Buddhahood in Chan

Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby klqv » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:45 pm

Astus wrote:klqv,

I believe there are quite a few enlightened beings among us, some are openly spreading the Dharma, some are hidden. However, I don't think that the presence of sages would mean global or even local revolution. This issue is addressed in the Vimalakirti Sutra's first chapter regarding the buddha-fields and its perception. Creating a "better world" is up to each individual, not some outer beings, otherwise even a single buddha could have liberated all beings instantly.

that doesn't seem right to me - not incorrect but as a response meant to change my mind i don't see it...

e.g., is it not the case that buddhas [err bodhisattvas too i guess?] preach the dharma and help others to realize their own buddha nature? i think i have even seen that described in terms of stimulus and response - in chan texts i mean. given this, i do not think your point is made... and i still think that 1000s of buddhas equates to a better world - than we have now. i imagine that we agree that sakyamuni profoundly improved the lives of his followers...


also, you seem to have implied at least once that scholastic buddhism teaches does not teach the buddha mind and says that the buddha is something outside us. i do not know of any mahayana sects that would say that!! maybe i have misled myself...

:thumbsup:
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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby klqv » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:00 pm

Astus wrote:
Tenzin1 wrote:Is it really possible to paint all Chan traditions with one brush? Chan has an esoteric side that borrows heavily from Tibetan tantra. I would think the attainments in that tradition would be similar to those in TB. And for that matter, is the level of attainment of advanced practitioners in TB all identical? Do they all reach the same level? It sounds like to some extent, this discussion is dealing in oversimplifications.


Chan is certainly not uniform. However, "esoteric side" is something new to me. Any references?

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=a3K8 ... sm&f=false


??
the author describes tantric buddhism as a "technology" that was used in early chan. iirc.
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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby daelm » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:41 pm

Astus wrote:Daelm,

The nature of the mind is the dharmakaya, to realise the dharmakaya is to realise buddhahood, that's why "seeing nature" is becoming buddha. Or rather, it is realising that the nature of the mind has always been the buddha. It's been taught like this since the early times, based on the Nirvana Sutra and others. This is one end of the possibilities of viewing it. The other end is what Zongmi propagated, that seeing nature is the first step that will eventually complete in buddhahood, although even in his interpretation it is not a matter of kalpas.



thanks. i was actually asking a question, not debating, and i was more interested in when the historical shift happened, but thanks anyway. your reply (above) actually re-states the quotes i referenced earlier. in a way it becomes a version of them. did you notice that? or was it deliberate?

if you have a look at it, the logic is missing a piece - perhaps the same piece i asked about originally. you say:

(a) The nature of the mind is the dharmakaya,
(b) to realise the dharmakaya is to realise buddhahood,
(c) that's why "seeing nature" is becoming buddha.

on the presumption that if (a) and (b) are true, they inevitably lead to (c). however, there's an unexplained leap from your second premise to your conclusion, during which "realising" is made synonymous with "seeing". (there's another one in the second premise, btw, turning on what "realise" means, but it's not important now.) since this is in the form of a proof, and it aims to prove the reason why "seeing nature" is "being buddha", what that means is that either you're saying that "seeing"and "realising" are the same thing, or it's a circular argument.

i'm assuming that these are commentarial claims, and not just your own, and so the circularity explanation won't hold for me (because people would have objected a long time ago). so that leaves me with the intentionality explanation, namely that "seeing" and "realising" are intended to be synonymous. since they don't historically start that way (if i understand things correctly) that's why i was asking when and how this happened, historically, and if the transition was explained in any way.

basically, i assume there was a transition between a gradualist view to the Chan "sudden" view described on this thread. i was trying to find out whether (in the Chan tradition) there might once have been more to "realising" (as in your phrase "realising buddhahood") than "seeing". "realising" often means "to make real", or "to bring into reality" and usually implies a lot of work. it seems likely to me that it might once have been accepted that there was a process, not merely an insight that caused this (even if the process was kicked off by an insight, as is the case in the sequence of the Path of Accumulation, Path of Seeing, Path of Habituation, etc). so it follows that there must have been a point where (metaphorically) someone said "wait! all that progression stuff is subsumed in the act of seeing the nature of mind" and collapsed them into a single event. i was i was actually just genuinely curious about how that happened, that's all.

anyway. have a good day.


