Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:21 pm

Based on the "Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism" I thought it's better to get a new topic for the subject. For a start here are a few quotes.

We have already said that the primordial state contains in potentiality the manifestation of enlightenment. The sun, for example, naturally has light and rays, but when the sky is cloudy, we don not see them. The clouds in this case represent our obstacles that are a result of dualism and conditioning: when they are overcome, the state of self-perfection shines with all its manifestations of energy, without ever having been altered or improved. This is the characteristic principle of Dzogchen. Not understanding this may lead one to think that Dzogchen is the same as Zen or Ch'an. At heart, Zen, which without any doubt is a high and direct Buddhist teaching, is based on the principle of emptiness as explained in sutras such as the Prajnaparamita. Even though in this regard, in substance it is no different from Dzogchen, the particularity of Dzogchen lies in the direct introduction to the primordial state not as "pure emptiness" but rather as endowed with all the aspects of the self-perfection of energy. It is through applying these that one attains realization.
(N. Norbu & A. Clemente: The Supreme Source, p. 88)

The Zen tradition is the actual application of shunyata, or emptiness, practice, the heart of the mahayana teaching. Historically, the zen method is based on dialectical principles - you engage in continual dialogues with yourself, asking questions constantly. by doing that, in the end you begin to discover that questions don't apply anymore in relationship to the answer. That is a way of using up dualistic mind, based on the logic of Nagarjuna. The interesting point is that the practice of traditional Indian logic used by Hindu and Buddhist scholars is turned into experiential logic rather than just ordinary debate or intellectual argument. Logic becomes experiential.
...
These two practices are not polarities. You have to go through Zen practice before you get to mahamudra practice, because if you don't realize that asking questions is the way to learn something, that the questioning process is a learning process, then the whole idea of study becomes distorted. So one must learn to see that trying to struggle for some achievement or goal is useless; you have to start from the Zen or mahayana tradition. And after that, you realize that asking questions is not the only way, but being a fool is the only way. If you see the foolishness of asking questions, then you begin to lear something. Foolishness begins to become wisdom. At that point, you transform yourself into another dimension, a completely other dimension. You thought you had achieved a sudden glimpse of nonduality, but that nonduality also contains relationship. You still need to relate yourself to that sudden glimpse of beyond question. That's when you begin to become mahamudra experience. In other words, the Zen tradition seems to be based on the shunyata principle, which is a kind of emptiness and openness, absence of duality. The mahamudra experience is a way of wiping out the consciousness of the abscence: you begin to develop clear perceptions beyond being conscious of the absence. ,,, I suppose you could say that Zen and mahamudra are complementary to one another. Without the one, the other couldn't exist.

(The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, vol. 6, p. 43, 44)

You see, an interesting point is that once you begin to get into big mind - as the Yogacharins or Zen call it, the BIG mind [laughter] - it extends your vision. But then, once you begin to get into VAST mind, even BIG mind is so small.
(ibid., p. 471)

Dzogchen teaches that all we have to do to become enlightened is to recognize and rest in this natural state of mind. In Zen they call this original mind. This is raw, naked awareness, not something we've learned or fabricated. This is the Buddha within - the perfect presence that we can all rely on. Waking up to this natural mind, this Buddha-nature, is what meditation is all about.
(Surya Das: Awakening the Buddha Within, p. 316)

The Zen practice of shikantaza, the Tibetan practices of mahamudra and dzogchen, and the Theravadan practice of full mindfulness of breathing are all examples of the practice of presence.
(Ken McLeod: Wake Up Your Life, p. 419)

Many people are more accustomed to doing practice in the Sutra style, and when they speak of meditation, for example, they always consider it to be sitting with crossed legs and closed eyes. In the Sutra teachings, there are gradual and nongradual methods. The origins of latter methods are to be found in the history of all the present day schools of Zen.
Zen methods are nowadays very developed; and since many methods from different sources have been integrated with them, they no longer exist exactly as they did in ancient times. Nevertheless, even if they ahve been altered over time, they are still based on the Sutra teachings. This is why, in Zen, it is believed that the main point of practice is to get into the state of shunyata, or voidness, and to remain in it. That is what meditation is considered to be in Zen.
In any kind of Sutra teaching, meditation involves sitting silently in a quiet place. Many people are attached to that form of practice, and some people have an aversion to Tantrism because they feel that it requires too many things to recite and contruct, and the use of many ritual instruments for doing rites and pujas and so on. Such people prefer to simply meditate in silence.

(Namkhai Norbu: Dzogchen Teachings, p. 25)
"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: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Enochian » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:26 pm

Zen does not work with the channels, bindus and chakras within the body.

Vajrayana and even Dzogchen relies on esoteric anatomy.

Thats the main difference.

I'm glad I settled this issue. Your welcome.

