Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Caldorian
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 11:41 pm

Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Caldorian » Sun May 20, 2012 12:17 am

First of all, some context: In my years as a practicing Buddhist, I was socialized pretty much as a Theravadin and continue to follow the Theravada. However, since the beginning of this year I have additionally been practicing with a local Zen group (Soto Zen, associated with Taisen Deshimaru's Association Zen Internationale). The reason is mostly convenience (they meet four times a week), but also because Zen was my first contact with Buddhism and has had a place in my heart ever since. Anyway: this group practices diligently but they do not really study the Dhamma/Dharma as a group. Which is fine; practice is more important after all! Still, when I asked them whether they have a study group, they told me no but added that every once in a while people prepared a topic that interested them and gave a short lecture on it. Despite them knowing that I follow another school, they encouraged me to do so too. Since I was reading stuff about dependent origination (paticcasamuppada/pratityasamutpada) anyway, I suggested that could prepare something about this topic.

Now my small problem: I have prepared my presentation, alright. However, it's very much based on Theravada sources because these are the sources that I know and that I own. Fortunately, I work at the local university and thus have access to the translation of Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosabhasyam, which I will consult next, and have found some scientific paper articles that concern the Mahayana view on dependent origination. Still, I have did not find any (online) source that would give me a specific Zen perspective on this teaching. Then again, my knowledge of Zen doctrine is very sparse.

So here is where you come in: I need your help! I do not want to give this Zen group, which I appreciate and respect, a lecture on dependent origination that is highly biased by Theravada sources.
What I would like to have are pointers or advice on how to present it to them according to their doctrine. And maybe I can gain a different understanding of the topic at the same time.

I hope you can help me. Thank you in advance in any case! :namaste:

Wesley1982
Posts: 739
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:45 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Wesley1982 » Sun May 20, 2012 2:52 am

The best thing to do with specific questions is to research Buddhism at your own pace.

Wesley1982
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:45 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Wesley1982 » Sun May 20, 2012 2:56 am

Caldorian wrote:Still, I have did not find any (online) source that would give me a specific Zen perspective on this teaching. Then again, my knowledge of Zen doctrine is very sparse.


Soto zen tradition is transmitted through -[oral instruction]- (I think) as compared to -[written text]- and I think your best bet is to ask your teacher.

Quiet Heart
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 9:57 am

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Quiet Heart » Sun May 20, 2012 4:40 am

:smile:
Just a suggestion.....don't try it as a straight forward lecture to the group.
Rather approach it as a discussion of what you understand from your background on that topic.
Then ask the group what THEIR OPINION is from their perspective on what you have told them.
In other words do not make it a lecture presented to them.....but make it a collaberation instead....a mutual sharing of opinions and a chance to learn new ideas for both you and them.
I would guess that type of presentation would be more appreciated by evertone.
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach

Caldorian
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 11:41 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Caldorian » Sun May 20, 2012 6:17 am

Wesley1982 wrote:Soto zen tradition is transmitted through -[oral instruction]- (I think) as compared to -[written text]- and I think your best bet is to ask your teacher.


Unfortunately, there is no teacher in this group. And all my teachers (i.e., people that taught me during retreats) are Theravada monks.

Quiet Heart wrote::smile:
Just a suggestion.....don't try it as a straight forward lecture to the group.
Rather approach it as a discussion of what you understand from your background on that topic.
Then ask the group what THEIR OPINION is from their perspective on what you have told them.
In other words do not make it a lecture presented to them.....but make it a collaberation instead....a mutual sharing of opinions and a chance to learn new ideas for both you and them.
I would guess that type of presentation would be more appreciated by evertone.
:smile:


This is a very good point, thank you! :smile:

plwk
Posts: 2776
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:41 am

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby plwk » Sun May 20, 2012 6:39 am

http://www.fodian.net/world/0698.html
All things arise from a cause,
The Tathagata has explained their cause,
And the cessation of the cause of these things,
This the Great Sramana has explained.

http://www.buddhanet.net/cbp2_f4.htm
"The Tathagatha avoids the two extremes
and talks about the Middle Path.
What this is, that is; this arises, that arises.
Through ignorance volitional actions or karmic formations are conditioned.

