Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Vidyaraja » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:48 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Emptiness is a non-affirming negation. Someone saying that you cannot find anything outside the 5 skandhas means what it means, there is no underlying implication about anything else, it's just talking about what it is, if you can find something outside the skandhas, go ahead and show us what it is.


What transcends the 5 skandhas can't be shown or objectively measured since it transcends the sensory realm, but it can be known via pure spiritual intuition or our Dharma-eye. Of course no one can do this for you, and that is the meaning of enlightenment.

Johnny Dangerous wrote:The Buddha himself discouraged such definitive statements in either diretion about the ultimate nature of reality.


Buddha did so because he didn't want people to engage in philosophical speculation or get trapped in conceptual thinking about the nature of reality but rather wished for us to realize directly, again with pure intuition, our true nature. If there were no-self, no Absolute, nothing beyond the 5 skandhas, Buddha would have said, "There is no self, there is nothing transcending the skandhas." He didn't though. What he did was use anatta as an adjective while describing the aggregates that comprise the psycho-physical self. This is called an apophatic method or via negativa, which exists in various mystical traditions outside of Buddhism as well.

As Soyen Shaku said,

At the outset, let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists. However, the followers of Buddhism usually avoid the term God, for it savors so much of Christianity, whose spirit is not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist interpretation of religious experience ... To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow the term very happily coined by a modern German scholar, 'panentheism', according to which God is ... all and one and more than the totality of existence .... As I mentioned before, Buddhists do not make use of the term God, which characteristically belongs to Christian terminology. An equivalent most commonly used is Dharmakaya ... When the Dharmakaya is most concretely conceived it becomes the Buddha, or Tathagata


Again, we can also bring up a point I've previously brought up from the Perennialist perspective regarding the entirety of the world's sacred traditions. Either the "no-self and nothing beyond the skandhas" Buddhists are correct and everyone else in the spiritual history of mankind who affirmed the Absolute and our identity with it, including those Buddhists such as Dolpopa mentioned who maintained the same (and Gautama as well), are wrong, or the no-self Buddhists are the ones in error. Seems highly likely that the latter is the case.
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Astus » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:30 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:Our true nature is impermanent, without a self, empty, and merely the 5 skandhas? Sounds like nihilism and materialism more than a spiritual doctrine of Awakening to me. Aside from that, the 5 skandhas are all immanent and yet Buddhism often speaks of "transcendent wisdom." What is this wisdom that is transcendent if all that exists is the 5 skandhas?


The idea that there is a self (permanent being) inside or outside the five aggregates has never been accepted in Buddhism. Once the Vatsiputriyas/Pudgalavadins tried to walk around this by saying that the "person" (pudgala) is neither inside nor outside, and they have been regularly refuted. See chapter 9 of the Abhidharmakosabhasyam for a series of arguments against them. From the beginning of that chapter:

"Is there any liberation outside of Buddhism?
No, there is not.
What is the reason for this?
There is no liberation outside of this teaching, because other doctrines are corrupted by a false conception of a soul. The word as other doctrines conceive it is not a metaphoric expression for a series of skandhas. By the power of their belief in this soul as a substantial entity, there arises clinging to the soul, the defilements are generated, and liberation is impossible.
How do we know that the word "soul" is only a designation for a series of skandhas, and that no soul exists in and of itself? We know this because no proof establishes the existence of a soul apart from the skandhas, no proof by direct perception, nor any proof from inference. If the soul were a real entity, separate like other entities, it would be attained (i.e., known) either by direct perception as are the objets of the five sense consciousnesses and the objects of mental consciousness, or by inference, as are the five indriyas.
...
There is neither direct perception nor inference of a soul independent of the skandhas. We know then that a real soul does not exist."


