See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

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Astus
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See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Astus » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:13 pm

After the couple of threads where I've participated which mainly were about Pure Land I'd like to come up this time with a Zen discussion.

To me Zen is simply the direct way of realising the essence of Buddhism, the nature of mind, ie. buddha-mind. Everything else are empty fists and golden leaves.

For a start let me give here short quotes from two Song dynasty meditation instructions.

"Once you have settled your posture and regulated your breathing, you should relax your abdomen. Do not think of any good or evil whatsoever. Whenever a thought occurs, be aware of it; as soon as you aware of it, it will vanish. If you remain for a long period forgetful of objects, you will naturally become unified. This is the essential art of tso-ch'an. Honestly speaking, tso-ch'an is the dharma gate of ease and joy." (Changlu Zongze, tr. by C. Bielefeldt)

"In quiet concentration, examine clearly with true mindfulness. What is congnizant of sitting is mind, and what introspects is mind. What knows being and nonbeing, center and extremes, inside and outside, is mind. This mind is empty yet perceptive, silent yet aware. Round and bright, perfectly clear, it does not fall into ideas of annihilation or eternity. Spiritual awareness radiantly bright, its discrimination is not false." (Foxin Bencai, tr. by T. Cleary)

Simple and straightforward. This is all there is to seeing nature. By attaining it buddhahood is at hand. So here are two questions to discuss:

1. What hinders one from realising the nature of mind?
2. What stops one who has seen the nature from completing buddhahood?
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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Indrajala
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:40 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:54 am

Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard

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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:56 am

Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard

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Indrajala
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:03 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:18 am

Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard

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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:21 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:21 am

In other words, there is a point where ratiocination ceases and the fruit born from the causes cannot be set in words.
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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m0rl0ck
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:38 am

Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard

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Astus
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:56 am

Huseng,

Interestingly enough, these Song dynasty Chan manuals were meant for the laity (too). Monks had their elder teachers around and the whole tradition, so they didn't really need instructions in written form about how to sit and what to do, unlike lay people who didn't sit with the monks. Plus there were tomes with a lot more detailed and complicated instruction (eg. Mohezhiguan). This simplified, basic Chan was meant for everyone, just like Dahui taught Kanhua Chan mainly to his lay followers.

Defilements are certainly behind all our problems. It means we're attached to feelings and concepts taking them as real and solid. That's why in Chan it is told to turn the attention on mind itself, thus realising the true nature. That is called the direct cut instead of eliminating klesa step by step. On the other hand, the sudden path is not for everyone. For instance, the Perfect Enlightenment Sutra advises repentance practice and long retreats.

As m0rl0ck mentioned, there may not be a difference between realising buddha-mind and buddhahood. But as I see, many Chan teachers differentiate between initial insight and complete liberation, even some from the early Hongzhou school. On the other hand, after Shenhui there were no such stages as you describe it. Such steps belong to the gradual and not the sudden path. In Tathagata Chan - the Supreme Vehicle - one goes directly for tathata.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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Astus
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:06 am

m0rl0ck,

What you describe as hindrances are what defilements are. And if that obstructs one from seeing nature, isn't it that different methods should be applied? Huangbo also says that while there are a few who can go the sudden way, many has to walk the gradual path.

"Some students attain the state of liberated Mind quickly, some slowly. After listening to a Dharma talk, some reach "no mind" directly. In contrast, some must first pass gradually through the ten grades of Bodhisattva faith, the Dasabhumi of Bodhisattva development, and the ten stages before attaining the Perfectly Awakened Mind."

"Out of thousands and thousands of Dharma students in the Dhyana School, only three or five attain the fruit."

It follows that if one is not enlightened immediately, they must apply the usual Mahayana path of sila, samadhi and prajna.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



Dae Bi
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Dae Bi » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:23 am

I thought Tathata was Suchness/thatness? Tathata isn't, as far as I'm aware, the realisation of the Emptiness of all dharma. Tathata, as I am aware, is the knowledge that form is emptiness, emptiness is form. By just realising emptiness, that is only one part. The other part is Form.
We exist. We don't exist. We both exist and don't exist. We neither exist or don't exist.
David


First there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is.

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Astus
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:51 am

Realising tathata, suchness, is seeing how things actually are (yatha bhuta). This is equivalent to say one has realised emptiness. Emptiness is never separate from form, thinking they're different is not really an enlightenment on emptiness. But of course, there are different meanings of emptiness, that's why Huseng said he used tathata.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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m0rl0ck
Posts: 180
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:51 am

Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard

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Astus
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:29 pm

m0rl0ck,

Indeed, there have always been Chan students working with different meditation practices before gaining insight. Huatou is a method devised to expedite seeing nature. As tradition says, it was invented by teachers because the capacity of students became worse than those of the ancients. I don't think this is the case, but that's a historical issue.

However, it tells a lot about Chan if there is hardly anyone who can do it. Talking about sudden enlightenment and 30 years of mountain retreat at the same time is a bit contradictory. One could as well use other methods, like samatha-vipasyana of Tiantai, or Huayan instructions, since they're more step by step and applicable to different circumstances. Seeing nature is supposed to be the pure Chan path which is not even a path but enlightenment. Or that is just rhetoric.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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m0rl0ck
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:53 pm

Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard

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Astus
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:32 pm

If sudden enlightenment were purely rhetorical in Chan the whole thing could as well be put aside as a badly set up system and we should get involved in something real. I mean, the whole idea of Chan is about sudden enlightenment, without that it has no raison d'être.

Other methods used are actually usual Mahayana techniques, means of the gradual path. Only exception is the huatou-gongan technique which is an internal development of the Chan tradition, again, based on the sudden enlightenment concept.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



User avatar
m0rl0ck
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:53 am

Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:48 pm

Ride the horse in the direction its going.

~Werner Erhard

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Astus
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby Astus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:33 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



White Lotus
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Re: See Nature, Become Buddha - Can You?

Postby White Lotus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:29 pm

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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