So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Luke » Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:32 pm

Aemilius wrote:Where do I get this from? Well, it kind of was around, when buddhism wasn't yet much known in Europe, at that time it was normal and easy to say in academic circles that Dionysos was born in the Himalayas in a city of Nysa, and he seems much like this Indian prince Lotus Born, etc... when they were more distant and did not have any followers or cults present in Europe, see?

Are you basically referring to sources from the Theosophy movement here?

Theosophists were notorious for stealing bits of information from eastern religions and misrepresenting them and mixing them with a lot of fantasy.
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:36 pm

Aemilius,

We know of Jews and Christians in ancient India and China and these are not some hidden obscure ideas but open facts. Yes, it is known that there were trade routes between India and the Roman Empire. But can you show any Buddhist monastery or at least a community in Europe before the 19th century? Although Europeans heard about Buddhism through Christian missionaries and travellers as early as the 16th century, it doesn't mean they turned to that religion. Until you can come up with some ancient Latin sutra translation or the ruins of a stupa I see no reason to assume Buddhism was any way present as a religion practised in Europe.
"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: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:29 pm

Luke wrote:
Aemilius wrote:Where do I get this from? Well, it kind of was around, when buddhism wasn't yet much known in Europe, at that time it was normal and easy to say in academic circles that Dionysos was born in the Himalayas in a city of Nysa, and he seems much like this Indian prince Lotus Born, etc... when they were more distant and did not have any followers or cults present in Europe, see?

Are you basically referring to sources from the Theosophy movement here?

Theosophists were notorious for stealing bits of information from eastern religions and misrepresenting them and mixing them with a lot of fantasy.


No, I'm not referring to teosophists, the information about Dionysos's birth place as Nysa in the Himalayas is in a Latin dictionary published in 1950's, which was a normal dictionary used by students in university.
Quite recently there was in Wikipedia an article about Dionysos, with views about his birth place, etc... But you can never trust that the entries in Wikipedia stay there! Very often they are changed, and changed radically,... What should one think about such things happening?? What can you prove when the previous entry has suddenly disappeared?? And when I have seen what kind of changes have been made can you guess how I feel ??
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:04 pm

Astus wrote:Aemilius,

We know of Jews and Christians in ancient India and China and these are not some hidden obscure ideas but open facts. Yes, it is known that there were trade routes between India and the Roman Empire. But can you show any Buddhist monastery or at least a community in Europe before the 19th century? Although Europeans heard about Buddhism through Christian missionaries and travellers as early as the 16th century, it doesn't mean they turned to that religion. Until you can come up with some ancient Latin sutra translation or the ruins of a stupa I see no reason to assume Buddhism was any way present as a religion practised in Europe.


You have to understand that christianity never reveals anything about pagan religions and pagan philosophies, they distort them into weird fantasies,
and they are clever at telling these distorted stories so that they are taken for granted as the actual truth. If you can mix in normal human societies you might have heard hair raising stories about tibetans and tibetan buddhists, like: "they eat semen, and they think it is healthy!!", and so on...!!

My point is that buddhism has existed in diverse forms, and developed into thousands of different expressions, like the Tea Ceremony, Flower Arranging etc... Its essence is to develop morality, concentration and wisdom. You can't find it very easily, because it is beyond form.

The point is also that Buddha Shakyamuni taught Dharma to the King of Shambhala, who then establisehed His kingdom on those guidelines, and I think that means the founding of the Roman Republic.

It is interesting that you mention stupas, etc... the latin word sepultura might be the same word in fact, it has the meaning of 'grave' and 'mausoleum'.
In Europe there are some structures resembling stupas, see here http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clocher-tour Clocher-tour de Finlande.

I even think that the word "pagan" is in fact the word bhagavan.
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby kirtu » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:14 pm

Astus wrote:We know of Jews and Christians in ancient India and China and these are not some hidden obscure ideas but open facts. Yes, it is known that there were trade routes between India and the Roman Empire. But can you show any Buddhist monastery or at least a community in Europe before the 19th century? Although Europeans heard about Buddhism through Christian missionaries and travellers as early as the 16th century, it doesn't mean they turned to that religion. Until you can come up with some ancient Latin sutra translation or the ruins of a stupa I see no reason to assume Buddhism was any way present as a religion practised in Europe.


The furthest west a Buddhist monastery apparently went was Damascus. That monastery burned down around 500-600 CE.

So far there doesn't seem to be any evidence for anything further west.

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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby kirtu » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:20 pm

Aemilius wrote:I even think that the word "pagan" is in fact the word bhagavan.


Pagan is supposedly derived from the Burmese city of Pagan which had hundreds of temples and stupas and was the capital of an empire.

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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby kirtu » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:07 pm

Astus wrote:But can you show any Buddhist monastery or at least a community in Europe before the 19th century?