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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Astus » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:03 pm

klqv,

I didn't intend to make a huge gap between "scholastic Buddhism" and "Chan" since there isn't much. Whether enlightened beings they would change the world or not, I leave that to another discussion. But it's an interesting question for sure.

I searched in that book for "Chan" and found no connection. One can find certain rituals of tantric origin in Chan, but that's all I know of.

This little part seems relevant here a bit (also noteworthy how Kukai couldn't accept that not only esoteric Buddhism has all the cool stuff):

"The theory of quick attainment of Buddhahood, it must be added, is not peculiar to esoteric Buddhism. The Tendai and Kegon schools have a similar doctrine, and Zen advocates instant realization of enlightenment. Kukai's contemporary and the founder of the Japanese Tendai sect, Saicho (767822), in fact, promulgated the teaching of quick realization of buddhahood based on the Lotus Sutra against the Hosso teaching that expounds gradual progress toward enlightenment over a period of three incalculable aeons. In Kukai's view, Tendai and Kegon talk only about theoretical possibilities of attaining buddhahood quickly and lack an actual experience of realization."
(Tantric Buddhism in East Asia, p. 100)
"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: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Astus » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:14 pm

daelm,

I've used "seeing" and "realising" as synonyms, both mean the experience vis-a-vis theory.

There was no such transition from gradualist Chan to subitist. Well, not in the sense of "long bodhisattva path" to "sudden buddhahood". Chan advocated from the beginning direct attainment. Zongmi was an exceptional teacher who wanted to merge Chan suddenness and experiential attitude with the elaborate teachings of Huayan. And although he had an outstanding follower in Yongming, the Hongzhou style came out as winner in the Song dynasty and became the orthodox interpretation.
"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: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Sönam » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:43 pm

Astus wrote:I've used "seeing" and "realising" as synonyms, both mean the experience vis-a-vis theory.


... if what you realize is a view

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
- Longchen Rabjam -
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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Thug4lyfe » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:28 am

LastLegend wrote:Don't talk practice

werd!!!!
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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Tenzin1 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:16 am

Astus wrote:Chan is certainly not uniform. However, "esoteric side" is something new to me. Any references?

http://www.mahabodhisunyata.us
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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby kirtu » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:57 am

Astus wrote:Chan is certainly not uniform. However, "esoteric side" is something new to me. Any references?


Daido Roshi mentioned it in passing and during teisho a few times. Seung Sahn also emphasized a mantra and dharani practice that the Kwan Um school practices. Of course both these examples are very specific to their respective Zen schools.

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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: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Astus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:18 am

Tenzin1,

That site is quite a modern form of teaching. Not that it's a problem, but this kind of mixture of Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism is a recent phenomenon.

kirtu,

Of course, there are mantras and dharanis, they have been present for a long time. However, the presence of such practices only makes Chinese Buddhism more varied. I mean, there is no fixed line between Chan and other practices, no strong distinction between imaginary schools. Nonetheless, if we look at texts attributed to Chan teachers it's hard to find any tantric practices recommended or used.
Also note that like in the case of Seung Sahn, mantras are only used as objects for meditation without any extra value, unlike in tantric teachings where mantras have a meaning.
"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: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby daelm » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:52 am

Astus wrote:daelm,

I've used "seeing" and "realising" as synonyms, both mean the experience vis-a-vis theory.

