Does Zen have ethics?

shaunc
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby shaunc » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:39 am

It is my understanding that thich nat hanh is a Zen monk, the 14 precepts his followers are expected to follow are most certainly ethical.

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sukhamanveti
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby sukhamanveti » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:06 am

I know only a little about the Japanese forms of Zen, but the Chinese tradition out of which it arose, Ch'an, has had an ethical dimension from the beginning. If you look at the earliest Ch'an text, Erh-ju ssu-hsing-lun ("Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practices"), which is the only one that most scholars agree can be accurately attributed to Bodhidharma, you find that two out of four of the practices explained therein involve an ethical perspective. The first practice, accepting adversity, involves accepting that "this suffering is the ripening of bad karma-fruits of the faults of my past lives" (trans. Jeffrey L. Broughton) or "I am reaping the karmic consequences of past transgressions" (trans. Chung Tai Translation Committee). The fourth practice, the practice of according with the Dharma or the intrinsic purity of emptiness, includes practicing the six perfections (among them, giving and moral discipline) while seeing that (ultimately) nothing is practiced. (Incidentally, Bodhidharma quotes from the sutras thrice in the Two Entrances.)

Ch'an Buddhists have a form of the Five Precepts of the Laity. They have the bodhisattva precepts of the beautiful Brahma Net Sutra, which are seen as the "original source of all Buddhas and the essential rule for realizing Buddhahood" (Venerable Master Hsuan Hua). These bodhisattva precepts require giving to the poor, caring for the sick, and rescuing and protecting other creatures. They prohibit all forms of violence, killing, enslavement, profiting from exploitation, "licentious acts," and dishonesty.

Ch'an teachers tend to have a reputation for high ethical standards and strict observance of precepts. Venerable Master Heng Sure is extremely ethical and incredibly self-disciplined, as was Hsu Yun. I'm aware of only one scandal involving a Ch'an teacher and that was relatively minor. He was believed to have told a story about himself that wasn't true.
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra

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oushi
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby oushi » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:00 am

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Astus
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Astus » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:39 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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Luke
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Luke » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:21 pm


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Luke
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Luke » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:59 pm


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Astus
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Astus » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:08 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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oushi
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby oushi » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:13 pm

Say what you think about me

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Astus
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Astus » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:20 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



dyanaprajna2011
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:39 pm

"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen

shel
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby shel » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:42 pm


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sukhamanveti
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:59 am

Hi, oushi.

If you want to read the earliest Ch'an interpretation of the six paramitas, it is in the text just before the one you quoted in Red Pine's The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. This is the one often referred to as "The Two Entrances" or "The Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practices," the text I was quoting above. Red Pine calls it "Outline of Practice." This text was known to Hui-k'o, the successor to Bodhidharma. Perhaps out of recognition that it is almost universally regarded as the oldest Ch'an text, Red Pine places it first in his collection.

Decades of scholars, both Western and Japanese, have "come to the consensus that only this text can be attributed to Bodhidharma." (Jeffrey L. Broughton, The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen) I realize that Red Pine disagrees, siding with a tradition of attribution lasting "more than 1,200 years." He believes that all texts traditionally attributed to Bodhidharma are the Master's (although he only includes four out of the traditional ten in his book).

This is how the Six Paramitas are explained within the context of according with emptiness in the first Ch'an text (as translated by the Chung Tai Translation Committee) :

"There is no parsimony in the Dharma, so practice the giving of body, life, and possessions without any reservation. Understand and achieve “triple emptiness” [i.e., seeing that giver, gift, and recipient are empty], with no reliance and no attachment. One liberates others without becoming attached to form, thus removing impurities. This benefits oneself, benefits others, and also glorifies the bodhi path. Dana [i.e., giving] is perfected this way; so are the other five paramitas. In order to relinquish delusions, one practices these six perfections, yet nothing is practiced. This is to act in accordance with the Dharma."

This is a traditional explanation of the perfection of giving. Bodhidharma says, "Dana is perfected this way; so are the other five paramitas." He is clearly speaking of the paramitas literally here. (If you want to consult Red Pine's translation of this, read the last paragraph of "Outline of Practice.") Therefore, the perfection of moral discipline was acknowledged as a legitimate Ch'an practice by Bodhidharma. The "special meaning" of the paramitas in the much later "Bloodstream Sermon, is a later development, not the earliest teaching.

You say, "Good actions lead to good karma, but not Buddhahood." You'll get no argument from me here. This is universally acknowledged in Buddhism. What Buddhist teachers generally teach, and what Hsuan Hua was getting at in the quote above, is that observing precepts is a foundation of practice, that it makes proper meditation possible. This appears to have been a teaching of the historical Buddha. It is one that can be found in the early scriptures and in Mahayana. To what extent the real Bodhidharma actually agreed with this is unclear to me at the moment, but it is certainly a widely accepted view in Ch'an. In the Shurangama Sutra, an important text for Ch'an Buddhism, the idea is expressed this way: "you have often heard me speak of the three essential elements of spiritual practice: precepts, which require us to guard and focus the mind; samadhi, which arises from following precepts; and wisdom, which appears out of samadhi. These are the three practices that end outflows." (trans. Buddhist Text Translation Society)

I'm going on vacation starting Sunday morning (in about twelve hours) and I'll be out of town for a week, so I'm not sure how soon I'll be able to reply to your reply, although I will have a computer with me.

Best regards.
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra

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oushi
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby oushi » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:56 am

I see no inconsistency in Red pine translation, and I have no problem acknowledging teaching presented in this translation. They may sound shocking at first, but on "a deeper level" it makes perfect sense. Bodhidharma does not really bother about morality, as it creates dualistic views on reality. He is talking about seeing The Nature.
We can limit to The Outline of Practine:
"Third, seeking nothing. People of this world are deluded. They’re always longing for something-always, in a word, seeking. But the wise wake up. They choose reason over custom. They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the seasons. All phenomena are empty. They contain nothing worth desiring. Calamity forever alternates with Prosperity! To dwell in the three realms is to dwell in a burning house. To have a body is to suffer. Does anyone with a body know peace? Those who understand this detach themselves from all that exists and stop Imagining or seeking anything. The sutras say, "To seek is to suffer.To seek nothing is bliss."

From this teaching we can see that seeking after morality will create suffering. Buddha said the same about holy-life search.

It is not a green light for wrongdoing. Not at all. It is transcending both good and evil. If you focus on evil, you will "fall into hell of endless darkness", if you focus on good, you will be reborn in god realm. Because deluded mind cannot trust its judgments, practice should be focused on seeing nature, because on seeing nature karma will fall off. This is Zen.

Happy vacations.
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Luke
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Luke » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:15 am


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Meido
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Meido » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:56 am

Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - Torei


Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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seeker242
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby seeker242 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:40 pm

One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Astus » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:26 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



shel
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby shel » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:02 pm


dyanaprajna2011
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:19 pm

Let's try this: shel, can you quote Zen masters who have explicitly taught that it's ok to go against the precepts, the paramitas, etc? Or, even more specifically, quote from Zen masters who say that doing wrong/evil/etc, is actually the path?
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen

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Meido
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Meido » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:46 pm

Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - Torei


Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org


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