You mean apart from Kalmykia since about 1650?

Pursuing the history of the Kalmyk people might provide clues to possible dissemination of Buddhism westward. However Kalmykia was created as a result of the end of the Russian Khanate. People apparently didn't move about very much because they were under the control of a kind of Russia land system where people could live in specific regions only and this was controlled by the government (the same thing was happening in Western Europe which experienced this as the begining of the end of a kind of feudalism).

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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:32 pm

Aemilius,

Sepultura means burial in Latin, it is "sepulcrum" that means grave, related to the English sepulchre, all from the root "sepelire", i.e. to bury. Clocher-tour simply means a stand alone bell-tower (The page itself defines it as: "un clocher en forme de tour qui n'est pas rattaché au corps principal d'une église" - a bell-tower in the form of a tower that is not attached to the main body of a church) and I don't see how that could be related any way to stupas.

As for Shakyamuni teaching a king to establish a republic, well, sounds strange in itself, as far as republics are not kingdoms. There was a Roman Kingdom until 503 b.c.e. that was then changed into a republic. Even if Gautama lived around that time - which by the latest researches is at least questionable - I don't see how he ended up on the Apennine Peninsula and where that is recorded.

Finally, on the word pagan please read this easily accessible and always useful Online Etymology Dictionary.
"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: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:46 pm

Kirt,

Kalmyks are Mongols (in a broader sense), so it is not the case that Buddhism spread to the West but Asians moved and brought their religion with themselves. On the other hand, when Mongols and Tatars, aka the Golden Horde ruled over a large part of Eastern Europe for about 250 years they haven't converted them to Buddhism but Christianity just lived on.
"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: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby kirtu » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:53 pm

Astus wrote:Kalmyks are Mongols (in a broader sense), so it is not the case that Buddhism spread to the West but Asians moved and brought their religion with themselves. On the other hand, when Mongols and Tatars, aka the Golden Horde ruled over a large part of Eastern Europe for about 250 years they haven't converted them to Buddhism but Christianity just lived on.


Yes I am well aware that Kalmyks are Mongolian nonetheless Buddhism has existed geographically in Europe since abut 1650.
As for ethnically European Buddhists - well as you have noted they didn't seem to come along until the 19th centruy and then do not seem to have been influenced by the Kalmyks. Nonetheless this may bear investigation.

When the Turkic peoples ruled Eastern Europe many people did convert one way or another to Islam, the religion of the conquerors. Most of the Mongol peoples in the West had converted to Islam in fact. The Kalmyks were an exception and this may be reflected in their name.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:47 am

Astus wrote:Aemilius,

Sepultura means burial in Latin, it is "sepulcrum" that means grave, related to the English sepulchre, all from the root "sepelire", i.e. to bury. Clocher-tour simply means a stand alone bell-tower (The page itself defines it as: "un clocher en forme de tour qui n'est pas rattaché au corps principal d'une église" - a bell-tower in the form of a tower that is not attached to the main body of a church) and I don't see how that could be related any way to stupas.

As for Shakyamuni teaching a king to establish a republic, well, sounds strange in itself, as far as republics are not kingdoms. There was a Roman Kingdom until 503 b.c.e. that was then changed into a republic. Even if Gautama lived around that time - which by the latest researches is at least questionable - I don't see how he ended up on the Apennine Peninsula and where that is recorded.

Finally, on the word pagan please read this easily accessible and always useful Online Etymology Dictionary.


Take a look at the form of the Clocher-tour that is on the mentioned page!
The thing is that when buddhism was declared pagan & heterodox it was punishable, even by death, but it still survived in diverse ways & forms. These "Clocher-tours" were very often built by peasants, for some reason, the reason is they wanted to make something reminiscient of stupas, and the permissible way was the Bell-tower function.
I am well aware that the explanations of the word sepultura have changed, in some older books it has the meanings I have said, it appears somewhere in the Monier-Williams sanskrit lexicon too, in the meaning of funerary rites(!), ( printed in 1800's).

King of Shambhala visited India, as it is recorded in the kalachakra tradition, the teaching took place in Sanchi, no one else heard it, this is how I have heard and understood it, the King went back, from these dharma seeds the Roman empire developed. It has been written many times that democratic ideals are part of Shakyan heritage, and thus they appeared in Shambhala/Rome also.
Despite all so called "reseach" I still think that Shakyamuni lived very early, his influence on humanity is not accepted and so they want to take it all away by declaring that he was only a minor figure that lived much later and so he can not have been what he truly was.
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby mudra » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:40 am

kirtu wrote:
Astus wrote:Kalmyks are Mongols (in a broader sense), so it is not the case that Buddhism spread to the West but Asians moved and brought their religion with themselves. On the other hand, when Mongols and Tatars, aka the Golden Horde ruled over a large part of Eastern Europe for about 250 years they haven't converted them to Buddhism but Christianity just lived on.