There was no such transition from gradualist Chan to subitist. Well, not in the sense of "long bodhisattva path" to "sudden buddhahood". Chan advocated from the beginning direct attainment. Zongmi was an exceptional teacher who wanted to merge Chan suddenness and experiential attitude with the elaborate teachings of Huayan. And although he had an outstanding follower in Yongming, the Hongzhou style came out as winner in the Song dynasty and became the orthodox interpretation.



thanks Astus. when i said "i assume there was a transition between a gradualist view to the Chan "sudden" view", i meant in the greater historical stream of Buddhist migration to China, not strictly limited to Chan. i accept that this is a Chan view. i suppose i was contrasting it with what someone earlier in the thread called "mainstream Buddhism", in terms of which "long Bodhisattva path" is a common theme - or maybe to be more inclusive, that should read something like "long (working-on-purification/accumulation) path".


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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Astus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:22 am

daelm,

I see. I can't clearly describe its development generally in Chinese Buddhism as I'm not familiar with all the details. Daosheng was the first to conceive and teach it to a wider audience. But I think there are a couple of other factors that I'm unaware of until we get to the Tiantai teaching of sudden enlightenment.

I don't have it, but there is a book: "Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought" by Peter N. Gregory, it has some essays on the subject.
"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: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby daelm » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:31 am

Astus wrote:daelm,

I see. I can't clearly describe its development generally in Chinese Buddhism as I'm not familiar with all the details. Daosheng was the first to conceive and teach it to a wider audience. But I think there are a couple of other factors that I'm unaware of until we get to the Tiantai teaching of sudden enlightenment.

I don't have it, but there is a book: "Sudden and Gradual: Approaches to Enlightenment in Chinese Thought" by Peter N. Gregory, it has some essays on the subject.



thanks. I'll see if i can dig it up.

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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Astus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:43 pm

Quote from Dan Lusthaus: Buddhist Phenomenology, (p. 256-257; 263-264):

We are now ready to return to the question: Should prajnä-paramita be understood as connoting an essentialistic understanding of tathatä or should it be understood as connoting an epistemic process? Both positions have had their adherents within the Buddhist tradition. Since this controversy stands at the heart of the East Asian appropriation of Buddhist thought, and has determined many important parameters for doctrinal developments in China, Korea and Japan, closer examination of its features is in order. Yogacära, in particular as disseminated in China, polarized around this opposition, and in part Hsüantsang's project can be seen as a systematic refutation of the essentialist position as advocated by Paramärtha and others.
If Awakening, at least provisionally, is considered to be a goal, and sheer knowing is that goal's necessary (and perhaps sufficient) condition, the question arises: Is the goal something essentially existent, such that the epistemic method (jnäna- märga) uncovers it; or, does the method subsume the goal, such that the goal's provisionality is exposed, revealing not an essential truth, but rather an insight into the epistemic process itself? In the first case, knowledge (jnäna) will be considered the means or agent for attaining some -thing which in itself is impervious to or indifferent to the vicissitudes of epistemological approaches, though made accessible through such approaches. In the second case, nothing relevant exists outside or apart from the dynamic, progressive sphere of knowledge; Awakening here would mean that knowing (prajnä, jnana) becomes transparent to itself. Again, the former implies an absolute, objective Truth, while the latter implies a progressional unfolding that never posits anything apart from the process itself.
In Buddhist terminology, the former (the Essentialist) posits Buddhahood as a distinct realm, distinct precisely because it is accessible only to Buddhas, and hence somehow essentially other than the realms accessible to the remainder of sentient beings. At best, non - Buddhas might contain a germ or seed (tathägatagarbha) that offers the potential of entry into the distinct Buddha - realm, but they are considered non- Buddhas precisely because they have not yet actualized this potential. Here, as in other philosophical contexts, essentialism inscribes itself through the discourse of 'potential /actual.' Buddhahood and its corollariestathata, sambodhi, etc. would signify an ultimate, transcendental Reality.
The latter (the Progressionalist) would argue that the process of Awakening can never be separable from the Bodhisattva path ", and that (i) the pre - Awakening striving, (ii) the Awakening realization and (iii) the post - Awakening aid offered to other sentient beings can never be seen apart from the samsäric process in which that path occurs; moreover, samsära is able to proceed only in virtue of its emptiness (iünyata).26 The full career of the Bodhisattva is nothing other than this process. During (i), the Bodhisattva's progress is largely determined by samsäric and samskaric conditions, though efforts are made to overcome these determinants through theory and practice. During (ii), theory and practice converge, such that the inseparability of samsära and nirvana, or process (pratitya- samutpäda) and emptiness, infuse the whole of the Bodhisattva's life -world. The remedied process continues and disseminates in (iii).
Practical considerations also arise from this problem. If Awakening unfolds through a process, then to some extent this unfolding is temporal. These temporal aspects necessitate that practice towards Awakening be gradual. If, on the other hand, a ready -made transcendental realm already exists, then what is essential about Awakening remains entirely separate from temporal considerations, and entry into it may be 'sudden,' i.e., nondependent on any temporal considerations.

