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Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Ted Biringer on Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:57 am

konshu82 wrote:I'm reading the John R. McRae translation of the Platform Sutra. I've run across a passage that is confusing me:

"'Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise prac- tice with their minds. Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claim- ing that this is great. You can’t even speak to these people, because of their false views!'

I practice Soto Zen. Huineng sounds like he's deriding an activity that seems similar to shikantaza. Is this the case? It seems like I've read elsewhere that something like "no-thought" is virtuous (although I'm aware that, practically, thoughts can't simply be stopped and must be accepted). I wouldn't claim that this practice is "great", at least not any greater than other forms of Buddhist practice. It's just what I do.

Maybe my confusion is due to social complexities at the time and place in which the sutra was written. I'm not attempting to take this reading literally or color it with my subjective inclinations, hence my desire for others' perspectives on this little issue.


"'Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise prac- tice with their minds. Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claim- ing that this is great. You can’t even speak to these people, because of their false views!'

Dear konshu82,

Thank you for your post.

While there are a variety of subtle (and not so subtle) points that might merit our attention concerning Huineng’s expression here, it seems fairly clear that his main point is to emphasize the danger (or at least ineffectiveness) of attempting to ‘practice’ something we don’t accurately understand (or hold a fallacious view about). In particular, Huineng is addressing the fallacy that ‘imitating’ the form (e.g. memorizing doctrines, sitting in meditation, etc.) without an accurate or ‘right view’ of Zen/Buddhist doctrine and methodology is not simply impotent, it can be harmful. The deluded notion that ‘right practice’ could somehow be performed in the absence of ‘right understanding’ has plagued Zen communities down through the ages – most commonly manifesting as “rows of sleepy lumps” sitting in “self-satisfied” pits of “inky black.”

To clarify, here is a wonderful example of Hakuin (through whom all Rinzai lines are traced) making the same main point as Huineng:

At present, this country is infested with a race of smooth-tongued, worldly-wise Zen teachers who feed their students a rations of utter nonsense. “Why do you suppose buddha-patriarchs through the ages were so mortally afraid of words and letters?” they ask you. “It is,” They answer you:

"Because words and letters are a coast of jagged cliffs constantly lashed by a vast ocean of poison ready to swallow up your wisdom, drown the very life from it. Giving students stories and episodes from the Zen past and having them try to penetrate their meaning is practice that did not start until after the school had branched out into the Five Houses and Seven Schools. It was an expedient teaching method, employed provisionally. It doesn’t represent the ultimate reaches of the buddha-patriarchs."

An incorrigible pack of skin-headed mules has ridden teachings like these to a position of dominance in the world of Zen. Unable to distinguish master from servant, jades from common stones, they gather together and sit. Rows of sleepy lumps. They hug themselves, self-satisfied, imagining they are paragons of the Zen tradition, belittling the buddha-patriarchs of the past and treating their fellow priests with contempt. While true celestial phoenixes linger starving in the shadows, a hateful flock of owls and ravens, comfortable and full-bellied, rule the roost.
The Essential Teachings of Hakuin, Norman Waddell


Of Course, Hakuin was not simply making up some new point; Rinzai (Lin-chi) himself was no less adamant about this point:

Fellow believers, I tell you there is no Dharma to be found outside. But students don’t understand me and immediately start looking inward for some explanation, sitting by the wall in meditation, pressing their tongues against the roof of their mouths, absolutely still, never moving, supposing this to be the Dharma of the buddhas taught by the patriarchs. What a mistake! If you take this unmoving, clean, and pure environment to be the right way, then you will be making ignorance the lord and master. A man of old said, ‘Bottomless, inky black is the deep pit, truly a place to be feared!’ This is what he meant.
The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi, Burton Watson


Nor is this simply a ‘Rinzai Zen’ trait; Dogen, through whom all Soto lines are traced, put it this way:

In sum, because [people] do not wake up from views and opinions that the Buddha-nature is related with the thinking, sensing, mindfulness, and realization [described] now, they seem—in regard to the words “having the Buddha-nature” and in regard to the words “without the Buddha-nature” –to have lost the boundary of clear understanding. Few even learn that they should speak the words. Remember, this state of neglect comes from their having stopped making effort. Among heads of the table in many districts there are some who die without once in their life voicing the expression of the truth “the Buddha-nature.”
Shobogenzo, Bussho, Nishijima & Cross


We don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold, so here is how Chinul, through whom all Korean lines of Zen (Son) are traced, spells it out:

I have observed that people of the present time who are cultivating their minds do not depend on the guidance of the written teachings, but straightaway assume that the successive transmission of the esoteric idea [of Son] is the path. They then sit around dozing with their presence of mind in agitation and confusion during their practice of meditation. For these reasons, I feel you should follow words and teachings which were expounded in accordance with reality in order to determine the proper procedure in regard to awakening and cultivation. Once you mirror your own minds, you may contemplate with insight at all times, without wasting any of your efforts.
Tracing Back the Radiance, Robert Buswell


I hope this is helpful.

