Myth in Buddhism

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:13 am

Sara H wrote:Huseng, the big, gaping problem with your theory here, is that you don't even need to be able to read, to understand Buddhism.


In the last twenty or so centuries writing has been a key component to the Buddhist project, starting in India and then spreading elsewhere.

In illiterate communities someone teaching the Jataka Tales and other such readily understood stories would be doing a great service to the people, but that wouldn't be the same as a thorough understanding of emptiness and establishing right view.

The latter are especially essential to becoming an adept.


Learning to listen to, and to trust your own intuition is a major point of Buddhism.


Listening to your three poisons and acting on them is not Buddhadharma.

You're clinging. You're clinging to intellectualism, saying "it must be true, there is no truth without intellectualism."


And you're anti-intellectual. That's a far worse sin in my books.



All you have to do is stop thinking about it, and truly let it go, and you'll get it.



I don't think you're a credible authority, so I don't believe you.



Just stop thinking about it, and it will come to you.


If this was how to achieve realization, a beer bottle over the back of the head would be sufficient to awaken somebody.

However, we know this is not the case.

Moreover, plenty of heterodox engage in meditation not unlike shikantaza, for instance, yet are not credited with arhatship or attainment of noble bodhisattvahood.

So, there's something more to it than just "stop thinking about it".
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5561
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Sara H » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:25 am

Practicing sitting through our emotions and listing to our intuition, and being able to tell the difference, is what makes up the daily bulk of everyday normal Buddhist practice.

That's why we call it a "practice".

It takes a bit of time and effort to learn how to do that well.

That's normal Huseng.

It takes time to learn how to see the difference between your normal feelings and your Intuition.

It just takes time to learn. And you can only learn to do that by practicing it.

Which is why we sit.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Sara H » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:43 am

Huseng wrote:
Sara H wrote:Learning to listen to, and to trust your own intuition is a major point of Buddhism.


Listening to your three poisons and acting on them is not Buddhadharma.


So you think that your own intuition is just greed, anger, and delusion?

From Buddhism From Within, by Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy:

The Intoxicants of Everyday Life

Now, to use the word 'drunk' in this context may seem a bit
far-fetched, but the similarities between alcohol or drug abuse and
the usual approach most of us take to life are rather striking. Let
me use myself as an example. I am a drug addict: for many years
I doped myself up on 'speed,' 'uppers,' those drugs that make you
feel powerful and in control, that make your mind race and make
you feel 'alive.' As with all other families of intoxicants, there are
many types of uppers, and I will not try to describe them all, but
let me tell you a little about my personal drug of choice: the drug
of knowledge. I am a knowledge addict. And knowledge, as the
old saying goes, is power. "I know more than you do"; I have
power. And, "I am right." There is not too much in this world that is
sweeter and more addictive than the wine of being right. Over the
course of my youth this addiction deepened and led me further
and further into knowledge dependency. There were times as a
graduate student when I was so 'high' on knowledge that my mind
would literally race to the point where I could barely sleep and eat
because of the sheer excitement and fascination of what I was find-
ing out. In fact, I got to the edge of the very 'skid row' of knowl-
edge addiction: I almost became an absent-minded professor.
People may think that the absent-minded professor is a quaint and
charming figure, but having known some of them and almost
become one myself, I can tell you that the absent-minded profes-
sor is actually an addict. Fortunately for me, I recognized this in
time, and for some years now I have been sober. We might per-
haps refer to me as a 'recovering intellectual.' Amusing as this
phrase seems, there is a certain truth to it, because the old habit
is deeply engrained and the old temptation in the direction of
knowledge addiction never completely goes away. As anyone who
has had experience with literal alcohol or drug abuse can say, the
real question is not whether one is an alcoholic or addict; it is
whether one is a drunk alcoholic or a sober one, a stoned addict
a stoned addict or a clean one.

Knowledge, of course, is but one form of 'speed drug.' And
the 'speed drugs,' seen in Buddhist terms, are the greed drugs.
That is, they are the ways of life that intoxicate us through the lure
of getting the things that we crave or are attached to. Greed, in
this way of looking at it, is compounded attachment. Greed is the
use of additional attachments to distract ourselves from the
painful consequences of the simple attachments which are com-
mon to the human condition. It is the attempt to solve the 'faster
horses problem'* by trying to collect the whole stable!