Similar arguments are found in Nagarjuna's Middle Treatise (ch 18) or in Xuanzang's Cheng Weishi Lun (ch 1), just to name two fundamental Mahayana works. From the Zen side:

“There is a type of person (who holds that) there is a bright and intelligent nature that reasons and knows, that sees and hears, and is a lord over the corporeal field of the five skandhas. If one is like this and is an excellent teacher, one cheats people greatly. Do you know this? Now I ask you, ‘If you acknowledge this bright intelligence as your true reality, why when you are profoundly asleep are you still not bright and intelligent? If when you are deeply asleep you are not so (bright and intelligent), you are (mistakenly) recognizing a bandit as one’s own offspring, which is the root of birth and death and the conditional production of delusion.’” (Xuansha Shibei, Jingde Chuandeng Lu 18, T51n2076_p0345a18-24, tr. from here)

Or look at Dogen's writing on buddha-nature. From the introduction by Carl Bielefeldt:

"In his opening remarks, Dōgen dismisses several of the most common views: that the buddha nature is the potential to become a buddha, that it is the activity of cognition within us, or that it is a universal self pervading the world. Rather, he says, the buddha nature is existence itself — not an abstract principle of being, but the actual occurrence of things, or, as he puts it simply at the end of his essay, “fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles.”"

And there's also Sallie B. King's book on the Treatise on Buddha Nature, about which there was some discussion on this forum already.

Guifeng Zongmi, whose teachings are prominent in Jinul's Zen, also gives us a short analysis of the aggregates (Chan Prolegomenon in "Zongmi on Chan", p 126):

"There are no other dharmas beyond these, but, upon analysis, a self cannot be apprehended in any of them. Thus, one awakens to the realization that these [types of] body and mind are merely conditions, with the characteristic of seeming concord, but were never one substance. They are characterized as an apparent selfand others, but there never existed a self and others."

And regarding the nature of mind as taught in Zen (p 88):

Therefore, thought of the unreal from the outset is calmed, and sense objects from the outset are void. The mind of voidness and calm is a spiritual Knowing that never darkens. This calm Knowing of voidness and calm is precisely the mind of voidness and calm that Bodhidharma formerly transmitted.
...
Because of delusion about this Knowing there arises the characteristic of a self. When one calculates self and mine, love and hatred spontaneously arise. According to the mind of love or hatred, one does good or bad, and, as retribution for this good or bad, is reborn in one of the six rebirth paths, life after life, birth after birth, cyclically, without end. If you find a good friend to show you [the path], you will all-at-once awaken to the Knowing of voidness and calm. Knowing is no mindfulness and no form. Who is characterized as self, and who is characterized as other? When you are aware that all characteristics are void, it is true mind, no mindfulness. If a thought arises, be aware of it; once you are aware of it, it will disappear. The excellent gate of practice lies here alone. Therefore, even though you fully cultivate all the practices, just take no mindfulness as the axiom. If you just get the mind of no mindfulness, then love and hatred will spontaneously become pale and faint, compassion and wisdom [prajna] will spontaneously increase in brightness, sinful karma will spontaneously be eliminated, and you will spontaneously be zealous in meritorious practices. With respect to understanding, it is to see that all characteristics are non-characteristics. With respect to practice, it is called the practice of nonpractice.


Both Zongmi and Jinul teaches no mindfulness/no thought as the essential path of Zen, just as it was taught in the Platform Sutra and later by Dogen.
"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, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:58 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:What transcends the 5 skandhas can't be shown or objectively measured since it transcends the sensory realm, but it can be known via pure spiritual intuition or our Dharma-eye. Of course no one can do this for you, and that is the meaning of enlightenment.


I think you are missing the subtleties that exist here in favor of having the expectation that someone will either affirm or deny something absolute, infinite for you...which a good chunk of Buddhist philosophy obviously intentionally does not do.

Again if you take "nothing is findable outside the skandhas" as a claim of definitive non-existence, you are (by my limited understanding) somewhat off the mark, and misinterpreting what is being said as Nihilism, rather than taking the statement as face value.

As to vetting Buddhism by other traditions, that's pretty irrelevant, you take it as far as you can with logic and that's that, saying 'well this or that philosophy affirmed an absolute" really shouldn't be accepted as reasoning for rightness or wrongness of Buddhist doctrine.


