Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby oushi » Fri May 10, 2013 7:52 am

Simon E. wrote:And you know this how ?

By contemplating the mind... how else can it be known...
It is available in every moment, in every place, not only in authorized distributions points.

If you can improve what I wrote, find mistakes, or flaws, I will be more then happy. Sincere help is always welcome.
Last edited by oushi on Fri May 10, 2013 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 10, 2013 8:10 am

I would put it like this: 'Zen Meditation' requires a disciplined approach, observance of the Buddhist precepts and an understanding of the principles. It takes dedication and persistence, comparable to that required to learn a language or a musical instrument, but to those who make the effort, it provides great insights. These include a sense of 'naturalness', that the 'true nature' or 'original mind' is something that has always been readily available but which we have always overlooked. But to get to that point takes dedication and devotion.

That is the context within which 'non-meditation' and 'non-thinking' needs to be interpreted. If it is taken to be a trick or a knack or something you can just 'get' from reading or the internet, then it is not likely to be genuine or meaningful.

We are fortunate in this thread to have some advice provided by Venerable Meido. He is a genuine exponent and highly knowledgeable teacher of this subject. His advice is the kind that ought to be followed.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 10, 2013 8:38 am

Meido wrote:
Luke wrote:.....Zen Buddhists generally don't care about different states of samadhi and are usually more concerned with non-thinking and non-meditation than they are with meditation.


Samadhi (Jp.: zanmai) is a term used often in Zen. It is used several ways:

Samadhi can refer to a state of meditative absorption in which dualistic habit and fixation is lessened.

Samadhi can refer to specific states that are expressions of deepening and integrating the recognition of one's nature, which are meticulously examined and cultivated within the course of Zen training. For example the Jewel Mirror Samadhi (hokkyo zanmai) and the alternate samadhis of hen and sho ([i]hen sho ego zanmai[/i]).

Samadhi can refer to the fruition of Zen, which is Zenjo (Skt: Dhyana-samadhi) in which the recognition of kensho is the perfection of vipashyana, and the continual arising of that recognition in the midst of activity is the perfection of shamatha. These in union are Zenjo. It could also be described as the union of wisdom and means, essence and function, emptiness and compassion, Manjusri and Samantabhadra, actualization of the 4 wisdoms/3 bodies, etc.

Non-thinking or no-thought (munen) refers to a mind which functions freely without stopping or fixating. This is also called no-mind (mushin).

Non-meditation is the encompassing of all activity of body, speech and mind within meditation. That is, one is never not practicing.

What I wrote above reflects Rinzai common usage of these terms. Other traditions may have different or additional usages. What was your question?

~ Meido

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Astus » Fri May 10, 2013 10:01 am

jeeprs wrote:Right. So why bother getting up before dawn to meditate or taking the trouble to study sutras? Surely just better to open the hand of thought and just go about your daily routine. After all there's nothing special to attain and no 'special state'.


Hungry, eat.
Sleepy, close your eyes.
Fools laugh at me but the wise understand.

Followers of the Way, don‘t seek in words and letters. When mind is stirred, you will be exhausted. Even inhaling chilly air won‘t help you. It‘s better for you to realize with one thought that the world of causal relations is birthless, and go beyond the bodhisattva who surpasses the Three Vehicles.

(The Sayings of Zen Master Linji Yixuan, Shimano version, p. 47)
"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: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 10, 2013 10:42 am

Right. So all the wise who turn up here looking for information on Buddhist meditation will think - what?

I read those passages 30 years ago. As I said before, I think they are very meaningful in the context of Zen culture. But in our cick-driven pleasure-seeking instantly distractable social milieu, what it will usually be taken to mean is, Zen is easy, I don't have to do anything.
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Astus » Fri May 10, 2013 10:55 am

jeeprs wrote:But in our cick-driven pleasure-seeking instantly distractable social milieu, what it will usually be taken to mean is, Zen is easy, I don't have to do anything.


