Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

General forum on Mahayana.

Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby Namgyal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:10 pm

Astus wrote:Raksha,

The Shaolin monastery was first associated with Bodhidharma around the beginning of the 8th century by the Northern School's lineage story. But connecting Bodhidharma with martial arts happened almost a thousand years later in 1642 (see Faure: Chan Buddhism in Ritual Context, p. 91 and McRae: Seeing Through Zen, p. 26).

For me to see connection with body cultivation and the path of liberation would require instructions given in the sutras and the writings of the masters. So far I have not encountered any sutra or manual in Mahayana Buddhism that teaches such techniques, unlike in Vajrayana.


Astus,
No one knows anything for certain about Bodhidharma, and the Zen lineages are completely apocryphal. More importantly, and I am sorry to be the one to break this to you, but nothing truely secret or precious has EVER been written down in texts.
:namaste: R.
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Cultivating both Body and Mind in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:06 pm

Raksha wrote:nothing truely secret or precious has EVER been written down in texts.


I guess you have not read this in the Buddhist canon.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4257
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Cultivating both Body and Mind in Buddhism

Postby lobster » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:46 pm

but nothing truely secret or precious has EVER been written down in texts.


I knew it . . . in my bones . . . :rolling:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Cultivating both Body and Mind in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:32 pm

lobster wrote:
but nothing truely secret or precious has EVER been written down in texts.


I knew it . . . in my bones . . . :rolling:


Image
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: Cultivating both Body and Mind in Buddhism

Postby Namgyal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:24 am

Astus wrote:
Raksha wrote:nothing truely secret or precious has EVER been written down in texts.


I guess you have not read this in the Buddhist canon.

I meant 'truely secret and precious' since obviously all the Buddhist canon is precious. Equally obviously none of it is secret. What is not written down are the instructions from a teacher to his student. The things of the greatest value cannot be obtained for money, nor are they displayed openly. If I remember correctly Tibetans believe than Buddhist texts have little value unless they are accompanied by a textual transmission given by a qualified teacher. What do you suppose this transmission actually involves, why can't it be written down or bought at the local bookstore?
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Cultivating both Body and Mind in Buddhism

Postby Rakshasa » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:12 am

Raksha wrote:
Astus wrote:
Raksha wrote:nothing truely secret or precious has EVER been written down in texts.


I guess you have not read this in the Buddhist canon.

I meant 'truely secret and precious' since obviously all the Buddhist canon is precious. Equally obviously none of it is secret. What is not written down are the instructions from a teacher to his student. The things of the greatest value cannot be obtained for money, nor are they displayed openly. If I remember correctly Tibetans believe than Buddhist texts have little value unless they are accompanied by a textual transmission given by a qualified teacher. What do you suppose this transmission actually involves, why can't it be written down or bought at the local bookstore?



Very interesting. I think "Tantras" are just the written form of those oral instructions from teacher to student based on Sutras. Probably the teachers felt threatened about the teachings being lost (just like how early Buddhist monks wrote Suttas from Oral transmission to preserve them), so they wrote down the instructions on Tantras in an albeit metaphoric language difficult to directly understand. What do you think?

I was pretty amazed to learn that even Saravastivada monks (who are widely considered "Hinayana" thus giving the impression of non-meditating "scholars", much less Yoga and Occult practitioners) had their own manual of Yoga and of Occult (spells and techniques agaisnt dangers and threats).
User avatar
Rakshasa
 
Posts: 148
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:29 am

Re: Cultivating both Body and Mind in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:41 am

Raksha wrote:I meant 'truely secret and precious' since obviously all the Buddhist canon is precious. Equally obviously none of it is secret. What is not written down are the instructions from a teacher to his student. The things of the greatest value cannot be obtained for money, nor are they displayed openly. If I remember correctly Tibetans believe than Buddhist texts have little value unless they are accompanied by a textual transmission given by a qualified teacher. What do you suppose this transmission actually involves, why can't it be written down or bought at the local bookstore?


There are many texts considered that kind of oral instructions, upadesha, written down by students. And in these days you have not only books but video records too. What would be the purpose of such special secret teachings anyway? Throughout the history of Buddhism there were groups that claimed to possess such secret instructions. What "secret instruction" actually meant is that they could not prove that it's from a traditional source so they called it hidden. This has happened with the Mahayana sutras, the Tantras, the Zen transmission, and all the rest. What is also common about them is that today you have it all written down. And even if there were some special secret instructions, nobody could use it as a reason in a discussion like this, because of its secret nature.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4257
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Cultivating both Body and Mind in Buddhism

Postby Namgyal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:05 pm

Astus wrote:What is also common about them is that today you have it all written down.

It is a widely prevalent fantasy in the West that all knowledge is open, so if you have, for example, discovered a cure for a particular type of cancer, then automatically you would share it with the world, publish it openly, and reap fame and fortune as a result. In fact the opposite is true, in Asia if one had such a cure one would keep it absolutely secret, lest its power be dispersed by exposure, and one would only reveal it to a single disciple or relative. Likewise in Buddhism, what you can read in books is only the tip of the iceberg.
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:23 pm

Raksha wrote:Likewise in Buddhism, what you can read in books is only the tip of the iceberg.


What do you base this view on?
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4257
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby lobster » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:56 pm

What is secret and precious? Knowledge, examples, techniques, the results of practice is all recordable. The means to and experience of enlightenment can be alluded to but is not recordable. Many people are loaded with sutra, initiations, book learning and experiences arising from practice. The secret and precious, the ineffable alludes all grasping.

