Issues related to Chinese Chan lineages.
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This is very timely. I've been trying to research precisely the question addressed here. So Chan didn't "lose" the debate, and lived on in Tibet much longer than conventional Tibetan history would have us believe. The brief history of this I read by Turrell Wylie, one of the first Tibetan studies specialists in the US, says: "Differences between the Chinese and Indian schools [of Buddhism] lead to a formal debate at Bsam-yas [the first monastery in Tibet]. The Chinese debater lost, and the king issued a decree that only the Indian system was to be promulgated in Tibet.
Although a foreign religion, Buddhism may well have been viewed by the Tibetan monarch as a political tool for reshaping the social order and world-view of a shamanic society. Relevant here was the Tibetan acceptance of the Indian system which emphasized morality and social conformity as a means to obtain a better 'rebirth', while the rejected meditational school of Chinee Buddhism is said to have encouraged anti-social and immoral practices during T'ang times."*
All I've been able to find regarding Chan's purported "anti-social and immoral practices" is that it emphasized meditation, and the possibility of enlightenment at any moment. Chan was the original "quick path". Seems ironic that it was replaced eventually by tantra, another "quick path", that had its own issues in the morality department.
The Dunhuang manuscripts are such a rich and priceless resource! Thank you for bringing us this.
*Tibet's Role In Inner Asia by Wylie
The meditation instructions attributed to the Chan monk Heshang Moheyan in those blog posts is very reminiscent, at least to my mind, of the writings of the great Korean Soen Master Chinul. They also sound very similar to some of the things that Shunryu Suzuki says in "Zen Mind Beginners Mind".
In the case of Chinul we do know that he explicitly broke with the most extreme form of the "sudden" approach. Specifically he advocated "sudden enlightenment" combined with "gradual cultivation". The orthodox position of the Imje school (Korean Rinzai), however, continues to be the formula "sudden enlightenment and sudden cultivation".
I just happened to stumble upon a blog post from 2009 by Greg Zwahlen, in which he critiques Tibetan Buddhism's approach to meditation. I think it is quite relevant to the topic of this thread:
Why I am not a “Tibetan Buddhist” (anymore)
Actually, a diamond is just a particular type of stone, and a "diamond in the rough" needs a lot of work to turn it into a jewel.
This depends on the practitioner. There is neither Chan nor Dzogchen in and of itself.
If you go by words they are not the same, if you abandon words and ideas they may turn out to be the same
Getting involved in Zen is getting trapped.
An interesting blog. The following caught my eye and I feel I can strongly relate to it, as it has also been my experience:
This is very true.
That's a really informative series of blogs. Thanks for posting the link.
On the "anti-social" charge against Chan, we can compare these two quotes from Blog #2
This false equation, between transcending duality and polarity on the one hand and shutting down all mental activity on the other hand, is the reason that the non-dual awareness of prajna is called "anti-social." IF a person believes that seeing through the false opposition of the two poles of what are conventionally called "the opposites" means having a blank mind or shutting down all mental activity, THEN for sure the conclusion would be that such a meditation method is anti-social and to be avoided. But Chan/Zen has always emphasized this very same view--that shutting down all mental activity is NOT the method.
So the false equation of Chan with "blank meditation" becomes the "emblem" for a movement of political hegemony disguised as religious debate.
Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
20 posts • Page 1 of 1
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