Natural Ch'an

Natural Ch'an

Postby SamBodhi » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:16 pm

From the Teachings of Ch'an Master Hsu Yun pgs 64-65 (http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... _Cloud.pdf)

His wife, son and daughter studied the Dharma, too; but they stayed in the
family house, conducting their business and doing their chores, incorporating
Buddhism into their daily lives.
Layman Pang had submerged himself in the sutras and one day he found
that he, too, was in over his head. He hadn't learned to swim yet. On that day, he
stormed out of his monastery-hut and, in abject frustration, complained to his
wife, "Difficult! Difficult! Difficult! Trying to grasp so many facts is like
trying to store sesame seeds in the leaves of a tree top!"
His wife retorted, "Easy! Easy! Easy! You've been studying words, but I
study the grass and find the Buddha Self reflected in every drop of dew."
Now, Layman Pang's daughter, Ling Zhao, was listening to this verbal
splashing, so she went swimming by. "Two old people foolishly chattering!" she
called.
"Just a minute!" shouted Layman Pang. "If you're so smart, tell us your
method."
Ling Zhao returned to her parents and said gently, "It's not difficult, and it's
not easy. When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm tired, I sleep."
Ling Zhao had mastered Natural Chan.


I was just wondering if anybody had ever encountered this idea of "Natural Ch'an" before.


with Metta,
pung S
Introducing directly the face of rigpa in itself,
Decide upon one thing and one thing only,
Confidence directly in the liberation of rising thoughts.
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby catmoon » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:35 pm

A New York Roshi used to teach this way. One morning he was eating cereal and reading the paper. A student asked him "Roshi, you taught us when eating just eat, when sleeping just sleep. How can you be eating and reading the paper at the same time?"

The reply was,

"When you are eating and reading the newspaper, just eat and read the newspaper."
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby Astus » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:51 am

If we look at the actual Recorded Sayings of Layman Pang the story is a bit different.

居士一日在茅廬裡坐。驀忽云。難。難。難。十碩油麻樹上攤。龐婆云。易。易。易。如下眠床腳踏地。靈照云。也不難。也不易。百草頭上祖師意。 (X69n1336_p0134a18-20)

The Layman was sitting in his thatched cottage one day [studying the sūtras]. "Difficult, difficult," he said; "like trying to scatter ten measures of sesame seed all over a tree." "Easy, easy," Mrs. Pang said; "like touching your feet to the ground when you get out of bed." "Neither difficult nor easy," Ling Zhao said; "on the hundred grass tips, the great Masters' meaning." (tr. Mitchell)

"Natural Chan", well, a strange concept indeed. But the words "when I'm tired, I eat..." are more like what is in the Records of Linji, and it's a way of expressing the unconcerned and unattached mind, ordinary mind, which is another term for liberation and enlightenment. Nothing to do with "naturalistic" and unrestrained behaviour.
"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: Natural Ch'an

Postby SamBodhi » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:08 pm

Astus wrote:If we look at the actual Recorded Sayings of Layman Pang the story is a bit different.

居士一日在茅廬裡坐。驀忽云。難。難。難。十碩油麻樹上攤。龐婆云。易。易。易。如下眠床腳踏地。靈照云。也不難。也不易。百草頭上祖師意。 (X69n1336_p0134a18-20)

The Layman was sitting in his thatched cottage one day [studying the sūtras]. "Difficult, difficult," he said; "like trying to scatter ten measures of sesame seed all over a tree." "Easy, easy," Mrs. Pang said; "like touching your feet to the ground when you get out of bed." "Neither difficult nor easy," Ling Zhao said; "on the hundred grass tips, the great Masters' meaning." (tr. Mitchell)

"Natural Chan", well, a strange concept indeed. But the words "when I'm tired, I eat..." are more like what is in the Records of Linji, and it's a way of expressing the unconcerned and unattached mind, ordinary mind, which is another term for liberation and enlightenment. Nothing to do with "naturalistic" and unrestrained behaviour.


Astus, thanks for the differing translation. I am not sure if the translation I posted was the one that I read, but it was similar. The one you provided clears things up a little bit at least. So, if you know, would it be safe to say that Ven. Hsu Yun changed it when he gave this teaching; or that the translator of the book changed it when it was published?
I was not sure if it had anything to do with "naturalistic" or unrestrained behaviour. I was thinking more along the lines of what is commonly referred to as "natural talent." In other words, in this story, was Ling Zhao the Ch'an equivalent of a violin prodigy or a child-athlete? I am thinking this is not the case.

catmoon wrote:A New York Roshi used to teach this way. One morning he was eating cereal and reading the paper. A student asked him "Roshi, you taught us when eating just eat, when sleeping just sleep. How can you be eating and reading the paper at the same time?"

