From dreams to actualization . . .

Discussion of Zen Buddhism.
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desert_woodworker
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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by desert_woodworker » Wed May 01, 2019 2:59 pm

[james] wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:57 am
My questions, referring back to Clyde’s comments, concern awakening.
Yes, of course; understood.

After the moment of sudden awakening, to begin the awakened condition, there is no mind, sometimes given the name No-mind (Prof. Suzuki does, e.g.).

It's possible and delightful, however, indeed to speak of that moment, that instant, in which the awakened state opens; that is, the very moment of awakening, as that moment is/was experienced. Not only possible and delightful, moreover, it has been done. ;) There's a rich and variegated phenomenology of that instant, remembered and described variously by many masters and other practitioners, and recorded in the extant Ch'an and Zen Buddhist literature. There's good reading and good poetry there. Usually, the autobiography of a teacher will contain such a tract, or segment; they're out there for the reading.

If someone cares to collect some of them into a grouping and to post them, it could make a good thread in an area here.

--Joe

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by desert_woodworker » Wed May 01, 2019 3:17 pm

clyde wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:38 am
...I agree that without such confirmation, one may be sadly mistaken; but if one is unsure (and seeks validation), then one is definitely not awakened
Clyde, that's the rub. The very pitfall. Caution!

("The flaw in the ointment.") :)

BTW, whether one "seeks" validation or not, the teacher will test you, and either confirm an awakening, or send you back into the Ch'an hall. Again, the teacher can be quite well aware of the student's state at all times.

An interesting historical case is the account of Dogen's opening, which he writes of in the diary he kept while he studied with his teacher in China, the book called the Hokyo-ki. It's translated by James Kodera as part of his work at my alma mater, DOGEN'S FORMATIVE YEARS IN CHINA (1980), part of his Dissertation presented in 1975. Key parts of the story have in one situation to do with Dogen's words, "Body and mind have fallen away", and the teacher's assent, "Body and mind have indeed fallen away". Recommended!

--Joe

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by desert_woodworker » Wed May 01, 2019 3:32 pm

Spike wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:28 am
desert_woodworker wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:51 pm
Clyde, well, that may in fact work for you, and God bless you. But not for those Zen teachers who would teach us.
Well, of course, this is obviously false. Shakyamuni buddha's experience was not confirmed, and he was the greatest teacher of all.
"Obviously" wrong-headed and illogical.

Clyde, should he choose to, has the opportunity to study in the present with Zen teachers, who will, in fact, test him/you. It's the way things work now.

(see if it isn't true, Clyde [et al.]).

--Joe

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by fuki » Wed May 01, 2019 4:17 pm

clyde wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:34 am
Good questions and I hope someone has satisfactory answers.
All I know that it's not/never what I think it is :cat:
In itself that is quite illuminating, "abiding" here, (neither center nor circumference) is the beauty and joy of endless practise, all the blessings/service flow from it :109:
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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by desert_woodworker » Wed May 01, 2019 9:52 pm

I think it was one of the Chinese Ch'an Ancestors (the 6th, and final: Hui-Neng [WAY-nung] ) who gave the instruction to his first disciple to "Think of non-thinking".

Translations can be treacherous, especially literal ones. And poetic ones. And, any translation is challenging to the translators, so hats off to them! But any translation leaves something to be desired. And, we were not there. And, we were not practicing with Hui-Neng and the other monk.

The "Thinking of non-thinking" instruction was given to just ONE advanced monastic practitioner by Hui-Neng there, as recorded in the story, and not given as a general instruction to all or for all. But, since it was recorded, perhaps there is and has been some thought given in the preserving of it for an estimated general and perceived practical value in it for practitioners. I've not found it so for me in practice and I have taken my own teachers' instructions to heart and mind, though, and not Hui-Neng's. But, it's such a good story.

And I'll opine that Hui-Neng may have meant, "Think, now, before you sit down, for just a moment of ...non-thinking. Got it? See how that might feel? See how it is when you're not thinking about anything at all, not feeding any dying-out thought at all?, and the mind is not following this and that, in motion? Good. Now, sit down. End of instruction!"

But as the story actually goes (and there may be some time-compression in the proceedings as presented), Hui-Neng then went on further to suggest very quickly to the monk (the head-monk, in fact, of their monastery) to envision his original face before his parents were born. Well, the head-monk's mind had been ripe, and was ripe, evidently, for the opportunity and actuality of his mind to open then and there, in dramatic circumstances and considerable pressure. The head-monk then declared his brother-monk Hui-Neng to now be his teacher. Hui-Neng had not yet even joined the order, so the head-monk addressed him as "lay brother". The head-monk dropped his previous covetousness of the robe and bowl of the lineage, and "took" only the Dharma ...of Hui-Neng, inherited from the 5th patriarch by Hui-Neng at midnight, only the night just before. That is, Hui-Neng's and the head-monk's minds matched, on checking, and were then identical. Instruction was over, but practice was not, though there had been this transmission, involving Hui-Neng and the head-monk, Shen Hsiu.