-Source: MacPhillamy, D. (2003). Chapter 2, "Older Whiskey". In Buddhism from within (pp. 12-13). Mount Shasta, California: Shasta Abbey Press.


*Poster's note: the 'faster horses problem' refers to the human problem
of constant dissatisfaction with what we have, and so trying to constantly
seek the next 'better thing.' I.E., a 'faster horse.' See chapter one of Buddhism From Within
for a complete chapter on this.

"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:20 am

Sara H wrote:It just takes time to learn. And you can only learn to do that by practicing it.

Which is why we sit.


Then I'll leave you to your privileged position gained through experience of sitting, and keep to my own way of doing things.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5561
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Namgyal » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:18 am

Huseng wrote:In the last twenty or so centuries writing has been a key component to the Buddhist project...Listening to your three poisons...a beer bottle over the back of the head would be sufficient to awaken somebody. However, we know this is not the case.

...or a shoe over the back of the head in the case of Mahasiddha Naropa. Intuition and emotions are not simply the activity of the three poisons, as you well know, they also have a pure aspect. One can achieve enlightenment without books, but not without love.
:namaste:
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:26 pm

Huseng wrote:
Sara H wrote:It just takes time to learn. And you can only learn to do that by practicing it.

Which is why we sit.


Then I'll leave you to your privileged position gained through experience of sitting, and keep to my own way of doing things.


What privilege?
All you need to sit is a rear end.
Do your sitting there.
people who try practice dharma only with their brains
are working at the wrong end.
:rolling:
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:28 pm

Huseng wrote:Myth means a story or anything delivered by word of mouth that is regarded as holy, sacred, spiritual and/or endorsed by sufficient numbers of people to make it socially potent.


The story of Buddha transmitting the dharma to Mahākāśyapa wordlessly (holding up a flower) is myth in the sense that it is part of the Buddha legend. Whether it ever really happened or not, no one can say. Zen buddhists generally accept that it did happen, and that this is the essence of transmission in Zen.

Myth can also refer to an assumption or belief which may not be true. For example, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used the title The Myth Of Freedom for one of his books to suggest that the things we often assume liberate us from dissatisfaction actually don't.

If the question which has come up is about whether transmission in the Zen context is literally true, or whether it is merely the unprovable re-enactment of a legend, then this can only be answered by establishing what qualifies as validation. In other words, if Zen transmission is true, how can this be proven? How can we validate that?

One argument says that since it can be shown that some zen masters have engaged in corrupt activities, that this negates what should otherwise be a flawless example of transmission. We expect that "confirmed" Zen masters should be infallible, perhaps even Buddhas themselves, if what they claim is to have received what is basically an unbroken transmission from the Buddha. Somewhat like Christmas tree lights. If a bulb doesn't glow, something must be inherently wrong in the assumption that electricity is going through the wire uninterrupted. The bulb at the end should look just like the first bulb, the Buddha himself.

However, it is also argued that transmission is not the passing along of full Buddhahood, but merely a recognition of realization (kensho), with the implication that this realization enables one to further lead others to the same realization as well. But realization of what? My understanding is that it is the realization of the true nature of Mind.

If this is the case, then the question really boils down to "what is this realization?" What is kensho?" And, I think, for the most part, this question has been answered historically.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:18 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:However, it is also argued that transmission is not the passing along of full Buddhahood, but merely a recognition of realization (kensho), with the implication that this realization enables one to further lead others to the same realization as well. But realization of what? My understanding is that it is the realization of the true nature of Mind.


Again, I don't see how Dharma transmission is necessary. Your arguments are not convincing. Leadership does not require a mythological narrative. This strikes me as coming from a feudal mentality rather than a more democratic one where spiritual autocracy is neither desirable nor suitable.

You and several others here keep telling me how things are supposed to be, but nevertheless the system historically and presently clearly does not function as you would explain it here. In my opinion this is all the more reason to adopt more egalitarian and democratic models where leadership, both institutional and spiritual, is decided by common consensus rather than being decided by a few individuals.