Through birth, decay, death, lamentation, pain etc. are conditioned.
When this is not, that is not; this ceasing, that ceases.
hrough the complete cessation of ignorance, volitional activities or karmic formations cease.
Through the cessation of birth, death, decay, sorrow, etc. cease."
(Samyuktagama, Chapter 12)
http://www.visiblemantra.org/dharma-hetuprabhava.html
ye dharmā hetuprabhavā hetuṃ teṣāṃ tathāgataḥ hyavadat teṣāṃ ca yo nirodha evaṃ vādī mahāśramaṇaḥ

If these are of any help...
1 2 3: The Way to Buddhahood: The Dharma Common to the Three Vehicles: Point 75: Dependant Origination (Pages 131-38 - Get a copy of the book) 4 5 6: The Unique Characteristics of Buddhism: Dependant Origination (Pages 15-25 7 8: Page 3 9
10: (Read only the parts on DO by the late VM Sheng-yen)

Caldorian
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Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 11:41 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Caldorian » Sun May 20, 2012 6:55 am

plwk, thank you very much! This is a great help! :twothumbsup: :namaste:

Anders
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:39 am

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Anders » Sun May 20, 2012 8:08 am

I think something that might be pertitent to soto Zen practitioners would be if you had a look at Nagarjuna and his arguments about how dependent origination = emptiness.
"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

Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:22 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Astus » Sun May 20, 2012 4:07 pm

Besides Nagarjuna - as the primary master on dependent origination in Mahayana - you should as well look at the Shalistamba Sutra (link), the Yogacara teaching of the eight consciousnesses (link), and the Huayan teaching of interpenetration (link) and the metaphor of Indra's net (link). These teachings provide the basis of East Asian Mahayana's view of dependent origination, and Dogen relied on them implicitly.
"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)

Caldorian
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 11:41 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Caldorian » Sun May 20, 2012 7:56 pm

Anders Honore wrote:I think something that might be pertitent to soto Zen practitioners would be if you had a look at Nagarjuna and his arguments about how dependent origination = emptiness.


It is a good point, and the Madhyamika teachings have been on my list of things to study for a while. However, studying them is also something that I have been pushing off; when I first tried to get into the Madhyamaka a few years ago (via "The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way" by Jay L. Garfield and "Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka: A philosophical introduction" by Jan Westerhoff), I felt that I lacked some of the necessary basics and consequently stopped. Maybe it is time to get into it again? :reading:

So much reading to do and so little time... :crying:

Another forum member recommended via PM "Center of the Sunlit Sky" as a good source on this topic. Do you agree? (It is a bit pricy, so I am really unsure.)


Astus wrote:Besides Nagarjuna - as the primary master on dependent origination in Mahayana - you should as well look at the Shalistamba Sutra (link), the Yogacara teaching of the eight consciousnesses (link), and the Huayan teaching of interpenetration (link) and the metaphor of Indra's net (link). These teachings provide the basis of East Asian Mahayana's view of dependent origination, and Dogen relied on them implicitly.


Thank you very much! Very helpful! :applause:

Anders
Posts: 783
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:39 am

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Anders » Sun May 20, 2012 9:04 pm

Caldorian wrote:Another forum member recommended via PM "Center of the Sunlit Sky" as a good source on this topic. Do you agree? (It is a bit pricy, so I am really unsure.)


