Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby alwayson » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:39 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Namdrol wrote:The first refers to an absence of extremes. The second is advocating a philosophical position.
N


I don't think anyone here is saying Zen is Avdaita.



There are several people saying that, including you.

Unless you mean "nonduality" = recognizing your nature?
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:35 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Jinzang wrote:
Namdrol wrote:The term non-dual (gnyis med, or advaya) is used frequently in Buddhist texts. The term non-duality (gnyis med nyid, advaita) is virtually never used, showing up only one time in the entire Kengyur, in a single passage in the Kalacakra tantra


What do you think is the distinction between non-dual and non-duality?


The first refers to an absence of extremes. The second is advocating a philosophical position.

N


It appears that gnyis med can also be legitimately translated "non-duality" without fear that it will be mistaken for Avdaita.

Wise and learned people realize the non-duality (gNyis-Med) (of enlightenment and unenlightenment) ...
The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, p.16

[T]he great bliss of Atiyoga is the enlightened mind of non-duality.
The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, p.96

[A]s there are no thoughts of rejecting or accepting, the state of non-duality of the mind remains ceaselessly.
The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, p.365

When, in whomever, the vast non-duality of liberation-at-arising
In the aimless phenomenal existents occurs without wavering,
It is the sign of a yogi who has crossed the ocean of samsara.

The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, p.335

The elephant of non-apprehending roves freely on the plain at the pace of Self-Liberation, ornamented by the trappings of non-duality.
The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, p.322

If one is attached to the external, inner or middle meditations,
It is certain that one has no opportunity to realize non-duality.

The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, p.341

Whatever arises is the self-liberated Dharmakaya.
However it presents itself, it is in the state of equal non-duality.

The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, p.341
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:44 pm

If the question is,
"Is it rational for rational people to practice Zen?"
then the answer is yes.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:45 pm

ajax wrote:Well, no, I meant it more like I wrote above, that some Zen institutions in the West may be placing too much emphasis on emptiness and not enough on a more full expression of Buddhism. A lot of sitting and devaluation of discrimination and moral reasoning make Zen master a bad boy, essentially.


Can you cite some specific examples?
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:53 pm

When the solar and lunar energies of the subtle energy system of a human being are brought into the state of non-duality , which was their latent, inherent condition from the very beginning, the human being can become illuminated.
The Crystal and the Way of Light, by Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, p.120

All tantric practices work with vizualization, but in the Inner Tantras ... the practitioner must reintegrate her or his dualistic existence into the non-duality of the primordial state by using inner yogic practices as well as visualization.
The Crystal and the Way of Light, by Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, p.118

Nyimed: 'non-duality'
Shine and Lhagthong arise together, one goes beyond duality.

The Crystal and the Way of Light, by Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, p.176

Again, "non-duality" is used, no need to fear the boogey-man Advaita.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Acchantika » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:06 pm

ajax wrote:Well, no, I meant it more like I wrote above, that some Zen institutions in the West may be placing too much emphasis on emptiness and not enough on a more full expression of Buddhism. A lot of sitting and devaluation of discrimination and moral reasoning make Zen master a bad boy, essentially.


The roshis say: The discriminating mind is a closed loop that is empty of inherent existence. Since it doesn't exist, there is nothing to devalue or value.
...
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:14 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Again, "non-duality" is used, no need to fear the boogey-man Advaita.


Those who don't really know what Advaita is quickly wind up becoming crypto-advaitans by obsessing about the word "non-dual".

N
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:30 pm

if you are asking whether in many Zen organizations 'emptiness' is used as a sort of excuse to allow for sexual misconduct, I think the answer is no. This doesn't mean that emptiness doesn't play a pivotal role in Zen and it doesn't mean that sexual misconduct doesn't occur. But I don't think that one is connected to the other.

Here is why I say this:
The use of (for lack of a better word) 'divine principles' or holy truths, what you may refer to as dogma, as justifications for negative activity may be common among cult leaders or individuals who may be psychotic, hearing voices that tell them to rape or whatever, but legitimate Zen institutions, which uphold a respected lineage, do not fall into this category.

