The real truth behind Zen masters' self-mutilation?

Re: The real truth behind Zen masters' self-mutilation?

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:27 am

Snuppy wrote:so in light of your request for a serous discussion on Zen. Lets begin then. Lets use someone coming out of thin air, in the context of not being a regular at this forum, and clearly stating that they are in fact a Zen Master.

So How do you know. Seriously. How do you know that they are not a Zen Master.

Because they appear deluded, rude, and are frustrated when they don't get what they want, like when others don't agree with them.
Individual
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:20 am

Re: The real truth behind Zen masters' self-mutilation?

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:37 am

Snuppy wrote:(Off topic content deleted)


Some evidance I am a Zen Master. I can talk about that, but I am choosing not to. I am seeing what is stopping you from finding out what is so. Just a suggestion. If someone is saying they are a Zen Master. dont believe them, but at least listen to what they are saying. I wont mention the fact that i am a Master, Ive said it, made it known, so lets dialogue then.


No. Let's not.

You are not the topic here. Further posts of this nature will be deleted.
Left
Blue Garuda
 
Posts: 2000
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: The real truth behind Zen masters' self-mutilation?

Postby Hae Min » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:12 pm

[quote]We hear legends of Zen monks doing horribly painful and unhealthy things to themselves: Bodhidharma cutting off his eyelids, Huike chopped off his hand and tossing it at Bodhidharma... And that koan I heard once about the monk who chopped off a guy's finger for mocking him.

How much actual truth is to this sort of stuff? And to what degree was physical abuse and self-mutilation ever actually a part of Zen Buddhism historically? Is it something constrained to the Linji school?[quote]

I'm a monk myself. Though I haven't burned off any fingers, I've met numerous monks from the Korean tradition, and at least one from the Chinese Ch'an tradition that have burned off one or more fingers or sections of fingers. You bind the part you want to burn until it goes completely numb, then dip it in lamp oil and then light it while chanting. The account of this that I read (in Buswell's The Zen Monastic Experience) states that the monks actually feel no physical pain as a result of numbing the finger.

I don't personally plan to do it, but I can't really judge the practice either.
Hae Min
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:28 am

Re: The real truth behind Zen masters' self-mutilation?

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:10 pm

Hae Min wrote:
We hear legends of Zen monks doing horribly painful and unhealthy things to themselves: Bodhidharma cutting off his eyelids, Huike chopped off his hand and tossing it at Bodhidharma... And that koan I heard once about the monk who chopped off a guy's finger for mocking him.

How much actual truth is to this sort of stuff? And to what degree was physical abuse and self-mutilation ever actually a part of Zen Buddhism historically? Is it something constrained to the Linji school?

I'm a monk myself. Though I haven't burned off any fingers, I've met numerous monks from the Korean tradition, and at least one from the Chinese Ch'an tradition that have burned off one or more fingers or sections of fingers. You bind the part you want to burn until it goes completely numb, then dip it in lamp oil and then light it while chanting. The account of this that I read (in Buswell's The Zen Monastic Experience) states that the monks actually feel no physical pain as a result of numbing the finger.

I don't personally plan to do it, but I can't really judge the practice either.



Greetings. _/\_


It seems from what you have written that they were not doing it in order to prove that their meditation protected them from pain. I have seen and performed acts in Japanese Martial Arts which are proof to me that even without numbing the finger, one's mental state may eliminate normal pain responses in the body - Mushin (no mind) or Fudoshin (unwavering mind) for example.

A short term gain within the martial arts is the ability to detach anger and fear from association with physical pain, and establish 'fudoshin' as an interim stage towards 'mushin'.

I can guess that perhaps the burning was an offering or that perhaps it was done to show that they had overcome attachment to the body (either to assist their own mind's development or that of others). I hesitate to mention the possibility that such acts may be performed in order to seek a sudden awakening, as I have no evidence of this one way or the other.

My guesses may be very wide of the mark, so please forgive me.

I respect totally that one should not comment on the efficacy or wisdom of such practices, so I restrict my question to intention only:

Did any of the monks explain why they performed this practice, and was there a common purpose they shared?

maitri

Yeshe
Left
Blue Garuda
 
Posts: 2000
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: The real truth behind Zen masters' self-mutilation?

Postby vfargenta » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:51 pm

Individual wrote:OK, so part of me is thinking, "Let the past be the past. History is nothing but scholarly sophistry".

But I'm so damned curious!

We hear legends of Zen monks doing horribly painful and unhealthy things to themselves: Bodhidharma cutting off his eyelids, Huike chopped off his hand and tossing it at Bodhidharma... And that koan I heard once about the monk who chopped off a guy's finger for mocking him.

How much actual truth is to this sort of stuff? And to what degree was physical abuse and self-mutilation ever actually a part of Zen Buddhism historically? Is it something constrained to the Linji school?

Aside from my curiousity, I think this is pretty important to clear up because it's pretty easy to imagine where somebody might get this sort of stuff wrong and somehow think a capacity for random self-mutilation is a part of enlightenment.


I also don't understand... I wish I could! :shrug:
What would be the explanation?

Regards,
Vinícius
vfargenta
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:47 pm

Re: The real truth behind Zen masters' self-mutilation?

Postby Astus » Sun May 01, 2011 11:35 pm

Bodies of Sanctity: Ascetic Practices in Late Imperial China (PDF)

Also there's a short topic on similar subject here.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4217
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: The real truth behind Zen masters' self-mutilation?

Postby Quiet Heart » Thu May 19, 2011 11:17 pm

:smile:
Many of those stories..whether they were actually true or not...are simply told to shock the student and by that propel hm or her into a state of mind where their preconceptions (illusions and delusions) are forgotten.
Only then can a teacher reach down to the root of the student's (mis)understanding .... and momentarily free of the student's preconcieved package of illusions and delusions....grab the student's mind and point him or her to see clearly what is right before them, but they haven't seen before because of that mass of illusions and delusions in their way.
The whole point is to shock the student out of those preconcieved illusions/delusions so they can get a clear look, if even only for a few seconds, at reality without those illusions/delusions.
Also you first have to give the student a good grounding in the basics...rather like Zen 101 being needed before Zen 201 is taught. The teacher has to decide when it is time for Zen 201 lessons to start.
After all, everything is fair in love and enlightenment.
But maybe I shouldn't have told you that yet.
:tongue:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
User avatar
Quiet Heart
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 10:57 am
Location: Bangkok Thailand

Previous

Return to Zen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

>