Without having read it, I am gonna venture to say no. With your concerns about too many Theravadin sources for a sino-Mahayana audience, introducing Tibetan sources into the mix risks muddling the picture even more. I'd stick to source material employed in East-asian Buddhism.
"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

seeker242
Posts: 732
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:50 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby seeker242 » Sun May 20, 2012 11:51 pm

Caldorian wrote:First of all, some context: In my years as a practicing Buddhist, I was socialized pretty much as a Theravadin and continue to follow the Theravada. However, since the beginning of this year I have additionally been practicing with a local Zen group (Soto Zen, associated with Taisen Deshimaru's Association Zen Internationale). The reason is mostly convenience (they meet four times a week), but also because Zen was my first contact with Buddhism and has had a place in my heart ever since. Anyway: this group practices diligently but they do not really study the Dhamma/Dharma as a group. Which is fine; practice is more important after all! Still, when I asked them whether they have a study group, they told me no but added that every once in a while people prepared a topic that interested them and gave a short lecture on it. Despite them knowing that I follow another school, they encouraged me to do so too. Since I was reading stuff about dependent origination (paticcasamuppada/pratityasamutpada) anyway, I suggested that could prepare something about this topic.

Now my small problem: I have prepared my presentation, alright. However, it's very much based on Theravada sources because these are the sources that I know and that I own. Fortunately, I work at the local university and thus have access to the translation of Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosabhasyam, which I will consult next, and have found some scientific paper articles that concern the Mahayana view on dependent origination. Still, I have did not find any (online) source that would give me a specific Zen perspective on this teaching. Then again, my knowledge of Zen doctrine is very sparse.

So here is where you come in: I need your help! I do not want to give this Zen group, which I appreciate and respect, a lecture on dependent origination that is highly biased by Theravada sources.
What I would like to have are pointers or advice on how to present it to them according to their doctrine. And maybe I can gain a different understanding of the topic at the same time.

I hope you can help me. Thank you in advance in any case! :namaste:


I don't think there would be anything wrong with giving a lecture on DO to a zen group. Zen schools don't deny DO. Some zen teacher themselves even give talks on traditional "Theravada" DO, they just do it in a less "scholarly" fashion usually. I've been in a zen school for a a while and I don't see it as "biased by Theravada". It's just Buddhism. The zen school I belong to encourages more experienced students gain a general understanding of the 4NT, which of course includes DO. I would not think of it as "biased by Theravada". It's just Buddhism. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

Caldorian
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 11:41 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Caldorian » Mon May 21, 2012 7:31 am

seeker242 wrote:I don't think there would be anything wrong with giving a lecture on DO to a zen group. Zen schools don't deny DO. Some zen teacher themselves even give talks on traditional "Theravada" DO, they just do it in a less "scholarly" fashion usually. I've been in a zen school for a a while and I don't see it as "biased by Theravada". It's just Buddhism. The zen school I belong to encourages more experienced students gain a general understanding of the 4NT, which of course includes DO. I would not think of it as "biased by Theravada". It's just Buddhism. :smile:


Hm. I guess if I decide to do some talking about Sunyata, it would have to follow on the more basic teaching of the 12 Nidanas. But first, I'll read all the recommended information posted in this thread and think about how to structure the whole thing in a way that makes the topic approachable, understandable, and (most importantly) applicable to daily practice... :smile:

Anders
Posts: 783
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:39 am

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Anders » Mon May 21, 2012 8:30 am

one text that only exists in Chinese translation that might be a good place to start for you (Caldorian) is the Twelve Gates treatise attributed to Nagarjuna. available for download here. (a review. Bear in mind this translation is a bit dated and terminology and some assumptions need a grain of salt.

The translator has written an interesting article about this work here, exploring the question of emptiness and the consequences this has for dependent origination. Personally, I think he states his case with too much emphasis. Although it is fundamentally true that dependent origination can not be shown to have more actual reality, Buddhism, and Madhyamika, are so committed to the principle of dependent origination it is only really in close to the very final analysis it loses its neigh-ontological status - for all practical purposes it is taken as the most 'real' [or perhaps we should say 'consistent'] of illusory displays. But the article does a decent job of blowing the doors wide open to those who might not be familiar with these implications.
"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

Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 4203
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:22 pm

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby Astus » Mon May 21, 2012 4:23 pm

And, as Anders said before, East Asian Buddhism is not the same as Indian or Tibetan Buddhism. Even Madhyamaka was forgotten after the 7th century, and the leading views of Buddhism are found in the works of Tiantai, Huayan and Chan masters.
Another thing to mention is that dependent origination outside of Theravada is rarely associated with the 12 nidanas, it is more of a general understanding about all phenomena.
"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)

sinweiy
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:18 am

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby sinweiy » Tue May 22, 2012 1:33 am

i recalled Venerable Hyon Gak Sunim talk on Diamond Sutra in Youtube.
but who would expect that the very essence of Diamond Sutra is right at the beginning chapter; the simple everyday activities. read this very very slowly and mindfully......

