Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:22 pm

“One of the stories I like to tell in this regard is a tale of Venerable Master Hsüan Hua’s teacher. Master Hua was the abbot of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. He was the person who gave us the land where our monastery is situated, and he and Ajahn Sumedho were very good friends. Master Hua’s teacher, Venerable Master Hsü Yün, was the patriarch of all five lineages of Buddhism in China and was very highly respected. He was the head of the Ch’an lineage, the sutra lineage, the mantra lineage, the Vinaya lineage, and the esoteric lineage. It’s no secret that different sects tend to argue with each other.

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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Astus » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:46 pm

I assume there are quite a few (miracle) stories about Ven. Xuyun and the Communists. He's become a legendary figure.
"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: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Anders » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:34 pm

Astus wrote:I assume there are quite a few (miracle) stories about Ven. Xuyun and the Communists. He's become a legendary figure.


This is a legendary figure where there are photos to document quite a few of these miracles and the story about his beatings at the hands of the communist is described in his own autobiography and of course corroborated by his disciples.

When you read it in his own words it's all very matter of factly. 'they beat beat me and left for dead, I sat up to meditate for the pain. When my disciples came, they were surprised I was still alive for some reason. I also received visionary teachings from Maitreya while in samadhi at this time. Next chapter." Or words to that effect. :tongue:

It's a very good read. Some of his exploits are quite extraordinary. Definitely one of the greatest monks in the history of Chinese Buddhism and he lived in modern times at that!
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Huifeng » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:35 am

Mr. G wrote:“ ...Master Hua’s teacher, Venerable Master Hsü Yün, was the patriarch of all five lineages of Buddhism in China and was very highly respected. He was the head of the Ch’an lineage, the sutra lineage, the mantra lineage, the Vinaya lineage, and the esoteric lineage. It’s no secret that different sects tend to argue with each other.

The last comment is rather inaccurate. There is no such thing as "the sutra lineage vinaya " etc in china, let alone there being a "head " for it. Likewise, great chan leader - yes, but no "the head " for such a thing. Sounds like he 's creating a strawman to knock it down.
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Mr. G » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:50 am

Interesting. Thanks for the clarification Venerable.
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Will » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:30 am

There are five main schools traditionally: Ch 'an School, the Teaching School, the Vinaya School, the Secret School, and the Pure Land School. Whether they had formal existence or "heads" in the late 1940s I do not know. But Master Hsu Yun was so revered that he may very well have been thought of as the "patriarch" of all five.

Master Hua did teach from all five of these traditions.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby plwk » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:21 am

Well, the late Ven Master Xu Yun was not listed in the Chinese Pure Land line and talking about 'Secret School' in the Chinese Mahayana context, would that be Táng Mì? Even then, they didn't list him... or is there another 'list' elsewhere?

But Master Hsu Yun was so revered that he may very well have been thought of as the "patriarch" of all five.
This could be another way of looking at it...
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Huifeng » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:23 pm

Traditionally, Chinese. Buddhism has eight schools - but that ended in the Tang, or Song at the latest. If these still exist in the 19th, 20th or 21st cty, can anyone tell me who "the head " of any of them is?
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby plwk » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:18 pm

Pure Land's (Though the current Elder Master Chin Kung is regarded as the '14th' by many pious followers though he himself has made no such claim to it)

Tang Mi's:
http://www.tangmi.com/asd/English_TDES.htm
The T'ang Dynasty Esoteric School ceased its propagation in China after the late T'ang Dynasty. It was only in the beginning of this century that the teachings were re-introduced back to China from Japan. The Fiftieth Patriarch, Maha Acarya Feng Da An worked on and perfected Dharma teachings passed down from the previous patriarchs; his works, influential both in China and other countries, would enable modern people to understand the T'ang Dynasty Esoteric School. His only Dharma Successor, Maha Acarya Yang Fo Xing, has also published enlightening articles.