Please treasure yourself.

Ted
Do not misunderstand Buddhism by believing the erroneous principle ‘a special tradition outside the scriptures.’ Zen Master Dogen, Shobogenzo, Bukkyo (trans. Hee-Jin Kim)
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby bubuyaya on Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:55 am

konshu82 wrote:I'm reading the John R. McRae translation of the Platform Sutra. I've run across a passage that is confusing me:

"'Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise prac- tice with their minds. Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claim- ing that this is great. You can’t even speak to these people, because of their false views!'



For some understanding, let me describe some translated words meanings.
When Huineng use the word of 'Good friends', that's that natural you are the same Thatagatta, though you don't know that natural you are Huineng-like Thatagatta.
Therefore, you, Tahatagatta friends are worded 'Good friends'.
And the word 'the deluded' here contains such deluded masters and friends who guide their followers and friends, who based on their view of that they both are not Thatagatta,
so they easily say by their learning and assumption, 'Empty your mind.', or 'Don't think anything.' ' Don't say anything.' etc.
Buddhas had thought and said so many Dharmas according onto peoples' and beings' situations, therefore such Right path and Noble truth are also had been thought out and said.
For the meaning of the word 'great', 'great' is better translated, 'Big', 'Maha', that natural you contains whole, and whatever each contains natural you, 'Thatagatta'.
So, following translated sentence, such as 'You can't......etc', is don't need be.
Because you think and say to such deluded Thatagatta, Good friends.
When say, 'Don't say,', that's also 'Saying'.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Avisitor on Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:16 am

konshu82 wrote:I practice Soto Zen. Huineng sounds like he's deriding an activity that seems similar to shikantaza. Is this the case? It seems like I've read elsewhere that something like "no-thought" is virtuous (although I'm aware that, practically, thoughts can't simply be stopped and must be accepted). I wouldn't claim that this practice is "great", at least not any greater than other forms of Buddhist practice. It's just what I do.


The activity seems to be the same
It is the claiming that it is great that is the difference
The belief that sitting without thought is great ... that's the problem.
Not so much the practice itself.
It was prefaced by "'Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise practice with their minds."

Edit: I have noticed that there are times when the great masters goad or push the disciples into making more effort towards kensho
Could it be that .. this is what he is doing?? Goading or pushing disciples to make better efforts??
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:25 pm

konshu82 wrote:I'm reading the John R. McRae translation of the Platform Sutra. I've run across a passage that is confusing me:

"'Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise practice with their minds. Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claiming that this is great. You can’t even speak to these people, because of their false views!'

I practice Soto Zen. Huineng sounds like he's deriding an activity that seems similar to shikantaza. Is this the case? It seems like I've read elsewhere that something like "no-thought" is virtuous (although I'm aware that, practically, thoughts can't simply be stopped and must be accepted). I wouldn't claim that this practice is "great", at least not any greater than other forms of Buddhist practice. It's just what I do.

Maybe my confusion is due to social complexities at the time and place in which the sutra was written. I'm not attempting to take this reading literally or color it with my subjective inclinations, hence my desire for others' perspectives on this little issue.


The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor Great Master Huineng is the single most important Zen/Chan text and should be read by all serious Zen students. In my view, no Zen student should consider themselves a serious Zen practitioner if they have not read this text. To say it plainly, this text is essential.

Also, this is not a “little issue.” This issue is an essential issue of zen practice, otherwise, Huineng would not have discussed it this way.

Some textual notes:

The Chinese phrase 善知識 translated here as “good friends” is the Sanskrit kalyanamitra. “Good Friends” is a valid translation, but I like to translate it as “Virtuous Companions” or “Companions in Virtue,” because to me “friends” is too informal for the specific meaning of “a companion in the Buddha Dharma,” since “good friends” could be good friends robbing a bank together. Kalyana means “noble, generous; excellent, virtuous, good,” and mitra means “a friend, companion, associate.” There are three kinds of virtuous companions: teachers, fellow travelers, and charitable supporters.