All one can do is laugh . . . maybe a little popcorn . . . :popcorn:
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/F-%20Miscellaneous/General%20Miscellaneous/Humor-%20Laughter/Zany%20Zen/Zany%20Zen%20Humor%20in%20Art.htm :namaste:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby Namgyal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:06 pm

Astus wrote:What do you base this view on?

Chinese Buddhists have a saying that when you achieve a new viewpoint higher than the one that you held previously, it is like looking down from a mountain top at a tiny hillock far below, but one should always look behind you at even taller mountain peaks, ascending higher and higher into the clouds. A very famous Tibetan master, whose identity must remain hidden :smile: , and who unquestionably occupies a mountain peak unimaginably higher than my own, told me that Buddhism was not to be found in books, and that what was truely precious was never even spoken, never mind sold in bookstores. Previously, I was very attached to Buddhist textual study and I had amassed a huge academic library, but as a result of teachings like this I eventually donated my entire colection to a monastery library. The only books I retained were a couple of prayer books and, for sentimental reasons, the Bodhisattvacharyavatara.
:namaste: R.
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby plwk » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:41 pm

Previously, I was very attached to Buddhist textual study and I had amassed a huge academic library, but as a result of teachings like this I eventually donated my entire colection to a monastery library...
Darn...if only I met you earlier... :mrgreen:
plwk
 
Posts: 2752
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:59 pm

Raksha wrote:Buddhism was not to be found in books, and that what was truely precious was never even spoken, never mind sold in bookstores.


This idea is found already in the earliest Prajnaparamita sutras, expressing that emptiness is the absence of conceptual proliferation. And then on the same is stated in later traditions like Zen with the same intention.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4257
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby floating_abu » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:29 pm

Raksha wrote: A very famous Tibetan master, whose identity must remain hidden :smile: , and who unquestionably occupies a mountain peak unimaginably higher than my own, told me that Buddhism was not to be found in books, and that what was truely precious was never even spoken, never mind sold in bookstores. .


I have also learnt that. Magic cannot be encapsulated.

In my early (crazier) years of Buddhist study (infatuation) I lapped up every single word, immersed myself in understanding and even debated doctrinal points with Namdrol.

How were we to know the jewels are far beyond that. That said, I have no problem with study today, everyone has to start there, and intellectual understanding can still be useful to conversations -- but to stay there would be a mistake IMO.

Thanks,

Abu
floating_abu
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:29 pm

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby floating_abu » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:31 pm

From Gifts He Left Behind: The Dhamma Legacy of Achaan Dune Atulo

A well-read layman was conversing with Luang Pu, saying, "I firmly believe that in our present day and age there are not just a few monks who have practiced to the point of reaching the paths, fruitions, and nibbana. So why don't they make their knowledge public, so that those who are interested in the practice will know of the levels of Dhamma they have attained, as a way of giving them encouragement and hope so that they'll accelerate their efforts to the utmost of their ability?"

Luang Pu answered,

"Those who have awakened don't talk of what they've awakened to, because it lies above and beyond all words."


:anjali:
floating_abu
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:29 pm

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:47 pm

Because of the technological focus of our modern society, we have a tendency to reduce Dharma to a collection of techniques. However, the realization Dharma is not a technique. In tantra and other vehicles that take the result as the path, the realization Dharma is transmitted by a realized master to his or her student as the possibility to unfold in a certain way. This is different than saying that Prajnaparamita is beyond all concepts. What is key is the central focus on entering the state of the guru. This is self-secret in the sense that you could shout the principle from the rooftops and no one would understand, rather than kept in confidence.

There are also very definitely some secrets of interpretation of tantric texts that keep the uninitiated away from certain practices that might unbalance them if they try them without proper empowerment and instruction, but this is less important than the first point.
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
~Arthur Carlson
User avatar
Karma Dorje
 
Posts: 943
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby floating_abu » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:00 pm

Good points.

And -- as I was responding to a specific point only, but the title of this thread is "Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism", I would balance this out by referring to the "Handful of Leaves" simile used by Gautama Buddha, our teacher.

Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the Simsapa forest. Then, picking up a few Simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks,

“What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few Simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the Simsapa forest?”

“The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the forest are far more numerous.”

“In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven’t I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.


i.e. Everything needed to practice for the goal of Buddhism is well known and publicised, and in my experience, the Buddha was right...

Well wishes,

Abu
floating_abu
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:29 pm

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:40 pm

In the Anguttara Nikaya (3.131 / PTS: 1.282 / 3.129) the Paṭicchanna sutta says,

"Monks, there are these three things which are practiced in secret, not openly. What are they? The ways of womenfolk are secret, not open. Brahmins practice their chants in secret, not openly. Those of perverse views hold their views secretly, not openly. These are the three things. Monks, there are these three things which shine forth for all to see, which are not hidden. Which three? The disc of the moon shines for all to see; it is not hidden. The disc of the sun does likewise. The Dhamma-Discipline of a Tathagata shines for all to see; it is not hidden. These are the three things."
(PTS translation)

"Bhikkhus, these three are carried away covered, not openly. What three? Women are carried away covered not openly. Brahmanical mutterings are done under cover and Wrong view is covered not made manifest. Bhikkhus, these three when made manifest shine. What three? Bhikkhus, the moon shines when manifest, the sun shines when manifest and the Teaching and Discipline declared by the Thus Gone One shines when manifest and not when covered. These three shine when manifest and not when covered."
(Sister Upalavanna translation)
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4257
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Hidden Truths and Secrets in Buddhism

Postby Namgyal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:20 pm

:offtopic: ...but still very good to read about (thankyou Astus for reminding me about this extraordinary lady.)
http://www.metta.lk/english/sister-uppalavanna.html
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm


Return to Mahāyāna Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

>