Enlightened masters?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Sara H » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:56 am

shel wrote:For what it's worth, there's another topic about what a Zen master is and isn't here: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=12285

Long (14 pages to date) story short, a Zen master is someone who's had a glimpse of Buddha nature, in addition to knowing some measure of Buddhist teachings and rituals, etc. A glimpse of Buddha nature essentially means having had a kensho experience.

So for the Zen tradition, "mastery" doesn't appear to necessarily mean enlightenment. In other words, a Zen master is not necessarily enlightened. No one seems to know exactly what a Zen master has mastered.




That's not actually true. This is just a common misunderstanding of the term.

Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett had this to say on the subject:

When I was quite young I can remember talking about
kenshōs with D. T. Suzuki in London and wondering exactly
why, since enlightenment is one and undivided, it was neces-
sary to have more than one kenshō. I remember asking him if,
since a Zen master is said to never say he is enlightened, he
knew he had a kenshō, and he assured me he did. I
also remember asking him, "Have you ever had this experience
yourself?" and he admitted that he had. Later that same year he
said openly and clearly, "Once or twice I have had the great
experience but a million times the little moments that make one
dance." Between the great kenshōs come the millions of "little
moments that make one dance" that make up the On-Going
Fūgen kenshō,—the moments that remind you, at any time you
get really down, that you have experienced the Penetration of
Heaven kenshō. I myself have experienced them many times; I
know them well. I also know that D. T. Suzuki did not mind
openly admitting that he had had kenshō experience nor did any
of the great Zen masters I met in the east. It is perfectly true that
they did not, however, say that they were enlightened. They
only admitted to having experienced kenshō. There is a great
deal of difference in saying that you have experienced kenshō
and in saying that you are enlightened; I would like to make
this point very clear. Kenshō experience, even the second type
through it's tiny moments, can be fixed, dated, in time; en-
lightenment is an on-going process, ever-flowing like a river.
You cannot hold a river within your hand but you can trail your
hand in the river. By grasping you loose all; by letting the flow
continue you possess all whilst possessing nothing. My own
master did make an announcement concerning my kenshō the
day after my Transmission Ceremony. This is quite customary
in Zen monasteries especially if the master intends to train the
person as a future teacher of Zen. I make these comments be-
cause I know there is a prevalent belief, or there was, certainly,
some years ago when I was in England, that this subject must
never, or should never, be talked about. I do not know from
whence this idea came; I certainly did not find it anywhere in
the east.
-Source: Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett on enlightenment and kenshō, from
the introduction of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom ©1993. (2'nd Ed.)
Mt. Shasta, California. Shasta Abbey Press. All Rights Reserved




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
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby greentara » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:38 am

There's too many teachers out there drunk on partial enlightment, Can we get awakening in increments in small doses?
greentara
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Sara H » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:46 am

greentara wrote:There's too many teachers out there drunk on partial enlightment, Can we get awakening in increments in small doses?

I wouldn't say that they are drunk on partial enlightenment, I would say that they are drunk on the idea that an initial experience of enlightenment is the end-all and be-all of their training. That isn't the case, and a great tragedy if they believe that, and don't allow the Wheel to continue turning.

In Gasshō,
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
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby shel » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:48 am

greentara wrote:Shel, 'A Zen master is someone who's had a glimpse of Buddha nature' Is kensho enough to gather students around you and claim you can show them the way?

Much more than enough actually. Have you by chance seen the movie called Kumare? (http://kumaremovie.com)

A master would be permanently established in the awakened state otherwise it's the blind leading the blind.

The blind leading the blind can be a meaningful activity nonetheless. That's what actually counts.
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby shel » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:56 am

Sara H wrote:
shel wrote:For what it's worth, there's another topic about what a Zen master is and isn't here: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=12285

Long (14 pages to date) story short, a Zen master is someone who's had a glimpse of Buddha nature, in addition to knowing some measure of Buddhist teachings and rituals, etc. A glimpse of Buddha nature essentially means having had a kensho experience.