P.S. Does a Zen master directly introduce the perfect natural state right off the bat? I don't think they do.
There is an ever-present freedom from grasping the mind.

Mind being defined as the thing always on the Three Times.
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:30 pm

Enochian, it is the Tibetan view of Zen, not How Zen is not Vajrayana (as it is obviously not Tantra). Should have emphasised that I guess.
"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: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Enochian » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:32 pm

Astus wrote:Enochian, it is the Tibetan view of Zen, not How Zen is not Vajrayana (as it is obviously not Tantra). Should have emphasised that I guess.


Yeah that is the Tibetan view of Zen

Zen doesn't use esoteric anatomy

I don't like the phrase "Tibetan Buddhism" at all, but that should be another topic.
There is an ever-present freedom from grasping the mind.

Mind being defined as the thing always on the Three Times.
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:38 pm

There are three basic Tibetan views of Zen:

A) It is a subitist deviation from the Buddha's teachings (i.e. Hashang's Chan)
b) It is the most profound sutra teaching, but only that.
c) it is Chinese verision of Yogacara (Thukwan)
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:31 pm

It seems to me, as it appears in the Namkhai Norbu and Chögyam Trungpa quotes, that they take Zen to be only about emptiness and based on prajnaparamita. It is actually a strange interpretation to me since one of the most fundamental tenets of Zen is "mind is Buddha" and it is actually based on tathagatagarbha teachings. Why they still think that Zen is only about emptiness is a mystery to me.
"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: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:49 pm

Astus wrote:It seems to me, as it appears in the Namkhai Norbu and Chögyam Trungpa quotes, that they take Zen to be only about emptiness and based on prajnaparamita. It is actually a strange interpretation to me since one of the most fundamental tenets of Zen is "mind is Buddha" and it is actually based on tathagatagarbha teachings. Why they still think that Zen is only about emptiness is a mystery to me.



It is an interpretation based on Chan as it was presented to Tibetans by a number of Chinese masters of the Northern school. There are a few Chan texts authored by Tibetans in Dunhuand corpus. One of them is by Trisong De'utsan.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:23 pm

Namdrol wrote:It is an interpretation based on Chan as it was presented to Tibetans by a number of Chinese masters of the Northern school. There are a few Chan texts authored by Tibetans in Dunhuand corpus. One of them is by Trisong De'utsan.


And you think that while both Trungpa and ChNN are modern teachers who can actually read and hear of Zen, not to mention knowing Zen teachers, they still base their interpretation on 1000-year-old Tibetan texts? In the Namkhai Norbu quote he actually says that there were "developments" in Zen since then so at least he must be aware on some level that there's more to it than what they have in Tibetan from ancient times. On the other hand, Western teachers of the TB tradition seem to be more sympathetic to Zen, like Surya Das who regularly makes references to it in his books.
"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: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Enochian » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:28 pm

Older is better
There is an ever-present freedom from grasping the mind.

Mind being defined as the thing always on the Three Times.
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Jnana » Thu May 19, 2011 1:04 pm

Astus wrote:It seems to me, as it appears in the Namkhai Norbu and Chögyam Trungpa quotes, that they take Zen to be only about emptiness and based on prajnaparamita. It is actually a strange interpretation to me since one of the most fundamental tenets of Zen is "mind is Buddha" and it is actually based on tathagatagarbha teachings.

Indeed. It's noteworthy that Guifeng Zongmi had already developed the connection between the experiential recognition of awareness (zhi), always-present awareness (changzhi), numinous awareness (lingzhi), etc., and the naturally occurring disposition (prakṛtisthagotra) taught in the tathāgatagarbha sūtras and śāstras quite some time before the tathāgatagarbha view was well established in Tibet.

All the best,

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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby tamdrin » Thu May 19, 2011 2:05 pm

There were Zen practicioners in Tibet. The Drikung Kyabgon Rinpoche has written a book about this, but I don't believe it has been translated into english.
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 19, 2011 2:28 pm

tamdrin wrote:There were Zen practicioners in Tibet. The Drikung Kyabgon Rinpoche has written a book about this, but I don't believe it has been translated into english.



Adriano Clemente's has translated portions of Nubchen related to Zen, etc. It should be out this year.
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Jnana » Thu May 19, 2011 7:49 pm

tamdrin wrote:There were Zen practicioners in Tibet.

Yes. There's also the Cig car 'jug pa rnam par mi rtog pa'i bsgom don attributed to Vimalamitra, which is a sudden entry text. I'm not sure how much exposure the Tibetans had to Heze Chan or the works of Zongmi though.

All the best,

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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby tamdrin » Thu May 19, 2011 9:14 pm

Jñāna wrote:
tamdrin wrote:There were Zen practicioners in Tibet.

Yes. There's also the Cig car 'jug pa rnam par mi rtog pa'i bsgom don attributed to Vimalamitra, which is a sudden entry text. I'm not sure how much exposure the Tibetans had to Heze Chan or the works of Zongmi though.