--Joe

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by [james] » Wed May 01, 2019 11:02 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 9:52 pm

And I'll opine that Hui-Neng may have meant, "Think, now, before you sit down, for just a moment of ...non-thinking. Got it? See how that might feel? See how it is when you're not thinking about anything at all, not feeding any dying-out thought at all?, and the mind is not following this and that, in motion? Good. Now, sit down. End of instruction!"

A pretty good description if, rather than “instruction”, we were to see it as “suggestion”. It’s important, don’t you think, that the student feel that the suggestion may be, is, worth looking into and not see a recipe, like baking a cake, that if followed diligently will produce the desired outcome?
Instruction was over, but practice was not, though there had been this transmission, involving Hui-Neng and the head-monk, Shen Hsiu.
Why call it a transmission? If someone you know and whose experience you respect were to say to you ... “Hey Joe, I noticed a while back that you were sharpening (that tool) and now I see that you are having problems with it.” And this someone goes on to suggest an alternative sharpening method that you might consider to forestall similar problems from arising. Would you call this “transmission”? Transmission is an unnecessarily value loaded “zen culture” word for what may simply be a “Well, have you considered giving this a try?” kind of exchange.

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by Great Sage EofH » Wed May 01, 2019 11:11 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 9:52 pm

And I'll opine that Hui-Neng may have meant, "Think, now, before you sit down, for just a moment of ...non-thinking. Got it? See how that might feel? See how it is when you're not thinking about anything at all, not feeding any dying-out thought at all?, and the mind is not following this and that, in motion? Good. Now, sit down. End of instruction!"

--Joe
Fact Check!

Hui Neng actually says quite the opposite:

The Master instructed the assembly: “Good Knowing
Advisors, the Single Conduct Samadhi is the constant
practice of maintaining a direct, straightforward mind in
all places, whether one is walking, standing, sitting, or
lying down. As the Vimalakirti Sutra says, ‘The straight
mind is the Bodhimandala; the straight mind is the Pure
Land.’
“Do not speak of straightness with the mouth only,
while the mind and practice are crooked, nor speak of the
Single Conduct Samadhi without maintaining a straight
mind. Simply practice keeping a straight mind and have
no attachment to any dharma.
“The confused person is attached to the marks of
dharmas, while holding to the Single Conduct Samadhi
and saying, ‘I sit unmoving and falseness does not arise in
my mind. That is the Single Conduct Samadhi.’ Such an
interpretation serves to make him insensate and
obstructs the causes and conditions for attaining the
Way.
“Good Knowing Advisors, the Way must penetrate
and flow. How can it be impeded? If the mind does not
dwell in dharmas, the Way will penetrate and flow. The
mind that dwells in dharmas is in self-bondage. To say
that sitting unmoving is correct is to be like Shariputra
who sat quietly in the forest but was scolded by
Vimalakirti.”

The Way must penetrate and flow.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by Spike » Thu May 02, 2019 12:12 am

.
Last edited by Spike on Thu May 02, 2019 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by Caodemarte » Thu May 02, 2019 12:33 am

Great Sage EofH wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:11 pm
....
...Hui Neng actually says quite the opposite:

The Master instructed the assembly: “Good Knowing
Advisors, the Single Conduct Samadhi is the constant
practice of maintaining a direct...
Citation please. Since you earlier noted that you do not read Chinese which translation text are you quoting? Thanks in advance.

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by Great Sage EofH » Thu May 02, 2019 1:14 am

from: CHAPTER V .
"SITTING IN CH’AN"
https://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings ... aJewel.pdf
The Sixth Patriarch’s
Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra
With the Commentary of
Tripitaka Master Hua
English translation by the
Buddhist Text Translation Society
Buddhist Text Translation Society
Dharma Realm Buddhist University
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
Burlingame, California U.S.A.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by clyde » Thu May 02, 2019 5:07 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 3:32 pm
Clyde, should he choose to, has the opportunity to study in the present with Zen teachers, who will, in fact, test him/you. It's the way things work now.
Joe; Thank you. You helped me see how I am - a Buddha Dharma lover with a preference for Zen, but without becoming a Zen student to a Zen teacher.

I respect the Zen Way and support it; Zen provides a home for me, but I don’t want a relationship in which I’m tested. I want and have, thankfully, Dharma friends.

As for testing, the whole world tests me; it’s the way it works.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by fuki » Thu May 02, 2019 9:33 am

clyde wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 5:07 am
Joe; Thank you. You helped me see how I am - a Buddha Dharma lover with a preference for Zen, but without becoming a Zen student to a Zen teacher.