So for the Zen tradition, "mastery" doesn't appear to necessarily mean enlightenment. In other words, a Zen master is not necessarily enlightened. No one seems to know exactly what a Zen master has mastered.




That's not actually true. This is just a common misunderstanding of the term.

Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett had this to say on the subject:

When I was quite young I can remember talking about
kenshōs with D. T. Suzuki in London and wondering exactly
why, since enlightenment is one and undivided, it was neces-
sary to have more than one kenshō. I remember asking him if,
since a Zen master is said to never say he is enlightened, he
knew he had a kenshō, and he assured me he did. I
also remember asking him, "Have you ever had this experience
yourself?" and he admitted that he had. Later that same year he
said openly and clearly, "Once or twice I have had the great
experience but a million times the little moments that make one
dance." Between the great kenshōs come the millions of "little
moments that make one dance" that make up the On-Going
Fūgen kenshō,—the moments that remind you, at any time you
get really down, that you have experienced the Penetration of
Heaven kenshō. I myself have experienced them many times; I
know them well. I also know that D. T. Suzuki did not mind
openly admitting that he had had kenshō experience nor did any
of the great Zen masters I met in the east. It is perfectly true that
they did not, however, say that they were enlightened. They
only admitted to having experienced kenshō. There is a great
deal of difference in saying that you have experienced kenshō
and in saying that you are enlightened; I would like to make
this point very clear. Kenshō experience, even the second type
through it's tiny moments, can be fixed, dated, in time; en-
lightenment is an on-going process, ever-flowing like a river.
You cannot hold a river within your hand but you can trail your
hand in the river. By grasping you loose all; by letting the flow
continue you possess all whilst possessing nothing. My own
master did make an announcement concerning my kenshō the
day after my Transmission Ceremony. This is quite customary
in Zen monasteries especially if the master intends to train the
person as a future teacher of Zen. I make these comments be-
cause I know there is a prevalent belief, or there was, certainly,
some years ago when I was in England, that this subject must
never, or should never, be talked about. I do not know from
whence this idea came; I certainly did not find it anywhere in
the east.
-Source: Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett on enlightenment and kenshō, from
the introduction of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom ©1993. (2'nd Ed.)
Mt. Shasta, California. Shasta Abbey Press. All Rights Reserved




In Gassho,
Sara


I don't follow how the Kennett quote clarifies anything.
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby jikai » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:25 am

Jikan wrote:I'm confident I've met people with real attainment.




:good: :twothumbsup: :D
"There are no seperate dharma's in the Three Realms. There is only the operation of the one mind."
"Whoever wishes to benefit beings ought to establish teachings that fit their capacities, expound the dharma in accordance with their capacities, and match the doctrines to them"
User avatar
jikai
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:52 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:14 am

Sara H wrote:
Rev Master Jiyu-Kennett wrote:I make these comments because I know there is a prevalent belief, or there was, certainly, some years ago when I was in England, that this subject must never, or should never, be talked about. I do not know from whence this idea came; I certainly did not find it anywhere in the east.


From what I recall, there was a vinaya rule against 'boasting about spiritual or meditative attainment'. Monks were supposed not to talk about such things except for with their teachers. Of course whether 'kensho' amounts to 'an attainment' is another thing altogether, but I think this is where the idea originates.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
User avatar
Wayfarer
 
Posts: 1931
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby greentara » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:33 am

Shel, I'm aware of the Kumaremovie. What can I say Osho, Chogyamtrungpa, Adi da rolled into one. The only difference is that he came out with the truth at the end and said he was a bogus teacher. It's alarming and sad that so many people seemingly quite well educated have no discriminatory powers and are sucked in with such ease. It seems as if the teacher has the right costume, looks the part, bingo you're in business. Yogi or bhogi?
Stay alert!
greentara
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby muni » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:17 pm

There are Awaken Beings today to help us. Their kindness, radiant wisdom is undescridable and for all.
:buddha1:
muni
 
Posts: 2945
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby RikudouSennin » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:54 am

I'm an Enlightened Master...I mastered the art of lightening the load.
:jedi:
“You have some good connection with the Dzogchen Teaching - you have arrived to the Dzogchen Teaching, you have met a Dzogchen Master; you must understand that it means you are very fortunate.” ChNNR
User avatar
RikudouSennin
 
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby mandala » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:31 pm

Somehow i don't think whether or not they are enlightened is even the point... unless you're an arya yourself it's going to be pretty tough to know..