I know this is a Zen thread and all, so maybe different due to Yogacara, but it comes down to the same argument that happens on here constantly, and I think you are mistaken in what various schools teach as "not self", and how Buddhist logic tends to work, by assuming there is something implied there when there is not.

Here's one of the Sutta i'm thinking of

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Anyway, I don't think it's controversial that Shakyamuni stayed away from declarations about the ontological nature of nirvana/the absolute/whatever..what i've read of the Pali Canon is full of stuff like this.

That said, my understanding is that the more-" selfy" philosophies sees itself as the remedy to this sort of subtle clinging to impermanence, so hey go at it...it only seems to matter though under the expectation that you believe Middle-way philosophy and similar are implying something about existence or non existence of an absolute, rather than simply saying what they are saying. A middle way person can always just resort to saying "ok, well then what are it's qualities", and easily picking apart claims of absolute with logic..which either goes to show the futility of logic, or the futility of arguments, claims, and definitive statements about the absolute...pick your poison. At this point I favor the latter, people look more flustered trying to talk about the Absolute than they do when just letting it be, so i'd rather keep my blood pressure down;)

Personally i'm leaning towards the idea that these schools of thought are just useful as process anyway, if this "absolute" is undefinable, having an extra philosophy trying to quantify it seems pretty muddled to me, but that's just my leanings at the time.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Vidyaraja » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:05 pm

Astus wrote:The idea that there is a self (permanent being) inside or outside the five aggregates has never been accepted in Buddhism.


The Self is the equivalent with the Absolute, which is beyond being and non-being, is permanent, unborn, eternal (timeless), blissful, pure awareness, etc. This most certainly transcends the five aggregates. And it has been accepted within Buddhism, in the Tathagatagarbha Sutras certainly, among figures like Dolpopa and other Shentongpas, and in my opinion among many other masters, in Zen as well, and has been argued by many by the Buddha in the Nikayas as well. Among the Therevada there is the Dhammakaya Movement and other Thai Buddhists outside the movement who have argued in favor of this. To say it has never been accepted in Buddhism is false.

From Cholvijarn's "Nibbana as Self or Not Self":

In Attanuditthi, the Sangharaja (Phae Tissadevo) explains that the word attanuditthi means the view that the five aggregates, which are conditioned dhamma, are self. When it is stated that the searching for a self is like searching for whiskers of a turtle or horns of a rabbit, it does not mean the whiskers and horns do not exist, but only that they do not exist on a turtle’s mouth or on a rabbit’s head. We would not know what whiskers or horns are if they did not exist at all. Cats have whiskers and deer have horns. Similarly, atta is not found in the five aggregates, but that does not mean atta does not exist at all. Atta exists, but it is found in nibbana. The Buddha could not have said the five aggregates are anatta, if He had not discovered that nibbana is atta.

When the conditioned side is worldly, evil, impermanent, and leads to death, it must be discarded, but the undconditioned side, which is supra-mundane (transcendent), good, permanent and undying must be received. Therefore if there is no receiving side, the atta side, there would be no discarding side, the anatta side.


Of course other scholars, like George Grimm, Perez-Remon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and Hajime Nakamura thought so as well:

Buddhism did not deny the self as such, contrary to the general assumption by many scholars who tend to regard the theory of Non-Self as a sort of nihilism.

Nan Huai-Chin:

When the Hīnayāna speaks of no self, it is in reference to the manifest forms of presently existing life; the intent is to alert people to transcend this level, and attain Nirvāṇa. But when this flowed into the world of learning, especially when it was disseminated in the West, some people thought that the Buddhist idea of no self was nihilism and that it denied the soul, and they maintained that Buddhism is atheistic. This is really a joke.

