The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 29, 2010 9:02 am

Animitto Sutta: The Signless
translated from the Pali by
Maurice O'Connell Walshe
© 2007–2010
The Pali title of this sutta is based on the PTS (Feer) edition.

[1] [The Ven. Moggallaana has described how, with the aid of the Buddha, he has passed through all the jhaanas[2] right up to the "sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception."]

"Then, friends, I thought: 'The signless concentration of the heart, the signless concentration of the heart, they say — now what is that?'

"Then I thought: 'In this a monk, paying no attention to any distinguishing signs,[3] enters on and dwells in that concentration of the heart which is without signs. This is called "The signless concentration of heart."'

"Then, friends, paying no attention to any distinguishing signs, I entered on and dwelt in that concentration of the heart which is without signs. But as I dwelt thus,[4] the consciousness-conforming-to-signs arose.[5]

"And then, friends, the Blessed One came to me by his powers[6] and said: 'Moggallaana, Moggallaana, Brahman,[7] do not slacken off in the signless concentration, make your mind steady, make the mind one-pointed, concentrate your mind in the signless concentration!'

"And after that, friends, paying no attention to any distinguishing signs, I entered on and dwelt in the signless concentration of the heart.

"Now, friends, if anyone were to truly declare: 'Through the Teacher's compassion the disciple gained great super-knowledge,'[8] he could rightly declare this of me."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn40/sn40.009.wlsh.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: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby Astus » Sat May 29, 2010 5:55 pm

I don't see how much this has to do with huatou. The essential aspect what makes a huatou is the great mass of doubt. On the other hand, meditation on the signless element (animittadhatu) is a gateway to liberation that requires contemplation of impermanence. It is one of the three possible ways to escape samsara, this one being described as:

"to the seeing of all formations as limited and circumscribed and to the entering of consciousness into the signless element ... Herein, as limited and circumscribed [means] both as limited by rise and fall and as circumscribed by them; for contemplation of impermanence limits them thus, 'Formations do not exist previous to their rise', and in seeking their destiny, sees them as circumscribed thus, 'They do not go beyond fall, they vanish there'. ... And here the signless liberation should be understood as the noble path that has occurred by making nibbana its object through the signless aspect. For that path is signless owing to the signless element having arisen, and it is a liberation owing to deliverance from defilements." (Vsm 21.67-71)

In Mahayana both signlessness and wishlessness became summed up in the third: emptiness. Not to mention the meaning got changed too.
"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: 4226
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 29, 2010 7:36 pm

Astus wrote:I don't see how much this has to do with huatou.


Ever done huatou practice?

If Pali is one of those languages where "heart" can also be translated as mind or soul or self, its a pretty good description of huatou practice.

And if you will notice, the passage is about "signless concentration of the heart" not concentration on the signless element.
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

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

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby Anders » Sun May 30, 2010 4:16 am

Astus wrote:I don't see how much this has to do with huatou. The essential aspect what makes a huatou is the great mass of doubt.


And what happens when there is great doubt? The mind gets 'zapped' into non-abiding/non attending to any sign. I can see what Morlock is getting at.

In Mahayana both signlessness and wishlessness became summed up in the third: emptiness. Not to mention the meaning got changed too.


According to the Prajnaparamita Shastra, all three are just aspects of the same reality. Each wholly contains the other two when realised.

But I do think there are practical differences here. Wishlessness in Mahayana for example is connected with effortlessness (when that is not made a fourth door of liberation to match the additional fourth mark of existence that is Nirvana), so perhaps closer to the style of Caodong, whereas emptiness is more typically connected with non-abiding and signlessness with nonconceptuality.