The extends to Buddhist communities in general, too. The Buddha's original intent, I believe, was leadership by the community. An adept need not have any title, or special privileges for that matter.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5561
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby shel » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:38 pm

Sara H wrote:
shel wrote:Incidentally, in my family we believe that to really honor anyone is to see them as they are, not an idealized or exaggerated version. To celebrate an idealized version of the dead is to truly kill them, because you erase what they actually were and replace them with someone else, someone that they were not.


It's idealized or exaggerated to say that people who taught the Dharma, did in fact teach the Dharma?


I'd very much like to address this question, however to effectively do so I need a basis of understanding. So if you could first tell me what your understanding of Zen is we might better communicate. What is Zen? Is it essentially, for instance, just getting a "glimpse of Buddha nature"?
shel
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:41 pm

Huseng wrote:
Sara H wrote:All you have to do is stop thinking about it, and truly let it go, and you'll get it.

I don't think you're a credible authority, so I don't believe you.

Huseng, how can you say that? First of all, Sara H has had a KENSHO, no doubt confirmed by the great ZEN MASTERS of the OBC, two of whom she has on her speed dial, and, as is well known, the OBC is a completely uncontroversial and absolutely authoritative Buddhist organization. Secondly, her posts demonstrate such obvious spiritual maturity, insight, open-mindedness and humility that I can't see how any right thinking person could possibly doubt her authority. It's true, the profound meaning of her remarks might be beyond the grasp of mere scholars, but it's still a privilege just to read them, don't you think?
Last edited by dzogchungpa on Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
User avatar
dzogchungpa
 
Posts: 1438
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby conebeckham » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:45 pm

Huseng wrote:
conebeckham wrote:...in the end, these Buddhist traditions are, and must be, Living Traditions, maintained by Humans (and other sentient beings?) who have some capacity to judge. Huseng, even in a meritocracy, someone must judge a potential candidate on their merits, yes?


Yes, they must be living traditions, but authority assigned via some mythological transmission is unnecessary. Ideally in a democratic model the membership would vote on their leadership and carry on like that. A master-disciple relationship need not be connected with institutional authority.


I've got no problem with that model you propose, but I don't believe it precludes the "reality" of a "transmission." I think we may have different ideas of what the "transmission" is, however--and I confess to much ignorance regarding "Zen transmission." In my perfect world, the master should have an experiential understanding of Sunyata, Sugatagarbha, Satori, whatever you want to call it --and this what is "transmitted" via the variety of methods which have become accretized as "myth." That should be the only "authority" we recognize, ultimately, though it's a tricky slope, as who can really say? Sara claims it's "verifiable." In Tibetan lineages, I also think that claim can be made....but of course it is up to one's teacher to determine that. Thus, there is "authority" and "bestowal of authority." I don't know if this "authority" is that which should govern the institutional, societal structures and platforms that represent Buddhism, however. I think there are different "skill sets," in terms of being a "Dharma Teacher," and running a Buddhist institution, and that these skill sets can be complementary, but are not necessarily so.

Huseng wrote:
conebeckham wrote:These techniques, as well as Zen's "Transmission Outside the Scriptures," I'd guess, are more relevant, to me, than any scriptural study or "learning," or any practice based entirely on such written words.


This is a prejudice a lot of westerners have, but then you see it with Tibetan folks from Karma Kagyu and Nyingma as well. There is widespread anti-intellectualism amongst said communities. Just the other day a Kagyu monk told me what he thinks of Gelug-pa monks who are all into study, but "don't practice". I've heard similar sentiments around India.


I, too, have heard this from others, Huseng. I think it's an improper, or to be charitable, "partial" understanding at best. Certainly, Kagyupas ( and, I suppose, Nyingmapas) stress the importance of practice above "learning." But knowledge and study are vital and essential as well. The stress is on experiential, "lived" knowledge, however, and not intellect or "learning." To ground this distinction in the topic of "transmission," for instance--if one reads enough Mahamudra books, one can certainly parrot the language to the point that one could describe, fairly accurately, the State of Mahamudra. The question of whether this is merely an exceedingly erudite conceptual mastery of the subject, or a description borne primarily from one's personal experience, would be best answered by those with the authority to do so. (Of course, the conceptual knowledge is also part of one's experience, but I think you understand the distinction I'm trying to make here.)

