Suchness (The Divine)?

Post Reply
User avatar
a Zen Rōnin
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun May 05, 2024 6:28 am

Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by a Zen Rōnin »

I have always been baffled whenever I hear or read that "Suchness" is also "the Divine". My Zen master used to call "Sunyata" as "Suchness", which is fine with me. But when I heard him speak of "it" as "The Divine", my grasping mind became bewildered. How can "Sunyata" or the "Ground Luminosity" be equated with something as "The Divine"?

Isn't it that Sunyata has no polarities, such as negative/positive, black/white, good/bad?
Isn't it designating Suchness as "The Divine" connote the idea that "It is Holy" which means there is also "An Unholy"? Isn't it that Bodhidharma answered Emperor Wu, "No holiness. Just vast emptiness!"?

Any thoughts shared about this I highly appreciate.

Gassho :namaste:
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 9837
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

a Zen Rōnin wrote: Sun Jun 23, 2024 10:53 am Any thoughts shared about this I highly appreciate.
“Divine” is an ambiguous, abstract concept that can mean all sorts of things. You can say anything is in some way “divine”. You can say “this is divine” but you can’t say “divine means this” because although it can refer to a number of qualities in general, it doesn’t refer to anything specifically (except in John Waters’ films).
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook produces outward insight.
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 17434
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

It’s a term that I think some teachers use because it has resonance for Westerners..but yeah, it’s pretty vague.
Meditate upon Bodhicitta when afflicted by disease

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when sad

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when suffering occurs

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when you are scared

-Khunu Lama
Genjo Conan
Posts: 777
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:27 pm

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by Genjo Conan »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun Jun 23, 2024 1:51 pm it doesn’t refer to anything specifically (except in John Waters’ films).
Ah yes, Furaminguru Bosatsu.
User avatar
Queequeg
Former staff member
Posts: 14663
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by Queequeg »

Really bad idea. Very poor choice of word. A teacher who uses it needs to explain themselves. Without a good explanation I would not trust anything they said in terms of Dharma.

Is this person a native English speaker? Are they coming from the kind or reconstructionist zen in post WWII Japan? I find that movement suspect.
There is no suffering to be severed. Ignorance and klesas are indivisible from bodhi. There is no cause of suffering to be abandoned. Since extremes and the false are the Middle and genuine, there is no path to be practiced. Samsara is nirvana. No severance achieved. No suffering nor its cause. No path, no end. There is no transcendent realm; there is only the one true aspect. There is nothing separate from the true aspect.
-Guanding, Perfect and Sudden Contemplation,
User avatar
a Zen Rōnin
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun May 05, 2024 6:28 am

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by a Zen Rōnin »

Queequeg wrote: Sun Jun 23, 2024 5:33 pm Really bad idea. Very poor choice of word. A teacher who uses it needs to explain themselves. Without a good explanation I would not trust anything they said in terms of Dharma.

Is this person a native English speaker? Are they coming from the kind or reconstructionist zen in post WWII Japan? I find that movement suspect.
He was from the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism. I believe he used it as a term we both could resonate since I was a former Catholic seminarian. I never had a chance to ask him in detail about the use of "The Divine" for "Suchness". Perhaps its because of the magnificence or awe that "Suchness" brings. He experienced it himself.

Sometimes, I think that perhaps I am just filled with indifference or anger toward Abrahamic faith that's why I cannot digest terms designated for the Abrahamic God to be loosely used to other fields, such as Buddhism. After all, it is the Abrahamic faith that has a clear stand of exclusivity --- proclaiming that its God is the "only" God and only reality/truth, all others are false according to their beloved scriptures.
User avatar
Queequeg
Former staff member
Posts: 14663
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by Queequeg »

There are better words. Even if one is reaching down the list of definitions that do not relate to Yahweh, it's too loaded a word. Even more poor choice if they are talking to someone from a judeo Christian background. It's going to bring up all kinds of meanings having nothing to do with Dharma and compound confusion.
There is no suffering to be severed. Ignorance and klesas are indivisible from bodhi. There is no cause of suffering to be abandoned. Since extremes and the false are the Middle and genuine, there is no path to be practiced. Samsara is nirvana. No severance achieved. No suffering nor its cause. No path, no end. There is no transcendent realm; there is only the one true aspect. There is nothing separate from the true aspect.
-Guanding, Perfect and Sudden Contemplation,
reiun
Posts: 1093
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:08 pm
Location: Florida USA

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by reiun »

May be a reference to Brahmavihara:

"Brahmavihārā may be parsed as "Brahma" and "vihāra", which is often rendered into English as "sublime" or "divine abodes".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmavihara

“That which now enables you to speak and act, to experience greed and hatred, lovingkindness and forbearance, and so forth is precisely your
buddha-nature. If at all times and in all places you merely put karma to rest, nurture the spirit, and mature the embryo of sanctity, then this will manifest the natural, divine marvel.”:

https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/chinul ... actice.pdf

"This is the greatness with which the divine Dharma of the Che clan is endowed.":

https://chogyeshabdrung.blogspot.com/p/ ... raphy.html
natusake
Posts: 466
Joined: Mon May 09, 2022 8:20 pm

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by natusake »

Queequeg wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 3:20 am Even if one is reaching down the list of definitions that do not relate to Yahweh, it's too loaded a word.
Indeed. Etymologically, divine comes from the Latin term divus, which is the same root as deus. This term is also linked to the Sanskrit terms deva and div. So it has a particular implication of the notion of a deity and heaven. That is not really appropriate as a translation for either shunyata or tathata.
reiun
Posts: 1093
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:08 pm
Location: Florida USA

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by reiun »

"Devas of the Ārūpyadhātu
In the highest realm, the ārūpyadhātu, existence is immaterial and ethereal. The devas here are entirely formless beings and they explicitly do not interact with other realms.

These devas are divided into four spheres of existence, each indicating the subject of their meditation while in this sphere of existence. These heavens, or spheres, are:

Ākāśānantyāyatana, the sphere of infinite space (ākāśa)
Vijñānānantyāyatana, the sphere of infinite consciousness (vijñāna)
Ākiñcanyāyatana, the sphere of total nothingness (śūnyatā)
Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana, the sphere of neither perception nor nonperception"

https://study.com/academy/lesson/deva-b ... types.html
User avatar
a Zen Rōnin
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun May 05, 2024 6:28 am

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by a Zen Rōnin »

I agree with most of your comments about the uncertainty that the term "The Divine" if assigned or ascribed to "Suchness".

But there are some Buddhists who I have heard used such, or "like as such" term.

Zen Master Eido Roshi
Ref:

Yujiro Seki used the term "The Divine" in his documentary film "Carving the Divine"
Ref:

Dawa Ozer in his comment on Quora:
"Since Buddhism is not a theistic religion it is the sentience in beings, the goodness is beings, which is Divine. Divinity does not come from some transcendental creator nor from the Buddha, but each one of us is divine in our very essenceless essence. Such is the view which places great importance on compassion and respect for self and others, non-harming, and ethical training and cultivation of virtue."
Ref: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-natur ... r-Buddhism


I respect other Buddhists' understanding or use of such term, however as for me using "The Divine" is vague and more so creates duality (Divine vs. Evil) especially assigning it to describe "Suchness".
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 17434
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

There are places where the term fits somewhat in Buddhism, referring to Bodhisattva/Mahasattvas as "divinities" and stuff like that, Tathata is suchness, connotation of things as they are ultimately, the nature of things as they are, etc. "divine" doesn't make much sense to me there, "pure" seems a better term, for example.

Also, where is the Rinzai connection in this thread, am I missing it?
Meditate upon Bodhicitta when afflicted by disease

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when sad

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when suffering occurs

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when you are scared

-Khunu Lama
User avatar
a Zen Rōnin
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun May 05, 2024 6:28 am

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by a Zen Rōnin »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 5:53 am There are places where the term fits somewhat in Buddhism, referring to Bodhisattva/Mahasattvas as "divinities" and stuff like that, Tathata is suchness, connotation of things as they are ultimately, the nature of things as they are, etc. "divine" doesn't make much sense to me there, "pure" seems a better term, for example.

Also, where is the Rinzai connection in this thread, am I missing it?
Thank you.

Are questions seeking clarification on "Suchness" alien to Rinzai Zen tradition?
natusake
Posts: 466
Joined: Mon May 09, 2022 8:20 pm

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by natusake »

reiun wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 5:02 am Ākiñcanyāyatana, the sphere of total nothingness (śūnyatā)
As far as I can tell, the parenthetical "śūnyatā" is an innovation on the part of the writer of that article. śūnyatā doesn't appear in the term on the same line, and I have never seen śūnyatā used in reference to the third formless realm.
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 17434
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Suchness (The Divine)?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

a Zen Rōnin wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 7:28 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2024 5:53 am There are places where the term fits somewhat in Buddhism, referring to Bodhisattva/Mahasattvas as "divinities" and stuff like that, Tathata is suchness, connotation of things as they are ultimately, the nature of things as they are, etc. "divine" doesn't make much sense to me there, "pure" seems a better term, for example.

Also, where is the Rinzai connection in this thread, am I missing it?
Thank you.

Are questions seeking clarification on "Suchness" alien to Rinzai Zen tradition?
No, I don’t imagine so, I was just wondering if it was here for a specific Rinzai- related reason.
Meditate upon Bodhicitta when afflicted by disease

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when sad

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when suffering occurs

Meditate upon Bodhicitta when you are scared

-Khunu Lama
Post Reply

Return to “Rinzai”