Yes I am well aware that Kalmyks are Mongolian nonetheless Buddhism has existed geographically in Europe since abut 1650.
As for ethnically European Buddhists - well as you have noted they didn't seem to come along until the 19th centruy and then do not seem to have been influenced by the Kalmyks. Nonetheless this may bear investigation.

When the Turkic peoples ruled Eastern Europe many people did convert one way or another to Islam, the religion of the conquerors. Most of the Mongol peoples in the West had converted to Islam in fact. The Kalmyks were an exception and this may be reflected in their name.

Kirt



I understand the word Kalmyk means 'those who were left behind', is this what you are referring to?

It's also kind of ironic to note that many of the Turkic Caucasian peoples of Central Asia were Buddhists then after converting to Islam brought Islam to Europe.

sidenote: does anyone here know when and how the term Caucasian became equated with
'white person'? (not to derail this lively and interesting thread which is so rich in historical fact and not without a dose of some fantastic speculation!)
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby kirtu » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:33 pm

mudra wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Astus wrote:Kalmyks are Mongols (in a broader sense), so it is not the case that Buddhism spread to the West but Asians moved and brought their religion with themselves. On the other hand, when Mongols and Tatars, aka the Golden Horde ruled over a large part of Eastern Europe for about 250 years they haven't converted them to Buddhism but Christianity just lived on.


Yes I am well aware that Kalmyks are Mongolian nonetheless Buddhism has existed geographically in Europe since abut 1650.
As for ethnically European Buddhists - well as you have noted they didn't seem to come along until the 19th centruy and then do not seem to have been influenced by the Kalmyks. Nonetheless this may bear investigation.

When the Turkic peoples ruled Eastern Europe many people did convert one way or another to Islam, the religion of the conquerors. Most of the Mongol peoples in the West had converted to Islam in fact. The Kalmyks were an exception and this may be reflected in their name.

Kirt



I understand the word Kalmyk means 'those who were left behind', is this what you are referring to?


Yes

It's also kind of ironic to note that many of the Turkic Caucasian peoples of Central Asia were Buddhists then after converting to Islam brought Islam to Europe.


That is ironic although it was a Khanate-wide phenomena outside of India, China and Mongolia.

sidenote: does anyone here know when and how the term Caucasian became equated with
'white person'? (not to derail this lively and interesting thread which is so rich in historical fact and not without a dose of some fantastic speculation!)


Wasn't that a 19th century speculation?

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:20 pm

Aemilius,

Just because a bell-tower, or any other building for that matter, resebles a stupa it doesn't make it related to a stupa. As you may well know, there are different styles of stupa throughout Asia, but it is their function that makes them a Buddhist building. A bell-tower has just a bell in it to warn people, no relics, no religious rites, no concept of enlightenment at all.

Saying "somewhere" and "some older books" are not references. It takes historical and archeological records to establish a theory. Does the Kalachakra tradition say anything about the Roman empire? If so, where?

You may think as you please, just don't expect me to take it seriously when it lacks proper foundation in reliable sources.
"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: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:47 pm

Putting aside the historical issues, what does Buddhism have that can attract people to it compared to Christianity and Islam?

I think the approach presented on this site is noteworthy because it addresses common issues raised about religions. Unlike the majority of Buddhist books published in the West, the teachings of the "vehicle of men and gods" are rarely addressed properly although it is clearly the faith of the majority of Buddhist laity throughout Asia. It sounds very base compared to lofty ideas about "sudden enlightenment" and "rainbow body" but that's why it is the teaching that can make a real difference in the number of people who can feel connected to the Buddhadharma.

Whether it is Christianity, Islam or New Age, they all propagete some sort of heaven that the faithful can obtain. Buddhism can show how those heavens are obtainable for anyone with a more sensible teaching.

What do you think?
"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: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:36 pm

Astus wrote:Aemilius,

Just because a bell-tower, or any other building for that matter, resebles a stupa it doesn't make it related to a stupa. As you may well know, there are different styles of stupa throughout Asia, but it is their function that makes them a Buddhist building. A bell-tower has just a bell in it to warn people, no relics, no religious rites, no concept of enlightenment at all.

Saying "somewhere" and "some older books" are not references. It takes historical and archeological records to establish a theory. Does the Kalachakra tradition say anything about the Roman empire? If so, where?

You may think as you please, just don't expect me to take it seriously when it lacks proper foundation in reliable sources.


