Essential Zen Practice

Re: Essential Zen Practice

Postby Beatzen » Thu May 16, 2013 11:16 am

Astus wrote:
Lankavatara Sutra, 2.31 (tr. Suzuki):
"there is no gradual nor simultaneous rising of existence. Why? Because, Mahamati, if there is a simultaneous rising of existence, there would be no distinction between cause and effect, and there would be nothing to characterise a cause as such. If a gradual rising is admitted, there is no substance that holds together individual signs, which makes gradual rising impossible."

However, none of the above is the denial of everyday common reality where we see causes generating results. I have mentioned this because you said that Dogen believed in simultaneous cause and result, which doesn't actually match normal reality where the cause must always precede the result.


I shouldn't say that I believe that Dogen said that, but the scholars that I have come across who are involved with Dogen studies, who are hip to Critical Buddhism, have implied that that was his view.

I still don't understand how simultaneous arising of cause and effect could be false, especially in lieu of emptiness. In emptiness, there is neither a distinction between cause and effect/anthing to characterize a cause. Likewise, in emptiness, there is nothing that holds together individual signs.

I might be deluded, and though I thank you very much for the citation, it does not deter me at this point from taking such a view. Though I hope you would elaborate in such a way that challenges my (hopefully humble-seeming) understanding.

Astus wrote:
[Bendowa] ["..."]


Thank you, though now I can definately understand why contemporary Zen scholars/practitioners seem to think that Zazen should be the be-all end-all of practice.

But your citation doesn't make me think that there is any doctrinal, set-in-stone, or else logically-sound emphasis on sudden enlightenment. Like I said, "gradually sudden."


Astus wrote:
It is not true in Zen that non-grasping is "the only practice." That is a gross oversimplification and comes nowhere near explaining the practices of Shikantaza, or Kinhin.
Neither is it true that simple "non-grasping" constitutes "enlightenment" from a zen perspective.


"If you recognize your fundamental mind, this is the fundamental emancipation. And if you attain emancipation, this is the samādhi of prajñā, this is nonthought.
...
Good friends, to be enlightened to the Dharma of nonthought is for the myriad dharmas to be completely penetrated. To be enlightened to the Dharma of nonthought is to see the realms of [all] the buddhas. To be enlightened to the Dharma of nonthought is to arrive at the stage of buddhahood."

(Platform Sutra, ch. 2; tr. McRae)


True. I in reading this, I think I simply projected my own context of how the phrase "non-grasping" was being used. Especially now that we're using "non-thinking" (as different from "not-thinking" or "no-thinking").

Still, that does not incorporate an understanding of analysis in Zen meditation, specifically on dependent origination, which I feel is key to any and all buddhist practices. That's why I brought up the distinction between "the buddhism of meditation" and "the buddhism of wisdom."

Thank you again for indulging, or at least humoring me.
"Cause is not before and Effect is not after"
- Eihei Dogen Zenji
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Re: Essential Zen Practice

Postby Astus » Thu May 16, 2013 12:05 pm

Beatzen wrote:My argument is based on the fact that Dogen really believed that all there really "is" is this moment. period.
That implies, as he said, that causes and their coresponding effects emerge simultaneously in one moment. which is the only time they can emerge (right now).
He is saying that causes and effects are imediate and co-emergent. It is actually quite logical. I mention this because it has bearing on why Dogen was so praxis-oriented. He utilizes these kind of thoughts to bolster arguments he makes about "making emptiness" and comitting to a truly soterologically-effective practice.


The problem is that if we restrict causality to a single moment there is nothing that can happen in a moment. Happening, movement, change, they all need time, need a sequence. A moment is fixed, it is still and motionless, nothing can emerge or disappear. (see: arrow paradox; also chapter 2 of MMK) Thus not only past and future are empty but the present moment too. Both time and causality are illusions, mental fabrications. However, if we are talking about cause and effect it must needs include time, simply because that's what we all experience in this everyday world.

But your citation doesn't make me think that there is any doctrinal, set-in-stone, or else logically-sound emphasis on sudden enlightenment. Like I said, "gradually sudden."


Zazen is enlightenment itself. What could be more sudden than that? It is directly becoming/being buddha. Some quotes from Dogen and Keizan:

Bendowa:

"When we sit in zazen, through the virtue of the Buddha mudra we release all things, and move beyond limited views of delusion and enlightenment, sages and usual people, and can receive and enjoy great wisdom.
...
Even bodhi and nirvana are nothing but this nature of Awareness. All things and appearances without exception are totally and only this single Awareness and are embraced without disarray. The various Dharma Gates are all equally this single Awareness. This is how the nature of mind is understood in the Buddha Dharma."


Zazen-yojinki:

"Vow to cut off all delusions and realize enlightenment. Just sit without doing anything. This is the essence of the practice of zazen.
...
Although we speak of realization, this realization does not hold to itself as being "realization". This is practice of the supreme samadhi which is the knowing of unborn, unobstructed, and spontaneously arising awareness. It is the door of luminosity which opens out onto the realization of the Buddha, born through the practice of the great ease. This goes beyond the patterns of holy and profane, goes beyond confusion and wisdom. This is the realization of unsurpassed enlightenment as our own 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)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Essential Zen Practice

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Fri May 17, 2013 1:54 am

Beatzen wrote:I still don't understand how simultaneous arising of cause and effect could be false, especially in lieu of emptiness. In emptiness, there is neither a distinction between cause and effect/anthing to characterize a cause.

I think Astus did a fine job of addressing this point, but I'll put in my two cents as well in case it helps.

Sequential causation is incorrect because it implies discrete entities in a sequence, and simultaneous causation is incorrect because it implies a sameness or grouping of occurrences into a single discrete entity. Sequential causation is incorrect because cause and effect are "not two", simultaneous causation is incorrect because they are "not one" either. Nagarjuna might say that simultaneous occurrence falls under the impossibility of self-causation.
"Once delusion is extinguished, your wisdom naturally arises and you don’t differentiate suffering and joy. Actually, this joy and this suffering, they are the same."

— Chinese hermit, Amongst White Clouds
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Re: Essential Zen Practice

Postby seeker242 » Fri May 17, 2013 11:34 am

bulhaeng wrote:
Astus wrote:Sitting meditation is just a small part of a Zen monastery's programme, initially assuming a sitting posture is helpful for beginners.

Not in Korea it's not :P A seon monastery runs two 3+month angos + additional shorter angos in between longer angos.
A meditation monk can literally spend half of his life sitting.


But even with those 3 month retreats there is more than just sitting. There is bowing practice, walking practice, chanting practice, work practice, eating practice, etc. Normally less than half of the day is spent in actual sitting. It's something like 8 hours of an 18 hour day. :smile:
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Re: Essential Zen Practice

Postby lobster » Sun May 19, 2013 1:38 am

seeker242 wrote:It's something like 8 hours of an 18 hour day. :smile:

Yes indeed. The sitting puts you in the mood to practice for the other ten hours. :popcorn:
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