Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Meido » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:21 pm

anjali wrote:I would have loved to be at some of those sessions to hear the Q&A.


That would be something, wouldn't it. Bankei is high on the list of past teachers I'd have liked to have met, to be sure.

And though Hakuin's heirs came to the fore, it's certainly is wonderful to have Bankei's words to balance against problems that can arise from over-fixation on "devices".

~ Meido
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Astus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:49 pm

There are many lost and revived teachings in Buddhism. Since how and when teachings survive or are reborn is a complex religious and social matter, I don't consider it as an accurate measurement of the quality of any doctrine. The variety of teachings is also not a problem nor an issue of superiority, just as the Buddha gave many methods in order to lead everyone to liberation so are there many ways one can choose from freely even today.

As for instructions of abiding in the unborn, it can be put into modern everyday terms to make it clear to anyone. Abiding in the unborn means not giving birth to fixed ideas about whatever we experience. It is called unborn because it is without any concrete view, concept or feeling. Once a label that we believe to be real is attached to something there will be emotions and from emotions deeds, habits and new births. But if we understand that only the unborn is our true nature and not any thing that the mind gives birth to, there is no reason from then on to identify with passing experiences. Of course, the teachings of emptiness and selflessness are the same as this, there is nothing new invented, only the format changes.

In Bankei's words:

"That you do see and hear and smell in this way without giv-ing rise to the thought that you will is the proof that this in-herent Buddha-mind is unborn and possessed of a wonderful illuminative wisdom. The Unborn manifests itself in the thought "I want to see" or "I want to hear" not being born. When a dog howls, even if ten million people said in chorus that it was the sound of a crow cawing, I doubt if you'd be convinced. It's highly unlikely there would be any way they could delude you into believing what they said. That's owing to the marvelous awareness and unbornness of your Buddha-mind. The reason I say it's in the "Unborn" that you see and hear in this way is because the mind doesn't give "birth" to any thought or inclination to see or hear. Therefore it is unborn. Being unborn, it's also undying: It's not possible for what is not born to perish. This is the sense in which I say that all people have an unborn Buddha-mind."
(Waddell: The Unborn, p. 88)

Regarding Bankei's arduous practice, he explains:

"You can gather from what I've told you that my practice lasted many long years and that I came to realize my Buddha-mind only after great hardship. But you can grasp your Buddha-minds very easily, right where you sit, without that long, punishing practice. That shows the relation that links you to Buddhahood is stronger than mine was. You're all very fortunate indeed."
(p. 90)
"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)
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Matt J » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:23 am

Astus wrote:"You can gather from what I've told you that my practice lasted many long years and that I came to realize my Buddha-mind only after great hardship. But you can grasp your Buddha-minds very easily, right where you sit, without that long, punishing practice. That shows the relation that links you to Buddhahood is stronger than mine was. You're all very fortunate indeed."
(p. 90)


Easy to grasp is not easy to manifest. Manifestation, in my mind, involves things like purifying the patterns of energy that make up the mind-body. Grasping the unborn won't necessarily free one of the knots of the muscular body or the vasanas/samskaras of the mind. I like how it is put by Chinul in Secrets of Cultivating the Mind (quoting Kuei-Feng):

Although we know that a frozen pond is entirely water, the sun’s heat is necessary to melt it. Although we awaken to the fact that an ordinary man is Buddha, the power of dharma is necessary to make it permeate our cultivation. When that pond has melted, the water flows freely and can be used for irrigation and cleaning. When falsity is extinguished, the mind will be numinous and dynamic and then its function of penetrating brightness will manifest.


This teaching is very prevalent in non-duality circles outside of Buddhism --- perhaps because it appeals to the demand for instant solutions. Yet, even the stars of non-dual teachings, such as Adyashanti, Papaji, Nisargadatta, and so on went through periods of often intensive practice. Even Ramana Maharshi, who was said to be instantly enlightened at a young age, actually followed his early realization with years of intensive silent practice.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:56 am

Matt,

Bankei has the answer for those questions. In short, the buddha-mind is without delusions, once found and one abides by it there is no hindrance or obstacle. If there is still identification with habits it is not the unborn.

