Linjis teachings overlooked

Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby oushi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:05 pm

Although Linji was the founder of Rinzai school, the shape of it was greatly modified by Hakuin. Those two approached Zen and practice quite differently. Zen in Linji style is very similar, with its straight teaching, to Dzogchen, whereas Hakuin approach is a mix of rough practices aiming for kensho.
I personally am interested mostly in the actual teachings of Linji. They are very "unusual", contradicting many well established ideas about the Dharma. Maybe that is the reason why, it would die out without the aid of Hakuin. Has any one of you studied Linjis teachings? What are your observations concerning his way of expressing the Dharma?
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Astus » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:46 pm

I'm a great fan of the Linjilu, however, it is not a stand-alone teaching and can't be actually used for a complete path. I also don't see any contradiction between the Linjilu and Mahayana.

This is a recommended work: http://books.google.com/books?id=sNhj17-DNNgC
"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: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby oushi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:07 pm

I'm a great fan of the Linjilu

That is great to hear.
it is not a stand-alone teaching and can't be actually used for a complete path

First of all, it is impossible to know. Secondly, it contradicts the very teaching. If we base the path on a set of "devices of purity", then indeed we can see Linjis teachings as incomplete. But this, in my opinion, misses the whole point. The path is no path, so it cannot be complete. For example, how would you explain this:
Followers of the Way, there is talk of the Way to be practiced and the Dharma to be realized. Tell me, then, what Dharma is to be realized, what Way is to be practiced. At this moment, what do you lack for your functioning? And what do you need to restore by your training? Young students, not understanding anything, put their faith in wild fox sprites and so get entangled in their random talk and fancies such as that in the law, theory and practice must tally, to guard against the three karmic actions and so to attain Buddhahood. Such and other discourses are as frequent as April showers.

The whole point is not to find something, but to realize that there is nothing to find as everything is empty. This can be even done by one sentence. What's more, he repeats himself notoriously in his teachings, which imply that his teaching are complete.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:44 pm

oushi wrote:Although Linji was the founder of Rinzai school, the shape of it was greatly modified by Hakuin. Those two approached Zen and practice quite differently. Zen in Linji style is very similar, with its straight teaching, to Dzogchen, whereas Hakuin approach is a mix of rough practices aiming for kensho.
I personally am interested mostly in the actual teachings of Linji. They are very "unusual", contradicting many well established ideas about the Dharma. Maybe that is the reason why, it would die out without the aid of Hakuin. Has any one of you studied Linjis teachings? What are your observations concerning his way of expressing the Dharma?


I think in Linji's case you need a master who is realized to convey the same experience to the student.

But correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Astus » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:53 pm

Training to realise emptiness, then training to integrate that realisation is the path of the bodhisattva. Linji says nothing else but urges people not to get lost in wrong ideas. However, telling people that there is no self and so there is nothing to attach to in itself doesn't help. That's why there are methods and teachings, to explain and to show to all sorts of people what the Dharma is about. Of course, when one talks to advanced students it's a different speech than when talking to beginners. Linji gives advanced teachings, not for beginners.
"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: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby oushi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:12 pm

Huseng wrote:I think in Linji's case you need a master who is realized to convey the same experience to the student.

But correct me if I'm wrong.

Comparison is difficult here, you know, because it is impossible to do it both ways. So, there is nothing to correct, or prove. What is interesting in Linjis approach (not only) is his emphasis on the false teachers. He stressed it often. We face a dilemma here, because either you find a teacher while risking falling under a charlatans spell, or you stay away and risk misinterpretation.
Linji wrote:For a dozen years I have been looking for one (who is suitable), but have not been able to find as much as a mustard seed. I am afraid those Zen teachers are rather like newlywed brides, uneasy and worried about being chased out of their homes and starving to death.