Huseng wrote:Is it because cultivation of practice is so difficult to gauge, whereas with learning it is quite clear who understands the canon and material and who doesn't? A practitioner who has read their canon is clearly discernible from one who has not and is just relying on word of mouth and intuition.

I don't understand this deep prejudice against written words. Scriptures were penned down so people could read them. Reading is not unlike listening in that you receive and comprehend the ideas of another. Arguably written words are better in some contexts because you can always reread and clarify the meaning of words you don't understand.


My personal prejudice is not against written words; it is against those who rely only on the written words, without interaction with, or support of, a genuine teacher. When one relies on books alone, Buddhist Dharma will be dead, dessicated, though perhaps Buddhist culture and "religion" will carry on. I've read a lot of books, though I don't profess to have read the canon--not even a small part of it, really. My practice has benefited greatly from books, and will continue to do so. I hope and plan to read and study until the end of my days. But when a given text is presented by a genuine teacher, and elucidated from the point of view of that teacher, the benefit and value of that text becomes so much richer and more powerful than any mere reading.

As for this subsequent discussion:
Huseng wrote:
Sara wrote:Just stop thinking about it, and it will come to you.


If this was how to achieve realization, a beer bottle over the back of the head would be sufficient to awaken somebody.

However, we know this is not the case.


As noted above, a swipe of the sandal upside the head has been documented as "sufficient to awaken somebody." Perhaps that's a "myth?" In which sense of that word, however, is up to us to decide.

I cannot wholly endorse Sara's statement "Just Stop Thinking, etc." but there's a kernel of good advice there, at least for those who are mired in conceptual proliferation.

I'm pretty certain that neither you, nor Sara, truly represent the positions you appear to represent here. Huseng, I know that you value meditation as well as study, if not more so. And I feel Sara values the lineage and traditions of her particular Zen practice, which includes the corpus of knowledge, theory, and "tradition" which is conceptual and historical. Understanding the crux of "Myth"--in what ways is it "true?" In what ways does it represent an instructive "fiction? And in what ways might it be misused?" -- seems to me to require balance and open mindedness, as well as clarity and focus.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2424
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:40 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:However, it is also argued that transmission is not the passing along of full Buddhahood, but merely a recognition of realization (kensho), with the implication that this realization enables one to further lead others to the same realization as well. But realization of what? My understanding is that it is the realization of the true nature of Mind.

Huseng wrote:Again, I don't see how Dharma transmission is necessary. Your arguments are not convincing. Leadership does not require a mythological narrative. This strikes me as coming from a feudal mentality rather than a more democratic one where spiritual autocracy is neither desirable nor suitable.

Did I say "require?" of leadership? Why are you interjecting that?
Leadership of a group is one thing. Transmission of a lineage is another.
And, who suggested that Buddhism is, or should be based on a model of democracy?
If that's your concern, maybe you should start a separate topic on it.

Huseng wrote:You and several others here keep telling me how things are supposed to be, but nevertheless the system historically and presently clearly does not function as you would explain it here. In my opinion this is all the more reason to adopt more egalitarian and democratic models where leadership, both institutional and spiritual, is decided by common consensus rather than being decided by a few individuals.


All in favor of who is enlightened, raise your hand!!!! :rolling:

Who is telling you how things are supposed to be?
You still haven't shown that overall it doesn't function.

Huseng wrote: The Buddha's original intent, I believe, was leadership by the community. An adept need not have any title, or special privileges for that matter.

Blind leading the blind?

Sanghas can certainly be structured collectively /democratically /by consensus.
That's the politics of group structure.
And yes, in terms of group structure, from what I have personally seen, it works better.
Members feel more involved and more motivated to participate in how the organization functions.
There is a proper outlet for complaints. There is more connection with the community outside of the sangha as well, and in the West, where buddhism is still the new kid on the block, this is important.

But that has nothing to do with dharma transmission, teachings, lineage and so forth.
I have also seen groups making up their own buddhist path as they go along,
with no lineage behind them, no teacher in charge,
and mostly what happens is a lot of arguing and conflicting personality politics
-and plenty of abuse of power-
before the whole thing falls apart.

I would say, a traditional structure of transmission-based lineage hierarchy,
preserved by a democratically organized group support system
works best in the west.