When misconduct does happen in 'religious' settings, the perpetrator generally maintains a level of denial. He may know it is wrong and make up some excuse, but the excuse will not be something ( a tenet of his beliefs ) that he is willing to 'tarnish'. Generally, it isn't what the preacher professes that causes him to "sin", but the power of thing he is trying to fight, and the fact that he commits an "evil act" merely shows what a mighty opponent he is up against. So, for example, a priest caught in a sex scandal with the girl next door didn't do it because the Bible says to "love thy neighbor" but because the devil made him do it. Of course, I am using an example of a Christian scenario, but this is only because I find the imagery it conjures up to be so vivid.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby ajax » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:39 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:When misconduct does happen in 'religious' settings, the perpetrator generally maintains a level of denial. He may know it is wrong and make up some excuse, but the excuse will not be something ( a tenet of his beliefs ) that he is willing to 'tarnish'. Generally, it isn't what the preacher professes that causes him to "sin", but the power of thing he is trying to fight...

What a teacher professes can actually be highly influential on subsequent behavior, however, what they practice will most likely be more influential on their behavior. What I am suggesting is that Western Zen dogma may be placing too much value on zazen and not enough value on discernment and the development of moral reasoning. Not just what is professed but what is also practiced.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Huifeng » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:30 am

Namdrol wrote:The term non-dual (gnyis med, or advaya) is used frequently in Buddhist texts. The term non-duality (gnyis med nyid, advaita) is virtually never used, showing up only one time in the entire Kengyur, in a single passage in the Kalacakra tantra (hooray for a text searchable Tibetan canon!); and nineteen times in the Tengyur, the translations of Indian commentaries.


Thanks for this, Namdrol. I was thinking of posting something similar.

Indeed, the Buddhist usage is almost always "advaya", which means "not two", "not dual" (a-dvi). It is thus an adjective, qualifying some other term. (Being a compound and all, I guess it's technically a bahuvrhi.) This means that the phrase "advaya" is not referring to some thing in itself, but is describing something.

The term "advaita" is grammatically and semantically different, referring to the abstract notion of "non-dual-ity" (a-dvi-tA). As in most Sanskrit usage of an abstract noun, it does not usually qualify some other term, but refers to something in itself. (Still a compound, I guess it functions as a tat-purusa.) Though one can posit it in genitive relationships to other things, such as the "non-duality of X". Hence, in effect, it is a kind of thing.

Since the position of Zen has been brought into the discussion (albeit in a rather clumsy manner), it is worth pointing out how the phrase "advaya" appears in Chinese. It appears almost always as 不二, which is again just "not two", a very clear translation of "advaya". It one wished to express "advaita" (or similar abstracted sense), then one would probably use 非二性 (Xuanzang style translation). However, while 不二 appears thousands of times throughout the Chinese canon, including the Chan (--> Zen) works, the latter term or variants, only appear once or twice from what can be found scanning the entire canon digitally.

So, the Chinese - and I'd warrant the Japanese too - most likely had a clear notion of "advaya" as "not two". Whether or not this is held out in English translations of the Chinese or Japanese works, however, is another matter. But considering that of Chan or Zen practitioners, only a tiny minority use English, one would want to avoid gross over generalizations.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:41 am

Namdrol wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Again, "non-duality" is used, no need to fear the boogey-man Advaita.


Those who don't really know what Advaita is quickly wind up becoming crypto-advaitans by obsessing about the word "non-dual".

N


:namaste:
I understand your concern.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Kyosan » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:33 am

Huifeng wrote:.....So, the Chinese - and I'd warrant the Japanese too - most likely had a clear notion of "advaya" as "not two". Whether or not this is held out in English translations of the Chinese or Japanese works, however, is another matter. But considering that of Chan or Zen practitioners, only a tiny minority use English, one would want to avoid gross over generalizations.

~~ Huifeng

The sutras I read are almost entirely all Chinese translated into English. It has always been clear to me that "non-dual" means "not two". The meaning of "non-dual" isn't only an issue in Zen Buddhism but also in other forms of Buddhism. Karma Dondrup Tashi gave instances where "non-dual" is used in Tibetan Buddhism. The instance I gave was: The Innumerable Meanings Sutra (Ananta Nirdeśa Sūtra, 無量義經). This is not specifically a Chan (Zen) sutra. It's closely related to the Lotus Sutra and I'm sure it must be read by the Tien Tai, Nichiren and other Buddhists.