Without the need of investigating this dilemma further, I applied myself to the teaching. Every time I read it, I had the meaning in my hand, but the meaning was different then the previous one. It transformed accordingly. One can say, that this is a great risk of misinterpretation. It is, but in thin case, you cannot hold to misinterpretation for too long, and because the previous attempt was fruitful, you try it again. So, it works with you while you work with it. I think the genius lies in the teaching of no attainment. In the moment of reading, you hold specific desire for attainment and Linjis method is applied directly to it. As desires change, teaching changes accordingly. In some cases, authority of a master can stand on your way to interact with the teaching, and maybe because of that, it is rarely used by Zen authorities.

Astus wrote:However, telling people that there is no self and so there is nothing to attach to in itself doesn't help.

I should urge you to read his teaching once more. Not only does Linji stay away from "no self", but most of his message affirms "True man of no status".
Astus wrote:That's why there are methods and teachings, to explain and to show to all sorts of people what the Dharma is about.

Linji wrote:There is no Buddha to seek, no Way to accomplish, no Dharma to be obtained. If you seek Buddha in external forms, he would not be more than yourself. Do you want to know your original heart? You can neither know it nor separate yourself from it.

This is the difference, which is overlooked
:anjali:

Of course, when one talks to advanced students it's a different speech than when talking to beginners. Linji gives advanced teachings, not for beginners.

I don't know what is the cause of such approach, but most people that I discussed Linjis teaching with, will say that. Are you advanced student, or beginner?
Certainly he does not talk to a farmer walking by, nor is his teaching directed only to advanced students.
Linji wrote:"As for me, if anyone comes with a question, I know him to the bottom, whether he be monk or layman. Whatever position he may come with, all are only words and names, dreams and phantoms."
...
You belittle yourselves by modestly saying: "we are but common men—he is a sage." You bald idiots! What is the frantic hurry to deck yourselves in a lion's skin when all the while you are yapping like wild foxes? A real man has no need to give himself the airs of a real man!
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:19 pm

oushi wrote:Comparison is difficult here, you know, because it is impossible to do it both ways. So, there is nothing to correct, or prove. What is interesting in Linjis approach (not only) is his emphasis on the false teachers. He stressed it often. We face a dilemma here, because either you find a teacher while risking falling under a charlatans spell, or you stay away and risk misinterpretation.


I've come to understand that in Zen and Chan a teacher is required. It isn't cultivated through systematic learning. It is a transmission outside the scriptures. The literature generally speaks of "excellent means" 妙用 being employed by masters at ripe moments where they knew the disciple's mind would be ready for awakening. Chan was never systematic or even logical. It is a teaching beyond words and letters. I know nowadays there are people trying to systematize Chan, but historically it always seems, at least in my readings and experience in Japan and Taiwan, that a master was required.

This is still generally held to be the case as far as I know in Japan and Taiwan.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby oushi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:38 pm

Huseng wrote:
oushi wrote:Comparison is difficult here, you know, because it is impossible to do it both ways. So, there is nothing to correct, or prove. What is interesting in Linjis approach (not only) is his emphasis on the false teachers. He stressed it often. We face a dilemma here, because either you find a teacher while risking falling under a charlatans spell, or you stay away and risk misinterpretation.


I've come to understand that in Zen and Chan a teacher is required. It isn't cultivated through systematic learning. It is a transmission outside the scriptures. The literature generally speaks of "excellent means" 妙用 being employed by masters at ripe moments where they knew the disciple's mind would be ready for awakening. Chan was never systematic or even logical. It is a teaching beyond words and letters. I know nowadays there are people trying to systematize Chan, but historically it always seems, at least in my readings and experience in Japan and Taiwan, that a master was required.

This is still generally held to be the case as far as I know in Japan and Taiwan.

This may be caused by mysterious nature of Zen. To be more clear, this is how one can recognize false Zen master. If he knows what Zen is, he is certainly not a master. The only work that master is needed for, is to undo knots, as it is very hard to do by oneself. Here is a quote from Bodhidharma sermon:
"It’s true, you have the buddha-nature. But the help of a teacher you’ll never know it. Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help. If, though, by the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha meant, that person doesn’t need a teacher. Such a person has a natural awareness superior to anything taught."