I respect the Zen Way and support it; Zen provides a home for me, but I don’t want a relationship in which I’m tested. I want and have, thankfully, Dharma friends.

As for testing, the whole world tests me; it’s the way it works.
Clyde, thanks - so it is here too, and the Universal Teacher is always present I'd say.

ps this back and forth (in the wrong part of the splitted thread I believe) regarding "rest and motion"
reminds me of polishing the floor tile, also since that came up yesterday funny enough.
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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu May 02, 2019 3:14 pm

You're welcome Clyde.
clyde wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 5:07 am
As for testing, the whole world tests me; it’s the way it works.
As part of the whole world, the Zen teacher tests too. Why should/how could he/she be different? ;) As I mentioned, this is for the student's sake and safety (and hence, for all beings). An outcome and expression and working of Great, true Compassion.

You can expect not to be tested except at a certain, critical time. When that time comes, the testing will be natural, more like a handshake.

(now, if you're one who takes up koan practice you may be tested, by some definition, every time you enter the dokusan/sanzen room).

I appreciate your appreciation of sangha, which you mention (the Dharma friends). A big thing. One third of the tripod.

--Joe

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu May 02, 2019 3:24 pm

Great Sage EofH wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:11 pm
Hui Neng actually says quite the opposite:

The Master instructed the assembly: “Good Knowing Advisors, ...
That's from an indoor sermon. I posted about the pursuit through the wilderness by the head-monk, and his exchange with Hui-Neng when he caught up with him.

--Joe

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu May 02, 2019 3:40 pm

Thanks James.
[james] wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:02 pm
It’s important, don’t you think, that the student feel that the suggestion may be, is, worth looking into and not see a recipe, like baking a cake, that if followed diligently will produce the desired outcome?
Well, surely. Am I forgetting those days? Anyone who does that, I think comes to quick exhaustion, ...at which point one sinks and rests and begins to learn the lay of the land.

Aitken Roshi said: "Zazen teaches zazen".

(may he R.I.P.)
{james} wrote:Why call it a transmission? If someone you know and whose experience you respect were to say to you ... “Hey Joe, I noticed a while back that you were sharpening (that tool) and now I see that you are having problems with it.” And this someone goes on to suggest an alternative sharpening method that you might consider to forestall similar problems from arising. Would you call this “transmission”? Transmission is an unnecessarily value loaded “zen culture” word for what may simply be a “Well, have you considered giving this a try?” kind of exchange.
It's certainly a “zen culture” word. And a live culture, as yogurt containers advertise. Why is it used?: I won't say.

--Joe

p.s. Thanks, I like very much the analogy about the tool-sharpening, and the scenario you draw, it's alive for me. It's true: one of the first things you need to learn in order to work wood, is how to sharpen metal.

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by Great Sage EofH » Thu May 02, 2019 4:25 pm

Spike wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 12:12 am
.
me too
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by Larry » Thu May 02, 2019 4:31 pm

:lol:

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Re: From dreams to actualization . . .

Post by Great Sage EofH » Thu May 02, 2019 6:04 pm

Without having steps,
and without having ladders,
scaling cliffs, No hands.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by fuki » Thu May 02, 2019 8:19 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 3:14 pm
You can expect not to be tested except at a certain, critical time. When that time comes, the testing will be natural, more like a handshake.
I like that, handshake. "Though" sometimes only years later the timing and respons blossoms, and then the specific teacher isn't around anymore to shake, but that's allright.
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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu May 02, 2019 9:20 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 9:20 pm
fuki wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 8:19 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 3:14 pm
You can expect not to be tested except at a certain, critical time. When that time comes, the testing will be natural, more like a handshake.
I like that, handshake. "Though" sometimes only years later the timing and respons blossoms, and then the specific teacher isn't around anymore to shake, but that's allright.
-- OFF_TOPIC Advisory --

Don't be so sure, Marcel, in advance. I wouldn't. Sometimes, wherever you look, there is "Shih-fu". Lucky... . The one in robes was "just" (!) an Avatar of the Big Guy/Big Zonk (not a person). Thank Heavens for the Little Guy, so, so Big despite it All. We Humans recognize major true-Compassion mostly from Humans, at first. Coming through a soda-straw, but one perfectly tuned to you, and vice-versa. But as there's One being, if that many, it's completely generalizable/generalized, and inheres "every-'where' ". As I see it. But we Humans still have to dish it out, especially when it's only Natural (when there's no two ways about it). When we force ourselves, it's not true-Compassion, but some kind of "good works". Maybe not too bad, or not as bad as it may seem.

:bow2:

Granted, going back to your point, it's good (best) to be Johnny-On-the-Spot while the Boss is still alive. And give natural thanks to the Old Man, or Venerable Lady, profoundly, profusely, in-person. But they already know our true Heart, else, there's no awakening.

Counting blessings, one, two, Infinity,

wishes,

--Joe
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