What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Frank » Fri May 18, 2012 6:28 am

even if you think there isn't one single book that could be this, if you had to name just one that comes close at least, what would it be?
Last edited by Frank on Fri May 18, 2012 7:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
Frank
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 7:21 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen?

Postby Huifeng » Fri May 18, 2012 6:45 am

Frank wrote:even if you think there isn't one single book that could be this, if you had to name just one that comes close at least, what would it be?


The instructions that your Shifu gives you in Fa Tang late one evening...

~~ Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen?

Postby Frank » Fri May 18, 2012 7:08 am

personally i have read master hsuan huas "chan handbook" and thought it was wonderful, albeit some strange ideas, but truly a gem of a book. i also read "idiots guide to zen living" by eve adams and gary r. mcclain, it's good and covers a lot of ground and is very useful for a beginner, but a tad shallow when it comes to the deeper aspects of zen. "zen mind beginners mind" by shunryu suzuki, not really intended to be a complete manual but still very, very good! i read some d.t. suzuki and... i don't even know what to make of it. i've been reading some of the oldest and most archaic buddhist works for years and years and d.t. is the writer i have the most trouble grasping, i'm not the only one. "zen keys" by thich nhat hanh was fantastic but not totally exhaustive or all inclusive of zen practice. "the heart of the buddha's teaching" by thich nhat hanh is a good manual type thing for emotional aspects of zen and the eightfold path areas of morality.

i read "taming the monkey mind" by cheng wei an. it is very inclusive for it's small size for pure land practice, but not very informative for overall buddhist teachings on the eightfold path, four truths, etc., as that's not really it's purpose, a great book though.


the visuddhimagga might be the most utterly complete manual i have ever read. the language is difficult though and some of it is a little hard to grasp without sitting down with an annotated edition of a book containing the scriptures buddhaghosa is commentating upon. still the most complete and useful manual i have seen, but at times incomplete in that it is to be used in tandem with theravada teachings, without which one may be left scratching their head every now and again. but i think if i had to answer my own question right now, this is the book.


my favorite manual of all time is "the heart of buddhist meditation" by nyanaponika thera. this book is insanely in depth, insightful and literally is a manual. it teaches you so many things about the buddhist mind state and how to literally practice and from many different angles so it's easy to understand. nyanaponika thera was a true master. not to mention it includes the maha satipatthana sutta (probably the most in depth and all inclusive of any pali canon sutta) and lots of commentary on it and additional sutta excerpts from other sutras on satipatthana, mahayana and theravada works are included. it is very focused on practices in that sutta though, and there would be more needed for it to be THE end all be all manual, but i still feel it is the best out there, i just love it! i actually bought five copies of it (it can be found fairly cheap, which is awesome!) because i wanted some people who are close to me to be able to experience it and wanted them to be able to own it for themselves.

however i have not found one that is something i think is the end all be all manual. hence my post.
Last edited by Frank on Fri May 18, 2012 7:54 am, edited 6 times in total.
Frank
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 7:21 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby mindyourmind » Fri May 18, 2012 7:34 am

If you are interested in Zen I would suggest a book by Roshi John Daido Loori, called "The eight gates of Zen", if I remember the title correctly.

It is rather detailed and comprehensive.
As bad as bad becomes its not a part of you

Talk Talk
User avatar
mindyourmind
 
Posts: 457
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:11 am
Location: South Africa

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Frank » Fri May 18, 2012 7:44 am

mindyourmind wrote:If you are interested in Zen I would suggest a book by Roshi John Daido Loori, called "The eight gates of Zen", if I remember the title correctly.

It is rather detailed and comprehensive.


cool, thank you sir, i will look into that.
Frank
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 7:21 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Astus » Fri May 18, 2012 9:37 am

There are lot of manuals on Buddhhism, lot of books, lot of explanations. Theravada is good, Mahayana is good, Vajrayana is good. But none of them is Chan. Chan is just this mind reading and thinking, searching for something to hold on to. Have you found it yet?