So, all this transmission thingy is a little bit exaggerated and appealing for teachers that want to build and sustain a school.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:18 pm

oushi wrote:So, all this transmission thingy is a little bit exaggerated and appealing for teachers that want to build and sustain a school.


Overconfidence has been the ruin of many a man and woman.

In older forms of Buddhist thought like abhidharma, philosophy and general sutra, you don't need a guru. They wrote it down so people could benefit from it and hopefully gain the means to liberation. I believe that a guru as a precondition for liberation was a later development in Buddhism in India which was eventually transmitted to China. Post-Gupta India saw the rise of feudalism with both Hindu and Buddhist doctrines shifting towards dependence on living authorities rather than scripture. In other words, more pressing concern with hierarchy and authority than before. That is not to say this is a negative thing that should be rejected, but just that in the classical exoteric approach having a guru is not a precondition for liberation.

In a lot of Classical Indian thought it seems assumed that you can become liberated through reading, understanding and realizing the content of scriptures. There is no particular need for it to be transmitted from a superior to you. You just need to accurately understand the content and apply it. For instance, Nāgārjuna's basic model suggests dhyāna coupled with realization of emptiness (wisdom) as a means to liberation. He doesn't mention a guru as a precondition, though perhaps it helps to have reliable spiritual friends. However, liberation in this context is not identical to attaining buddhahood.

So, presumably if you master dhyāna and read scriptures while maintaining a moral lifestyle you'll advance towards liberation. It might not be a lineage or identifiable tradition you're following, but then in earlier periods I don't detect much concern for such things.

In the Chan context, however, they definitely depend on a transmission outside the scriptures from master to disciple. This is undeniable.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby oushi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:40 pm

Huseng wrote:Overconfidence has been the ruin of many a man and woman.

And lack of it was called Mara.. by Linji :smile: .
In the Chan context, however, they definitely depend on a transmission outside the scriptures from master to disciple. This is undeniable.

This way, you need to refute the quote from Bodhidharma teaching I posted before. Moreover, 6th patriarch awakening should be denied, as no master assisted in it, so the line is broken and transmission false. I'm certainly not an expert, that is why I ask, what is being transmited?
Linji wrote:There is no special meaning in the transmission of Buddha and patriarchs. Though there is a verbal teaching, it falls into the temporary explanation of cause and effect of the Three Vehicles and the Five Natures, and of men and Devas.

Still,
Linji wrote:Followers of the Way, I hold the transmission of the generations from Mayoku Osho, Tanka Osho, Doitsu Osho, Rozan Osho, Sekikyo Osho.

Transmission is confirmation, what else could it be?

But we are getting out of topic here.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Astus » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:18 pm

oushi wrote:Not only does Linji stay away from "no self", but most of his message affirms "True man of no status".


Well, the expression "true man without rank" (無位眞人) occurs in the Linjilu only in one story and used three times there. And that's it. Hardly a central teaching, although it is true that commentators and exegetes made the expression famous. Statements about how the things are empty appearances and names, however, comes up several times.

"All the dharmas of this world and of the worlds beyond are without self-nature. Also, they are without produced nature. They are just empty names, and these names are also empty." (Record of Linji, p. 19, tr. Sasaki)

And that's why, because appearances are indeed empty, dependently originated and mind made, there's nothing to hold on to, but rather to learn to let go of attachments.

"As for myself, I haven’t a single dharma to give to people. All I can do is to cure illnesses and untie bonds." (p. 22)

Certainly he does not talk to a farmer walking by, nor is his teaching directed only to advanced students.