Julius Evola:

At this point anattā, the doctrine that denies the reality of the "I,. shows us a further aspect. The meaning of this doctrine here is simply that in the "current" and in the contingent aggregation of states and functions which are normally considered as "I," it is impossible to recognize the true self, the supersensible ātmā of the preceding Upanisadic speculation; this true self is considered as practically nonexistent for the common man. Buddhism does not say: the "I" does not exist—but rather: one thing only is certain, that nothing belonging to samsaric existence and personality has the nature of "I." This is explicitly stated in the texts.

Pande, Origins of Buddhism:

The doctrine [of an-atman] denies that there is in the physical or mental realms anything which may properly be called one’s “self” since everywhere within them impermanence and dependence rule. This of itself does not mean the denial of all “self” whatever, but only of the phenomenality of the “Self”. What is usually denied is that any of the khandhas may be the Attâ [self], not the existence of the Attâ as such. Even in the more positive later literature, the Attâ that is denied is often conceived purely phenomenally.

Huang Po:

This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind...

Obviously the pure Mind Huang Po is speaking of is not the little mind of the 5 skandhas and also sees it as the source of everything.

Whether you or anyone else agrees with such a view doesn't mean that it isn't Buddhism or was never accepted within Buddhism. In my opinion, it is what the Buddha taught, Buddhist masters have taught, and the no-self view is a pseudo-materialism and nihilism, at odds with all traditional spiritual systems in the history of man. If it is truly what the Buddha and Buddhism has taught, then Buddhism is a false doctrine.
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Astus » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:38 pm

What is the path, the method to realise that self you say is taught in Buddhism? What meditation shows it?
"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, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:01 pm

Astus wrote:The idea that there is a self (permanent being) inside or outside the five aggregates has never been accepted in Buddhism.


The origin of the dialectic on self is the Ananda Sutta, where Vachagotta asks 'is there a self?' The question is met with silence. Later the Buddha explains to Ananda, that to say 'yes' would align him with the 'eternalists', and 'no' would align him with the 'nihilists' and simply confuse the issue. So the answer as to whether there is self or not is neither yes nor no.

But large numbers of people seem to say that the answer was 'no'.

Vidyaraja wrote:Buddha...didn't want people to engage in philosophical speculation or get trapped in conceptual thinking about the nature of reality but rather wished for us to realize directly, again with pure intuition, our true nature. If there were no-self, no Absolute, nothing beyond the 5 skandhas, Buddha would have said, "There is no self, there is nothing transcending the skandhas." He didn't though. What he did was use anatta as an adjective while describing the aggregates that comprise the psycho-physical self. This is called an apophatic method or via negativa, which exists in various mystical traditions outside of Buddhism as well.


That is exactly my understanding.

The problem as I see it as that certain readings of Zen generally, and Dogen in particular, tend towards the idea that sentient beings are already enlightnened, and that there is no path, nothing to realize, and no real difference between the Buddha and the 'ignorant worldings'. The way that Zen literature is written, it is possible to read it that way, and many do.

But as I see it, the teaching is not that 'the self does not exist', it is that 'nothing is self'. There is a profound difference between those two. Śūnyatā is not mere absence, literally nothing at all, it points to the fact that every determinate entity (person, thing, or whatever) is lacking in the ground of its own existence, svabhava.

So what is 'the ground of existence'? What is it that is lacking? To have theories about that is to engage in speculation. It is what must be realized and seen directly through paravritti, the 'turning back' of the mind to its source. But this has to be understood in terms of 'conversion' in my view; the word has an almost exact counterpart in Greek philosophy, which is metanoia - 'transformation of mind through a changed understanding of reality'.
Last edited by Wayfarer on Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Vidyaraja » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:02 pm

Astus wrote:What is the path, the method to realise that self you say is taught in Buddhism? What meditation shows it?


The answer to this is different in the various schools it would seem. For Zen, Huang Po points it out when he says to transcend conceptual thought in a flash. The Xinxin Ming seems to say the same. Nichiren Buddhists would probably say chanting of Daimoku is the means. Chinul's Korean tradition might say hwadu is the primary path.

