Author Topic: Zen Awakening - Buddhas?  (Read 1747 times)

Offline OllieGio

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Zen Awakening - Buddhas?
« on: July 06, 2014, 04:56:17 am »
After researching a bit about Zen, I discovered many stories of Zen masters who attained awakening instantly. This is a recurring theme throughout Zen. Are these Zen masters considered Buddhas once they have been awoken? If not, why not? Thank you

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Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum

Offline namumahaparinirvanasvaha

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Re: Zen Awakening - Buddhas?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 07:18:30 am »
After researching a bit about Zen, I discovered many stories of Zen masters who attained awakening instantly. This is a recurring theme throughout Zen. Are these Zen masters considered Buddhas once they have been awoken? If not, why not? Thank you

-Padma Sherab Dorje

If they are fully Enlightened then yes they are Buddha's.

However the next fully Enlightened Buddha to enter this world is Maitryea, so they probably only attained enlightenment with remained (arhat).and have not attained Full Enlightenment.(Buddhahood)

This is Mahayana view check out Queen Srimala Sutra and Lotus Sutra)

(Thervadans view Arhats to be the same as Buddhas)

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Zen Awakening - Buddhas?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2014, 10:05:29 pm »
I don't know.

I have a feeling that most of Buddhism is spun from nous fantasy and fantastic notions that don't really exist. 

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Zen Awakening - Buddhas?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2014, 11:57:06 am »
Hi Bacchist and welcome to Free Sangha.

I accidently over-wrote your post when trying to reply to it... sorry. As for your question, Namu was referring to the prophesy of the future Buddha named Maitreya, which is found in both the Theravada and Mahayana tradition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitreya

Offline NoEssentialNature

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Re: Zen Awakening - Buddhas?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 04:28:43 pm »
After researching a bit about Zen, I discovered many stories of Zen masters who attained awakening instantly. This is a recurring theme throughout Zen. Are these Zen masters considered Buddhas once they have been awoken? If not, why not? Thank you

To take up the Great Vehicle, which is to practice Mahayana Buddhism, is to forego complete irrevocable enlightenment. Students of Zen, being a Mahayana school, aspire to become boddhisatvas not Buddhas.

Zen doctrine says "Do not establish words and letters, directly point to the source of mind; do not engage in gradual methods, attain Buddhahood immediately"

Zen doctrine also holds that (all) Buddhist enlightenment is fundamentally a direct transmission from mind to mind, of the Buddhas own realisation. This transmission is held to occur suddenly, all at once, to be complete in itself, and irrevocable.

Offline Vishvavajra

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Re: Zen Awakening - Buddhas?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2015, 04:56:02 pm »
The meaning of the sudden path is that Buddhahood is our true nature. People "attain" it in the sense that they realize that true nature, but nothing fundamental changes. If Buddhahood were something that arose as a result of causes and conditions, then it would also be subject to cessation when those causes and conditions were no longer present. Therefore traditions like Chan regard it as something that is always available and can potentially be realized at any time, provided that the person is able to cut through the karmic habits that obscure it. (Cue reference to the lotus that grows in muddy water.)

Would the characters in Chan stories be Buddhas? In a sense everyone is potentially a Buddha. What happens in the stories tends to be a kind of enlightenment experience or epiphany wherein the character momentarily cuts through habitual delusions and perceives the true nature of things. People tend to put too much stock in those experiences in and of themselves. It's not like flipping a switch: a person can have such an experience and still slide back into bad habits if they don't keep up their practice. In this world of Samsara, Buddha is not just something that you are; it's something that you do, that you manifest in your daily life.

Offline mysticmorn

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Re: Zen Awakening - Buddhas?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2015, 04:10:41 pm »
The meaning of the sudden path is that Buddhahood is our true nature. People "attain" it in the sense that they realize that true nature, but nothing fundamental changes. If Buddhahood were something that arose as a result of causes and conditions, then it would also be subject to cessation when those causes and conditions were no longer present. Therefore traditions like Chan regard it as something that is always available and can potentially be realized at any time, provided that the person is able to cut through the karmic habits that obscure it. (Cue reference to the lotus that grows in muddy water.)

Would the characters in Chan stories be Buddhas? In a sense everyone is potentially a Buddha. What happens in the stories tends to be a kind of enlightenment experience or epiphany wherein the character momentarily cuts through habitual delusions and perceives the true nature of things. People tend to put too much stock in those experiences in and of themselves. It's not like flipping a switch: a person can have such an experience and still slide back into bad habits if they don't keep up their practice. In this world of Samsara, Buddha is not just something that you are; it's something that you do, that you manifest in your daily life.
This is a great post. It's important to remember that our true nature is Buddhanature; we just need to access that, which can be easier said than done, after years and decades of conditioning.

However.  Zen has taken things a step further, and apparently makes a practice of putting too much stock in "those experiences".  Dharma transmission from one teacher to the next is highly valued. Zen scholar and former Zen monk Stuart Lachs has some interesting things to say about this, that tie into the point about the risk of "backsliding".  He says that at one point in Zen's development, there were two diverging positions, or "schools" on the issue of dharma transmission. One held that the insight experience was sufficient to consider someone an enlightened master. The other held that it was crucial to continue a dedicated practice of virtue, because without a solid grounding in virtue, a master's development would be very one-sided, which could lead to problems. Lachs says that the school or faction that emphasized virtue lost out, and Zen's trajectory after that point followed the insight-is-everything camp.

I think some practitioners assume that once one has seen the Light, so to speak, any breakthrough of that nature would include the realization of emptiness, and an abandonment of grasping at self. There's a certain logic to this. Either it's not so simple, or there are/have been a lot of supposedly enlightened masters who were anything but that.

 


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