One day before dawn, the Buddha clothed himself, and along with his disciples took up his alms bowl and entered the city to beg for food door to door, as was his custom.

After he had returned and eaten, he put away his bowl and cloak, bathed his feet, and then sat with his legs crossed and body upright upon the seat arranged for him.

http://www.diamond-sutra.com/diamond_su ... page1.html


what does these simple everyday activities meant?
dependent arising!
:smile:
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung

plwk
Posts: 2776
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:41 am

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby plwk » Tue May 22, 2012 7:37 am

i recalled Venerable Hyon Gak Sunim talk on Diamond Sutra in Youtube.
but who would expect that the very essence of Diamond Sutra is right at the beginning chapter; the simple everyday activities. read this very very slowly and mindfully......

One day before dawn, the Buddha clothed himself, and along with his disciples took up his alms bowl and entered the city to beg for food door to door, as was his custom.

After he had returned and eaten, he put away his bowl and cloak, bathed his feet, and then sat with his legs crossed and body upright upon the seat arranged for him.

http://www.diamond-sutra.com/diamond_su ... page1.html


what does these simple everyday activities meant?
dependent arising!
:smile:

There is a semblance of this in the Ven Master Xing Yun's commentary on the Sutra and related to the Paramitas...
http://www.blpusa.com/download/bies20.pdf
Now, I will talk about the prajna in the Buddha's daily living.
This is the prajna spoken of in the Diamond Sutra. The Diamond Sutra opens with the following statement:
"Then the Blessed One at mealtime, put on His robes, took the alms bowl, and entered the city of Sravasti.
Having begged for alms there in due order, He returned to His place. Having taken His meal, He put away His robe and alms bowl, washed His feet, and sat in a cross-legged posture. . ."
This is the beginning of the Diamond Sutra, which I think all of you have read. Such a famous and precious Buddhist Sutra starts with a description of the Buddha washing His feet, putting on His robes, and eating His meal.

What do such simple daily activities have to do with prajna and emptiness as explained in the Diamond Sutra?
In fact, if you understand the Diamond Sutra, just these few lines can enable you to become enlightened. These few lines completely capture the spirit of prajna in the Diamond Sutra.

For example, putting on the robe and taking up the alms bowl signifies the paramita of precepts.
Entering the city of Sravasti to beg for alms is an illustration of the paramita of generosity.
To beg for alms in due order exemplifies the paramita of patience.
Taking his meal, putting away His robe and alms bowl, and washing His feet explains the paramita of diligence.
Sitting in a cross-legged position refers to the paramita of meditative concentration.
In this way, the Buddha integrated the Six Paramitas in His daily life. Because He had lived a life of the Six Paramitas, He was able to realize nirvana and be in harmony with prajna. Therefore, we should practice the Six Paramitas in our daily lives.

sinweiy
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:18 am

Re: Need info regarding Zen and Pratityasamutpada

Postby sinweiy » Tue May 22, 2012 11:59 am

plwk wrote:For example, putting on the robe and taking up the alms bowl signifies the paramita of precepts.
Entering the city of Sravasti to beg for alms is an illustration of the paramita of generosity.
To beg for alms in due order exemplifies the paramita of patience.
Taking his meal, putting away His robe and alms bowl, and washing His feet explains the paramita of diligence.
Sitting in a cross-legged position refers to the paramita of meditative concentration.
In this way, the Buddha integrated the Six Paramitas in His daily life. Because He had lived a life of the Six Paramitas, He was able to realize nirvana and be in harmony with prajna. Therefore, we should practice the Six Paramitas in our daily lives.


excellent! first time i heard it is actually Six Paramitas in disguise. :namaste:
_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung


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