Ven Thanissaro, from reading his comments about things Mahayana, seems not to know much about the Mahayana/Zen in terms of actual practice, and what he does not know much about and what he does not like he will grumpily criticize it.JMGinPDX wrote: ↑Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:33 pm
I was at a talk being given by Thanissaro Bhikkhu/Ajahn Geoff.
He quoted the opening line of the Hsin Hsin Ming translated as 'the great way is not difficult for those with no preferences' and then went on to criticize that viewpoint, saying there's no way to not have preferences, it's how we deal with them that matters, etc. etc. and basically used that as a launching pad to be critical of Zen.
Aurthur Waley’s trans of the opening line of the Hsin Hsin Ming:
The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose;
Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear.
Make a hairbreadth difference, and Heaven and Earth are set apart;
If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against.
What Ven T fails to recognize is that Hsin Hsin Ming is a text describing not everyday mind, but, rather describing meditation practice of a mind as it becomes mature in its practice of cultivating a concentrated and mindful/attentive mind, and it is much in keeping with Dogen’s famous lines from the Genjo Koan (tr. Paul Jaffe): To study the Buddha way is to study oneself. To study oneself is to forget oneself. To forget oneself is to be enlightened by the myriad dharmas. To be enlightened by the myriad dharmas is to bring about the dropping away of body and mind of both oneself and others. The traces of enlightenment come to an end, and this traceless enlightenment is continued endlessly. When a person starts to search out the dharma, he separates himself far from the dharma. When the dharma has already been rightly transmitted in oneself, just then one is one's original self. This is a text very much in keeping with vipassana practice, and the vipassana teachers I have had during my 3 month retreats would approvingly quote both Dogen and the possibly mythic Seng-ts’an as ways of illustrating the practice.
Of course, the problem, as you rightly raised the question, is with a lack of knowledge and understanding of differing traditions.