The entire text makes several references to common Buddhist teachings and scriptures, something that a person new to East Asian Mahayana can make little sense of. There is no explanation of ethics, nor meditation methods, nor clarification of how to become free from delusions, or why. Linji himself admits,

"It is not that I understood from the moment I was born of my mother, but that, after exhaustive investigation and grinding practice, in one instant I knew for myself." (p. 22)

Although he talks about direct and sudden enlightenment, just like many other Zen teachers before and after him, he was not without extensive knowledge of Mahayana. Teaching the essential meaning of Buddhism is not difficult for one who realised it personally, but it doesn't mean that the audience can make an immediate step into profound emptiness. Even those who exclusively focus on the Zen teachings under the guidance of a teacher spend years or even decades fully comprehending it. That is clear proof how even the most direct and sudden teaching fails to deliver immediate awakening. Just consider a very basic Buddhist teaching, impermanence. It is seemingly very easy to understand, everybody knows that nothing lasts forever. But a true insight into impermanence is liberation, something that just doesn't happen to everyone hearing about the fact that all things die. And that's why I say that the Linjilu presents an advanced view of Mahayana. I don't mean that it is or should be restricted, no way. But it takes a certain level of familiarity with the Buddhist path to have an actual impact on a practitioner.

The Linjilu, which is not an actual record of verbal teachings but a literary work of the highly developed Chinese Buddhist community from the Song era, was meant for educated Chinese monks and literati. This distance a modern reader has to overcome first. A living teacher can express the Dharma in a way that is fitting for the cultural and linguistic environment of the students. And I'm not saying that Zen requires a teacher to be practised. Zen is, however, only found in the living realisation of the Buddhadharma. That is the difference between dead words and live words. The Linjilu must come alive first to the reader in order to be understood. And this is not a simple obstacle. Nevertheless, as long as one feels the affinity, it is the right path.
"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: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby oushi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:31 pm

Well, the expression "true man without rank" (無位眞人) occurs in the Linjilu only in one story and used three times there. And that's it.

Yes, this "true man without rank" appears 3 times in one story but.... Let see.
Linji wrote:Not so the True Man of the Way who goes with the concurrent causes to wipe out his old Karma and lets things follow their own course. He dresses himself as is fitting; when he wants to go, he goes; when he wants to stay, he stays. Not even for the fraction of a moment does he aspire to Buddhahood.
....
There is only the Independent Man of the Way who is now listening to the Dharma. He is the mother of all the Buddhas.
...
The aim of the profound teachings of all the Buddhas is rather to see the man who can ride all circumstances. The state of Buddha cannot say of itself “I am a Buddha-state.” It is rather the independent man of the Way who avails himself of all states.
...
Venerable ones, what do you seek? He who stands clearly revealed and distinct before your eyes, listening to the Dharma, this Independent Man of the Way lacks nothing at all.
....
But the man of the Way who does not depend on anything makes use of both the moving and the motionless.
...
Wherefore all the Devas rejoice, the spirits of the earth support your feet (gesture of adoration), and of all the Buddhas of the ten directions, none hold back with their praise. And how does this come to be so? Because the man of the Way who now is listening to the Dharma leaves no trace of his activities.

Certainly a leading theme here.

Astus wrote:The entire text makes several references to common Buddhist teachings and scriptures, something that a person new to East Asian Mahayana can make little sense of.

Doesn't have to, as those references are made to disregard those scriptures. Check for yourself :smile:

Astus wrote: Linji himself admits,
"It is not that I understood from the moment I was born of my mother, but that, after exhaustive investigation and grinding practice, in one instant I knew for myself." (p. 22)

This very attitude you are presenting, makes the whole problem. Doubt and disbelief, are the cause of hardship. It is also well described in his teachings.

Although he talks about direct and sudden enlightenment, just like many other Zen teachers before and after him, he was not without extensive knowledge of Mahayana. Teaching the essential meaning of Buddhism is not difficult for one who realised it personally, but it doesn't mean that the audience can make an immediate step into profound emptiness. Even those who exclusively focus on the Zen teachings under the guidance of a teacher spend years or even decades fully comprehending it. That is clear proof how even the most direct and sudden teaching fails to deliver immediate awakening. Just consider a very basic Buddhist teaching, impermanence. It is seemingly very easy to understand, everybody knows that nothing lasts forever. But a true insight into impermanence is liberation, something that just doesn't happen to everyone hearing about the fact that all things die. And that's why I say that the Linjilu presents an advanced view of Mahayana. I don't mean that it is or should be restricted, no way. But it takes a certain level of familiarity with the Buddhist path to have an actual impact on a practitioner.

