Sutras and Beyond

All things related to beginning Zen Practice. Here is where to exchange information between those that have already started Zen training and those planning to do so.
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Sutras and Beyond

Post by Nicholas » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:39 pm

There is an aspect of Zen that seems to ignore or even scoff at textual buddhadharma.

The nub of it is attachment, I suspect. One can be attached to the Teacher, oral teachings, meditation on the cushion etc. just as easily as words on a page (or screen). So renunciation or non-attachment is a key.

My Chan Master Hua spent more time teaching Westerners from sutras than holding Chan sessions. I also value sutra study, recitation & meditation. A favorite of his & mine is the Avatamsaka Sutra. Cleary's version is still the only full translation in English, although Dharmamitra's BDK version will probably see completion before the BTTS version.

At any rate, here is a sample of sutra interpretation from a lay bodhisattva Li Tongxuan of long ago. It is on chapter 39, the pilgrimage of Sudhana bodhisattva where he meets many gurus.

First Sudhana climbed the Mountain of Marvelous Peaks, saw the monk Meghashri (“Glorious Clouds”), and realized the abode of inspiration.
Clouds have four meanings. They are everywhere, representing concentration. They bear moisture, representing virtue. They shade and cover, representing compassion. They shower rain, representing knowledge. Hence the name Glorious Clouds.

The significance of monkhood is the cessation of opinionated argument. The word used means “stopping contention.” When one is without thoughts, still and quiet as a mountain, then formless subtle principles become evident.

Sudhana climbed the mountain to its furthest reach and looked all over for Meghashri. This symbolizes use of the power of calm observation to gain access to the abode of the enlightened.

Sudhana saw Meghashri on a separate peak. This symbolizes going through expedient meditation methods to get into the original state where there is neither concentration nor distraction.

Meghashri was walking slowly, symbolizing being undisturbed. Walking around represents not lingering in concentration trance.
Excerpt From: Thomas Cleary. The Flower Ornament Scripture. pp 1567-8
Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. -- MN 19

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