Huang Po in context

Huang Po in context

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 22, 2010 7:38 am

I realize that not everyone is as enamored of HP as i am :) but i found this great essay at the zensite that places him in context as far as buddhism, chinese buddhism, zen, the political situation and literary traditions of the day etc. Excerpt below concerning some of the more important points in the literature.

Much of the text works on preventing errors in the conceptualization of mind. Mind cannot, by definition, be an object of experience; it is not something to which a practitioner of Zen could come into relation. Mind is also not something within the totality of things, since it is the formless background against which all things can be experienced. The Huang-po texts are skillful in insisting that this mental background is essentially “open” or “empty”; every effort to put yourself before it excludes you from it. Nor is mind the subject of experience. Therefore the texts claim that in “mind” there is “no subject, no object, no self, no other.”30 Mind and objects of mind “co-arise” and are therefore undifferentiated. Since, as P'ei-hsiu writes, Huang-po taught nothing but “mind,” we will have occasion in explaining the ideas that follow to say more about this elusive Zen symbol.

4. The Concept of Sudden Awakening

The idea that awakening entails a sudden breakthrough into a mode of consciousness that has always been fundamental to your being but never truly seen is basic to the Huang-po literature. Reference to it appears numerous times in the text, even though little time is spent dwelling on the idea. Conscious reflection on this theme would not have been necessary in Chinese Buddhism of the ninth century because the mainstream of the tradition had several centuries before this period to come to a consensus—enlightenment is a sudden, unexpected, unplanned, and incomprehensible event that befalls the practitioner even though he or she may have spent an entire career striving to attain it.
The only question that remained was how exactly to account for it, or how to connect it to Buddhist practice and to the other concepts of the tradition. This is where Huang-po was innovative, and rhetorically powerful. In working with sudden awakening, Huang-po and the Hung-chou tradition of Zen took up the Taoist theme that since you already reside within the Way, and cannot escape it, there is “nothing to do.” Enlightenment, therefore, is simply awakening to this fact. Therefore, the text says, “Awakening suddenly, you realize that your mind is the Buddha, that there is nothing to be attained, nor any act to be performed. This is the true way, the way of the Buddha.”34

There were a number of cultural and spiritual forces behind the emergence of the Chinese doctrine of sudden awakening, but an important one was the philosophical realization that it did not make sense to claim that something truly transcendent emerged out of the world in incremental stages, as if enlightenment were just more of the many phenomena things found in the world of unenlightenment. Ideas about “stages of practice,” therefore, which were vital to early T'ang-dynasty Buddhist thought, came under heavy critique in the Zen tradition. Thus, the Huang-po texts explain how “the six perfections and other similar practices, which seek buddhahood through advancement along stages,”35 are simply misguided; they fail to understand what kind of a realization buddhahood might be. “The real Buddha is not a Buddha of stages!”36


http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/His ... ature.html
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: Huang Po in context

Postby Huifeng » Sat May 22, 2010 1:25 pm

Probably the most important "context" to keep in mind about any of this period of Chan literature, is that it was composed in the Song several centuries after the period they describe in the Tang, and much "salt and vinegar" has been added to the old recipe by the Song composers.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1471
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Huang Po in context

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 22, 2010 9:30 pm

Huifeng wrote:Probably the most important "context" to keep in mind about any of this period of Chan literature, is that it was composed in the Song several centuries after the period they describe in the Tang, and much "salt and vinegar" has been added to the old recipe by the Song composers.


Actually one of the really interesting things in the article, is that the author says that due to its sponsorship and it being printed early on in its life, the material prefaced by P'ei-hsiu, probably didnt alter that much. At least thats what i got out of the article. The sense i think one gets in reading Blofelds "Zen Teachings of Huang Po" is that you are actually hearing a person speak, and i think that may be, because of the reasons the author mentions in the peice, that it wasnt diluted too much.

What do you mean by the Song and "salt and vinegar"? Are you referring to later printed zen stuff becoming more acerbic and stylized?
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: Huang Po in context

Postby Astus » Sun May 23, 2010 8:36 pm

Master Huifeng,

Actually, the two records of Huangbo assembled by Peixiu and probably some of Huangbo's direct disciples are mainly from that era, with occasional modifications by later ages.

"From the perspective of contemporary Buddhist studies, its importance derives from the fact that this literature is the best example of the state of the Zen tradition in China during what has traditionally been regarded as the “golden age.” What is unique about the Huang-po literature is that it is precisely dateable, thus providing a crucial historical marker in the Zen tradition."
(Dale S. Wright: The Huang-po Literature, in Zen Canon, p. 107 - same essay as linked in the OP)

This kind of sudden enlightenment teaching of the Hongzhou school as we find it in Huangbo's records is also attested by Zongmi, also there's Jinhua Jia's work on Mazu's teachings collected from sources as early and reliable as possible. And there are still others, like the Guishan Jingce found in Dunhuang and dated 936.

While it is true that many Tang Chan records are overly edited, or fake, or simply untraceable, there are some sources to look into. And it appears to be that Hongzhou Chan is/was quite radical about sudden enlightenment.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4161
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Huang Po in context

Postby Astus » Sun May 23, 2010 9:28 pm

A very relevant book on Huangbo and its modern interpretation: Philosophical Meditations on Zen Buddhism by Dale S. Wright
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4161
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Huang Po in context

Postby Astus » Mon May 24, 2010 4:06 pm

I read a bit of Huangbo again, and the Lok To translation didn't seem to be exactly like the Chinese, then I looked up the Blofeld version, which is again a unique form of rendering. I guess a re-translation according to modern norms, following a better terminology and not playing with capital letters is really in order. Maybe Dale Wright should do us this little favour, he seems to be the best Huangbo expert around.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4161
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Huang Po in context

Postby White Lotus » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:21 pm

I would like to pay my respects to Ch'an Master Hsi Yun (Huang Po).
I consider myself to have a direct realization of the Mind of Huang Po and see this as beyond and superior to a direct experience of emptiness.

a verse for the old master...

theres no frost on Po's nose.
his eyes are clear, his humour is hot.
no flies on Master Po.
he was and is right about Mind,
Emptiness just will not do!
This world is thoroughly real.
the sun floats across the sky
by day, the moon shines by
night...
but master why worry about
concepts and dualistic thinking...
are not these things Mind too.
Just as it is. just so. so.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
White Lotus
 
Posts: 587
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm

Re: Huang Po in context

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:57 pm

White Lotus wrote:I would like to pay my respects to Ch'an Master Hsi Yun (Huang Po).
I consider myself to have a direct realization of the Mind of Huang Po and see this as beyond and superior to a direct experience of emptiness.




Imo you are lucky he is dead and out of arms reach. :)
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: Huang Po in context

Postby White Lotus » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:39 pm

:namaste: yes, i wouldnt be spared the rod!
but Mind is Mind and when you see it you see it, when you have it you have it.
Anyway what could he do? I make no claim to be enlightened, only that Master Po's "Mind" is no different from mine.

a mirror reflecting a mirror! and yet this mirror is seen into by looking at the mountains and flowers, walking the streets full of people, thinking and judging, making concepts in complete freedom and yet, not attaching to them.

the whale in a bowl of rice pudding, this also can be in my mind. just as it is in your mind right now.

so... you imply the old master is no longer around? i wouldnt be so sure about that. he still has a stick, you might get beaten!

best wishes, White Lotus.

ps, please dont forget the first aid kit (i might need it!). i prefer plasters to bandages.

similarly round,
excedingly square.
a peg with a hole in it.
fitting all conditions.
Mind.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
White Lotus
 
Posts: 587
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm


Return to Zen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

>