You Are Already Enlightened

You Are Already Enlightened

Postby Karma Jinpa » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:21 am

Guo Gu wrote:The Chan tradition does not usually refer to steps or stages. Its central teaching is that we are intrinsically awake; our mind is originally without abiding, fixations, and vexations, and its nature is without divisions and stages. This is the basis of the Chan view of sudden enlightenment. If our mind’s nature were not already free, that would imply we could become enlightened only after we practiced, which is not so. If it’s possible to gain enlightenment, then it’s possible to lose it as well.

Consider a room, which is naturally spacious. However we organize the furniture in the room will not affect its intrinsic spaciousness. We can put up walls to divide the room, but they are temporary. And whether we leave the room clean or cluttered and messy, it won’t affect its natural spaciousness. Mind is also intrinsically spacious. Although we can get caught up in our desires and aversions, our true nature is not affected by those vexations. We are inherently free.

In the Chan tradition, therefore, practice is not about producing enlightenment. You might wonder, “Then what am I doing here, practicing?” Because practice does help clean up the “furniture” in the “room.” By not attaching to your thoughts, you remove the furniture, so to speak. And once your mind is clean, instead of fixating on the chairs, tables, and so on, you see its spaciousness. Then you can let the furniture be or rearrange it any way you want—not for yourself, but for the benefit of others in the room.


Read the full article here:
http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/web-archive/2012/11/8/you-are-already-enlightened.html
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།


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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby disjointed » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:37 am

So,...
this is an example of a message that is lost in translation?

Last time I checked Cha'an was a highly eloquent school that had no trouble clearly laying out it's doctrine.
Obviously that did not carry over into the English because this is an unintelligible mish mash of 1000 distinct definitions being translated into the catch all "enlightenment".
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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby Karma Jinpa » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:42 am

Guo Gu is also known as professor Jimmy Yu at Florida State University. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford, and grew up in the punk/straight-edge scene in New York.

I know that he's spent a good deal of time in Taiwan, but he is a Chinese-American with an excellent grasp of English. Pretty sure Guo Gu wrote the article in English himself, so what was lost if I may ask?
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།
ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།


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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby oushi » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:26 am

Guo Gu wrote:The difference between delusion and enlightenment is only a moment away.

This is from the same article. Although, I mostly agree with what is written there, I see inconsistency which clearly shows deficiency in understanding (mine or his).
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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:49 am

The difference between delusion and enlightenment is only a moment away.


Unfortunately, considering the immense time-spans of temporal existence, 'a moment' might be of considerable duration.

The other point is, this talk is situated in the context of serious commitment. The sentence preceding the one quoted is 'You might ask, “I’ve been practicing for ten years now—exactly when is this going to hap­pen to me?” '

So I think it is a lesson about abandoning expectations, about expecting to get something. Whereas, I think if it taken to mean that I am already enlightened, then it can easily be misconstrued as a kind of short-cut. Whereas, to quote Huang-Po, another ancient Zen luminary:

Even if you understand this, you must make the most strenuous of efforts.


So, I think - excellent article, easily misconstrued. That perhaps is why a teacher is necessary.
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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby oushi » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 am

Expectations are built out of meaning. Wrong meaning will always bring wrong expectations. No meaning liberates expectations.
We can explain it without contradicting ourselves. To say: we are already enlightened... one step away; undoubtedly brings confusion, and I assume that most people will suspect some mysterious meaning that fulfills both requirements, that is revealed to them after 10 years or so.
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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby Jikan » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:31 pm

disjointed wrote:So,...
this is an example of a message that is lost in translation?

Last time I checked Cha'an was a highly eloquent school that had no trouble clearly laying out it's doctrine.
Obviously that did not carry over into the English because this is an unintelligible mish mash of 1000 distinct definitions being translated into the catch all "enlightenment".


Much of that nuance is contextual--the same term is used in again and again in different contexts, producing different meanings that are difficult to translate. The character "li" for instance, usually translated as "principle," is a good example of this.

http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/philo/iw/reso ... n%20Li.pdf

Meanwhile, this is recommended if you can find it at a library on the relation between original enlightenment and the need for practice:

http://www.amazon.com/Cultivating-Origi ... 0824830768
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby Gwenn Dana » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:28 pm

oushi wrote:
Guo Gu wrote:The difference between delusion and enlightenment is only a moment away.

This is from the same article. Although, I mostly agree with what is written there, I see inconsistency which clearly shows deficiency in understanding (mine or his).


Given that only the moment is experienced, it can either be clear or deluded. The next moment may be either. And the next. And the next.

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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:14 pm

Gwenn Dana wrote:Given that only the moment is experienced, it can either be clear or deluded. The next moment may be either. And the next. And the next.

Best wishes
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So where does this moment end and the next one begin?
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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby Anders » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:51 pm

disjointed wrote: Last time I checked Cha'an was a highly eloquent school that had no trouble clearly laying out it's doctrine.


I would not characterise Chan like that in a million years.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby Gwenn Dana » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:41 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:So where does this moment end and the next one begin?


What do you mean with "next"?
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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby garudha » Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:25 pm

if the poison is ignorance of ones enlightenment,
then the antidote would be enlightenment of ones ignorance.
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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby kirtu » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:56 am

disjointed wrote:So,...
this is an example of a message that is lost in translation?


No, this is the standard Chan/Zen position.

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Re: You Are Already Enlightened

Postby WuMing » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:46 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
The difference between delusion and enlightenment is only a moment away.


... The other point is, this talk is situated in the context of serious commitment. The sentence preceding the one quoted is 'You might ask, “I’ve been practicing for ten years now—exactly when is this going to hap­pen to me?” '

So I think it is a lesson about abandoning expectations, about expecting to get something. Whereas, I think if it taken to mean that I am already enlightened, then it can easily be misconstrued as a kind of short-cut. Whereas, to quote Huang-Po, another ancient Zen luminary:

Even if you understand this, you must make the most strenuous of efforts.


So, I think - excellent article, easily misconstrued. That perhaps is why a teacher is necessary.


I quite agree with that!

I would like to quote here from an article by Taigen Dan Leighton "Dogen's Zazen as Other-Power-Practice" were he wrote:

"Practice is the effect of realization, rather than its cause."

This followed a quote from Dogen's text Gakudo Yojinshu - Guidelines for Studying the Way which says:

A practitioner should not practice buddha-dharma for his own sake, to gain fame and profit, to attain good results, or to pursue miraculous power. Practice only for the sake of the buddha-dharma.


Towards the end of his article Ven Guo Gu writes:

Remember that practice is much more than following a particular method or going through stages on a path.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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