You should be able to understand that often in human history there has been a dominant culture and simultaneously there are underground cultures that manage to survive, and which also manage to transmit their teaching and their method to the next generation, and so on... This causes that their mode of existence is different than it would be as a dominant culture.
Well known example is sufism under islamic rule, and there have been many many underground spiritual cultures in Europe also. Information about them is often scanty and also quite distorted.
It also means that under such circumstances buddhism (if you can call it buddhism in such circumstances?) has been exclusively an oral teaching, and if there have been any written forms, they need oral explanation in order to be understood at all.
If it does produce the state of enlightenment it truly is buddhism. But you seem to identify "buddhism" as only a set of outer forms it has taken as a dominant culture.

If you want to see it that way there certainly are things in Kalachakra that remind one of the Roman empire, like instructions for making catapults, etc...
India is known by different names, like Bharat, Aryadesha etc... the same for Rome.

Having seen established facts disappear before one's very own eyes, I've come to hold the view that reality and history are mind made, artificial, and fabricated. Disappeared facts are replaced by new facts, they are taken to be true by the masses. Slowly what actually happened disappears completely. The masses have no chance to doubt the samaya of what is told by reliable authorities is really true. Thus with the help of this true samaya reality is created, is made, and is achieved.
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Huifeng » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:40 am

Astus wrote:...
Unlike the majority of Buddhist books published in the West, the teachings of the "vehicle of men and gods" are rarely addressed properly although it is clearly the faith of the majority of Buddhist laity throughout Asia. It sounds very base compared to lofty ideas about "sudden enlightenment" and "rainbow body" but that's why it is the teaching that can make a real difference in the number of people who can feel connected to the Buddhadharma.
...
What do you think?


I think that this is a very good point. The majority of western Buddhist practice seems to make a swift jump to the high end of the teachings asap, and several problems soon start kicking in as a result. This has even gone so far that in some places of discussion, to talk about gradual practice, intentions for future lives, or anything other than "absolute non-duality" (tm) is to invite ridicule.

It has been stated by several knowledgeable western Buddhist leaders, however, that while the high end practices bring types of insight, they feel that Buddhism needs to be supplemented. Usually the supplement is something along the lines of psychotherapy, or maybe integral theory, or whatever. For the latter, Wilbur even seems to claim that Buddhism cannot deal with the low end of the path. I think that his problem is that his whole idea of the Dharma is only a high end one to begin with, and his view thus suffers from thinking that the Dharma being fed to him in the US actually represents the Dharma in toto.

Part of the problem, but not all of it, is how the Dharma fitted culturally in Asia, and how the west has reacted against this, a la "Protestant Buddhism". ex. the tradition of Buddhism together with types of animism in south Asia; that Buddhism fills a certain niche in a broader religious system including Confucianism and Daojiao in east Asia. The European "protestant buddhism" approach saw all these as "corruptions" of the Dharma, and proposed their "return to the scriptures" approach, making for a very narrow scope.

Once the scholars had gone through it with this method, the practitioners followed as they brought these systems in the west. (Even those who neither realize nor acknowledge it are strongly influenced by these scholarly approaches to Buddhism which began from Europe.) Some traditions, such as the newly reformed Buddhism of Sri Lankan; and also the Buddhism of Japan which was revised through German scholarship; meant that the "pizza effect" took over. European attitudes changed the Dharma in Asian countries, then western practitioners went to those countries to practice, saw the Dharma there in that form, and concluded that indeed this form of Buddhism was the real thing after all.

This further removed the Dharma from the holistic system that it once was, and further reinforced its high end teachings.

:rantoff:
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby muni » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:22 am

I read here and understand now better our fellows.

Asked a question about compassion in some approaches but I think it is not easy to put this in words.
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Re: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:45 am

[quote='"Huifeng"]It has been stated by several knowledgeable western Buddhist leaders, however, that while the high end practices bring types of insight, they feel that Buddhism needs to be supplemented. Usually the supplement is something along the lines of psychotherapy, or maybe integral theory, or whatever.[/quote]

It is the phenomenon that when a teaching shows gaps - i.e. lacks relevant answers to questions of its followers - those empty places will be inevitably filled up in one way or the other. That's how local spirits and gods could become part of Buddhism, while with the many bodhisattvas, dharmapalas, etc. the role of gods could have been taken over by Buddhist (or "Buddhicised") deities. For long there wasn't really any Buddhist form of magic (pre-modern science) but then with tantra it was resolved. Sanitised Buddhism sounds good for those think only of its immediate acceptiblity into a view full of preconceptions, while in fact Buddhism should be able to answer not only the needs of educated people with stress problems but also those spiritual seekers who are looking for the meaning of life. Until that happens there's little chance for Buddhism to have a large number of followers from all walks of life and traditional/local beliefs (Christiantiy, New Age, Scientism) will fill those seekers' minds.
"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: So, how about "Western" Buddhism?

Postby Huifeng » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:19 pm

My point was not so much that Buddhism has "gaps", but that many commentators have "gaps" in their understanding of it.
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