As for a Chan meditation manual, the most comprehensive in English is "Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation" by Carl Bielefeldt.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4213
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Anders » Fri May 18, 2012 9:42 am

I am gonna go with the venerable here:

pith instructions are the end all be all manual of Chan.
"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: 726
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Meido » Fri May 18, 2012 3:43 pm

If you're interested in the Japanese Zen side (specifically Rinzai-shu), look at Torei Enji's Shumon Mujintoron. It's been translated into English twice that I know: a version titled "Discourse on the the Inexhaustible Lamp of the Zen School" was put out by Tuttle. It's out of print, but can be found on Amazon and elsewhere. Cleary also translated it recently, and Shambhala put it out with the title "The Undying Lamp of Zen: The Testament of Zen Master Torei Enji".

Torei was Hakuin's major disciple and wrote this text while he was (he thought) on his deathbed. It essentially lays out the entire course of Zen practice in that system from beginning to end, detailing potential sidetracks and dangers, what happens if one stops halfway, entry and advanced practice, etc.

I prefer the Tuttle edition. It additionally has teisho commentary by one Master Daibi of Unkan, in which he explains the various references Torei makes. The result is that along with Torei's stuff you get a basic Mahayana primer including an overview of the teachings of other Japanese Buddhist schools (Pure Land schools, Tendai, Shingon)...from the Zen standpoint, of course. Not bad for one book.

~ Meido
User avatar
Meido
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:50 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Matylda » Fri May 18, 2012 4:29 pm

Meido wrote:If you're interested in the Japanese Zen side (specifically Rinzai-shu), look at Torei Enji's Shumon Mujintoron. It's been translated into English twice that I know: a version titled "Discourse on the the Inexhaustible Lamp of the Zen School" was put out by Tuttle. It's out of print, but can be found on Amazon and elsewhere. Cleary also translated it recently, and Shambhala put it out with the title "The Undying Lamp of Zen: The Testament of Zen Master Torei Enji".

Torei was Hakuin's major disciple and wrote this text while he was (he thought) on his deathbed. It essentially lays out the entire course of Zen practice in that system from beginning to end, detailing potential sidetracks and dangers, what happens if one stops halfway, entry and advanced practice, etc.

I prefer the Tuttle edition. It additionally has teisho commentary by one Master Daibi of Unkan, in which he explains the various references Torei makes. The result is that along with Torei's stuff you get a basic Mahayana primer including an overview of the teachings of other Japanese Buddhist schools (Pure Land schools, Tendai, Shingon)...from the Zen standpoint, of course. Not bad for one book.

~ Meido



I do not know much about English translations of the text. However it is really a basic text which is complete layout of the way in Rinzai tradition of Hakuin and Torei line. There were several commentaries almost by all masters, since in the education course in Rinzai monastery it is what they mostly begin with to give monks unshakable fundamentals for zazen practice, so that there would be always a reference in ones own practice, without falling into the pitfalls or wrong views and ways. I have original commentary by Daibi Zenji, and I have seen its English translation, but the complete layout of both editions is somehow different. But I think that tranlator tried to make it more readable for Western reader.
Matylda
 
Posts: 343
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby plwk » Fri May 18, 2012 4:50 pm

The instructions that your Shifu gives you in Fa Tang late one evening...

pith instructions are the end all be all manual of Chan.

Interesting... am I to understand that without a guru's upadesa, Ch'an/Zen would be impracticable?
What about the other two, having a group of trustworthy kalyanamitras and a consistent personal practice?
Are not these three mutually important (also playing some sort of check and balance) as opposed to just relying on a guru's upadesa? And it's not like the history of Zen/Ch'an is free from dealing with certain 'questionable' Roshis and Ch'an Shi's...
plwk
 
Posts: 2636
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Will » Fri May 18, 2012 4:52 pm

The 'end all be all' is Buddha and his method was breath/shamatha/vipasyana. Read Ven. Dharmamitra's introduction to one of the two meditation manuals by Master Zhiyi he translated, to see the value in these two texts.

http://www.kalavinka.org/book_excerpts/ ... _Intro.pdf
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
User avatar
Will
 
Posts: 1866
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Anders » Fri May 18, 2012 5:02 pm

plwk wrote:
The instructions that your Shifu gives you in Fa Tang late one evening...

pith instructions are the end all be all manual of Chan.