All the best,

Geoff



That is probably a dzogchen text, I dont think Vimalamitra taught zen.
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Jnana » Thu May 19, 2011 9:46 pm

tamdrin wrote:That is probably a dzogchen text, I dont think Vimalamitra taught zen.

It's a Sūtrayāna text advocating sudden entry practice.

All the best,

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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 19, 2011 9:51 pm

Jñāna wrote:
tamdrin wrote:That is probably a dzogchen text, I dont think Vimalamitra taught zen.

It's a Sūtrayāna text advocating sudden entry practice.

All the best,

Geoff



Sure, Lanka-avatara teaches sudden awakening.
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby tamdrin » Thu May 19, 2011 9:59 pm

Jñāna wrote:
tamdrin wrote:That is probably a dzogchen text, I dont think Vimalamitra taught zen.

It's a Sūtrayāna text advocating sudden entry practice.

All the best,

Geoff



Oh yeah, is it translated into english?
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Jnana » Thu May 19, 2011 10:13 pm

tamdrin wrote:Oh yeah, is it translated into english?

I don't think so. Parts of it have been translated years ago by Luis Gomez. See "Indian Materials on the Doctrine of Sudden Enlightenment," published in Early Chan In China and Tibet.

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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 20, 2011 4:41 pm

[quote="tamdrin"]


I just read it. It is a very nice short text. It has many citations from many different sutras, especially the Lanka, proving that Cig car is a superior method to the gradual path. I translate a bit of it below. It uses many sūtras translated from Chinese which raises the interesting possibility that Indian Dzogchen masters were sympathetic to Chan in general.

This is one of the nicest citatations, taken from the Arya-candragarbha-prajñāpāramitā-mahāyāna-sūtra:

Just as a spark
cannot dry an ocean,
likewise, relative truth
cannot dry one's afflictions,
what need to mention those of others?


Also it has a nice take on practicing the six paramitas, etc.

If it is said by someone 'It is necessary to practice the six perfections and so on', the explanation for that in the Vajrasamadhi sūtra is:
"The six perfections are all included in the emptiness of the mind" and in the Brahmaviśeṣacintipariprīcchā sūtra: "No thought is generosity. Non-abiding is discipline. Total non-differentiation is patience. Not accepting or rejecting is diligence. Lack of desire is samadhi. Not serving is prajñā. The Lankāvatara sūtra states: "For as long as the mind is engaged, for that long one is a worldly materialist". Since mere generosity and so on exist for thirtikas, if one follows signs, there is the fault of not leaving samsara.

Someone claims "There is no greater merit than reciting and copying [sūtras]. The explanation for that in the Samadhirāja sūtra is "If someone, very faithful to awakening and has regret towards the conditioned, should take seven steps in direction of retreat, the merit is supreme over that [of reciting and copying texts]." The Mahāuṣnịṣa sūtra states: "Meditating on stainless prajñā for a single day or night has infinitely more merit than reading and reciting the sūtra division of dharma for as many eons as there are atoms." If it is asked why,it is said "In order to be far from birth and death" but this is not said of reciting and copying the sūtras.

Someone claims "There is no method of benefitting sentient beings in non-conceptual meditation." The explanation for that is in the Prajñāpāramitā sūtra: "Subuhuti,here, dwelling in the three samadhis of a bodhisasattva mahasattva and a sentient being engaging conceptuality, those are placed in emptiness." A sentient being engage in signs joined to signs. A sentient being who aspires for a result is joined to the aspiration. Subhuti, in the same way a bodhisattva mahasattva is engaged in perfect wisdom and dwells in three samadhis, and totally ripens sentient beings." Therefore, the benefit of sentient being is performed by non-conceptuality.

Demonstrating the dharma through signs is the work of māra and is a companion of sin. The Buddhakośa sūtra states "One who does not understand the dharma who demonstrates it to others causes sentient beings to be born in hell." If it is asked why it is because they are demonstrating the dharma incorrectly. "Explaining dharma incorrectly" means "demonstrating through things and signs", therefore, sentient beings are benefitted without being perceived.

Some one claims "There is no non-conceptual confession of sins". The explanation for that is in the Bhricaphulu sūtra: If one wishes to purify through confession, sit straight, gaze properly, and look at reality correctly [yang dag la yang dag lta], having seen reality, one is liberated. This is the supreme purification through confession." Therefore if one sits with an unmoving mind it is said to be the supreme purification through confession."
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
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Re: Tibetan Buddhist View of Zen

Postby tamdrin » Fri May 20, 2011 6:08 pm

cool :thumbsup:

how long is this text? Maybe tibetans should become more Chan friendly. I dont think the Buddha himself would have advocated either the gradual or the instantaneous paths.
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