I suppose a generalized path to inuiting Truth is through faith, self-mastery, detachment, seeing the 5 aggregates as anatta, meditation (be it Zazen, Vipassana, or some tantric sadhana in Vajrayana), transcending concepts, looking inward/self-inquiry etc.
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:07 pm

If the absolute is absolute, how can it also be a self? If this self is not the Skandhas, or of the Skanhas then what is it, and what ground is there to call it a self, as opposed to something else? Is there reference to something other than the Skandhas that can be named?

In short, i'd like to know what a self actually is, and why/how it is important to some people that Nirvana/Buddha Nature/the Uncreated State etc. get reified into the same thing as a "self"? What exactly does that distinction mean to folks?

Saying all things are not-self is not the same as saying "there is nothing outside of this", it is simply saying that whatever "it" is, it is not self, and cannot be found as self.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:12 pm

at that point, Zen Master whacks you with stick, and says 'go practice more'. :smile:
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:15 pm

jeeprs wrote:at that point, Zen Master whacks you with stick, and says 'go practice more'. :smile:


Yeah, that's why I say these are all just process anyway, in the end you end up with one side saying that it's permissible and good to assign characteristics to "it", with the other speaking only in negatives in order to disprove assertions about "it"...
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:23 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:Chinul then goes onto say himself:

According to this scripture and treatise, the basic substance of the true mind transcends causality and pervades time. It is neither profane nor sacred; it has no oppositions. Like space itself, it is omnipresent; its subtle substance is stable and utterly peaceful, beyond all conceptual elaboration. It is unoriginated, imperishable, neither existent nor nonexistent. It is unmoving, unstirring, profoundly still and eternal.

This is called the inner host that has always been there, or the person before the prehistoric Buddhas, or the self before the aeon of emptiness. Uniformly equanimous, it is totally flawless and unblemished. All things, pure and impure-mountains, rivers, earth, grasses, trees, forests, all forms and appearances- all come forth from this.

Sounds kinda Taoist to me :smile:

:namaste:
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Astus » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:48 pm

jeeprs wrote:So the answer as to whether there is self or not is neither yes nor no.
But large numbers of people seem to say that the answer was 'no'.


The sutta actually says that the "bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'" There was no self any time, it does not disappear either, and that's the difference between no-self and nihilism, as already shown in what I quoted from Tsongkhapa before.

So what is 'the ground of existence'? What is it that is lacking? To have theories about that is to engage in speculation.


Actually, it is not speculation, it is defining the object of negation. And that object is the idea of independent existence, the concept that something exists on its own as it is. I say it is a concept because nobody ever experiences (or can experience) such a thing. And calling it a "non-thing" is simply saying that it doesn't exist at all and again it cannot be perceived in any way.
"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, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Astus » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:52 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:I suppose a generalized path to inuiting Truth is through faith, self-mastery, detachment, seeing the 5 aggregates as anatta, meditation (be it Zazen, Vipassana, or some tantric sadhana in Vajrayana), transcending concepts, looking inward/self-inquiry etc.


Could you be more specific? There are step by step instructions on realising the emptiness of self and phenomena, like Chengguan's Examination of the Five Aggregates, and other, more extensive works. Is there one to guide to the realisation of self?
"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, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Matt J » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:58 pm

One thing that helps me from time to time is applying Buddhist teaching to other objects. It can be hard to analyze oneself, but it is much easier to analyze a cup or a chair.

If there is a self for me, then why not a self for the cup? Is there a blue Snowman cup that is beyond the ceramic, the painting, the form of the cup? An absolute Blue Snowman Cup? If I concentrate enough on my blue Snowman cup, will this Absolute Blue Snowman Cup be revealed to me? I don't think so. Why would I think that this blue Snowman cup is somehow absolute, and the earth it was before and the earth it will be after are not? Why do I focus on the cup as it is presented, and not the untold beings who built the society in which this cup could come together and take place?

On the other hand, would I say there is no blue Snowman cup? That is ridiculous, because without the cup, my coffee would spill all over the place.