And the only 'Tian Tai Patriarch' I have heard of, the Ven Master Hai Tao...
http://www.lifetv.org.tw/master_E.htm
In November 2002, the Master Juei-Guang from Guan-Zhong Temple in Hong Kong was mercy to transfer the 47th Dharma-Lineage of Tien-Tai Sect to the Venerable Hai Tau.

But I would agree that all of these is somewhat close to the Ch'an style after the 6th Patriarch, many Dharma Successors from the line of various Masters...so the one head thingy may not be quite applicable, then again, I would have no way to certify what they are all doing. Wasn't there a thread on this forum that disputes on the Ch'an's line?
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Astus » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:38 pm

These "schools" existed mostly on paper only and not in real life. It also begs the question, how a "school" is defined. Those "schools" which had actual organisational structure and governed monasteries (although never as the exclusive teaching being taught at such a monastery, but the leader(s) of the monastery belonged to that group) were the Tiantai (Tang, Five Dynasties, Song) and Chan (Hongzhou in Tang, Linji (and Caodong) since the Song); Huayan and Vinaya existed to a small extent, but only a few monasteries in the Song. But even these had no main patriarch, no "head of the school", as none of them were that organised. The only actual leader of any Buddhist school one could find in China is the emperor, and other political rulers around the many regions.

So, Ven. Xuyun was hardly a leader of anything, even if he was an outstanding figure in 20th century Chinese Buddhism, but there were others too, like Ven. Taixu and Ven. Yinguang.
"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: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby plwk » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:46 pm

So Astus, besides the Emperor, what was the role and purpose of the National Master other than advising His Majesty on Buddhist related stuff or was it another puppet role?
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Astus » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:23 pm

plwk wrote:So Astus, besides the Emperor, what was the role and purpose of the National Master other than advising His Majesty on Buddhist related stuff or was it another puppet role?


Being a National Teacher/Preceptor is a rank, a recognition of one's achievement by the government. It doesn't mean that all National Teachers were remembered by history, actually, most of them were not.
"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: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby himalayanspirit » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:13 pm

So does that imply that Ven. Hsu Yun's attainments were exaggerated or even false? I personally consider him the top most Buddhist of out time, even exceeding many politically famous Tibetan Buddhists - solely based on spiritual attainments. Of course, living upto the age of 120 and practicing Buddha dharma for hundred years is no joke and this anecdote about his compassion reinforces the validity of his sacredness.

But I do not mind being corrected on this judgment of mine; after all, it is more based on personal assessment through reading his bio and works, rather than understanding the direct nature of his attainments.
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Mr. G » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:37 pm

himalayanspirit wrote:I personally consider him the top most Buddhist of out time, even exceeding many politically famous Tibetan Buddhists - solely based on spiritual attainments. Of course, living upto the age of 120 and practicing Buddha dharma for hundred years is no joke and this anecdote about his compassion reinforces the validity of his sacredness.


Venerable Hsu Yun was a great practitioner, but why bother comparing him to Tibetan Buddhist masters? Dzogchen Master Nyala Changchub Dorje was over 130 years old. Both are great masters on their own merits.
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Will » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:39 pm

This mind-to-mind lineage can be scoffed at, but there are such lineages. Anyway, whether there are or were 'schools' - 'lineages' - 'teachings - groups - temples etc., Master Hsu Yun wrote a letter to Master Hua that named him as Patriarch in one of the Ch'an branches. I do not read Chinese and cannot find it now, it is somewhere in print and online. So Master Hsu Yun had some understanding of a Ch'an lineage, whether recognized by everybody or nobody, it was known by him.

The Elder Master Hsu Yun saw that the Master was an outstanding individual in Buddhism and transmitted the Dharma lineage to him, giving him the Dharma name Hsuan Hua and making him the Ninth Patriarch of the Wei Yang Sect, the forty-fifth generation since the First Patriarch Mahakashyapa.
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Huifeng » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:31 am

Hi,

himalayanspirit wrote:So does that imply that Ven. Hsu Yun's attainments were exaggerated or even false?