You bring up an issue that I didn't even touch. Did I ever mention that Linjis approach is easy and quick way to awakening? No. So, it means that you have predefined attitude toward this teaching, which is characterized by disbelief. "The master said: A moment of doubt in your heart is Mara.". So, Mara is standing on you way, no wonder the teaching doesn't seem to work.

Astus wrote:The Linjilu, which is not an actual record of verbal teachings but a literary work of the highly developed Chinese Buddhist community from the Song era, was meant for educated Chinese monks and literati.

This is popular and wrong approach. It creates conditions for disbelief. As I am not a educated Chinese monk, my understanding has to be wrong. Such attitude brings the thing, Linji is trying to remove from his students. People think "It cannot be so simple" and discard it. The power of the teaching comes from its simplicity. Its meaning should be treated literally and applied directly, without doubt. It wont enlighten people at sight, but will trigger rapid progress. I admit, that seeing emptiness of things is not easy thing. Even seen, is not recognized. But Linjis teachings are very effective tool to trigger insights into it, and that is the only way to recognize it. Intellectual understanding is of no use.

One more thing. It is important to know, that even if Linji message is misunderstood, as it is easy to proclaim "I have it!", it brings benefits by triggering not seeking. If you think you have it, you don't have to look for it any more and conditions for insight arise. If applied with full trust, it sprouts with kenshos like meadow in spring.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Astus » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:12 pm

Let me ask then, taking a simple approach to Linji, what is his teaching in today's practical terms?

"Man of the Way" is simply an expression for "practitioner".
"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: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby greentara » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:36 am

"Linji's major concern seems to have been that his students resist intellection. Linji himself was able to speculate philosophically while still a natural man, using conceptual thought only when it served his purpose. But perhaps his students could not, for he constantly had to remind them that striving and learning were counterproductive"
Thats a change as Buddhism is top heavy with pundits, boffins, and countless experts giving talks. Even though I've heard of Hakuin, I wasn't that familiar with Lingi. The master Lingi cuts through the 'chatter', he sounds like a breathe of fresh air to me.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby greentara » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:37 am

Sorry should read Linji.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby oushi » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:03 am

Astus wrote:Let me ask then, taking a simple approach to Linji, what is his teaching in today's practical terms?

"Man of the Way" is simply an expression for "practitioner".

Then draw further conclusions, as "independent Man of the Way lacks nothing at all", practitioner lacks nothing at all. That is a starting point, and you can easily start from here. Just apply it.
greentara wrote:"Linji's major concern seems to have been that his students resist intellection. Linji himself was able to speculate philosophically while still a natural man, using conceptual thought only when it served his purpose. But perhaps his students could not, for he constantly had to remind them that striving and learning were counterproductive"
Thats a change as Buddhism is top heavy with pundits, boffins, and countless experts giving talks. Even though I've heard of Hakuin, I wasn't that familiar with Lingi. The master Lingi cuts through the 'chatter', he sounds like a breathe of fresh air to me.

I should have started from this : http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/Translations/Teachings_of_Rinzai.pdf (I would suggest starting from 10. end then returning to 1.-10.)

Not only does he cuts through the chatter, but also he discards all devices and teachings. He is known for saying "If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha", but it is often misinterpreted if taken out of context. "Whether you turn to the outside or to the inside, whatever you
encounter, kill it". This quote is far more important. Kills all desires, goals, practices, methods, and fantasies in a quick and direct way.