The reply was,

"When you are eating and reading the newspaper, just eat and read the newspaper."


Yeah, that's what I thought was being taught here. It seemed to me that maybe the teaching was to illustrate that the Dharma cannot be found only in books and obsessive studies. And it is not exactly "Easy, easy" as Mrs. Pang says. Maybe that doesn't really have anything to do with what you wrote, catmoon. Still, I like the idea that there is something going on other than "just doing" x, y, or z. Instead, one should do x, y, and z; if that is what one is doing.


with Metta,
pung S
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby White Lotus » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:18 pm

natural chan, just make yourself a cup of tea.
unnatural chan, see dharma nature... in the end its the cup of tea that really counts.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby Astus » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:57 pm

pung S wrote:Astus, thanks for the differing translation. I am not sure if the translation I posted was the one that I read, but it was similar. The one you provided clears things up a little bit at least. So, if you know, would it be safe to say that Ven. Hsu Yun changed it when he gave this teaching; or that the translator of the book changed it when it was published?
I was not sure if it had anything to do with "naturalistic" or unrestrained behaviour. I was thinking more along the lines of what is commonly referred to as "natural talent." In other words, in this story, was Ling Zhao the Ch'an equivalent of a violin prodigy or a child-athlete? I am thinking this is not the case.


Stories change easily by retelling and occasionally by translating it. Of course, it'd be good to see Xuyun's Chinese original too, if there is any.
No natural talent, only good or bad karma (almost the same). But Zen can be realised by anyone regardless of age. It is only a matter of attitude and circumstances.
"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: Natural Ch'an

Postby SamBodhi » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:30 pm

There is definitely a lot going on there. I really liked reading this book because of the stories like this one. I am reticent to try taking it apart and dissecting it because of the value it has to teach just on its own.

So, when you read, just read?

:)
Introducing directly the face of rigpa in itself,
Decide upon one thing and one thing only,
Confidence directly in the liberation of rising thoughts.
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby Astus » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:27 am

Never just read. Read with wisdom.
"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: Natural Ch'an

Postby Quiet Heart » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:25 am

Astus wrote:Never just read. Read with wisdom.

:smile:
Of course.
Or maybe better, read with mindfulness.
In fact, every act should be done with "every minute midfulness"...mindful consideration of it's cause, it's purpose, and it's ultimate effect.
That's not easy to do...it takes quite a bit of practice to pull it off.
"Niether easy or hard", I guess.
:smile:
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?
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The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby SamBodhi » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:44 pm

Astus wrote:Never just read. Read with wisdom.


_/\_ Thanks.

I am reminded of the story about polishing a rock.
Introducing directly the face of rigpa in itself,
Decide upon one thing and one thing only,
Confidence directly in the liberation of rising thoughts.
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby catmoon » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:01 am

pung S wrote:
Astus wrote:Never just read. Read with wisdom.


_/\_ Thanks.

I am reminded of the story about polishing a rock.


It's a lot less pointless than trying to polish a brick. :tongue:
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby kirtu » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:20 am

pung S wrote: In other words, in this story, was Ling Zhao the Ch'an equivalent of a violin prodigy or a child-athlete? I am thinking this is not the case.


The daughter (unless there is a second daughter I forgot about) was the more accomplished of the three. Daido Roshi said this during a teaching once.

It seemed to me that maybe the teaching was to illustrate that the Dharma cannot be found only in books and obsessive studies.


Only? The Dharma cannot actually be found in books at all.

And it is not exactly "Easy, easy" as Mrs. Pang says.


It is "Easy, easy" after one has really opened their Dharma Eye (which is itself really not "Easy, easy" in one sense but in another is) because we just live Buddha in each second of experience. All we have to do is kill the ego (or at least see through it's fiction), drop all bad habits and then put one Buddha foot in front of the other. Forever.

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Natural Ch'an

Postby kirtu » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:26 am

pung S wrote:
From the Teachings of Ch'an Master Hsu Yun pgs 64-65 (http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... _Cloud.pdf)


That is an excellent book. I'm glad it is in pdf form. Have you also seen Xu Yun's biography by Charles Luk?

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