If it is so of my cup, then why not so for me? Really, it is not even a cup. It is a me-and-the-cup-and-the-whole-world-around-us.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Practice » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:52 am

@ Jeeprs Post: 903 "The origin of the dialectic on self is..."

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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Huifeng » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:15 am

LastLegend wrote:To Huifeng:

What I want to know is if Tao or Dao from (Dao De Jing) is not some brushed up Buddhism.


No, how could it be? The Daode jing text was produced quite possibly before Buddhism even existed, let alone before it reached East Asia.

But neo-Daojia certainly is influenced by Buddhism. But that is over 1000 years later. The biggest problem is when modern people who don't know much about the details encounter neo-Daojia stuff, see it's like Chan (or whatever) Buddhism, and then argue that they are similar, the same, or that Chan has borrowed from Buddhism -- and miss the point that often it's the other way around.

Similar situation with Brahmanism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Brahmanism borrows heavily from Buddhism and we end up with so-called Hinduism. People conflate Brahmanism and Hinduism, see that Hinduism is like Buddhism, and assume Buddhism borrows from Hinduism / Brahmanism.

A bit of historicity is very helpful, despite some people's distaste for such things.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:40 am

jeeprs wrote:So what is 'the ground of existence'? What is it that is lacking? To have theories about that is to engage in speculation.

Astus wrote: Actually, it is not speculation, it is defining the object of negation. And that object is the idea of independent existence, the concept that something exists on its own as it is. I say it is a concept because nobody ever experiences (or can experience) such a thing. And calling it a "non-thing" is simply saying that it doesn't exist at all and again it cannot be perceived in any way.


The ground of existence is not the object of negation, and is not what is being negated. The idea that beings exist 'in themselves' is what is being negated. But the dharmadhātu cannot be negated, because without it nothing would exist.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Alfredo » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:12 am

Historically speaking, Buddhism and Daoism influenced one another very deeply. Buddhism adopted Daoist language and concepts in the course of being translated into Chinese, while Daoism took on many Buddhist trappings in the course of competing with Buddhism. In fact, Daoism's very identity as a distinct religious tradition arose from this contrast.

This does not mean that either religion can be reduced to the other (although certain polemical texts have tried to claim this, notably the Huahujing, the Scripture of Converting the Barbarians), or that either is better or more evolved (that being a matter of religious opinion). IMHO we are all richer for having this influence. Certainly it would be hard to imagine Zen ever developing without it. (I mean "Zen" as we know it, i.e. the cultural complex, not "Zen" as an abstract religious ideal.)
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby LastLegend » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:11 am

Huifeng wrote:
LastLegend wrote:To Huifeng:

What I want to know is if Tao or Dao from (Dao De Jing) is not some brushed up Buddhism.


No, how could it be? The Daode jing text was produced quite possibly before Buddhism even existed, let alone before it reached East Asia.

But neo-Daojia certainly is influenced by Buddhism. But that is over 1000 years later. The biggest problem is when modern people who don't know much about the details encounter neo-Daojia stuff, see it's like Chan (or whatever) Buddhism, and then argue that they are similar, the same, or that Chan has borrowed from Buddhism -- and miss the point that often it's the other way around.

Similar situation with Brahmanism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Brahmanism borrows heavily from Buddhism and we end up with so-called Hinduism. People conflate Brahmanism and Hinduism, see that Hinduism is like Buddhism, and assume Buddhism borrows from Hinduism / Brahmanism.

A bit of historicity is very helpful, despite some people's distaste for such things.

~~ Huifeng


I personally don't trust history. I trust my own experience first in accordance with words from texts.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:55 am

LastLegend wrote:I personally don't trust history. I trust my own experience first in accordance with words from texts.

Ummm ....
If words from texts are about things that happened a long time ago, they are history, aren't they? And then you have to decide between useful, reliable, accurate history and the rest.
If words from texts are not about things that happened a long time ago, they can't tell us anything about things that happened a long time ago, can they? And then you can't know anything about things that happened a long time ago.

I think.

:thinking:
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