Interesting... am I to understand that without a guru's upadesa, Ch'an/Zen would be impracticable?
What about the other two, having a group of trustworthy kalyanamitras and a consistent personal practice?
Are not these three mutually important (also playing some sort of check and balance) as opposed to just relying on a guru's upadesa? And it's not like the history of Zen/Ch'an is free from dealing with certain 'questionable' Roshis and Ch'an Shi's...


That's not quite what I meant. I think you can practise Chan without one, though it's not ideal. But if you want the definitive word on Chan, find a guru who can check your state and give you instructions accordingly. Those will be instructions definitive for where you are. Then you will have what you need to know. You might stumble on that without it as well, but it's less certain and takes more time (of course, finding a guru does not offer certainties either).

As I see it, Chan is just applied Mahayana. Living Upaya-in-action. This is why it's hard to derive a tenet system from it, because different Chan masters have relied on vastly different sutras and approaches to point their students in the right direction. Scholastic coherence and external consistency isn't the priority - just pointing the students in the right direction as directly as possible. It's a toolbox approach that eschews standardised exegesis. Reformulating the question: What is the end-all manual on applied living Mahayana? Go ask someone living and applying it.

I think there is pretty strong precedent for this view, btw. The entire collection of encounter dialogues is basically just students approaching gurus looking for a turning phrase.
Last edited by Anders on Fri May 18, 2012 5:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"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: 726
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby kirtu » Fri May 18, 2012 5:03 pm

Frank wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:If you are interested in Zen I would suggest a book by Roshi John Daido Loori, called "The eight gates of Zen", if I remember the title correctly.

It is rather detailed and comprehensive.


cool, thank you sir, i will look into that.


That's a good book but it's mostly about training at Zen Mountain Monastery. I think Daido Loori would have written a different Zen handbook.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4368
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Jikan » Fri May 18, 2012 5:40 pm

Meido wrote:If you're interested in the Japanese Zen side (specifically Rinzai-shu), look at Torei Enji's Shumon Mujintoron. It's been translated into English twice that I know: a version titled "Discourse on the the Inexhaustible Lamp of the Zen School" was put out by Tuttle. It's out of print, but can be found on Amazon and elsewhere. Cleary also translated it recently, and Shambhala put it out with the title "The Undying Lamp of Zen: The Testament of Zen Master Torei Enji".

Torei was Hakuin's major disciple and wrote this text while he was (he thought) on his deathbed. It essentially lays out the entire course of Zen practice in that system from beginning to end, detailing potential sidetracks and dangers, what happens if one stops halfway, entry and advanced practice, etc.

I prefer the Tuttle edition. It additionally has teisho commentary by one Master Daibi of Unkan, in which he explains the various references Torei makes. The result is that along with Torei's stuff you get a basic Mahayana primer including an overview of the teachings of other Japanese Buddhist schools (Pure Land schools, Tendai, Shingon)...from the Zen standpoint, of course. Not bad for one book.

~ Meido


Thank you for this reference (and welcome to DharmaWheel). Off to the library...
Thanks to the help of generous sponsors (most of them from DharmaWheel), I'm doing a Vajra Armor (Dorje Kotrab) self-retreat this summer. May the merit be yours!
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4980
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Frank » Fri May 18, 2012 6:23 pm

you guys saying there's no such thing, can only be learned from a teacher, etc. two points: there is a vast body of chan/zen literature, a lot of it by masters so clearly many chan/zen masters thought manuals and written instruction are important. and point 2: my post asks for chan or buddhism and i specifically said ''even if you don't think there is one...'' meaning i anticipated people saying what you're saying and was asking for you to give a manual regardless. so what's the point of telling me this, when i already know many people think like you guys and said roughly so in the op?
Frank
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 7:21 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Astus » Fri May 18, 2012 10:27 pm

The problem is that Chan is not an organised doctrine. There are a few basic concepts and practices that are favoured in Chan, but nothing exclusive, unique or definitive. Even more, there are different trends that can all be categorised under Chan. It is a common practice to distinguish Chan from Jiao, i.e. the doctrines, but only since the early Song dynasty when Chan emerged as a separate school. Therefore the saying "separate transmission outside doctrines" (jiao wai bie chuan 教外別傳). What is transmitted is the buddha-mind, enlightenment itself, and not specific teachings, methods or anything like that. Some misunderstand this as a rejection of scriptures, or that this is some hidden transmission between master and student. But that is not the case. Still, it explains the nature of this tradition. That's why there are no manuals like the Visuddhimagga or the Mohezhiguan in Chan. It's not about stages, practices, doctrines or methods. It also does not reject them, but uses freely whatever is required. That's how it can encompass the whole Mahayana without being bound by specific texts. Chan is the essence of all the teachings of the Buddha, so whatever manual you pick it eventually leads to Chan. Or you can just directly enter the gateless gate yourself, and that is the ultimate Chan way.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4213
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Huifeng » Sat May 19, 2012 1:26 am

plwk wrote:
The instructions that your Shifu gives you in Fa Tang late one evening...

