Enlightenment of Tendai masters

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Enlightenment of Tendai masters

Post by Tatsuo »

Hello everyone

Many traditions have recorded the enlightenment experiences of accomplished masters - Nichiren's experience at Tatsunokuchi, Honen's reading of Shandao's commentary on the Meditation Sutra, Dogen listening to Tiantong Rujing admonishing another monk etc.

What are the enlightenment experiences of the great Tendai masters like Saicho, Ennin, Annen, Ryogen and Genchin? I read that Saicho made vows not to engage in worldly pursuits and donor's meetings until he achieves enlightenment and later in life he participated in those meetings. I never read about the actual story behind his enlightenment though.

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Re: Enlightenment of Tendai masters

Post by Queequeg »

Zhiyi - According to Hurvitz, Zhiyi went to Mt. Ta Xian to study with Nanyue Huisi. There, Zhiyi studied the Lotus and meditation as taught by Huisi. When Zhiyi reached the Bhaisajyaraja chapter describing the self-immolation practice of Bodhisattva Sarvsattvapriyadarchana, his "body and mind were emptied and he entered, quiescent, into contemplation... His understanding of the Lotus was like a high light shining into a dark valley; his attainment to the nature of the dharmas resembled a long wind coursing through a great empty space." Thereafter, Huisi confirmed his awakening and then retired to Mt. Nanyue, leaving the sangha in Zhiyi's care.

I can't find it now, but I recall reading that when Saicho first retreated to Mt. Hiei as a young, newly ordained monk, he spent a night in a hut during a harrowing storm and attained some awakening that night. Maybe someone else knows these details.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Re: Enlightenment of Tendai masters

Post by FromTheEarth »

Not a strictly Tendai one but...

Nanyue Huisi, Ven. Zhiyi's teacher, has the following experience according to Daoxuan,
My translation:

...(previously, he had auspicious dreams of meeting with Amitabha and Maitreya due to his assiduous practice. Then he came to follow Ven. Huiwen, and there, within Huiwen's order, practiced hard for at least a year but accomplished little.) The next summer, Huisi straightened his body, sat tightly, and established mindfulness. In the first 21 days, he came to develop moderate meditational accomplishments, seeing the good and bad karma of his throughout this life. He was, consequently, very much amazed and became even more industrious. His practice then resulted in the arousal of the eight feelings/touches, and then the first jhana. All of a sudden, the meditational obstacles also arose. Huisi's limbs were enfeebled and he could barely walk. His body no longer answered to the command of the mind.
Huisi then reflected, "all my current illness resulted from my karma, while the karma resulted from my mind. There has been no world external (to one's mind). When one contemplates on its mental origin, karma cannot be found. The body is like the shadow of the clouds. It has appearances but its essence is just emptiness." His illusory thoughts then vanished, and his mind became clear and pure. His sufferings no longer troubled him. Huisi then developed the meditation of emptiness. His mind became apathetic and profound.
By the end of the 90-day rains retreat, however, he was distressed as he had not yet made concrete achievements (toward enlightenment). He regretted over his lassitude, and his life was to be wasted. Being deeply ashamed, he relaxed his body and was about to lean toward the wall behind him. Before his back reached the wall, however, he suddenly achieved enlightenment. He now could master the Lotus Samadhi and Mahayana teachings in a single thought. Without others' instructions, he directly mastered the sixteen extraordinary methods of meditation, eight meditations for emancipation, and the eight spheres of mastery (all three are advanced methods of meditation).
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