Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

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Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby My Socks Smell » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:21 pm

From what I understand, Rangtong interprets Tathagatagarbha as synonymous with dependent origination and teaches Emptiness as definitive, while Shentong interprets Tathagatagarbha as clear light of the Dharmakaya and teaches an innate Buddha Nature of untarnishable luminosity as definitive. Shentong asserts that Emptiness reveals an ineffable transcendental reality with positive attributes while Rangtong holds that Emptiness is merely the elimination of falsely imagined projections upon the relative truths of the world and does not imply anything else beyond that.

Assuming I am correct in the descriptions above, I would like to know if the Zen/Chan School of Buddhism generally leans toward a Rangtong or Shentong view of Emptiness/Tathagatagarbha or both or neither?

Thanks

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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:43 pm

I'm not really sure about Zen but your description of the differences between Shentong and Rangtong aren't the quite right. If you want we can discuss this some more.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Astus » Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:08 pm

Zen is not about philosophical opinions but going beyond ideas and concepts. Whether one emphasises buddha-mind or emptiness, they are just expedient means. And there are examples for both cases.

This story sums it up nicely:

A monk asked, "Master, Why do you say that Mind is Buddha?"
Mazu said, "To stop babies from crying."
The monk said, "What do you say when they stop crying?"
Mazu said, "Neither Mind, nor Buddha."
The monk asked, "Without using either of these statements, how would you instruct someone?"
Mazu said, "I would say to him that it's not a thing."
The monk asked, "If suddenly you met someone who was in the midst of it, then what?"
Mazu said, "I would teach them to realize the great Way."
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby DGA » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:22 pm

No, because the "shentong" and "rangtong" distinction is strictly a Tibetan invention, and hence a Tibetan problem.

The discussions around Madhyamika in East Asian Buddhism are much less obfuscated. If you have access to a good library, check out Swanson's book _T'ien-T'ai Philosophy_ for an example. Ng's _T'ien-t'ai Buddhism and Early Madhyamika_ is also worth your time.

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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby My Socks Smell » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:29 pm


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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby My Socks Smell » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:31 pm


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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby My Socks Smell » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:36 pm


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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Matylda » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:39 pm


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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby My Socks Smell » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:56 pm


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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Astus » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:09 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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Malcolm
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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:09 pm





འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Free of hope and fear, relax.
Human life spent in
a state of great spaciousness is enjoyable.


— Kunzang Dechen Lingpa

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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Andrew108 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:38 pm

The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby DGA » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:40 pm

Would you please explain what you mean by Yogacara idealism? there's more than one way to answer your question.

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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby My Socks Smell » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:16 pm


Andrew108
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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Andrew108 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:43 pm

How do you feel about the following poem? Too simple? Inspiring? What are your feelings about it? -

''Mind's ultimate nature, emptiness endowed with vividness,
I was told is the real Buddha.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of hierarchy.

Mind's ultimate nature, its emptiness aspect,
I was told is the real Dharma.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of political correctness.

Mind's ultimate nature, its vivid aspect,
I was told is the real Sangha
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with thoughts of equal rights.

One cannot disassociate emptiness from vividness.
This inseparability I was told is the Guru.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with depending on chauvinist lamas.

This nature of mind has never been stained by duality,
This stainlessness I was told is the deity.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with the categories of "gender" or "culture."

This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

—Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

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My Socks Smell
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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby My Socks Smell » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:17 pm


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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby DGA » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:08 pm

OK, I see where you're coming from now. There are indeed some approaches to Yogacara that do veer into the eternalistic/idealistic. I'm not convinced that Yogacara is in itself necessarily idealism, though. But that's a separate topic.

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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Andrew108 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:12 pm

Sounds about right to me. The poem I posted is mainly coming from the Shentong point of view. Hope it's not too out of place here. It's good to analyse but at some point the practitioner taps into a different kind of knowledge, than the knowledge found in philosophy texts. That's just how it is I'm afraid. But of course this doesn't mean abandoning your studies.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby My Socks Smell » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:34 pm


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Re: Does Zen/Chan Offer an Opinion Regarding Shentong/Rangtong?

Postby Matylda » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:18 am



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