Here, opinions diverge. In the Lotus Sutra, among the most popular sutras in East Asian Buddhism, Buddha Shakyamuni makes a series of claims that suggest he is not now nor has he been for a very, very, very long time an ordinary mortal (present tense is intentional). Depends who you ask or where you look, I suppose.
JKhedrup wrote:Here, opinions diverge. In the Lotus Sutra, among the most popular sutras in East Asian Buddhism, Buddha Shakyamuni makes a series of claims that suggest he is not now nor has he been for a very, very, very long time an ordinary mortal (present tense is intentional). Depends who you ask or where you look, I suppose.
My understanding is that depending on the canon you uphold, it is up for debate whether he attained enlightenment in this world as Siddhartha Gautama or in another world a long time ago.... But in either case, he started out as an ordinary being who perfected himself.
I find it interesting HHDL mentions at teachings he finds it more inspiring to think Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in this world through cultivation rather than the traditional Mahayana account of a previous enlightenment in another world system.
jisahn108 wrote:Not to digress too far, but how anyone in this time can still think that one "perfects oneself" through practice, when you have 1000's of years of teaching telling us that isn't the point, well, it just shows how far we have to go. "perfect understanding" is knowing that there is no perfect understanding. What a tragedy to defame the idea of Shakyamuni Buddha by suggesting he attained some special state, in this world or some other. That is NOT what the Lotus Sutra teaches, much less so the Diamond or Prajna Paramita.
jisahn108 wrote:And yes, I think that "in this time" we shouldn't be pretending we live in medieval Tibet or China, and we should incorporate our modern understanding to open up and access Buddhist teachings - because that is the only way to access them, since that is who we are. And to somehow still believe, as I said, that after Dogen, after the Diamond Sutra, after 1000's of pages of Prajna Paramita, after Avatamsaka, after Mahamudra, after Dzogchen, and yes after Zen, that you can maintain any idea of Buddhism being a self help program in which "becoming a Buddha" means becoming a paragon of moral virtue or a "nice person", then yes, in a long tradition of Dharmic truth-telling, I suggest you are indeed somewhat clueless and to reappraise your understanding. With all respect, and palms together. Which is not to say that we don't also attend to being a nicer person and helping build a saner, less corrupt society, based in the values instilled from the Buddhist tradition and the idea of Vinaya, and precepts - which after all were not "commandments" Buddha received from on high, but rules that were created one by one as issues arose and guidelines were needed for a smooth functioning community. How modern. How non-magical.
Thank you for your thoughtful letter.
I will forward it today to Dr. Robert Moore, Zen Master Ji Bong. In the past he has instructed me to attach his original letter to any inquires like this, feeling it addresses any confusion. I can assure you the letter I am attaching is the original written by Zen Master Ji Bong in August of 2008. (I have not seen any others.)
I was unaware of the thread on Dharmawheel.net. I will check it out.
With many bows,
Tim Colohan, JDPSN, Abbott, Golden Wind Zen Center.
Dear Students of the Golden Wind Zen Group and the Public at Large:
It is with a great deal of sadness and wistfulness that I write this letter is to inform you that Paul Lynch was permanently suspended on July 13, 2008 as a Ji Do Poep Sa Nim in the Golden Wind Zen Teaching Order. I originally asked Paul to take a leave of absence as a teacher during which time he could begin to practice regularly once again and make an effort to deal with his severe health problems and personal issues. When informed of this leave-of-absence from teaching, Paul decided to walk away from the sangha entirely.
A Ji Do Poep Sa is permitted to teach only under the direct supervision of their supervising Zen Master according to the Korean/American Zen tradition.
Any teaching done by Paul (under the rubric of a “Before Thinking” organization or in any other forum) is, therefore, presented without the consent or approval of Zen Master Ji Bong. Consequently, Zen Master Ji Bong accepts no responsibility for any of Paul Lynch’s words or actions currently or at any time in the future. Paul Lynch is not in any respect to be considered the Dharma heir of either Zen Master Seung Sahn or Zen Master Ji Bong.
If a student -JDPS is unwilling to follow his/her teacher, that student gives up all rights to any claims of lineage. One has authentic lineage or one has nothing – that is the majesty of the Zen Tradition.
Ironically, this experience has become a good teaching experience for all of us. We must watch our steps in each moment – remember there is always a banana peel close by.
Zen Master Ji Bong (August 17, 2008)
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