Translated Versions

There are several versions of the Platform Sutra in Chinese. The one first translated in English is the 10 Chapter version in Taisho Tripitaka Vol. 48, No. 2008. This version has been translated into English by Wong Mou-Lam (1930/1953/1966/1969); Lu K’uan Yu (Charles Luk) (1962); Paul F. Fung and George D. Fung (1964/1966/1980); John R. McRae (2000), and The Buddhist Text Translation Society (2001), which are the one’s I’m familiar with.

The 10 Chapter version was the only extant version until the 20th century when the Dunhuang cave texts were discovered and deposited in the British Museum collection, and the alternate version of the Platform Sutra was found in the collection in 1923 and is in now Taisho Tripitaka Vol. 48, No. 2007. D.T. Suzuki did an edited Japanese translation making corrections to this Dunhuang London Museum text in 1934, and his Japanese version, according to Red Pine, was translated into English by Wing-tsit Chan in 1963 (I’ve never seen this translation). Philip Yampolsky translated this British Museum version in 1967. Red Pine (2006) translated a very similar version that was found even more recently in 1986 in the Dunhuang Museum. Red Pine says this second copy of the Dunhuang version is a better copy with many fewer errors and excellent calligraphy. For the English translations, the two Dunhuang versions are divided by convention into 57 sections.

Between the 10-Chapter and 57-Section versions there is text that is in both versions and text that is in only one version and not the other.


Comparing translations of this section.

善知識!迷人口說,智者心行。又有迷人,空心靜坐,百無所思,自稱為大。
此一輩人,不可與語,為邪見故。


Wong Mou-Lam:

Learned Audience, what the ignorant merely talk about, wise men put into actual practice with their mind. There is also a class of foolish people who sit quietly and try to keep their mind blank. They refrain from thinking of anything and call themselves 'great'. On account of their heretical view we can hardly talk to them.

John R. McRae

Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise practice with their minds. Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claiming that this is great. You can’t even speak to these people, because of their false views!

Fung and Fung:

Virtuous and learned counselors, deluded people speak of it with their mouths, but the wise practice it with theirminds. There are also deluded people who empty their minds and sit in silence thinking about absolutely nothing. Yet, they declare themselves to be great. But we can hardly induce these persons to change their attitude because there views are so distorted.

Buddhist Text Translation Society

Good Knowing Advisors, the mouth of the confused person speaks, but the mind of the wise person practices. There are deluded men who sit still with empty minds, vainly thinking of nothing and declaring that to be something great. One should not speak with these people because of their deviant views.

Lu K’uan Yu (Charles Luk)

Learned friends, while the ignorant only talk, the wise apply their minds to practice. There are also ignorant people who sit in meditation with an empty mind and without thinking of anything and who call themselves great. It is useless to talk to them because of their heterodox views.

My translation

Virtuous companions. Confused people articulate with the mouth. Those who are wise practice with the mind. Furthermore, there are confused people who quietly sit with an empty mind, blankly without actually cognizing, and on their own measure it as great. One is not able to impart words to this singular grade of person because of the perverted view.


The Dunhuang version does not include the line “sitting in silence with an empty mind.”

Comments on the meaning of the text;

Huineng teaches the practice of zen-samadhi which is the same as shikantaza, only it was before the term shikantaza was invented to describe the zen-samadhi that Huineng teaches. What Dogen later taught as zazen or shikantaza is not in conflict with the zazen and zen-samadhi that Huineng taught. Dogen’s fukanzazengi exactly teaches the essence of zazen as “taking the backward step” and “the thought of non-thought” which is just what Huineng taught in the Platform Sutra.

To “quietly sit with an empty mind” is neither zazen nor shikantaza. Huineng is making it clear that to think that zazen or zen-samadhi is to “quietly sit with an empty mind” is just the perverted view of a confused person. This is a very important and essential point of practice.

I translate the phrase 無所思 as “without actually cognizing” rather than “without thinking of anything” because the text has 思 (si, thought as cognition or intellection, Skt. manas) and not 念 (nian, thought as recollection or as a moment of thought, Skt ksana). When Huineng teaches “no thinking” or “non thought” he uses 無念. So to translate 無所思 as “not actually thinking” or “without thinking” is to confuse this wrong approach of “no-cognition” with the correct teaching of 無念 as “without thinking” or “no-thought.”

