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Is Zen Understanding Like Judgment?

To: alt.zen,alt.philosophy.zen
From: Ludd)
Subject: Re: Is Zen Understanding Like Judgment?
Date: 28 Feb 1998 21:38:37 GMT

In <> Paula Pintar  writes: 
>> # If the intellect cannot rest in grasping, how could you expect it
>> # to rest in an action like affirming or denying?
> expectation is endless
>> # Why would you bind your mind?  (ie. to one extreme, either
>> # true/false, affirm/deny or rest/no-rest)
> monkeys sometimes need a leash
>> # Hui Neng could not even affirm a mirror stand, how could I
>> # affirm that the intellect can rest in Zen understanding?
> you cannot affirm even a hair on your head

> We confuse rest with peace. It's not rest but peace we're looking
> for, and peace can be found in looking for answers, affirming and
> denying, carving out a niche for our ideas and beliefs.

  Tell me one carving that has lasted.  Shall I post a copy of
  Shelley's "Ozymandias"?
> There is no such thing as rest. Though we often act like we're in 
> a state of rest by stopping physical movement.

  A grave error, IMO, is forcing the body to sit quietly.  Today I
  took a long walk, and stopped by the UWM library. I looked up some 
  senryu and haiku.  Then (since the catalogs are all on computer)
  I typed in "Tan Ching", "Sixth Patriarch", and "Hui Neng".  They
  had a copy of of the Platform Sutra translated by Master Hua, who 
  died recently (about 5 year ago or so).  He came from China, and 
  identified himself as "Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua".  He created a 
  Buddhist community called "City of 10,000 Buddhas" in northern 
  California near Ukiah.  I looked up one of my favorite verses from
  that sutra, in Chapter 4, "Concentration and Wisdom":


   "Good Knowing Advisors, there are those who teach people to
    sit looking at the mind and contemplating stillness, without
    moving or arising.  They claim that it has merit.  Confused 
    men, not understanding, easily become attached and go insane.
    There are many such people.  Therefore you should know that 
    teaching of this kind is a great error."

  Wow, "sitting without moving or arising" is branded as "great 
  error".  Strong words for a zennie!  In his commentary on the
  previous verse, Master Hua anticipated this verse with the
  following comments:


 A stupid person gives rise to a dharma-attachment.  "I sit here
 unmoving and I have no false thinking. This is the Single Conduct
 Samadhi."  He is completely wrong.  One who thinks this way turns
 into a vegetable.  The Way should flow without obstruction.  If 
 you stop your thought, you turn into dead ashes and rotten wood
 and become useless.  You should "produce that thought which is 
 nowhere supported," by attaching yourself neither to emptiness, 
 to existence, nor to dharmas...

 "The mind that dwells in dharmas is in self-bondage."  If you get
 attached to the meditation-dharma and sit without moving, you tie 
 yourself up and become a prisoner.  Shariputra, the foremost of 
 Shakyamuni Buddha's disciples in wisdom, sat in the forest, quietly
 meditating, but the layman Vimalakirti reprimanded  him, saying, 
 "What are you doing? What use are you, sitting there like a corpse!"

 [Master Hua's commentary on the verse itself is very interesting,
 and speaks almost not at all about sitting meditation, but about
 "claiming" enlightenment. I've included it at the end of this post.]

> Some devote their whole lives to that endeavor -- like smoking 
> in your trailer counting the food stamps.  Have those people
> found rest? In a way, maybe.

  It can be difficult judging other people's enlightenment.
> And if monkeys need a leash who will hold the leash?

  The monkey-master.


P.S. Here is Master Hua's commentary on Hui Neng's verse from the
     Platform Sutra:

 The deluded person does not understand the principle.  They think,
 "I'll just sit here and not get up.  This is the way to attain 
 skill in Ch'an.  They get attached to what they are doing, and they
 go insane.  For example, many people have come here saying that 
 they are enlightened.  That is insanity.

 There are many such people.  Teachers from their number say, "If
 you certify my enlightenment, I will certify yours."  That is a big 
 mistake.  In China in the T'ang dynasty, there were false Buddhist 
 Patriarchs who practiced "intellectual zen"--they had clever answers
 but no foundation in actual cultivation.  It is not surprising that
 we find such people in America today.  But these impostors who 
 falsely claim to be enlightened pave the way for those of true 
 enlightenment.  No one knew about enlightenment, so the impostors 
 said, "We are enlightened!"

 Everyone then said, "So this is enlightenment!" and they examined 
 them closely to see what enlightenment is like, suddenly a truly 
 enlightened person comes and no one believes in him.  They think 
 that the truly enlightened one is the same as the impostors.  You 
 who now cultivate to become enlightened will be forced to deal with 
 the widespread influence of such pretenders.  That leads me to advise
 you that when you become enlightened, you should not say that you are.
 That is the best method.

 This is the way of the world:  true, true, false; false, false, true.
 If you are true, they say you are false.  If you are false, they say 
 you are true.  Therefore you should not speak of true and false,  
 Tell people to go and see for themselves.

 Unenlightened people will say that they are enlightened.  If you 
 who have already become enlightened claim to be enlightened, then 
 you are just like those who are not.  Why?  People who actually are
 enlightened do not introduce themselves saying, "Don't you know me?
 I am enlightened!  I am the same as so and so, and he is enlightened.
 He is enlightened and I am just like him."  Enlightenment and 
 non-enlightenment are the same, not different.  Do not hang out a 
 false name.  Enlightened, you are a human being.  Unenlightened, you 
 are still a human being.  The enlightened and the unenlightened both 
 can realize Buddhahood.  It's a question of time.

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