But all this is...
:offtopic:
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Sara H » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:49 am

I think I should post something by an actual Zen Master who explains this in plain language:

From Chapter 9, "Apostolic Succession" in Zen is Eternal Life by Rōshi P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett

Although
Shakyamuni Buddha had only two masters and then decided
to "go it alone," the Zen trainee, as stated earlier, usually has
three, the last one standing in place of Shakyamuni Buddha
as His representative and descendant in the apostolic line. There
is a grave danger in this knowledge in that people think
that they cannot reach the Truth of Zen without a master but
nothing could be further from the meaning of Zen. After all,
Shakyamuni Buddha did not have a honshi—He made His own
way to realisation, and He was a man, not a god, from the
beginning of His life until His death: He was not gifted with
any power that we do not, ourselves, possess. So long as we
believe that we possess the Buddha Nature, and follow the
system of meditation taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, we can
rediscover that same Buddha Nature within ourselves without
any outside help—all that is really necessary is that we have

sufficient belief in its existence: once again I quote, "Remember
thou MUST go alone, the Buddhas do but point the way."
However, in this day and age, it is essential that a person present
himself to a master for certification in order to protect the
public from fraud if he wishes to act as a priest after realising
the Truth by himself. Many honshis act as catalysts for their
disciples; they do it by means of acute observation and spiritual
intuition, not by any magical power, although it may seem
they possess extraordinary powers to the ordinary man or
woman.

This last sentence may seem somewhat sweeping to
some so I will try to make it clearer. The honshi is the person
who ratifies the final realisation of Zen Truth, but we should
remember that many stories tell of people arriving at their
realisations as a result of inanimate objects: in these cases the
objects were the catalysts. Such a realisation is afterwards confirmed
by the trainee's honshi as a realisation and the honshi
adds his spiritual certainty at confirmation. Spiritual certainty,
the Turning of the Wheel, and observation over a long period
of time—it is debatable which of the two is the more valuable
since a person may Turn the Wheel and still have a long
way to go in order to perfect himself—will tell the teacher
when the disciple is truly ready for Transmission. The Turning
of the Wheel tells both master and disciple of the meeting
of Buddha Nature with Buddha Nature; of heart with heart;
the flowing of the two into one and the one merging into the
immaculacy of nothingness. This spiritual intuition and certainty
apart, a person may still not be ready for Transmission
for some time after his realisation since his character training
may not be finished but, in this sense, no disciple is ever fully
ready for Transmission since a perfect character is impossible:
a real kenshō, however, will make the character training
a thousand times easier for both the master and the disciple.

Because of the importance of character training, and herein
the master's observation comes into play, the honshi must at
all times set an example of being as perfect as possible within
the Precepts, and it is the duty of the disciple to copy his good
points and not his mistakes. All masters make mistakes, being
human, and some make them deliberately so as to make
sure that the disciple does not stay with immaculacy but learns
that there is nothing holy or unholy anywhere; at the same
time, knowing that both master and disciple are imperfect,
they must still continue their own training whilst remaining
perfectly themselves, sometimes even performing a seemingly
evil act (for which they will bear the karmic consequences) in
order to teach the disciple the TRUE meaning of right and wrong.
A honshi, after observing the trainee over a long period of time,
affirms or denies the latter's understanding by either giving
or withholding the sealed, silken certificates of Transmission
and doing the actual ceremony.

The tragedy of most Western people in Japan is that they
are hunting for a "god the father" figure who will teach them
everything. This is wrong. They MUST do Zazen and realise
that no one can help them except themselves. They must
clearly understand that all things are teaching at all times if
they are truly looking for teaching. Anything, or anyone, that
is the catalyst for the realisation of Zen Truth for a person
is Buddha. If the reader is searching for a special person as a
"master" he will get nowhere for he is very definitely in the
world of the opposites; he is saying that one thing is Buddha
and another is not. Do not be misled by the popular trend in
the West of going master hunting. Transmission from a honshi
is necessary for the purpose of apostolic succession in the
priesthood and is a certification of spiritual understanding;
since this is so, it is never permitted to laymen. This is not
because laymen cannot reach the Truth of Zen—they can and

often do—however, they neither get, nor need, a certificate
to prove it that is the same as a priest's.