...

As Mahayana Buddhism developed, the essentialist vs. progressionalist controversy peaked. One text which preserves the tensions is the Lotus Sutra. The first half deals with upaya, the provisional, deceptive character of Buddhist doctrine and practice. The 'truths' of Buddhism are mere provisional ploys designed to bring one to a place where ploys are no longer necessary nor possible. The second half presents the 'True Buddha,' an ahistorical, unborn, undying, mythologically omniscient and omnipresent Power or Being. Centuries later East Asian schools, such as Tendai and Nichiren, rightly asked and debated which of these two visions of Buddhism contextualized which? If the first half gives the `truth,' then the second half should be seen as an elaborate upayic ploy. If the second half gives the 'truth,' then the ploys of the first half are merely indirect, pedagogical instruments for reaching this truth, for reaching this ontological realization.
Beyond the Lotus Sutra the essentialist vs. progressionalist opposition is found shaping Buddhist methodology, which is to say, the marga, the Path. Those taking Buddhism to hold an ontological nature as its essence, who conceive of Buddhism as grounded in Being, develop their essentialism by understanding prajna- paramita as `perfect -ion,' and posit that perfection as an ontologically primal and definitive 'tathata'; i.e., a things. Suchness `suchness' which is the universal, sacred, perfected nature of all becomes a cosmic essence, the primal, originary scene. Buddha is no longer a teacher who perfected himself, but the universal essence of all things, the potential perfection ontologically concealed behind a veil of transmigratory appearance. And yet, the veil and what it veils are united in essence. It is this interpretationwhich reads Nagarjuna's statement that not an iota of distinction can be drawn between samsara and nirvana (an epistemic observation) as if it were an ontological claim, a statement of essentialistic identity: sarpsdra is nirvana."
On the other hand, those who take the progressionalist stance displace the notions of nature and essence with a theory of perdurance, of continuity which, precisely because it is grounded in neither identity nor difference, can engender progress and betterment (or worsening). Prajnä- paramita here means 'perfecting,' as that which perdures becomes that which it is not, without ever being totally other than itself. The path is tread, and as with Heraclitus' river, the foot never truly stands on the same ground twice. The doctrines of the four gatins (stream-enterer, once returner, etc.), the bodhisattva career of ten or eighteen or fifty -two stages (bhüm,), etc., all exemplify the progressionalist attitude.
But like the Lotus Sütra, one way of dissipating the tension is to accept and attempt to harmonize both extremes. Thus hybrids arose: progressive essentialists claimed that one progresses toward the essence, and that the progress itself was grounded in the essence (tathägatagarbha); essentialistic progressives mounted elaborate schema in which one ultimately progressed beyond essentialisms by working through them (tattva, vastu, bhüta, dharma svalaksana, svarüpa, svabhäva, etc.). Yogäcära was a case of this last type of hybrid.
Finally, is tathatä, 'indexicality,' indicative of liberating universals, or repetitive, reiterative particulars? Given the incompatibility of essentialist universals and sünyatä, tathatä must remain ontologically open. It is entirely without conceptual (kalpita, vikalpa, kalpanä, etc.) ontological commitments. For the Ch'eng wei-shih lun, tathatä is a mere prajnapti.
"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: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby kirtu » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:55 pm

Astus wrote:Also note that like in the case of Seung Sahn, mantras are only used as objects for meditation without any extra value, unlike in tantric teachings where mantras have a meaning.


