While this monastic code is the earliest one still in existence, it is not thought to be the first monastic code. The Baizhang qinggui 百丈清規is posited as the first example of a monastic code, although it is not extant, and even doubted by some to have existed at all. For an annotated translation of the Chanyuan qinggui with extensive commentary, see Yifa (1996). 20 JapaneseReligions33 (1 & 2)2. Yifa 1996: 333, 338. Throughout the funerary ceremony, there are several occasions upon which ten recitations of the Buddha’s name are performed. The number ten is also a significant Pure Land influence since in the Wuliangshou jing (J. MuryØjukyØ) 無量寿経, one of the three foundational scriptures of the Pure Land school, Amida’s eighteenth vow also puts forth “ten recitations” or “ten contemplations” shinian 十念as the prescription for birth in his Pure Land. There is also the question as to the interpretation of nian 念which early on meant to visualize and only later came to be used in the context of an oral recitation. For more on the early history of mixed practice in China, see KØchi 1972 and Hattori 1971.3. ZGDJ I:111d, s.v. Enju.4. Shih 1987: 118. Even if this attribution is spurious, it nonetheless demonstrates the position that Yongming is perceived to have held in this Chan/Pure Land dialectic. Shih quotes the “fourfold summary” as: “With Ch’an but no Pure Land, nine out of ten people will go astray. When death comes suddenly, they must accept it in an instant. With Pure Land but no Ch’an, ten thousand out of ten thousand people will achieve birth [in the Pure Land].If one can see Amitåbha face to face, why worry about not attaining awakening?With both Ch’an and Pure Land, it is like a tiger who has grown horns. One will be a teacher for mankind in this life, and a Buddhist patriarch in the next.With neither Ch’an nor Pure Land, it is like falling on an iron bed with bronze posters [i.e., one of the hells]. For endless kalpas one will find nothing to rely on.” (Shih 1987: 118) Shih borrows this translation, with minor changes, from Yü (1981: 52).5. Zhongfeng is in a pivotal position in the history of combined practice, standing between the late Song masters who engaged in mixed practice, and Yunchi, the Ming-period champion of incorporating Pure Land within Zen. (SatØ 1981: 233-34) It is also monk.2This work became the basis of later monastic codes, and thus stands in a solidly unassailable position from the perspective of standard monastic practice. Yongming Yanshou永明延寿(J. YØmei Enju, 904-975),3a Chan monk of the Fayanzong 法眼宗(J. HØgensh¨), made prominent use of the nianfo within Chan training. (Baroni 2000: 109) He also asserted that the Pure Land is to be sought in the mind only (yuishin jØdo唯心浄土), a theme that had appeared well before his own lifetime. (Sharf 2002: 313) Yongming could perhaps be considered the first to self-consciously formulate the compatibility of the two practices, evidenced in the attribution of the “fourfold summary” [of Chan and Pure Land] to him, a concise formula that relates the harmony of the two practices.4Another conspicuous figure who inherited and elaborated upon this practice is Zhiche 智徹(J. Chitetsu, ?-1310) whose own awakening was said to have been spurred by the conundrum “Who is it calling the name of [meditating upon] the Buddha” nianfo shi shei念仏是誰, which thereby provided the start for the formal practice of nianfo gongan念仏公案(J. nenbutsu kØan). (Zhang 1975: 386) In China, the two practices of Chan meditation and the calling of the Buddha’s name were natural parts of any monks’ Buddhist practice, such to the extent that Zhongfeng Mingben 中峰明本(J. Ch¨hØ MyØhon, 1263-1323)5would comment “Chan Baskind: ThenianfoinºBakuZen21Zhongfeng’s dharma line that flourished and would come to include the ºbaku monks. While Yunchi contributed in good measure to the popularity of the nianfo among Chan practitioners, the codification owes much to Zhongfeng. (Nishio 1985: 52)6. Yü translates a passage from Yunqi’s four-volume work Foshuo Amituojing shuchao 仏説阿弥陀経疏鈔(J. Bussetsu Amida kyØsho in which he expounds on his belief that through is the Chan of the Pure Land and the Pure Land is the Pure Land of Chan” (chanzhe jingtu zhi chan, jingtu zhe chan zhi jingtu 禅者浄土之禅、浄土者禅之浄土). (Zhang 1975: 386) Mingben was a prominent Yuan-period monk who contributed in large measure to the Chan/Pure Land synthesis. (SatØ 1981: 233) Regarding this combined practice, Konggu Jinglong 空谷景隆(J. K¨koku Keiry¨, 1392-?) described the nianfo as “the most important shortcut method of training” (nianfo yimen jiejing xiuxing zhi yao 念仏一門捷径修行之要), and Hanshan Deqing憨山徳清(J. Kanzan Tokusei, 1546-1623), considered one of the great masters of the Ming period, expounded on the nianfo saying, “The single practice of the nianfo is the true huatou 話頭(J. watØ, “head word”), the supremely easy [method] of gaining succor in [this world] of dust” (weidu nianfo shenshi de huatou, chenlao zhongjiyi de li 唯独念仏審実的話頭、塵労中極易得力). (Furuta 1960: 23) Chinese Buddhism has changed little in this regard, as Holmes Welch noted in his study of early twentieth-century Chinese Buddhism. He reports that monks in the monasteries he visited jointly practiced meditation and recitation of the Buddha’s name. (Welch 1967: 399-400) Certain monks echoed Mingben’s words above by asserting that Chan and Pure Land practice not only complement each other, but even more so cannot be practiced apart from one another. (Welch 1967: 400)One of the most conspicuous figures in Ming Buddhism is Yunqi Zhuhong 雲棲株宏(J. Unsei ShukØ, 1535-1615). This Chan monk of the late Ming is foremost known for his joint practice of meditation and nianfo, but he also promoted the compatibility of the Three Teachings (of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism) and produced morality books (shanshu善書) for his disciples as well as a more general audience for the purpose of inculcating moral values in the readership. (Yü 1981: 102) Yunqi was the object of considerable scorn from the Japanese monk Hakuin Ekaku白隠慧鶴(1685-1768), who in his Oradegama遠羅天釜described Yunqi as having “abandoned the ‘steepness’ technique of the founders of Zen … advocated strongly the teachings relating to the calling of the Buddha’s name, and displayed an incredibly shallow understanding of Zen.” (Yampolsky 1971: 147-148) Yunqi played a defining role in the formation and final codification that crystallized in the joint practice of Chan and Pure Land teachings during the late Ming period. Yunqi was not the only monk of the late Ming period to promote this style of practice, but he was perhaps the most emphatic when it came to asserting that the practice of the nianfo was the most suitable and efficacious method in the era of Degenerate Law (mofa 末法) for both attaining awakening in this life, for those so able, or for achieving birth in the Pure Land. (Yü 1981: 57) He interpreted the invocation of the Buddha’s name in Chan terms in the sense that when one concentrates on the recitation of the name in a single-minded manner, one is simultaneously cultivating the bodhisattva path as well as achieving the mindfulness necessary to shatter illusion and break through to awakening.6