Linji wrote:You say that everywhere there is training and there is realization. Do not be deceived. Though something can be attained by training, it only creates the Karma of rebirth and death.
You say you train in the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Practices. As I see it, they are all productive of Karma. To seek the Buddha, to seek the Dharma, those produce only Karma in hell. To seek the Bodhisattvas is again producing Karma. Reading the Sutras and Treatises also produces Karma. The Buddhas and patriarchs are men who have nothing further to seek. So that whether it (the heart) moves or does not move, and whether consequently there is action or not, all are pure deeds (not producing Karma).

It is obvious that such statements wont bring him many fans, but it is also obvious that he is right by pointing to often justified desire for attainment. People sometimes glorify practice, rituals, seeking nirvana forgetting that this is also karma producing. Linji kills it all, without exceptions.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Astus » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:20 am

oushi wrote:Then draw further conclusions, as "independent Man of the Way lacks nothing at all", practitioner lacks nothing at all. That is a starting point, and you can easily start from here. Just apply it.


And that is where I ask you, how to apply? Linji says "kill", but how do you "kill"? If practitioners don't lack anything what is there to do? If there is nothing to do then nothing changes and it all remains just as before: samsara.
"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: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby oushi » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:57 pm

Astus wrote:If practitioners don't lack anything what is there to do? If there is nothing to do then nothing changes and it all remains just as before: samsara.

The answer appears few times in the teaching:
Linji wrote:Followers of the Way, if you know that fundamentally there is nothing to seek, you have settled your affairs. But because you have little faith, you run about agitatedly, seeking your head which you think you have lost. You cannot stop yourselves.


Astus wrote:Linji says "kill", but how do you "kill"?

Linji wrote:Just put your heart (mind) at rest and seek nothing outside. When things come towards you, look at them clearly. Have faith in the one who is functioning at this moment, and all things of themselves become empty.

Relax, and drop the desire to perceive meaning.
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby pueraeternus » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:11 pm

Huseng wrote:I believe that a guru as a precondition for liberation was a later development in Buddhism in India which was eventually transmitted to China. Post-Gupta India saw the rise of feudalism with both Hindu and Buddhist doctrines shifting towards dependence on living authorities rather than scripture. In other words, more pressing concern with hierarchy and authority than before. That is not to say this is a negative thing that should be rejected, but just that in the classical exoteric approach having a guru is not a precondition for liberation.


Indeed. In the Agamas, the Buddha's last exhortation to his disciples was rather clear on this point (Parinibbana Sutta):

'Ended is the word of the Master; we have a Master no longer.' But it should not, Ananda, be so considered. For that which I have proclaimed and made known as the Dhamma and the Discipline, that shall be your Master when I am gone.


And of course this:

Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.


I wonder if we can pinpoint more or less when in Buddhism does the primacy of the guru comes into play? Would that be the early stages of esoteric or vajrayana Buddhism?
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Re: Linjis teachings overlooked

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:30 pm

pueraeternus wrote:I wonder if we can pinpoint more or less when in Buddhism does the primacy of the guru comes into play? Would that be the early stages of esoteric or vajrayana Buddhism?


I suspect that towards the end of the Gupta (550) and the rise of Indian feudalism thereafter we can identify practices or lineages that insist on a guru as a precondition for liberation. This was perhaps tied in with vast cultural and religious changes in north India where authority, both political and religious, came to be heavily emphasized. This likewise applied to Hindu schools of thought as well. Buddhist institutions like Nālandā became fortresses with abbots acting effectively as lords over the peoples in their territories. In such a cultural context authority and deference to authority seem to have become a lot more emphasized than ever before.

Chan definitely had the idea of a teaching transmitted outside of scriptures from master to disciple, though that might have specifically come to exist in the seventh or eighth centuries. According to McRae in Seeing Through Zen, Bodhidharma forms the "proto-Chan", having died around 530 (see page 13). There's also a source saying Bodhidharma arrived from Persia in China in 547 (see page 26). A lot of the details of his hagiography and the teachings attributed to him are difficult to take at face value. So, assuming Chan really starts in the 7th century, there would have been such influences from India and especially all the more so come the 8th century when Indian esoteric masters started introducing practices which required initiation and lineage.
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