This is why I mentioned it: Seung Sahn had at least one practice he referred to in English as "energy practice" and he advocated strongly doing it to alleviate problems at his centers. This practice was not an object of meditation per se (not normal Zen meditation). Bobby Rhodes taught it to our local group, Mintwood Zendo, which was not Kwan Um but several leading members were considering becoming ordained Kwan Um people and we had several retreats with her. So this practice was mostly Sanskrit and I had it for several years and have lost it so now I don't even know the name of the practice. The mantras included the six syllable Avalokiteshvara mantra and many, many dharanis and mantras.

Now it wasn't a tantric practice per se but would have to be included under the heading of esoteric practices although only very mildly.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Malcolm » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:51 pm

"...Heraclitus' river, the foot never truly stands on the same ground twice."

Actually, one's foot never steps in the same river once.

N
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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby daelm » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:30 am

Astus wrote:Quote from Dan Lusthaus: Buddhist Phenomenology, (p. 256-257; 263-264):
<snip>


thanks Astus.

dan lusthaus to the rescue :) . i've had this book on my wishlist for a long time, but it's prohibitively expensive here.

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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby klqv » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:11 am

hi,

it does talk about the buddhadharma thing - or whatever you want to call the fruit of the patriarchs. it has chapter on son and i'm am FAIRLY sure it talks about earlier shizzle too.
yup - an interesting question - i think!!





:thumbsup: ?
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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby klqv » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:38 am

hi Astus,

you said before that maitreya is "the next buddha". doesn't the meaning of that imply that maitreya is a buddha in a way in which no contemporary chan [or vajrayana - indeed] practitioner is? do you think that??
but then i don't think we mahayanists want to say that there are lesser buddhahoods or that my last life and yours is in anyway less - at least compassionate than - maiterya's!
so even if one says to oneself that sakyamuni is somehow more important than the 100s / 1000s of enlightened masters there are today - because his bliss body is vairocana e.g., what about maitreya?



i don't know quite why i balk at this idea so much... it's not just that there's too much suffering or that sakyamuni was more adept at relieving suffering than that [see the notes just above this line] but also that - thinking in terms of a literal rebirth rubric or paradigm, it seems to much to say that so many have cut off their own life and death once and for all, at least if we're not talking about the fruit of nikaya buddhism. again i can't say why - and anyway i'm not such a believer in rebirth [... even-though i do think that the theory of rebirth can be cashed out in more naturalist terms literally without diluting its content]. it's not the propensity of perfect beings i disagree with as much as............... IDK how much weaker samsara seems. which i don't, think, is quite the same as demanding aeons of practice bbut more like the flip side of that coin or intersection idea - that i don't believe that samsara is so weak as to be overcome [overcome is the right concept?] by so many people at once. that's pretty circular: but do you see the difference i'm trying to state between saying that it doesn't take many kalpas and saying that so many people are buddhas at once [i mean maybe exceptionally - in properly fortuitous time!].
probably a bit of a rant? you know since i've been reading about buddhism [about 2 years of reasonably hard study] i always did assume that no-one thought themselves a buddha.... just cos of maitreya and also zongmi's sudden cultivation and practice analysis - i'm pretty sure was not full buddhahoood!
:woohoo:
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Re: Buddhahood in Chan

Postby Astus » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:25 am

klqv,

There are many different interpretations. In Zen the buddhahood of magical features has been put aside/refuted/rejected by several teachers, as something one should aspire for. Let's call that the practical side. On the other hand, the common Mahayana view of buddhas around us in different buddha-lands has not been neglected or removed from daily practice, even if the "true pure land is the pure mind". While the real buddha is the mind-nature, provisionally there are many buddhas. Maitreya is the next buddha to turn the wheel of Dharma after a period of no Dharma. But while in early Buddhism the buddhas were primarily identified as the initiators of the teaching, later it stopped being the main criterion, therefore there can be infinite buddhas even at the same place.
"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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