I can only agree with you. For instance, if one cares to read on after the quoted section Linji talks about his efforts to study and practice, and urges the audience not to waste their time. Still, since the topic is about non-meditation, I think it deserves to be answered. I personally prefer Zen to be truly a sudden path. But, as Hunagbo says, "Because one lacks the capacity for sudden Awakening, one must study the Tao of Dhyana for 3, 5, or 10 years." It is really up to the individual what path is fitting.
"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: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 10, 2013 10:57 am

Well that's good. I am glad we agree. I love Zen teachings, and the Record of Rinzai. But I am not kidding myself that it is an easy path, and many of us would like it to be exactly that. It would suit us.

At the last retreat I went on, which really was a pretty comfortable affair, at a retreat center which caters for soft lay-people like myself, there was a Thai monk who was one of the retreat leaders and teaching staff. On the last day, the head monk said that this monk had actually been in a Zen monastery for some time, but he left and returned to the Thai order, because the Zen one was too tough.

'They hit them with sticks', he added, helpfully.
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby seeker242 » Fri May 10, 2013 11:36 am

jeeprs wrote:Well that's good. I am glad we agree. I love Zen teachings, and the Record of Rinzai. But I am not kidding myself that it is an easy path, and many of us would like it to be exactly that. It would suit us.



Zen Master Seung Sahn, said "If you make it easy, it's easy. If you make it difficult, it's difficult." :lol:

jeeprs wrote:Right. So all the wise who turn up here looking for information on Buddhist meditation will think - what?


Perhaps they will think "Ah, so that is what the old zen masters taught. Hmm, I wonder what they really mean when they say those things? Hmm."
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 10, 2013 11:39 am

They will think that, if they're wise.
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 10, 2013 11:44 am

seeker242 wrote:
jeeprs wrote:Well that's good. I am glad we agree. I love Zen teachings, and the Record of Rinzai. But I am not kidding myself that it is an easy path, and many of us would like it to be exactly that. It would suit us.



Zen Master Seung Sahn, said "If you make it easy, it's easy. If you make it difficult, it's difficult." :lol:

jeeprs wrote:Right. So all the wise who turn up here looking for information on Buddhist meditation will think - what?


Perhaps they will think "Ah, so that is what the old zen masters taught. Hmm, I wonder what they really mean when they say those things? Hmm."

So, you find it easy personally seeker 242 ?
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby seeker242 » Fri May 10, 2013 12:05 pm

Simon E. wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
jeeprs wrote:Well that's good. I am glad we agree. I love Zen teachings, and the Record of Rinzai. But I am not kidding myself that it is an easy path, and many of us would like it to be exactly that. It would suit us.



Zen Master Seung Sahn, said "If you make it easy, it's easy. If you make it difficult, it's difficult." :lol:

jeeprs wrote:Right. So all the wise who turn up here looking for information on Buddhist meditation will think - what?


Perhaps they will think "Ah, so that is what the old zen masters taught. Hmm, I wonder what they really mean when they say those things? Hmm."

So, you find it easy personally seeker 242 ?


Personally, I try not to make distinctions, judgments and notions of "easy vs difficult".

:namaste:
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Astus » Fri May 10, 2013 12:11 pm

Jeeprs,

I think it depends on which Zen community you go to. Not all of them are "samurai style", and the keisaku isn't used everywhere either. As for being easy or difficult, I can say that Zen is the easiest of them all. That's because there's nothing you need to do, you can "practise" anywhere and everywhere. At the same time, one can freely use any formal practice one prefers, from sitting meditation to prostration. It is very open and simple.
"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: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 10, 2013 12:20 pm

But Zen Master Seung Sahn appears to make such a distinction seeker 242 ?
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Huifeng » Fri May 10, 2013 1:01 pm

Luke wrote:I have read many times that the word Zen comes from the Sanskrit word "dhyana" which means "meditation" or "samadhi," but Zen Buddhists generally don't care about different states of samadhi and are usually more concerned with non-thinking and non-meditation than they are with meditation.

So perhaps Zen should have been called something else instead! lol

Does anyone else find this ironic?