_/|\_
Gregory
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:52 pm

Ted Biringer wrote:We don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold, so here is how Chinul, through whom all Korean lines of Zen (Son) are traced, spells it out:

I have observed that people of the present time who are cultivating their minds do not depend on the guidance of the written teachings, but straightaway assume that the successive transmission of the esoteric idea [of Son] is the path. They then sit around dozing with their presence of mind in agitation and confusion during their practice of meditation. For these reasons, I feel you should follow words and teachings which were expounded in accordance with reality in order to determine the proper procedure in regard to awakening and cultivation. Once you mirror your own minds, you may contemplate with insight at all times, without wasting any of your efforts.
Tracing Back the Radiance, Robert Buswell


I hope this is helpful.

Please treasure yourself.

Ted


Ted, thanks for this reference. I haven't read this book yet but will now add it to my wish list. Chinul (A.K.A Jinul) is a genuine ancestor of One Vehicle Zen who used the One Vehicle as the bridge between the practices of the Son (zen, meditation) and Kyo (teaching, doctrine) schools.

Since this is in the context of the Platform Sutra, it is fun to note that Jinul founded the 定慧社:
“Samadhi and Prajna Society” based on the 4th Chapter of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor and the Zen teachings of Guifeng Zongmi and Dahui Zonggao.

I'm a little concerned about Buswell's translation of that last line which sounds odd to me.
"Once you mirror your own minds, you may contemplate with insight at all times, without wasting any of your efforts."
I haven't seen the original text, but "Once your own mind is a mirror,...." sounds more like Jinul to me. "Mirroring your own mind" doesn't quite make sense to me.

_/|\_
Gregory
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby bubuyaya on Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:47 am

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:
konshu82 wrote:(modified)
Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claiming that this is great.


(modified)
The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor Great Master Huineng is the single most important Zen/Chan text and should be read by Zen students.

There are several versions of the Platform Sutra in Chinese.
One is Dunhuang London Museum text.


There always had been miswritten characters in Platform sutra by each disciple's personal view.
Later, brave people mixed and changed snake legs and fashioned news for their need of adjusting.
Among them, Dunhuang, London museum, is the best, which is opened to the truth of past and future.
Dunhuang's are not yet corrected by any zen master or scholars, so every translated Dunhuang's naturally contains some misunderstood meanings.
Even though, Dunhuang's is also the best sudden school's sutra, because it contains such miswritten characters.
Some challenging people spontaneously chalenge by calling of truth.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Avisitor on Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:04 am

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:Comments on the meaning of the text;

Huineng teaches the practice of zen-samadhi which is the same as shikantaza, only it was before the term shikantaza was invented to describe the zen-samadhi that Huineng teaches. What Dogen later taught as zazen or shikantaza is not in conflict with the zazen and zen-samadhi that Huineng taught. Dogen’s fukanzazengi exactly teaches the essence of zazen as “taking the backward step” and “the thought of non-thought” which is just what Huineng taught in the Platform Sutra.

To “quietly sit with an empty mind” is neither zazen nor shikantaza. Huineng is making it clear that to think that zazen or zen-samadhi is to “quietly sit with an empty mind” is just the perverted view of a confused person. This is a very important and essential point of practice.


_/|\_
Gregory


Thanks for that very informative posts.
:rbow:

Now it makes sense.
The sitting with minds empty of thought and Zazen samadhi (shikantaza) are different.
It was like it was there all along but I just didn't recognize it.


we aren't trying to sit and have no thoughts.
We are being actively aware and concentrated on task.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Linda Anderson on Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:40 am

To “quietly sit with an empty mind” is neither zazen nor shikantaza. Huineng is making it clear that to think that zazen or zen-samadhi is to “quietly sit with an empty mind” is just the perverted view of a confused person. This is a very important and essential point of practice.
_/|\_
Gregory


Can we simply call that contrived, in plain english? Isn't that what all these references are pointing to? Then the question arises, how can anything be contrived, perverted or confused?

oh my, it seems that I am not a serious zen practitioner. None of my teachers ever told me to read the Platform Sutra. I am serious, beyond that, I can't say. All I can say is that reading Guo Gu and Meido discuss koan practice and it's dynamics has brought in a breath of fresh air... and the freedom not to pin it down.

linda

ps: the only thing that I can say with any certainty is that when I smell smoke on a hot autumn evening in Northern CA in Forestville, I keep my eyes wide open.
Not last night,
not this morning;
Melon flowers bloomed.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Ted Biringer on Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:28 am

