Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

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Sentient Light
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Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Sentient Light »

The way to attain rebirth in the Western Paradise is by devotion to Amita Buddha. This devotion is expressed by reciting the sutras that teach about Amita, by chanting His Name, by meditating upon His Image and by calling to mind His Wisdom, Virtue and Compassion. Those who are capable of placing single-minded faith in the Great Vow of Amita will enter the Pure Land where they will meet all favorable conditions for practice and never again fall into this world of suffering. This way is called the "easy path" (Jap. igyo) in contrast to the "difficult path" (nangyo) of self-power. The practice of the "easy path" is very popular in China, Vietnam, Korea and Mongolia, and also in the Pure Land schools of Japan, the Jodoshu and the Jodoshinshu. Belief in the "otherpower" of the Buddha also helps us to develop our selfpower. Therefore, in the Far East a form of practice was developed by Mahayana Buddhists which combines formal meditation with the chanting of the Buddha's name.

In this method the practitioners sit before an image of the Buddha and chant the Buddha's name, quietly and calmly, while at the same time meditating upon the Buddha image or an internalized visualization of the Buddha. As the mind deepens in meditation, a point is reached where subject and object become one. No longer is the Buddha the object and the meditator the subject, but the meditator becomes one with the Buddha. When this happens, this is the state of "One Mind Samadhi," and here there is no longer any distinction between Zen and Pure Land, self-power or other-power, wisdom or compassion, for all has become merged into the brightness of the Infinite Light.

[...] There are three methods of meditation practiced in the combined Zen-Pure Land schools. The first is the chanting of the Buddha's name. The second method is the meditation upon the form of the Buddha. The follower chooses a particularly appealing image of the Buddha and begins by focusing upon that image until he can picture it clearly for himself; then he closes his eyes and tries to visualize the form of the Buddha internally. The third method is to meditate upon the virtues of the Buddha. The Buddha is the embodiment of perfect wisdom and infinite compassion. Either one or both of these virtues together may be taken as the subject of practice. If we choose the compassion of the Buddha, we reflect that the Buddha's compassion makes no distinction between subject and object or between enemies and friends, but pours down upon all equally.

This compassion is different from ordinary love. Ordinary love works according to various discriminations: we love ourselves, but not others; our relatives, but not strangers; our friends, but not enemies. However, the compassion of the Buddha extends equally to everyone. Like the Buddha, we should extend our love and compassion outward to all alike, to everyone everywhere, without making any distinctions. Again, if we choose to meditate on the Buddha's wisdom, we imagine the light of wisdom radiating from the figure of the Buddha and growing larger and larger and brighter and brighter until it merges with our own inner light. At this point we and the Buddha become one. When this stage is reached, then this world will become transformed into the Pure Land, this Samsara become Nirvana, and all the bliss and purity of the Western paradise become realized in the here and now of everyday life. Here the Zen and Pure Land schools meet in that common center from which they both emanate, the One Mind of Buddha, which is our own true and permanent Essence of Mind.

From Chapter 12 of Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice.
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... 0Power.htm
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:
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Astus
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Astus »

Sentient Light wrote: Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:59 pm
No longer is the Buddha the object and the meditator the subject, but the meditator becomes one with the Buddha. When this happens, this is the state of "One Mind Samadhi," and here there is no longer any distinction between Zen and Pure Land, self-power or other-power, wisdom or compassion, for all has become merged into the brightness of the Infinite Light.
[...] Like the Buddha, we should extend our love and compassion outward to all alike, to everyone everywhere, without making any distinctions. Again, if we choose to meditate on the Buddha's wisdom, we imagine the light of wisdom radiating from the figure of the Buddha and growing larger and larger and brighter and brighter until it merges with our own inner light. At this point we and the Buddha become one. When this stage is reached, then this world will become transformed into the Pure Land, this Samsara become Nirvana, and all the bliss and purity of the Western paradise become realized in the here and now of everyday life. Here the Zen and Pure Land schools meet in that common center from which they both emanate, the One Mind of Buddha, which is our own true and permanent Essence of Mind.
That is (mis)taking zen to be a mind absorbed in a single object, however, such concentration practices are found in many systems even outside Buddhism.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

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

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

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


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Bodhisattva509
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Bodhisattva509 »

Astus wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:17 am That is (mis)taking zen to be a mind absorbed in a single object, however, such concentration practices are found in many systems even outside Buddhism.
Was Thich Thien An a Thien master? Are you a Thien master? Are you claiming that his teachings deviated from traditional Thien teachings?
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Astus
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Astus »

Bodhisattva509 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:01 amAre you claiming that his teachings deviated from traditional Thien teachings?
I'm questioning if single-pointed concentration can be qualified as zen meditation.