Of the three, I would myself say hua-tou practise is probably closer to the door of emptiness than signlessness, but they really are more akin to aspects of one doorway than actually distinct ones.
"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: 737
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby Huifeng » Sun May 30, 2010 4:45 am

The early Mahayana really only talks about emptiness and signless, where both are synonyms. Here, emptiness refers to the mind empty of conceptualizations, not the object as empty of inherent existence. It's only when the systemization of the Abhidharma stuff kicks in that even the Mahayana is forced to adopt all three samadhis, and add the intentionless. In the early teachings, it should be nothingness, and this is the meaning that the Mahayana first used - a mind without any concepts.

The hua of huatou is the thought that arises. The head of that is before the thought. It is the mind without the arising of conceptualization.

I wouldn't say that the buddha teaches huatou, but the result is the same, though the method differs.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun May 30, 2010 5:52 am

Hey, maybe im grasping at straws :) The sutta i linked to, along with the greater and lesser emptiness suttas, are as close as i can find so far to a non developmental enlightenment model in the pali canon. Not that i have looked too hard, but it would be nice to run into.
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

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

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby Huifeng » Sun May 30, 2010 7:05 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Hey, maybe im grasping at straws :) The sutta i linked to, along with the greater and lesser emptiness suttas, are as close as i can find so far to a non developmental enlightenment model in the pali canon. Not that i have looked too hard, but it would be nice to run into.


What do you mean by "non-developmental"?
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun May 30, 2010 7:45 am

Huifeng wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Hey, maybe im grasping at straws :) The sutta i linked to, along with the greater and lesser emptiness suttas, are as close as i can find so far to a non developmental enlightenment model in the pali canon. Not that i have looked too hard, but it would be nice to run into.


What do you mean by "non-developmental"?


Not going thru the jhanas / insight stages as in the classical literature.
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

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

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby Huifeng » Sun May 30, 2010 9:24 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
Huifeng wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Hey, maybe im grasping at straws :) The sutta i linked to, along with the greater and lesser emptiness suttas, are as close as i can find so far to a non developmental enlightenment model in the pali canon. Not that i have looked too hard, but it would be nice to run into.


What do you mean by "non-developmental"?


Not going thru the jhanas / insight stages as in the classical literature.


What makes you think that one can reach that state without going through the dhyanas? Just because the text doesn't state them may be insufficient. After all, the first few dhyanas all have vitarka and vicara, which deal with signs.

Likewise, if you compare the Culasunnata sutta to other texts, you'll see that the formless states kick in after the fourth dhyana.

I think that it is more of a case of the student having already made these dhyanic attainments, and then the teacher points the last few steps of insight.

But, just to rattle things up, some scholars would point to the fact that these texts which emphasize states without signs as being close to those practices taught by the Jainas, and other sramana teachers. It runs problems with the usual fourth dhyana to apply insight to liberation.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby Astus » Sun May 30, 2010 1:39 pm

Huatou practice is not signless. While it means "before thoughts" it is not even the same as Caodong's before thoughts (Dogen: non-thinking). It is not signless for in that case no question and no doubt could be used. It is not mere "resting in the natural state" or "non-abiding". Huatou practice is maintaining the feeling of doubt until a breakthrough is achieved, such a result then is realising signlessness. That's why I said they're not the same.
"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: 4226
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: The Buddha Speaking of Huatou Practice?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun May 30, 2010 3:02 pm

Astus wrote:Huatou practice is not signless. While it means "before thoughts" it is not even the same as Caodong's before thoughts (Dogen: non-thinking). It is not signless for in that case no question and no doubt could be used. It is not mere "resting in the natural state" or "non-abiding". Huatou practice is maintaining the feeling of doubt until a breakthrough is achieved, such a result then is realising signlessness. That's why I said they're not the same.


Yes but a sense of inquiry is not one of the traditional objects nor doubt one of the canonical results. afaik
What it fits most that i am aware of in the suttas is concentration without an object mentioned in the greater and lesser emptiness suttas. If pali is indeed one of those languages where heart can have many meanings "signless concentration of the heart" , in the sutta i quoted above, could be intrepted in many ways.
Ride the horse in the direction its going.

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


Return to Zen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

>