What is important, imo, is that after you've thoroughly checked out a teacher and have some conviction that they have the skills and qualities you want to develop, that you consider them AS a Buddha.
It's said that your teacher is even more precious than the Buddha because they are here in person to help you understand the dharma and the Buddha is not.
The main benefit being if you see them as a holy being, you get the blessings of a holy being. If you see your teacher as a schmuck..well.. this enlightenment thing could take a while... :tongue:
User avatar
mandala
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby shel » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:41 pm

mandala wrote:If you see your teacher as a schmuck..well.. this enlightenment thing could take a while... :tongue:


... and if you don't see your teacher as a schmuck it will still take a while. :cheers:
shel
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby oushi » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:46 am

If we take this "Enlightened master" thing apart, we will see that it all comes down to enlightenment. There cannot be a master of extinction of suffering that is not enlightened, otherwise what kind of master is he? The term master can be discarded in Buddhist context, as it doesn't bring anything. With light hand we can dismiss all people entitling themselves (or being entitled) a master, while not being enlightened. Ofc, the problem will arise (or rather arisen) what does enlightenment mean. So, we and up with tens of dozens interpretations spreading from "there is no enlightenment" to "practice is enlightenment". That is how people pretending to be masters, make their life easier, reverse engineering enlightenment.
Say what you think about me here.
User avatar
oushi
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:18 am

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby mandala » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:24 pm

shel wrote:
mandala wrote:If you see your teacher as a schmuck..well.. this enlightenment thing could take a while... :tongue:


... and if you don't see your teacher as a schmuck it will still take a while. :cheers:


ha, touche! :thumbsup:
User avatar
mandala
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:46 am

jeeprs wrote:
Sara H wrote:
Rev Master Jiyu-Kennett wrote:I make these comments because I know there is a prevalent belief, or there was, certainly, some years ago when I was in England, that this subject must never, or should never, be talked about. I do not know from whence this idea came; I certainly did not find it anywhere in the east.


From what I recall, there was a vinaya rule against 'boasting about spiritual or meditative attainment'. Monks were supposed not to talk about such things except for with their teachers. Of course whether 'kensho' amounts to 'an attainment' is another thing altogether, but I think this is where the idea originates.


Discussing kensho is not the same as bragging about it.

Using it in the context of teaching, to help better explain what it is, and that it is normal to experience spiritual experiences, is not at all the same as saying "look at me! See how great I am!"
For instance, the context of that quote, was an introduction to an entire book discussing kensho from a teaching perspective.

It's not possible to effectively teach about these things without discussing them directly, nor would it be desireble to do so, as one would just be "beating arround the bush" and thus creating more potential confusion about an already often misunderstood subject.

It's important to speak clearly, and directly on these things, and also include one's own experience on this, to show that it's less scary than it sometimes seems, or less of a novelty.

These things are actually not that uncommon at all, and so talking about them helps to further explain what they are, and also to demystify them.

People who've had no formal prior Buddhist training and experience can have these things come up with the first time of their sitting, so it's very important to let people know beforehand, that if they do, they are not crazy, and that there is someone they can speak with if they feel the need.

Speaking about kensho is very important.

In Gasshō,
Sara H.
"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
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:07 am

This discussion around kensho is an important one, particularly in the context of Sara's last post. Important enough that it deserves its own thread. So:

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=12542

please continue the discussion on the relative merits and/or demerits of discussing kensho in public at the thread linked above. This thread is on the topic of contemporary masters who DW users feel may have the qualities of realization/enlightenment/&c.