'The master addressed the assembly, "In this teaching of seated meditation, one fundamentally does not concentrate on mind, nor does one concentrate on purity, nor is it motionlessness."'
(Platform Sutra, ch 5, BDK ed, p 45)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

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

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

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


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Sentient Light
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Sentient Light »

Astus wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:17 am That is (mis)taking zen to be a mind absorbed in a single object, however, such concentration practices are found in many systems even outside Buddhism.
I don't think you understand Pure Land thought very well. There is a uniqueness to the buddhanusmrti samadhi in that it is the Buddha that is the object. When samadhi is attained through Buddha-mindfulness, it is not simply quiescence that is achieved. When the adept is absorbed into the mind-made Buddha, this is precisely the direct recognition of one's own Buddhanature--it is kien tinh.

Are you trying to suggest that samadhi is not a core component of zen praxis? Or just that samadhi does not necessarily mean seeing one's true nature?
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:
Bodhisattva509
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Bodhisattva509 »

Astus wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:41 pm I'm questioning if single-pointed concentration can be qualified as zen meditation.
What are your qualifications as a teacher, if you don't mind me asking?
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Astus
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Astus »

Sentient Light wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:10 pmThere is a uniqueness to the buddhanusmrti samadhi in that it is the Buddha that is the object.
What difference does the object of awareness makes, when the only goal is to achieve one-pointed concentration? While the object can initially help, when one-pointedness is achieved, the object becomes irrelevant.
When samadhi is attained through Buddha-mindfulness, it is not simply quiescence that is achieved. When the adept is absorbed into the mind-made Buddha, this is precisely the direct recognition of one's own Buddhanature--it is kien tinh.
Why would that be? With concentration one can eventually attain various levels of dhyana. To turn concentration into wisdom, one must contemplate emptiness. To be absorbed in one's thought of a buddha, that in itself lacks insight and is not free from clinging.

'Whatever I think, that I see. The mind creates the Buddha. The mind itself sees him. The mind is the Buddha. The mind is the Tathāgata. The mind is my body, the mind sees the Buddha. The mind does not itself know the mind, the mind does not itself see the mind. A mind with conceptions is stupidity, a mind without conceptions is nirvana. There is nothing in these dharmas that can be enjoyed; they are all made by thinking. If thinking is nothing but empty, then anything that is thought is also utterly nonexistent.'
(Pratyutpannasamadhi Sutra, ch 2, BDK ed, p 26)

'To be enlightened to this Dharma is to be without thought. To be without recollection, without attachment, to not activate the false and deceptive—this is to allow one’s self[-suchness]-nature to function. To use wisdom to contemplate all the dharmas without grasping or rejecting is to see the nature and accomplish the enlightenment of buddhahood.'
(Platform Sutra, ch 2, BDK ed, p 31)
Are you trying to suggest that samadhi is not a core component of zen praxis? Or just that samadhi does not necessarily mean seeing one's true nature?
It depends on what you take samadhi to be. If it is a one-pointed mind, then it can help in achieving tranquillity, but is insufficient for wisdom. As for the core components of zen praxis, they are no-thought (vô niệm 無念), no-character (vô tương 無相), and no-abiding (vô trú 無住).
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

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

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

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


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Astus
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Astus »

Bodhisattva509 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:49 pmWhat are your qualifications as a teacher, if you don't mind me asking?
I can quote some scriptures and treatises.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

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

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

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


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Bodhisattva509
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by Bodhisattva509 »

Astus wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:41 pm
Bodhisattva509 wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:49 pmWhat are your qualifications as a teacher, if you don't mind me asking?
I can quote some scriptures and treatises.
OK. I can too. If I were to quote them here, though, we'd probably end up arguing in circles over whose source is more legitimate than the other's.
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Re: Thich Thien An on buddhanusmrti as zen meditation

Post by LastLegend »

I think there are direct and indirect methods.

I think Zen is using one’s own power to completely see one’s own nature or “Great Death” while Zen-Pureland also utilizes Buddhas’ powers. If “Great Death” happens immediately, then that’s the quickest route. Other than that, there is no quickest route whether you are Tibetan or Zen or Zen-Pureland. Why? Timing it takes 3-4 years or a 40/50 years or a whole lifetime. I think it depends on the practitioners and their causes and conditions. Maybe they have met an Ancient Buddha who manifested in human form and helped them quickly get there. I don’t say this to discourage people but the journey is swears and tears. Doesn’t mean we will give up. The struggle is real! :lol: But I was told there is always a way out.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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