Haskel: Bankei Zen, p. 82-84 wrote:A monk who had come from Sendai in Oshu said: "Somewhere I seem to recall there being the expression, The mind enslaved to physical form.' I'm anxious to accord with original mind at all times, but how should I practice in order to do this? Please instruct me."
The Master replied: "In my school, there's no special form of instruction; and as for religious practice, there's no particular way for doing that either. People fail to realize that right within themselves they're fully endowed with the Buddha Mind they have from their parents innately, so they lose their freedom and talk about wanting to 'accord with original mind.' When you've realized that the Buddha Mind you have from your parents is unborn and marvelously illuminating, your hands and feet will function freely, and that's the working of the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind which is unborn.
"As proof that your Buddha Mind is unborn and freely functioning: When you came from Sendai having heard about Bankei, you traveled a long way; but as you stopped for the night here and there along the road, you weren't thinking continuously about me. In the daytime, you looked around at all the sights, and if you had traveling companions, you talked to them. But even though you didn't walk along thinking about our meeting and deliberately keeping it in mind at every step of the way, in the end you arrived here at my place. This is what's meant by the Buddha Mind being unborn and perfectly managing things.
"Now, the herons you see in Sendai are white, without having to be dyed that way; and the crows, without being dyed, are black. And right here too, even though when you see them you're not deliberately trying to distinguish between the two, as soon as they appear before you, you know the white one's a heron and the black one's a crow. Without rousing a single thought, it's all smoothly managed, isn't it? . . . ."
Then, the monk asked: "I find it impossible to control all my passions and delusions. What should I do? It's simply proved too much for me, and I wish to receive your instruction."
The Master replied: "Your idea of wanting to control your passions and delusions is itself delusion, changing the Buddha Mind for delusion! Delusions don't have any actual substance when they arise. In fact, they're nothing but shadow figures, things you've seen and heard that pop up sporadically in response to circumstances."
Again, the monk questioned the Master: "What is enlightenment?"
The Master replied: "There's no such thing as enlightenment. It's a completely extraneous pursuit. To realize conclusively that the Buddha Mind you have from your parents innately is unborn and marvelously illuminating— that's enlightenment. Not realizing this makes you deluded. Since the Original Buddha Mind is unborn, it functions without thoughts of delusion or thoughts of wanting to be enlightened. As soon as you think of wanting to be enlightened, you leave the place of the Unborn and go counter to it. Because the Buddha Mind is unborn, it has no thoughts at all. Thoughts are the source of delusion. When thoughts are gone, delusion vanishes too. And once you've stopped being deluded, talking about wanting to attain 'enlightenment' certainly is useless, don't you agree?"
"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)
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby oushi » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:42 am

Wonderfully described awareness of the brains right hemisphere.
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Astus » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:23 pm

"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)
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:03 am



Thank you very much for the article. Some points of practice that I've noticed:

    ...one needs to cease struggling entirely.
    ...If one is truly natural and innocently spontaneous, the Unborn will appear
    ...letting go of everything which is not the Unborn...
    ...it involves the total openness of one who has no presumed goal, intention, desire or wish.
    ...it involves the total openness of one who has no presumed goal, intention, desire or wish.
    ...And meditation "shouldn't be limited to the time you sit meditating" in the meditation hall.
If life is imperfect (dukkha), then it is ignorant to try to change it to perfection (sukha). Accept what is!
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby zenkarma » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:41 am

Alex123 wrote:
Thank you very much for the article. Some points of practice that I've noticed:

    ...one needs to cease struggling entirely.
    ...If one is truly natural and innocently spontaneous, the Unborn will appear
    ...letting go of everything which is not the Unborn...
    ...it involves the total openness of one who has no presumed goal, intention, desire or wish.
    ...it involves the total openness of one who has no presumed goal, intention, desire or wish.
    ...And meditation "shouldn't be limited to the time you sit meditating" in the meditation hall.


Could it be that cultivating that much attention and surrender is the work of a lifetime?
The substance of the Absolute is inwardly like wood or stone, in that it is motionless, and outwardly like the void, in that it is without bounds or obstructions. It is neither subjective nor objective, has no specific location, is formless, and cannot vanish. ~Huang Po
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby lobster » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:18 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,

Did anyone study Bankei's teaching? Can someone explain his "method"?

How exactly does on "abide in the unborn" ?

1) Don't intentionally think any thoughts?

Or
2) Don't react to thoughts? Don't try to reject the bad ones or prolong the good ones. Let them come and go as they will.

Alex


We want to do stuff. Have a method. Have a practice.
Just sit.

Yes but when sitting what do you do?
Just sit.

What about the mind?
What about it? This is the obstacle. The clinging. The method seeker and pattern seeker.

Rigorous relaxation. Taught but untaut. Abide without me.
Banksy teaching is now
just writing on the wall
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Quiet Heart » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:26 am

zenkarma wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
Thank you very much for the article. Some points of practice that I've noticed:

    ...one needs to cease struggling entirely.
    ...If one is truly natural and innocently spontaneous, the Unborn will appear
    ...letting go of everything which is not the Unborn...
    ...it involves the total openness of one who has no presumed goal, intention, desire or wish.
    ...it involves the total openness of one who has no presumed goal, intention, desire or wish.
    ...And meditation "shouldn't be limited to the time you sit meditating" in the meditation hall.


Could it be that cultivating that much attention and surrender is the work of a lifetime?

