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Schools of Buddhism => Mahayana => East Asian Traditions => Topic started by: kwanseum on February 25, 2011, 01:10:49 am

Title: Don't understand Zen
Post by: kwanseum on February 25, 2011, 01:10:49 am
My tradition is Seon (Korean Zen).  Seon's outlook while incorporating other ideas such as Pure Land basically stems from Hwaeom (Huayan in Chinese) philosophy and in a nutshell sees the whole world as interconnected and synchronised whole with Buddha nature being the foundation.  To me Seon seems simple and straightforward whereas Zen seems obscure.

Now please don't get me wrong (no offence intended) because I'm going to caricature Dogen Zenji just to illustrate my point (perhaps a dangerous thing to do) but he, and the tradition he started basically says “sitting in Zazen is enlightenment.”

I was wondering if someone knowledgeable about Japanese Zen could explain how they see enlightenment and Buddha-nature. 

Thanks, Kwanseum
Title: Re: Don't understand Zen
Post by: pickledpitbull on February 25, 2011, 05:38:32 pm
Here's a good resource to answer your question:  www.mro.org (http://www.mro.org)

They also have a good audio website:  www.wzen.org (http://www.wzen.org)

I really don't see a difference between the two traditions, other than culture.  I've been to Zen Mountain, and I've been to the local Korean (Bak Lim Sa) center, Catskill Zendo http://www.kumkangsa.or.kr/home/bbs/baeklimsa_02.html (http://www.kumkangsa.or.kr/home/bbs/baeklimsa_02.html).  Zen Mountain has more rigorous training for the lay community than at Catskill.  The Korean center seems more laid back - but I don't know if that's true for the ordained sangha.

As far as philosophy goes, I really don't know of a difference.  Maybe it's just the approach.

Peace


Title: Re: Don't understand Zen
Post by: Ben Yuan on February 26, 2011, 12:15:20 am
The way I see it, is essentially that the Buddha's approach is very much practical and direct. Over time there was a tendency for the popular Buddhist image to become more metaphysical, and Zen was an attempt to remove the metaphysical and supernatural superstructure and return to a practical discipline of life.

The approach is essentially (from the perspective of my background in Linchi/Rinzai), to remove conceptualisation from perception through the method of non-labelling, or a speechless practice.

It is actually a result of the historical extremities within China of either pure practice with little content of the Buddha's approach to stopping our dispositions towards viewing self-nature, and permanence, or pure textual study which doesn't bother to recognise the insubstantiality of views relating to self-nature and permanence.

In my experience, especially with people who were not raised in a far-eastern culture (especially Japan), it is not advisable to proceed without knowing what is going on. One should have an idea about what is meant by the dust and the mirror:

The body is the Bodhi-tree,
The mind is like a clear mirror.
At all times we must strive to polish it,
And must not let dust collect.

(Shen-hsiu)
Title: Re: Don't understand Zen
Post by: J. McKenna on February 27, 2011, 05:32:38 pm
Zen has always revolved around a direct transmission of mind, to mind ......
 
 
Thus it has been said when Shakyamuni Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain, he twirled a flower in his finger and held it before his congregation. Everyone was silent. Only Maha Kashapa wholeheartedly smiled. Buddha said, 'I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the formless form, the mysterious gate of Dharma. Beyond the words and beyond all teachings to be transmitted, I now pass this on to Maha Kashapa.
 
 
Nowadays, there are many types of Zen teachers. One type, for example, teaches Zen through philosophical discourse; another, through so-called meditation; and still another direct from soul to soul. My way of teaching is the direct transmission of Zen from soul to soul.
 
 
Directly point to the human mind; see one's nature and become a Buddha; do not establish words and letters.
 
 
A special transmission outside the scriptures;
No dependence upon words and letters;
Direct pointing to the soul of man:
Seeing into one's own nature and attainment of Buddhahood
Title: Re: Don't understand Zen
Post by: Quiet Heart on February 28, 2011, 01:05:36 am
 ;D
Your poem:
The body is the Bodhi-tree,
The mind is like a clear mirror.
At all times we must strive to polish it,
And must not let dust collect.


Yes I know the story.
The counter to that poem has a number of versions depending on the translation.
But the one I like best is:

The body is not a Bodhi-tree,
the mind is not a mirror.
If All begins with one single thought (of Buddha?)
Then where may dust collect?

For anyone who wants to study (if that is the right word) Zen....be aware that there are many schools and traditions. Some seem to be mutually contradictory.
Don't believe everyting that you read about what Zen Masters say or are supposed to have said....tricking the student into confusion is a standard technique Zen teachers use to get a student out of their preconcieved mind-set....shocking them out of their preconceptions and into a place/time where they are forced to see clearly the true nature of reality...and their illusions/delusions.

All is fair in love and war as they say...and also on the path to enlightenment.
(At least in teaching Zen).
Sometimes you drag them...kicking and screaming if necessary...into understanding.
 :teehee:

Title: Re: Don't understand Zen
Post by: Disney Land on February 28, 2011, 01:26:43 am
Now please don't get me wrong (no offence intended) because I'm going to caricature Dogen Zenji just to illustrate my point (perhaps a dangerous thing to do) but he, and the tradition he started basically says “sitting in Zazen is enlightenment.”

I was wondering if someone knowledgeable about Japanese Zen could explain how they see enlightenment and Buddha-nature. 
Thanks, Kwanseum
I have no knowledge about Jap Zen, but in the normal context of Master in Zen on “sitting in Zazen is enlightenment.” is referring to the tranquil mind or Buddha nature of all beings liken to mirror or gold  :namaste:
Title: Re: Don't understand Zen
Post by: LastLegend on February 28, 2011, 01:44:02 am
A poem by Hui Neng, The Sixth Patriarch of Chan/Zen of Bodhidharma lineage

Fundamentally no wisdom-tree exists,
Nor the stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is empty from the beginning,
Where can the dust alight

A poem by Shen-hsui

The body is the Bodhi-tree,
The mind is like a clear mirror.
At all times we must strive to polish it,
And must not let dust collect.

These two poems represent the two teachings: one by direct transmission and the other by meditation. Also they represent the two different abilities.
Title: Re: Don't understand Zen
Post by: LastLegend on February 28, 2011, 10:48:05 am
(http://zerokun.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/LucToHueNang.jpg)

Hui Neng

My language Vietnamese Hue Nang

This is his body
Title: Re: Don't understand Zen
Post by: Disney Land on February 28, 2011, 10:54:49 pm
A poem by Hui Neng, The Sixth Patriarch of Chan/Zen of Bodhidharma lineage

Fundamentally no wisdom-tree exists,
Nor the stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is empty from the beginning,
Where can the dust alight

A poem by Shen-hsui

The body is the Bodhi-tree,
The mind is like a clear mirror.
At all times we must strive to polish it,
And must not let dust collect.

These two poems represent the two teachings: one by direct transmission and the other by meditation. Also they represent the two different abilities.

Such awesome Hui Neng and his enlightenment poem. Fundamentally, there is no place for dust to alight - neither come nor go - pure emptiness, enjoying the peace and bliss everywhere  :D
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