No, I don't think that anyone is arguing here that his attainments were exaggerated or even false.
But, some other people have claimed more status within Chinese Buddhist circles than is appropriate, or than he himself ever claimed.
Note that positions such as "head of such-and-such school (sic)" are not necessarily spiritual attainments as such.

I personally consider him the top most Buddhist of out time, even exceeding many politically famous Tibetan Buddhists - solely based on spiritual attainments. Of course, living upto the age of 120 and practicing Buddha dharma for hundred years is no joke and this anecdote about his compassion reinforces the validity of his sacredness.


Sure, and I think that pretty much everyone posting on this thread would agree.
(Though, as pointed out above, I don't see any need to compare him to other teachers in this regard.)

But I do not mind being corrected on this judgment of mine; after all, it is more based on personal assessment through reading his bio and works, rather than understanding the direct nature of his attainments.


Likewise!

Will wrote:This mind-to-mind lineage can be scoffed at, but there are such lineages. Anyway, whether there are or were 'schools' - 'lineages' - 'teachings - groups - temples etc., Master Hsu Yun wrote a letter to Master Hua that named him as Patriarch in one of the Ch'an branches. I do not read Chinese and cannot find it now, it is somewhere in print and online. So Master Hsu Yun had some understanding of a Ch'an lineage, whether recognized by everybody or nobody, it was known by him.

The Elder Master Hsu Yun saw that the Master was an outstanding individual in Buddhism and transmitted the Dharma lineage to him, giving him the Dharma name Hsuan Hua and making him the Ninth Patriarch of the Wei Yang Sect, the forty-fifth generation since the First Patriarch Mahakashyapa.


I am not sure anyone is scoffing at the Chan lineage here.

------

To further clarify earlier points, in general, in 20th CTY Chinese Buddhism, Ven. Yin Guang 印光大師 is usually considered as perhaps the foremost Pureland leader; and Ven. Hong Yi 弘一大師 is usually considered the foremost Vinaya practitioner and teacher (note, though, that Ven. Hong Yi's meditation practice was also Pureland). Though these are "in general", and since there is no formal recognition of "heads" of these "schools", then others can make similar claims as they like, and are basically free to do so.

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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Will » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:35 am

Ven. Huifeng: since there is no formal recognition of "heads" of these "schools"...


Perhaps it is unusual, but Master Hsu Yun did give, 'formal recognition' by written notice regarding Master Hua; so "no formal recognition" is not correct.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Astus » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:38 pm

I'm not clear on why Ven. Xuyun recognised Ven. Xuanhua as a teacher in the Guiyang school, but it is certain that the Guiyang lineage existed only for a short period of time between the 9th and 10th century. In the list of Xuanhua's transmission record we find Sanjiao Zhiqian (三角志謙) from the Tang era. The one following him, Xingyang Ciduo (興陽詞鐸) in the DDBC Person Authority Database is listed as a disciple of Baoci Deshao, who was the teacher of Sanjiao. Nevertheless, they all lived in the Tang era, while Xuyun lived a thousand years later. This kind of remote transmission (遙嗣) is not unheard of, but it's hardly person to person.
"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: Ajahn Amaro tells a story about Venerable Master Hsü Yün

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:39 am

Will wrote:
Ven. Huifeng: since there is no formal recognition of "heads" of these "schools"...


Perhaps it is unusual, but Master Hsu Yun did give, 'formal recognition' by written notice regarding Master Hua; so "no formal recognition" is not correct.


Will,

I was talking about the other schools, not the Chan school; though the latter only recognizes Dharma transmission, not a "head" of a school. It's like the difference between saying that someone is "the 35th patriarch of such-and-such school", and "a 35th generation Dharma heir of such-and-such school".

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