-Source: Kennett, J. (1999). In Chapter 9, "Apostolic Succession" Zen is eternal life (4th ed.). Mount Shasta, California: Shasta Abbey Press.

*Poster's note: An earlier edition of Zen is Eternal Life was known as Selling Water by the River


The entire book can be downloaded here:
http://www.shastaabbey.org/pdf/bookZel.pdf
It includes a complete chapter on this subject.

Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby jeeprs » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:25 am

That is helpful. I take the key phrases to be:

it is essential that a person present himself to a master for certification in order to protect the public from fraud if he wishes to act as a priest after realising the Truth by himself....

Transmission from a honshi is necessary for the purpose of apostolic succession in the priesthood and is a certification of spiritual understanding; since this is so, it is never permitted to laymen. This is not because laymen cannot reach the Truth of Zen—they can and often do—however, they neither get, nor need, a certificate to prove it that is the same as a priest's.

(my emphasis)

Right. I get that. I was told on another Buddhist site that if I wasn't member of a formal Zen group, and I wasn't practicing under the guidance of a formally-recognized teacher, then 'zen was not for me, find some other path'.

But this excerpt doesn't say that at all (which is good). It says laypersons can and do realize the truth of the Buddhist teaching. It is only if they wish to commit to being part of the formal priesthood that they require certification.

I can't see anything the matter with that.
He that knows it, knows it not.
User avatar
jeeprs
 
Posts: 1409
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:23 am

dzogchungpa wrote:It's true, the profound meaning of her remarks might be beyond the grasp of mere scholars, but it's still a privilege just to read them, don't you think?


No, not really.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5561
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:06 am

conebeckham wrote:My personal prejudice is not against written words; it is against those who rely only on the written words, without interaction with, or support of, a genuine teacher.


I don't think you need interaction or the support of any special teacher to read Abhidharma or Yogācāra theories of conscious and dependent origination. Likewise Madhyamaka philosophy is quite neatly laid out and if you take the time to read it carefully, you don't need to rely on a personal teacher. Abhidharma is especially useful for analysing one's mental reality in a coherent and straightforward way. As was the original intent behind it, the greater you understand the lack of self via analytical meditation, the less attachment you have to your psycho-physical processes. This ideally aids in pratisaṃkhyā-nirodha, the elimination of afflictions through the power of analysis. It is cessation acquired through the continual contemplation of the Four Noble Truths.

Somehow Buddhist practice is somehow legitimized by virtue of having a master nowadays. In Zen it comes from the notion that you need a teacher to supervise you. In tantra naturally a guru is a prerequisite. Still, I don't see the need if you just get back to basics and have sufficient literacy and intellectual abilities to read sūtras and śāstras. The sūtras are the words of the Buddha, so reading them is like hearing them. This is why they were written down and translated.


When one relies on books alone, Buddhist Dharma will be dead, dessicated, though perhaps Buddhist culture and "religion" will carry on.


I'm not proposing relying on books alone. Books are part of the Buddhist project and community. They are wisdom encapsulated in written from and neatly bound together for ease of use and storage. A teacher can make use of them and encourage students to read them, but ultimately the teacher derives his authority from knowing his material, not some abstract mythical power structure.


As noted above, a swipe of the sandal upside the head has been documented as "sufficient to awaken somebody." Perhaps that's a "myth?" In which sense of that word, however, is up to us to decide.


I have my doubts that slapping someone upside the head with something will prompt much more than a headache. I know the theory behind it and plenty of people believe this is possible - a master using skilful albeit unorthodox means to awaken students - however, I don't place much faith in it. I believe in being logical and coherent. The Buddha himself was quite straightforward, gentle and concise. We should emulate this.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5561
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:19 am

jeeprs wrote:That is helpful. I take the key phrases to be:

it is essential that a person present himself to a master for certification in order to protect the public from fraud if he wishes to act as a priest after realising the Truth by himself....



Clearly this form of quality control hasn't always worked so well. Look at the recent scandals in the last few decades just in America in the Zen community.