So Chan and Pureland practices are interrelated. Interestingly, I attended a temple attended by Shaolin monks/nuns and they all chant "Amidafuo"
sraddha
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Sun May 24, 2009 11:54 pm

Re: Nianfo in Chan

Postby Dexing » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:14 am

ChangYuan wrote:I was wondering if anyone knew how much the nianfo was chanted in Chan, or if there are other mantras that are chanted more commonly.


It's quite a common practice.

The fourth patriarch Daoxin (道信 580-651) taught what he called the "Samadhi of Oneness," utilizing the recitation of the Buddha's name to pacify the mind. It should be noted that since this practice involved reciting the name of any Buddha — a practice dating back to the origins of Buddhism — it was not specifically designed to produce rebirth in the Realm of Bliss; but it did act as a bridge linking Chan and Nianfo practices. Daoxin taught that the Pure Mind is the Pure Land.

If you look back further, to the founding patriarch of Chan — Bodhidharma — we can see his teaching on proper Nianfo practice. He is rather clear with it;

Breakthrough Sermon Nianfo snippet:

Student: The sutras say that someone who wholeheartedly invokes the Buddha is sure to be reborn in the Western Paradise. Since this door leads to Buddhahood, why seek liberation in beholding the mind?

Bodhidharma: If you're going to invoke the Buddha, you have to do it right. Unless you understand what invoking means, you'll do it wrong. And if you do it wrong, you'll never go anywhere.