I think it is important to realize that terms such as "non-dual", "dependent origination", "formlessness" and "impermanence" are devices used to help Buddhists advance spiritually. They are very helpful ideas but aren't necessary the ultimate attainment. It is said that the ultimate attainment can't be expressed in words. So I think it's important to use these ideas when they are helpful but not become attached to them.
:namaste:
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby DarwidHalim » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:44 am

Yea. This is very true. We need to have a crystal clear understanding of dependent origination and sunyata. We must know their relationship. If we can know the relationship we will realize non duality or non dualism or whatever term you want to use.

At the end, all are inexpressible as "1" moving system.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby alwayson » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:53 am

Kyosan wrote:I think it is important to realize that terms such as "non-dual", "dependent origination", "formlessness" and "impermanence" are devices used to help Buddhists advance spiritually. They are very helpful ideas....
:namaste:



Dependent Origination is not merely a "helpful idea"

It is a description of how reality actually is.

The whole point of Buddhism from Theravada to Dzogchen is to view reality correctly......as it really is.
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Kyosan » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:26 am

alwayson wrote:
Kyosan wrote:I think it is important to realize that terms such as "non-dual", "dependent origination", "formlessness" and "impermanence" are devices used to help Buddhists advance spiritually. They are very helpful ideas....
:namaste:



Dependent Origination is not merely a "helpful idea"

It is a description of how reality actually is.

The whole point of Buddhism from Theravada to Dzogchen is to view reality correctly......as it really is.

"non-dual", "dependent origination", "emptiness", "formlessness" and "impermanence" are all used to describe reality. The thing is that we don't know how the Tathaga views reality. We don't know how the Tathaga views "dependent origination". We only know how we view it. How the Tathaga views It could be quite different. So we shouldn't attach to the way we view it. It's said that the Tathaga views everything without attachment.
:namaste:
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby purple rose » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:29 am

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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby purple rose » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:00 am

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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby Malcolm » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:09 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
It appears that gnyis med can also be legitimately translated "non-duality" without fear that it will be mistaken for Avdaita.

Wise and learned people realize the non-duality (gNyis-Med) (of enlightenment and unenlightenment) ...
The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, p.16


Appearances are often deceiving.

While Tulku Thundup is certainly a qualified teacher -- he is not a native English speaker, I don't think he knows Sanskrit all that well, and he does not edit his own material.

As I said, gnyis med is certainly used frequently in Buddhist texts, but it should never be translated as non-duality, since it is missing the -ity part i.e. nyid or tā.

Because of imprecise translations there are many people indeed who think that basic message of Mahāyāna Buddhism, Zen, Dzogchen, Mahāmudra, and so on are exactly the same as Advaita. In particular this is demonstrated the by the convergance of Zen and Advaita in such teachers as Adyshanti, etc., and some of his students, such as Loach Kelley, who also has studied Dzogchen.

Crystal is a book taught by a Tibetan in Italian, not his native language, translated on the fly by someone without deep knowledge of Buddhism in general [Barry Simmons] and edited by John Shane, also someone without a deep knowledge of Buddhism.

While Crystal is one of my favorite books of all time, it is not without its flaws, and for this and that reason it was almost allowed to die. It was re-edited quite a bit, however, and has its present form. It is still not a perfect book in every respect.

I also know a lot of people in Dzogchen Community who are confused about the difference between non-dual and non-duality.

It is an important issue only because it is at the root of much confusion for so many people.

N
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby jikai » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:25 pm

"Only a Buddha together with a Buddha can fathom the Reality of All Existence" (Lotus Sutra ch. 2)
"There are no seperate dharma's in the Three Realms. There is only the operation of the one mind."
"Whoever wishes to benefit beings ought to establish teachings that fit their capacities, expound the dharma in accordance with their capacities, and match the doctrines to them"
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Re: Zen and the dogma of non-duality

Postby alwayson » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:47 pm

Kyosan wrote:The thing is that we don't know how the Tathaga views reality. We don't know how the Tathaga views "dependent origination".
:namaste:



Yes we do.

We have very precise descriptions in a thing called "Buddhism".

According to Madhyamaka, there is no technical difference between a Buddha and a human, except for how a Buddha views reality.
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