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:
Ted Biringer wrote:We don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold, so here is how Chinul, through whom all Korean lines of Zen (Son) are traced, spells it out:

I have observed that people of the present time who are cultivating their minds do not depend on the guidance of the written teachings, but straightaway assume that the successive transmission of the esoteric idea [of Son] is the path. They then sit around dozing with their presence of mind in agitation and confusion during their practice of meditation. For these reasons, I feel you should follow words and teachings which were expounded in accordance with reality in order to determine the proper procedure in regard to awakening and cultivation. Once you mirror your own minds, you may contemplate with insight at all times, without wasting any of your efforts.
Tracing Back the Radiance, Robert Buswell


I hope this is helpful.

Please treasure yourself.

Ted


Ted, thanks for this reference. I haven't read this book yet but will now add it to my wish list. Chinul (A.K.A Jinul) is a genuine ancestor of One Vehicle Zen who used the One Vehicle as the bridge between the practices of the Son (zen, meditation) and Kyo (teaching, doctrine) schools.

Since this is in the context of the Platform Sutra, it is fun to note that Jinul founded the 定慧社:
“Samadhi and Prajna Society” based on the 4th Chapter of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor and the Zen teachings of Guifeng Zongmi and Dahui Zonggao.

I'm a little concerned about Buswell's translation of that last line which sounds odd to me.
"Once you mirror your own minds, you may contemplate with insight at all times, without wasting any of your efforts."
I haven't seen the original text, but "Once your own mind is a mirror,...." sounds more like Jinul to me. "Mirroring your own mind" doesn't quite make sense to me.

_/|\_
Gregory


Thanks Gregory,

While I am not qualified to accurately critique Buswell's translation at that level, judging from the overall context the gist of his meaning seems fairly straightforward - until one actually gets a taste of the universal mirror prajna (or ‘great, perfect mirror cognition’, ‘great mirror wisdom’, etc.), that is, actually gets an initial glimpse of true nature (kensho or kenbutsu), simply acting 'as if' they have actualized authentic practice-enlightenment (attempting to appear 'goalless', mimicking 'sitting Buddha', or otherwise conducting oneself in accordance with a form or activity one cannot yet even understand) is a 'waste of effort.' Rather than sitting around (dozing in confusion) one would do better to apply themselves to something that would not be a simple waste of effort - read, study, and familiarize oneself with the teachings expressed by those that have actually experienced; take their guidance to heart and see if it works. Once they actually do awaken and realize (make real) what authentic practice-enlightenment is, then they can conduct themselves "with insight at all times" - until then, books, study, cushion, teacher, books, study, cushion, teacher - repeat.

Notice also that Chinul is one of those great Zen master's whose "teacher" was not a "living, breathing, individual human being" (in the literal sense) - both of his major awakenings were initiated through textual study; his "great awakening" occurred during a deep study of the Avatamsaka Sutra. While it is certainly true that his "Zen" style and flavor was greatly influenced by Zongmi and (later, and to a lesser extent) Dahui, it was only through their written works - in fact, Chinul never even met another "Zen" ancestor in person, much less received "transmission" from one. While it was not uncommon in China or Japan to be sanctioned as the "Dharma-heir" of a teacher one had not personally trained with (or even to "receive transmission" from a teacher that was already dead - as was the case with Dogen's teacher, Juching), Chinul is a rare example of a widely recognized "Zen ancestor" whose only contact with "Zen practice-enlightenment" was entirely textual in nature. It is truly a wonder that he was not even more insistent concerning the role of reading and study.

In any case I am sure you will find his works profoundly enjoyable and enlightening, especially if you like Zongmi. If you can find a copy of "The Korean Approach to Zen: The Collected Works of Chinul" for under $300 get it - you should easily be able to get your money back later if you want. "Tracing Back the Radiance" is basically an abridgement of that text. There is some updated technical stuff in it, but a pretty good sized chunk of the material never made it into the abridged version.

Happy trails my friend.

Ted
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Avisitor on Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:51 pm

Those who sit with empty minds, thinking this is great, .... are deluded.
Zazen or Shikantaza isn't sitting with empty minds. Although it may appear that is what is being done.
We aren't here, sitting trying to empty our minds. We aren't here, sitting trying to have no thoughts. That is not Zazen.

I think I have said too much.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby fukasetsu on Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:41 pm

Linda Anderson wrote:oh my, it seems that I am not a serious zen practitioner. None of my teachers ever told me to read the Platform Sutra. I am serious, beyond that, I can't say.