Buddha means awareness, the awareness of body and mind that prevents evil from arising in either. And to invoke means to call to mind, to call constantly to mind the rules of discipline and to follow them with all your might. This is what's meant by invoking. Invoking has to do with thought and not with language. If you use a trap to catch fish, once you succeed you can forget the trap. And if you use language to find meaning, once you find it you can forget language. To invoke the Buddha's name you have to understand the Dharma of invoking. If it's not present in your mind, your mouth chants an empty name. As long as you're troubled by the three poisons or by thoughts of yourself, your deluded mind will keep you from seeing the Buddha and you'll only waste your effort. Chanting and invoking are worlds apart, Chanting is done with the mouth. Invoking is done with the mind. And because invoking comes from the mind, it's called the door to awareness. Chanting is centered in the mouth and appears as sound. If you cling to appearances while searching for meaning, you won't find a thing. Thus, sages of the past cultivated introspection and not speech. This mind is the source of all virtues. And this mind is the chief of all powers, The eternal bliss of nirvana comes from the mind at rest. Rebirth in the three realms also comes from the mind. The mind is the door to every world and the mind is the ford to the other shore. Those who know where the door is don't worry about reaching it. Those who know where the ford is don't worry about crossing it.


So if we are reciting Amitabha Buddha, we should know that Amitabha means "infinite/boundless light" and Buddha means "clear awareness". So Namo Amitabha Buddha is a call to mind, to take refuge — as in to return and rely upon — the boundless light of awareness, the wisdom that is the original nature.

As the Chan saying goes; "The mind alone is the Pure Land, the original nature is Amitabha".

:anjali:
nopalabhyate...
User avatar
Dexing
 
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:41 am

Re: Nianfo in Chan

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:49 am

:good:

In China, the most common form of Chan practice is using the recitation of "amitabha" for samadhi, but then using the huatou "who recites Amitabha?" as the method of introspective insight.

The whole notion of Chan and Pureland as two separate schools is a bit dubious, and they were probably never really so separate in the first place. However, in Japan, there was a tendency to have all the schools very distinct and not interact. Not so in China. Basic Pureland ideas are found throughout almost all of the Mahayana. The basic ideas of Chan are also present there, too.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1441
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Nianfo in Chan

Postby Anders » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:52 pm

Huifeng wrote::good:

In China, the most common form of Chan practice is using the recitation of "amitabha" for samadhi, but then using the huatou "who recites Amitabha?" as the method of introspective insight.

The whole notion of Chan and Pureland as two separate schools is a bit dubious, and they were probably never really so separate in the first place. However, in Japan, there was a tendency to have all the schools very distinct and not interact. Not so in China. Basic Pureland ideas are found throughout almost all of the Mahayana. The basic ideas of Chan are also present there, too.


wait, 'never really so separate in the first place'?

That calls for an expanded account. :reading:
"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
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 650
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Nianfo in Chan

Postby Huifeng » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:33 am

Anders Honore wrote:
Huifeng wrote::good:

In China, the most common form of Chan practice is using the recitation of "amitabha" for samadhi, but then using the huatou "who recites Amitabha?" as the method of introspective insight.

The whole notion of Chan and Pureland as two separate schools is a bit dubious, and they were probably never really so separate in the first place. However, in Japan, there was a tendency to have all the schools very distinct and not interact. Not so in China. Basic Pureland ideas are found throughout almost all of the Mahayana. The basic ideas of Chan are also present there, too.


wait, 'never really so separate in the first place'?

That calls for an expanded account. :reading:


Okay, maybe "never" is a little bit too much, but I did have a "really so" in there! :P

I tried to upload a great article on this, but it is too big.
So, sending it to you via email, instead.

It first questions the idea of the Pureland as a "school" per se, as there is not much evidence for it. It then talks about how Pureland ideas are found throughout all Mahayana traditions. This includes quite a few Chan masters, both very early on, and later too. It includes a few re-thinks about some supposed "criticism" of Pureland practice by Chan masters, and shows that rather than criticizing the practice as a whole, it criticizes certain forms of it. And then shows how even the supposed Pureland teachers themselves have two forms - one is a very literal one, but the other is a kind of "Pureland = Pure mind" take. This last one has been used by Chan masters for centuries.

I think that we are slowly coming out of reading Chinese Buddhism through Japanese Buddhism and scholarship, a period of a generation or two where almost all scholars in this area were trained in or by Japanese scholars. Though they may be very accurate about Japanese Pureland and Zen, I do not doubt that, China has it's differences.

Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1441
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Nianfo in Chan

Postby some1 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:15 am

Huifeng wrote:I tried to upload a great article on this, but it is too big.

I found another version of the same article in smaller file size. Anyone interested can find it at http://buddhiststudies.berkeley.edu/peo ... arf/2.html

"On Pure Land Buddhism and Ch'an/Pure Land Syncretism in Medieval China," T'oung Pao 88, no. 4-5 (June, 2003), pp. 282-331. Download PDF
User avatar
some1
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:23 am
Location: Penang, Malaysia


Return to Zen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media and 7 guests

>