are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby bulhaeng » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:38 pm

Maybe what I'll say is too general but there seems to be too much importance given to Zongmi here. Zongmi seems to be really appreciated by historians and intellectuals because unlike the Honhgzhou masters he gives some insight to the theory and some framework to work with. Today his classifications are studied by monks for example in Korea but his practice methods and suggestions are not. I always felt that Jinul relied on Zongmi because of his general comprehensibility which helped him to invent his sudden enlightenment/gradual practive theory. When it came to practice he favoured hwadu to which dhyanas are irrelevant.

Astus, wrote that there is "no chan practice". Sure, the slogan of "no method of no school" is a famous one but it is a little idealistic because chan practicioners through the years obviously developed a set of particular methods of meditation which are still carried on.

I am not so sure about validity of Ven. Huifengs argument that "higher stages rely on the lower ones, and the higher ones cannot be attained without the lower ones". It is a a statement repeated in many scriptures but I'm not sure if it apllies to literally every aspect of the path. I am not very big on books but Korean masters generally considered this "backward compatibility" to apply to morality, bodhicitta and giving importance to the works of karma. When it came to meditation they were very clear: seon is just one method. This is how Gyeongheo, Taego, Seosan Daesa and many others viewed it.

Enlighten me if I'm wrong but In Japan and Korea where seon/zen schools thrived, chan meditation became pretty cristalized and easily distinguishible from other methods. It's hard to blame it all on Japanese influences in Korea because it seemed to be the same also 500 years before Japanese rule. I think that it's safe to say that in Korean seon (both huatou and silent illumination) and in Japanese zen the gradual dhyana meditation is not taught. They don't use dhyanas or other methods as expedients - they have their indigineous teachings which are taught to everybody. Isn't this what it looks like in reality?

From this point of view saying that any method can be called chan or anything preliminary to chan is also chan is putting too fine a point on the question asked.

EDIT:

BuddhaSoup wrote:from what i have learned, there is a fine line between chan meditation and theravada jhana, in both direct experience of each and reading others experiences i find that they share more in common than they have differences. even shikantaza is nearly identical with some interpretations of theravada vipassana training. i'm sure this is hugely and hotly debated so maybe we should pretend i never said that, but i've read instructions for each that are almost identical. heck, i've read instructions on reaching jhana that are nearly identical with zazen instructions!

I once sat a 4 week zen retreat where I read Ajahn Sumedho's book. For me it spoke about exactly the same thing. Other people read it too and said it too. But when I think about traditional sense of dhyana meditation I think of developing concentraction only and going through the sequence of stages. I've never heard about it in zen.
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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby Astus » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:43 pm

Jinul teaches both many methods and one method. Buswell writes in the introduction (Collected Works, p. 62)

"As his biographer, Kim Kun-su, first noted, Chinul tailored three main styles of Son practice which show the direct influences of his three enlightenment experiences: the balanced cultivation of samadhi and prajna, deriving from the Platform Satra; faith and understanding according to the complete and sudden teachings of the Hwaom school, from Li T'ung-hsuan's Exposition of the Avatamsaka Satra; and, finally, the shortcut approach of hwadu investigation, from the Records of Ta-hui. These styles were intended to instruct people of inferior, average, and superior spiritual capacities respectively. To supplement these three basic methods, Chinul taught two additional techniques for people of highest and lowest capacity: the approach of no-mind (thoughtlessness) and the recollection of the Buddha's name.230 He explained that each method could be followed exclusively or a progression from the simpler techniques to the more difficult could be cultivated."

As for the essential path, Jinul writes (Collected Works, p. 266),

"Consequently, even though we cultivate the manifold supplementary practices, they all have thoughtlessness as their core," If we can only maintain thoughtlessness, liking and disliking will naturally fade away, and compassion and wisdom will naturally grow in brightness; wrong actions will naturally be halted, and meritorious deeds will naturally be augmented. As far as our understanding is concerned, we will perceive that all signs are signless; as far as practice is concerned, it will be called the cultivation whereby nothing is cultivated. When the defilements are finally extirpated, birth and death will be cut off, As arising and ceasing have ended, a calm radiance will manifest and our responsiveness will be unlimited." This is called Buddhahood."
"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)
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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby bulhaeng » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:52 pm

OK, you have a point there but Buswell writes about Chinul's thought in terms of syncretic or "ecumenical" approach to buddhism and eclectical approach to meditation which seems to support my argument.
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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby Astus » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:34 pm

Yes, many different practices. From yeombul to hwadu they could all be named Zen methods. If compared to what we find in other schools, then only hwadu remains as a Zen style practice, and the others are what practically everyone has. However, hwadu was the invention of Dahui, so we can't really say that it is a technique that Bodhidharma brought to China. What is it that remains? No-thought, or in Budwell's translation, thoughtlessness.

As for the dhyanas, I think in Jinul's system it'd fit in all right to the samadhi practice of the gradual path. And that's what it is of course.
"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)
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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby beautiful breath » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:56 pm

Huseng wrote:
Josef wrote:I think the quotes he used indicate that this is not necessarily Husengs personal opinion but resides in the realm of Mahayana polemics.


My personal opinion honestly is that dhyāna/jhānas are the key practice of Buddhist meditation. It was the original and foremost practice that the Buddha taught. It is the methodology as prescribed by the Buddha for cultivating both mental stamina and discerning wisdom. It is perfectly compatible with the Mahāyāna.



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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:50 am

hmmm I always thought you needed Jhanas to have true insight.im mean you cant have any true insights with a unconcentrated monkey mind can you?
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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby Jikan » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:22 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:hmmm I always thought you needed Jhanas to have true insight.im mean you cant have any true insights with a unconcentrated monkey mind can you?


Yes. I think the question, though, is whether it's necessary to call these levels of absorption "jhanas" or if a different matrix of categories with different terminology for the same phenomenon might also be effective.
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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:27 pm

Jikan wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:hmmm I always thought you needed Jhanas to have true insight.im mean you cant have any true insights with a unconcentrated monkey mind can you?


Yes. I think the question, though, is whether it's necessary to call these levels of absorption "jhanas" or if a different matrix of categories with different terminology for the same phenomenon might also be effective.



I always thought Jhanas were absorptions,I assume you could call them by a different word,but it seems that it would be different words the same meaning,so why noit just stick with Jhanas?

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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby catmoon » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:05 am

So the answer the the OP question is "Sometimes, sort of, with different terminology, yes" ??
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Re: are the jhanas taught in zen/chan?

Postby beautiful breath » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:35 am

Thanks everyone...I don't always get the time to thanks for your replies....but I am of course alway grateful!!! :thumbsup:
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