-------------------------
:smile:
Or perhaps, it could be said the "unlearning" of the presumptions of a lifetime of "learning"?
Still not easy to do.
Unlearning is hard work.
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
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in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
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The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Astus » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:20 am

Bankei gives a very simple method, the Unborn. The buddha-mind is the object of meditation, the basis, the method and the goal of the meditation. That's why clarifying first on the level of experience what the buddha-mind is is the most important thing in Zen.
"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)
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby oushi » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:58 am

The gateless gate is invisible from the Unborn side. That brings all the communication problems that also Bankei faced. Although you can hear birds singing on the other side, you cannot breach the gate from outside, as it opens only from inside. It is not enough to simply follow the song. The good thing is, they open by themselves, just don't push! And the bad thing is, thx to ignorance people are pushy.
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:31 pm

zenkarma wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
Thank you very much for the article. Some points of practice that I've noticed:

    ...one needs to cease struggling entirely.
    ...If one is truly natural and innocently spontaneous, the Unborn will appear
    ...letting go of everything which is not the Unborn...
    ...it involves the total openness of one who has no presumed goal, intention, desire or wish.
    ...it involves the total openness of one who has no presumed goal, intention, desire or wish.
    ...And meditation "shouldn't be limited to the time you sit meditating" in the meditation hall.


Could it be that cultivating that much attention and surrender is the work of a lifetime?


It could be. It is very easy to say "just sit" but when one tries to "just sit" it typically isn't just sitting. Same with any other "just" activity or "carrying water and chopping wood". It seems basic and down to earth, but is Zen at the highest level.
If life is imperfect (dukkha), then it is ignorant to try to change it to perfection (sukha). Accept what is!
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby zenkarma » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:48 pm

Astus wrote:Bankei gives a very simple method, the Unborn. The buddha-mind is the object of meditation, the basis, the method and the goal of the meditation. That's why clarifying first on the level of experience what the buddha-mind is is the most important thing in Zen.


And thats no walk in the park for most people, the first step in bankei's "abiding in the unborn" might well be hakuin's "sweating white beads".
The substance of the Absolute is inwardly like wood or stone, in that it is motionless, and outwardly like the void, in that it is without bounds or obstructions. It is neither subjective nor objective, has no specific location, is formless, and cannot vanish. ~Huang Po
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Meido » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:51 pm

zenkarma wrote:And thats no walk in the park for most people, the first step in bankei's "abiding in the unborn" might well be hakuin's "sweating white beads".


Exactly.

And even if not, the clarification and integration afterward may require it.

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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Rakshasa » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:21 pm

Bankei's method seems like basic mindfulness. Four station of mindfulness to be precise.

Also, grasping anything is against "abiding in the unborn" IMO. It is the non-grasping of anything whatsoever is the "abiding in the unborn" or the mind that does not settle or the true Suchness.
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Astus » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:16 pm

Bankei teaches what has always been the main doctrine of Zen. It is the reverse of saying that one should see how things are empty, instead he points to this mind that thinks and feels as originally perfect. That is, it's not about letting go our attachments but realising that the mind is already without attachments. Because of that there is no development or gradual training involved here. The only source of problem, as he says, is exchanging the buddha-mind to all sorts of ideas and emotions. Why do we do that? Because we don't know yet that this mind is already unborn and functions perfectly. Seeing that it functions just fine means that we don't need to struggle, we don't need to come up with different solutions to our situation where we become motivated by craving and anger. We give birth to many attachments because we don't trust in the buddha-mind, we want to handle everything ourselves. That's why Bankei teaches about the unborn by showing how the mind recognises the sounds of dogs and birds, how the mind manages to direct our steps without effort or trouble. Those are immediate proofs of the buddha-mind's natural functions that we all know about already. This is not complicated at all.
"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)
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:30 pm

Hello Astus,

Thank you for your reply. The point of difficulty is what to do, or how to stop states such as anger, anxiety, fear, lust, etc from arising at the future date? I understand that they occur spontaneously "on their own" and without having to make up conscious decision for such a state to arise.
If life is imperfect (dukkha), then it is ignorant to try to change it to perfection (sukha). Accept what is!
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby lobster » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:19 am

most of us reside in what we are born with
including the conditions, which give rise to our negative karma and negative mindsets
Connecting increasingly, residing incessantly in a more settled abode can be our inspired choice
not easy but easing, not difficult but more than simply being born :broke:
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Re: Bankei's "method" of abiding in the unborn

Postby Astus » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:17 am

Alex123 wrote:Thank you for your reply. The point of difficulty is what to do, or how to stop states such as anger, anxiety, fear, lust, etc from arising at the future date? I understand that they occur spontaneously "on their own" and without having to make up conscious decision for such a state to arise.


Anger, anxiety, fear, lust, etc. don't arise spontaneously, we give rise to them by first identifying with our thoughts and making judgements about things being attractive, repulsive or uninteresting, then again holding the emotion generated by our thoughts thus eventually giving rise to action. When it seems that emotions or actions appear by themselves it is the case that we don't recognise our thought processes, which is ignorance, unawareness. That's why abiding in the unborn means that no ideas and impulses take over the control.
"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)
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