I guess people feel comfortable knowing that such and such a master was certified by some other authority to teach abstract and unspeakable truth. They function as gatekeepers to esoteric knowledge, so on the outside it looks like there really must be something worth pursuing within. Secret teachings, or even having privileged authority to teach on something vague and difficult to grasp, will draw a larger crowd than, say, an outline of consciousness theory. There is nothing secret about the latter and any literate person could read and become qualified to teach on the subject with or without formal authorization from ecclesiastical powers.


Right. I get that. I was told on another Buddhist site that if I wasn't member of a formal Zen group, and I wasn't practicing under the guidance of a formally-recognized teacher, then 'zen was not for me, find some other path'.


When I went on pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, I asked a senior monk from the local community what school he belonged to. He said, "I just follow what the Buddha taught." Nothing further was said.

There you go, I thought, straight and simple. You don't need to rely on some institution for your spiritual development. You just do your own thing. If you're mentally fit and patient, you should be quite able to find your way. You might have to exist on the fringes of the Buddhist world, not belonging to a specific lineage or community, but you'll have your freedom and personal autonomy. You'll likely find like-minded individuals with which to share experiences.

Here in India I've met a lot of such people.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5561
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Sara H » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:43 am

jeeprs wrote:That is helpful. I take the key phrases to be:

it is essential that a person present himself to a master for certification in order to protect the public from fraud if he wishes to act as a priest after realising the Truth by himself....

Transmission from a honshi is necessary for the purpose of apostolic succession in the priesthood and is a certification of spiritual understanding; since this is so, it is never permitted to laymen. This is not because laymen cannot reach the Truth of Zen—they can and often do—however, they neither get, nor need, a certificate to prove it that is the same as a priest's.

(my emphasis)

Right. I get that. I was told on another Buddhist site that if I wasn't member of a formal Zen group, and I wasn't practicing under the guidance of a formally-recognized teacher, then 'zen was not for me, find some other path'.

But this excerpt doesn't say that at all (which is good). It says laypersons can and do realize the truth of the Buddhist teaching. It is only if they wish to commit to being part of the formal priesthood that they require certification.

I can't see anything the matter with that.


Image
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Sara H » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:55 am

Huseng wrote:
jeeprs wrote:That is helpful. I take the key phrases to be:

it is essential that a person present himself to a master for certification in order to protect the public from fraud if he wishes to act as a priest after realising the Truth by himself....



Clearly this form of quality control hasn't always worked so well. Look at the recent scandals in the last few decades just in America in the Zen community.

I guess people feel comfortable knowing that such and such a master was certified by some other authority to teach abstract and unspeakable truth. They function as gatekeepers to esoteric knowledge, so on the outside it looks like there really must be something worth pursuing within. Secret teachings, or even having privileged authority to teach on something vague and difficult to grasp, will draw a larger crowd than, say, an outline of consciousness theory. There is nothing secret about the latter and any literate person could read and become qualified to teach on the subject with or without formal authorization from ecclesiastical powers.


"Secret", lol!
Sitting on your ass is a big secret Huseng.

Shh..
Don't tell anybody I said that.
I might get in trouble... :shock:

:rolling:

Here's the secret:
Meditation.

Sitting on your ass in meditation A) leads to realization B) which leads to ... wait. that's only two steps..!

It's that freakin simple.

That's what the Buddha did.

He saw the limit of the ascetic practices he had been practicing,
and saw that a life of soft luxury didn't work either.

So he sat down under a tree, and did simple meditation.

It's so secret, Buddhists have been doing it openly for 2500 years.

Lol!

But, maybe I need a monk's permission first to make any progress... :roll:
Last edited by Sara H on Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Sara H » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:43 am

Huseng wrote:... say, an outline of consciousness theory. There is nothing secret about the latter and any literate person could read and become qualified to teach on the subject with or without formal authorization from ecclesiastical powers.


So that's what all this is about.

You feel that you know more about Buddhism than Zen Buddhist teachers themselves, and so you feel that you should be able to call yourself a Zen teacher and teach somebody some "outline of consciousness theory."

Well, it doesn't actually work that way.

This approach is helpful for most people who do it.

You're certainly entitled to your opinions though.

I wish you all the very best Huseng.

If you ever want to know these teachings for yourself,
All you have to do is sit quietly in stillness, facing a wall.


In Gassho,
Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: palchi, smcj and 10 guests

>