Plenty of words undergo drastic shifts of meaning during the course of translation through vastly disparate languages and over the course of many centuries, much more than the shift between jhana / dhyana / dza-na / chan-na / chan / zen.

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Beatzen » Fri May 10, 2013 6:21 pm

Luke wrote:Zen Buddhists generally don't care about different states of samadhi and are usually more concerned with non-thinking and non-meditation than they are with meditation.


Non-thinking, yes, but you have to understand "non-thinking" in relation to both "thinking" and "not thinking."

The analogy is that the Zen practitioner strives to cultivate a mind that flows and does not stick at any point in it's movement, like a wheel revolving evenly on it's axle, not too tight and not too loose. Thus, there is thinking, there is "not thinking," and then there is non-thinking, the last of which is the middle way.

I don't know what you mean by saying that we generally concern ourselves with non-meditation. In fact, we seem to meditate a great deal. Of course, Shikantaza (which really hinges upon body posture-awareness) is just not as flashy or alluring as other forms of meditation.
"Cause is not before and Effect is not after"
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby seeker242 » Fri May 10, 2013 11:00 pm

Simon E. wrote:But Zen Master Seung Sahn appears to make such a distinction seeker 242 ?


I think he is just pointing out that people tend to make distinctions like that and that those distinctions come from your own mind alone, not from any external thing or situation. Completely made up or "fabricated". I think he would agree if you were to add this onto the end "And if you don't make either, you get neither!" In other words, whatever you make, that's what you get. If you don't make anything, you don't get anything. Which seems to me to be consistent with Shakyamuni Buddha's statements in the Cetana Sutta SN 12.38

Staying at Savatthi... [the Blessed One said,] "What one intends, what one arranges, and what one obsesses about:[1] This is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing [or: an establishing] of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

"If one doesn't intend and doesn't arrange, but one still obsesses [about something], this is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such [too] is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

"But when one doesn't intend, arrange, or obsess [about anything], there is no support for the stationing of consciousness. There being no support, there is no landing of consciousness. When that consciousness doesn't land & grow, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress."


The way I see it, Seung Sahn is essentially saying the same thing, just in a very condensed "non-explaining" zen style. "You make, you get" is essentially "zen style" dependent origination. That is how see it anyway. :smile:

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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Beatzen » Sat May 11, 2013 7:57 pm

Interesting. I was just reading Hee Jin-Kim's book about Dogen on Meditation and Thinking (it is a sequel to "Mystical Realist").

There, the professor interprets Dogen as espousing philosophically re-constructive capacities of sunyata (unusual). I forget the particulars of the explanation, but it stated that Dogen was saying that you have to "make things empty" by keeping keen attention to the ever-changing character of all dharmas.

My own roshi has told me that Dogen instructed us to pay attention to the passage of time during meditation, in particular.
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby Luke » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:31 pm

Meido wrote:Samadhi can refer to specific states that are expressions of deepening and integrating the recognition of one's nature, which are meticulously examined and cultivated within the course of Zen training. For example the Jewel Mirror Samadhi (hokkyo zanmai) and the alternate samadhis of hen and sho ([i]hen sho ego zanmai[/i])

Oh, I didn't realize that Rinzai classified different samadhis like that. My understanding was that Zen generally avoided classifying realization into stages, such as jhanas or bodhisattva levels. I thought that Zen was more of the "you see your own nature or you don't" variety.

I guess I was mistaken because there seem to be more different approaches in Zen than I previously thought.

Thanks again for your thorough answer. :namaste:
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby LastLegend » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:02 am

Astus wrote:
Hungry, eat.
Sleepy, close your eyes.
Fools laugh at me but the wise understand.



I met a Vietnamese farmer who is 70 years old and that's what he does.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Zen, dhyana, and non-meditation

Postby yan kong » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:50 pm

Luke

You've started a few topics on zen and I was wondering if you are talking soley about Japanese zen or if you are just using it as an umbrella term for all chan/zen schools?
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun
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