pith instructions are the end all be all manual of Chan.

Interesting... am I to understand that without a guru's upadesa, Ch'an/Zen would be impracticable?
What about the other two, having a group of trustworthy kalyanamitras and a consistent personal practice?
Are not these three mutually important (also playing some sort of check and balance) as opposed to just relying on a guru's upadesa? And it's not like the history of Zen/Ch'an is free from dealing with certain 'questionable' Roshis and Ch'an Shi's...


Hmmm, "without a guru's upadesa, would [Chan / Zen] be impracticable" -- not really, but the original question was "...the end all be all manual". No book is the end all and be all. One of the basic requirements for full Chan practice is a "wise teacher" (明師).

The books and stuff are nice, useful, etc. but just not "the end all be all", that's the point. Maybe the original question was too tight a range?

Basically what Anders said...

~~ Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Huifeng » Sat May 19, 2012 1:50 am

Frank wrote:you guys saying there's no such thing, can only be learned from a teacher, etc.


Well, just saying that there is no "end all be all manual", really. :smile:
There are still a lot of very useful books, manuals, and so forth.

two points: there is a vast body of chan/zen literature, a lot of it by masters so clearly many chan/zen masters thought manuals and written instruction are important.


That would be like saying that because a lot of the Buddha's teachings are written down, therefore the Buddha thought manuals and written instructions very useful.

Often these things were written down by the students of the teachers. Usually, the teachers themselves went through a long process of study - mainly sutra and sastra. But, they couldn't break through. It was only when they encountered a "bright teacher" (mingshi), that they had the break through. And that usually occurred late one night in the Dharma Hall (Fa Tang). Then, recalling the incident later, their students wrote the event down.

So, rather than reading somebody else's encounter, just go and find your own. The former will not be the "end all be all" instruction, just like taking somebody else's prescription medicine will not cure your own disease. Only when you go to the doctor who is the bright teacher, who sees your illness, will the prescription be your own.

and point 2: my post asks for chan or buddhism and i specifically said ''even if you don't think there is one...'' meaning i anticipated people saying what you're saying and was asking for you to give a manual regardless.


Sure, I read that. But, I'd still point to finding your teacher. In earlier threads you mention that you have a "Chan teacher", in fact, I believe you referred to them as a "Chan master". Go ask them! Would you go to the doctor and ask the other people in the waiting room for a prescription? Or the nurse?

so what's the point of telling me this, when i already know many people think like you guys and said roughly so in the op?


What's the point? Because I don't want you to waste your time in samsara, but to quickly free yourself.
The doctor is waiting, but you still have to go and ask him/ her...

~~ Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Frank » Sat May 19, 2012 5:22 am

Frank wrote:you guys saying there's no such thing, can only be learned from a teacher, etc. two points: there is a vast body of chan/zen literature, a lot of it by masters so clearly many chan/zen masters thought manuals and written instruction are important. and point 2: my post asks for chan or buddhism and i specifically said ''even if you don't think there is one...'' meaning i anticipated people saying what you're saying and was asking for you to give a manual regardless. so what's the point of telling me this, when i already know many people think like you guys and said roughly so in the op?

just a side note: sorry if this came off as rude, not my intention. more curiosity than anything. reading it again it souds a little rough so sorry guys. i appreciate all the info.
Frank
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 7:21 am

Re: What is the end all be all manual on chan/zen or buddhism?

Postby Ikkyu » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:43 am

There isn't. Zen is not something a person intellectualizes or understands through conventional logic or research.

That being said, the Lankavatara Sutra provides a traditional backdrop for Zen philosophy.
User avatar
Ikkyu
 
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:20 pm

Next

Return to Zen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests

>