Studying something just because anyone tells you it's "mandatory" according to this or that might just become an impediment. On the other hand you can trust that the universe will provide you with exactly the teachings you need, so just be open to that and put out the intention that the right guide(s) will appear when the conditions are ripe. Sri Niz for instance told students that 2 weeks with him was all they needed to get the basics, and then he threw them out. Now, that's a teacher! ;)

Next time someone might say you're not a serious this or that when you haven't read the Lanka, or the whatever-A to the X to the Z, and others have a lifetime of treasured habitual knowledge written down which is a "must-study". What they are saying applies to them only and their personal view of the system, they might speak to "Linda" in the mirror but they just project what is "mandatory" for them, (to be wherever they think of themselves of now, i.e. level of "understanding" and what causes and conditions has brought that about, eventhough such a thing is inscrutable by mind)

People will also say you're not a serious this or that when you don't "meditate" so many hours per day, have gone through this or that many retreats, and all kinds of conditioned interpretations upon perception, yet when you eat an ice cream, the stomach goes yummie.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Linda Anderson on Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:30 pm

fukasetsu wrote:
Linda Anderson wrote:oh my, it seems that I am not a serious zen practitioner. None of my teachers ever told me to read the Platform Sutra. I am serious, beyond that, I can't say.


Studying something just because anyone tells you it's "mandatory" according to this or that might just become an impediment. On the other hand you can trust that the universe will provide you with exactly the teachings you need, so just be open to that and put out the intention that the right guide(s) will appear when the conditions are ripe. Sri Niz for instance told students that 2 weeks with him was all they needed to get the basics, and then he threw them out. Now, that's a teacher! ;)

Next time someone might say you're not a serious this or that when you haven't read the Lanka, or the whatever-A to the X to the Z, and others have a lifetime of treasured habitual knowledge written down which is a "must-study". What they are saying applies to them only and their personal view of the system, they might speak to "Linda" in the mirror but they just project what is "mandatory" for them, (to be wherever they think of themselves of now, i.e. level of "understanding" and what causes and conditions has brought that about, even though such a thing is inscrutable by mind)

People will also say you're not a serious this or that when you don't "meditate" so many hours per day, have gone through this or that many retreats, and all kinds of conditioned interpretations upon perception, yet when you eat an ice cream, the stomach goes yummie.
Image


yes, dear friend, I have trusted the universe and it provides, always, even when I think it doesn't. The synchronicities are mysterious ... the way I cross paths with people, teachers, communities, books, even knowledge. My root teacher, who was not anything, also gave us the basics and sent us home. It was a preparation for all the causes and conditions yet to come.

Image More and more, I feel blessed, graced that the world has become larger. Don't know any other word for this, except yummie. And, just in the last few days, a zen ice cream has appeared... it's called The Three Twins... sounds like another "not always so" thingy. but, it's a true story, it brings ppl together.
linda
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Chrisd on Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:22 pm

Yet even the synchronicities are total delusions!
Pffff
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Linda Anderson on Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:25 pm

dunno, it's all happening right here :PP:
Not last night,
not this morning;
Melon flowers bloomed.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby fukasetsu on Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:39 pm

Chrisd wrote:Yet even the synchronicities are total delusions!
Pffff


This might be something to observe (or not I never try to make sense of anything anyway, stuff simply happens, any idea about "what happens" is a fantasy the conditoned mind adds to perception, which is quite allright, nothing to do with delusion, the term delusion only applies when we imagine something to be this or that and grant it reality or own being, there is no such thing as delusion itself.)
http://richardpettymd.com/2006/06/intui ... hronicity/
Differences are never in opposition.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby fukasetsu on Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:42 pm

Linda Anderson wrote:More and more, I feel blessed, graced that the world has become larger. Don't know any other word for this,


It's all good when we suddenlly can no longer attribute it (the world) to anything or anyone. :)
Differences are never in opposition.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby bubuyaya on Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:41 am

Linda Anderson wrote:
(modified.)
Huineng is making it clear that to think that zazen is to “quietly sit with an emptied mind” is just the perverted view.

(modified)
Then the question arises, how can that be contrived, perverted or confused?
Oh my, it seems that I am not a serious zen practitioner.
None of my teachers ever told me to read the Platform Sutra.