Thanks!

--the moderator
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5304
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:16 am

Jikan wrote:I'm confident I've met people with real attainment.


I'm not exactly sure that...
making myself walk more than 80 kilometers per day
while getting only 2 hours of sleep per night, and then walking for an additional 17 hours,
for 3 and 1/2 months, while eating just a daily rice ball and a bowl of noodles,
for 100 days, in homemade straw sandals that will leave my feet broken, bruised, and blistered,
And then, in addition to this if this were not bad enough, in the fifth year of doing this, doing an ordeal where I must go nine days where I cannot eat, drink, or sleep; with monks on either side of me, to keep me awake, and then during this entire activity I have a good chance of dying from sheer exhaustion, and then if I don't die, but fail to complete it, I must kill myself with a rope or knife I carry for ritual disembowelment, or hang myself, ...

...Is a sign of enlightenment.

I posted a thread on this topic here:
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=12545&view=unread#unread
"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
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:07 pm

Sara H wrote:
Jikan wrote:I'm confident I've met people with real attainment.


I'm not exactly sure that...
making myself walk more than 80 kilometers per day
while getting only 2 hours of sleep per night, and then walking for an additional 17 hours,
for 3 and 1/2 months, while eating just a daily rice ball and a bowl of noodles,
for 100 days, in homemade straw sandals that will leave my feet broken, bruised, and blistered,
And then, in addition to this if this were not bad enough, in the fifth year of doing this, doing an ordeal where I must go nine days where I cannot eat, drink, or sleep; with monks on either side of me, to keep me awake, and then during this entire activity I have a good chance of dying from sheer exhaustion, and then if I don't die, but fail to complete it, I must kill myself with a rope or knife I carry for ritual disembowelment, or hang myself, ...

...Is a sign of enlightenment.

I posted a thread on this topic here:
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... ead#unread


You are describing, in your own words, a kind of practice (bracketing the question of the accuracy or inaccuracy of your description). When did I say that the kind of practice you describe corresponds to a sign of realization?

You won't have an answer for that, because I did not make such a claim.

Here's my point: I have met masters who, to my poor head, show real signs of attainment. Among these are Tendai priests who have accomplished the kaihogyo (this is why I linked the Marathon Monks video). One of theseis among the happiest, most blissed-out and content individuals I have ever encountered, truly radiant, kind, open, humble.

If anyone would like to discuss the kaihogyo practice specifically, please do so in the thread Sara started on this subject.

viewtopic.php?f=53&t=12545&start=0

:focus:
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5304
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Sara H » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:38 pm

Jikan wrote:
You are describing, in your own words, a kind of practice (bracketing the question of the accuracy or inaccuracy of your description). When did I say that the kind of practice you describe corresponds to a sign of realization?

... because I did not make such a claim.


You said
Jikan wrote:I'm confident I've met people with real attainment.


And then posted a video directly following that to support that statement of having met people with "real attainment."

In that video, what I described above, is exactly what is described therein, some of it nearly perfectly paraphrased.

So such a claim was directly implied.

Although perhaps you are not as familiar with the content of the video as you thought?

In Gassho,

Sara H.
"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
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Enlightened masters?

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:25 pm

Sara,

I left it open to inference. I explained what I meant by my first post in this thread with a subsequent one. I assume I am in an adequate position to describe my own experiences and views.

I recognize that in leaving the relation between the content of the video (which describes a beautiful, inspiring, and effective practice) open to inference, I left it open to incompetent inferences. I regret I made this opportunity open to you. I do think my subsequent post clarifies my meaning adequately for the purposes of any reasonable person.

I stand by my observation that the kaihogyo masters I have met do indeed demonstrate bodhisattva qualities, even if you disapprove of the form their practice takes.

Do you have anything else to add to the topic at hand?
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5304
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

>