Hi, Linda.
Quite sitting nor noisy running may not be different from the view of (people's) natural Me, so quite sitting is not essential cause to return to (people's) natural Me.
Sometime quite Me may be naturally noisy, sometime the same noisy Me may be naturally quite, but always that same Me.
Therefore people may understand that being quite, being noisy, sitting, walking and running is not essential condition to return to natural Me.
Thomas gospel has such same value as Platform sutra's, may be so helpful for English users, more easy and short in volume.
Partriach Huineng's case, he worked, with his own belief.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby konshu82 on Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:57 pm

Ted Biringer wrote:
konshu82 wrote:I'm reading the John R. McRae translation of the Platform Sutra. I've run across a passage that is confusing me:

"'Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise prac- tice with their minds. Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claim- ing that this is great. You can’t even speak to these people, because of their false views!'

I practice Soto Zen. Huineng sounds like he's deriding an activity that seems similar to shikantaza. Is this the case? It seems like I've read elsewhere that something like "no-thought" is virtuous (although I'm aware that, practically, thoughts can't simply be stopped and must be accepted). I wouldn't claim that this practice is "great", at least not any greater than other forms of Buddhist practice. It's just what I do.

Maybe my confusion is due to social complexities at the time and place in which the sutra was written. I'm not attempting to take this reading literally or color it with my subjective inclinations, hence my desire for others' perspectives on this little issue.


"'Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise prac- tice with their minds. Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claim- ing that this is great. You can’t even speak to these people, because of their false views!'

Dear konshu82,

Thank you for your post.

While there are a variety of subtle (and not so subtle) points that might merit our attention concerning Huineng’s expression here, it seems fairly clear that his main point is to emphasize the danger (or at least ineffectiveness) of attempting to ‘practice’ something we don’t accurately understand (or hold a fallacious view about). In particular, Huineng is addressing the fallacy that ‘imitating’ the form (e.g. memorizing doctrines, sitting in meditation, etc.) without an accurate or ‘right view’ of Zen/Buddhist doctrine and methodology is not simply impotent, it can be harmful. The deluded notion that ‘right practice’ could somehow be performed in the absence of ‘right understanding’ has plagued Zen communities down through the ages – most commonly manifesting as “rows of sleepy lumps” sitting in “self-satisfied” pits of “inky black.”

To clarify, here is a wonderful example of Hakuin (through whom all Rinzai lines are traced) making the same main point as Huineng:

At present, this country is infested with a race of smooth-tongued, worldly-wise Zen teachers who feed their students a rations of utter nonsense. “Why do you suppose buddha-patriarchs through the ages were so mortally afraid of words and letters?” they ask you. “It is,” They answer you:

"Because words and letters are a coast of jagged cliffs constantly lashed by a vast ocean of poison ready to swallow up your wisdom, drown the very life from it. Giving students stories and episodes from the Zen past and having them try to penetrate their meaning is practice that did not start until after the school had branched out into the Five Houses and Seven Schools. It was an expedient teaching method, employed provisionally. It doesn’t represent the ultimate reaches of the buddha-patriarchs."

An incorrigible pack of skin-headed mules has ridden teachings like these to a position of dominance in the world of Zen. Unable to distinguish master from servant, jades from common stones, they gather together and sit. Rows of sleepy lumps. They hug themselves, self-satisfied, imagining they are paragons of the Zen tradition, belittling the buddha-patriarchs of the past and treating their fellow priests with contempt. While true celestial phoenixes linger starving in the shadows, a hateful flock of owls and ravens, comfortable and full-bellied, rule the roost.
The Essential Teachings of Hakuin, Norman Waddell


Of Course, Hakuin was not simply making up some new point; Rinzai (Lin-chi) himself was no less adamant about this point:

Fellow believers, I tell you there is no Dharma to be found outside. But students don’t understand me and immediately start looking inward for some explanation, sitting by the wall in meditation, pressing their tongues against the roof of their mouths, absolutely still, never moving, supposing this to be the Dharma of the buddhas taught by the patriarchs. What a mistake! If you take this unmoving, clean, and pure environment to be the right way, then you will be making ignorance the lord and master. A man of old said, ‘Bottomless, inky black is the deep pit, truly a place to be feared!’ This is what he meant.
The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi, Burton Watson


Nor is this simply a ‘Rinzai Zen’ trait; Dogen, through whom all Soto lines are traced, put it this way:

In sum, because [people] do not wake up from views and opinions that the Buddha-nature is related with the thinking, sensing, mindfulness, and realization [described] now, they seem—in regard to the words “having the Buddha-nature” and in regard to the words “without the Buddha-nature” –to have lost the boundary of clear understanding. Few even learn that they should speak the words. Remember, this state of neglect comes from their having stopped making effort. Among heads of the table in many districts there are some who die without once in their life voicing the expression of the truth “the Buddha-nature.”
Shobogenzo, Bussho, Nishijima & Cross


We don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold, so here is how Chinul, through whom all Korean lines of Zen (Son) are traced, spells it out:

I have observed that people of the present time who are cultivating their minds do not depend on the guidance of the written teachings, but straightaway assume that the successive transmission of the esoteric idea [of Son] is the path. They then sit around dozing with their presence of mind in agitation and confusion during their practice of meditation. For these reasons, I feel you should follow words and teachings which were expounded in accordance with reality in order to determine the proper procedure in regard to awakening and cultivation. Once you mirror your own minds, you may contemplate with insight at all times, without wasting any of your efforts.
Tracing Back the Radiance, Robert Buswell


I hope this is helpful.

Please treasure yourself.

Ted


Ted, thank you for this set of quotes. I apologize that, in spite of your efforts, I'm still confused. I'm having a difficult time seeing the thread of similarity running through these quotes. I don't know if I'm thinking too much, not enough, or if, rather than quantity, it's the quality of my thought that's making my mind a breeding ground for confusion. It may be relevant here for me to say that this confusion only seems to arise when I'm trying to understand words and concepts; when I'm on my zafu, I'm not entirely confused. Should I be? Am I too comfortable on my zafu? I try to be as mindful as possible of my posture, my breathing, and my hara while trying to allow thoughts and emotions to have some time to run, play, and be crazy without bridles, collars, leashes, etc. I just sit there and let shit happen. Unless I've misunderstood something, this is what my teacher taught me. So, going back to my original post in this thread, I'm curious as to whether or not I'm doing something incorrectly as per Huineng. I don't go around saying, "shikantaza is the best thing ever, all my thoughts fall away, I am one of the enlightened, and everyone else is a tool for not doing whatever I do, because shikantaza is the best, and I win." :dance: I don't do that. ;)

Again, thanks to you and everyone else for taking the time to consider this issue with me.

:O: :heya:
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:42 pm

konshu82 wrote:it's the quality of my thought that's making my mind a breeding ground for confusion. It may be relevant here for me to say that this confusion only seems to arise when I'm trying to understand words and concepts; when I'm on my zafu, I'm not entirely confused. Should I be? Am I too comfortable on my zafu?


No reason to analyse your meditation, for in "meditation" there is no one there which meditates, meditation is meditation, there is no "I" which meditates, people who still have the concept of "my meditation" will always be confused for they will have notions such as right or wrong, or doubts about anything. To assume there's a you that doing the meditation (or anything) is already a delusion, so take that as a base and anything added will just brring about more confusion. If you still have a gap between stillness and activity, or "empty" and "not-empty" then scriptures about "empty" or "no-thought" make no sense, and will only causes further confusion. Non-understanding is confusion and understanding is delusion, just remain in a "sky-like spacious awareness" for there's no division between "sky" and "appearances"
Hui Neng might be "warning" about those who set up "empty or still" vs activity, and abide there and think that it is great while there's no division in reality, there's nothing wrong with an "empty mind" but to set it up in opposition is the problem, it's only a form of grasping and attachtment.

my thought that's making my mind

Don't say my mind, if you need to say anything just say "there is consciousness" never attribute it to anything in specific, this applies to all sense perceptions. There's no "you" who's thinking, feeling, hearing etc. There is only the nature of perception.
Don't try to fix your confusion, it dissolves simultaniously with its arising.
Differences are never in opposition.
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Re: Platform Sutra: "the deluded"

Postby Avisitor on Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:40 pm

Deluded is believing that you're doing things right when in essence it isn't.
Sitting with empty minds seems like the way of silent illumination or Shikantaza
If these fundamentals of no thought aren't recognized and understood then years can go by with little to no progress
And those practicing will say what they are doing is so great .. not really knowing the truth

Right way?? Wrong way??
Yes, that is what Huineng is saying.
Correct practice is the expression of Buddha nature


Edit: "'Good friends, the deluded speak with their mouths, but the wise practice with their minds.
Furthermore, there are deluded people who empty their minds and sit in quietude without thinking of anything whatsoever, claiming that this is great.
You can’t even speak to these people, because of their false views!'
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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