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Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

With a focus on the non-Zen Mahayana schools flowing from China, Japan, Korea, etc.

Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby fukasetsu on Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:31 pm

Just the usual clowning on a merry go round Sir Ed.

But eh, I hope this thread wont go silent for too long and I didn't cause any of it because I took so much time from Guo Gu.

now, how about that old man vimalakirti and his silence? or lankavatara's five dharmas, three natures, two kinds of selflessness, and eight layers of consciousness (which are the central contributions of this sutra)?

I haven't "sat" with the Lanka for at least 3 years I think (skipped through it frequently a few times to look up specific sections but not stopped to pay attention)
Hearing this "fuzz" about Red Pine's translation for a while and to my shock I just found out that the English version of Red Pine's Lanka is available on the Dutch version of amazon (bol)
So I just order it for 19.50 euros. :)
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby ed blanco on Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:56 pm

fukasetsu wrote:Just the usual clowning on a merry go round Sir Ed.

But eh, I hope this thread wont go silent for too long and I didn't cause any of it because I took so much time from Guo Gu.

now, how about that old man vimalakirti and his silence? or lankavatara's five dharmas, three natures, two kinds of selflessness, and eight layers of consciousness (which are the central contributions of this sutra)?

I haven't "sat" with the Lanka for at least 3 years I think (skipped through it frequently a few times to look up specific sections but not stopped to pay attention)
Hearing this "fuzz" about Red Pine's translation for a while and to my shock I just found out that the English version of Red Pine's Lanka is available on the Dutch version of amazon (bol)
So I just order it for 19.50 euros. :)


From way back I've reacted to the GITA. It seems the most beautiflu writing ever much like the SERMON ON THE MOUNT for Jesus.

The Lankavatara takes more getting use to it, Red Pine notwithstanding.

It was just, maybe, the voice you wrote those paragraphs with that inpressed me. We do change wether we want to or not.
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby another_being on Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:40 pm

I just wanted to add a link to the discussion on the Lankavatara Sutra that's going on here:
http://www.zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=105&t=9266#p142777

It's under the Zen Practice & Philosophy/Sutras & Zen Records section. I would have to give it much time and attention before being able to add anything.
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:03 pm

ed blanco wrote: We do change wether we want to or not.


The (conditioned) me/we that changes I can only perceive when I take a trip down memory lane.
So if you mean that kind of we, yes ofcourse, things change.

Yet according to my dharma I do not grant attention to such arising thoughts or perceptions.
For instance when I look a yesterdays post with the label of "fukasetsu" there, I haz no notion of that being my post or not, ofcourse I know it and take responsibility, but often do I read it and the connection between what's on my mind yesterday and now, isn't there unless I apply memory associations. There's like a whole gap to overcome, and it can be overcome by habital knowledge and notions of "past/future"
Still it feels the same as last nights dream does.
But that's just me being cookoo again perhaps.
Usually when I wake up in the mroning I have no idea what I am, then the brain starts to do stuff like:
Marcel, 36 years, house, man, past, etc etc and suddenly (well it happens pretty fast) the "I am" turns to I am this and that in no time. Then I raise my middle finger (at that), take a coffee and sit some zazen and forget about it again, but it refreshes itself constantly because it's afraid to die. It's a matter of trust, but he's a stubborn fella (that house builder and it's "sentient beings") :lol2:
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:07 pm

another_being wrote:I just wanted to add a link to the discussion on the Lankavatara Sutra that's going on here:
http://www.zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=105&t=9266#p142777

It's under the Zen Practice & Philosophy/Sutras & Zen Records section. I would have to give it much time and attention before being able to add anything.


Thanks, read a bit through it and seems to be about the translations mostly.
I've read Suzuki's translation a dozen times a long time ago, and frankly I don't mind if whatever is translated into self or coca cola. Also parts in text which are beyond "my stage" i just read but skip over it, nor do I ever listen to podcasts nor have much interest in translators notes (it's usually just an interpretation)
but verifying basic messages of sutras with teachers is a good past time activity.
I only have Suzuki's one from printing everything out, so it be good to have a book version now.
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby another_being on Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:32 am

...Then I raise my middle finger (at that)...


Why the middle finger? Is there something wrong?
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby fukasetsu on Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:14 am

another_being wrote:
...Then I raise my middle finger (at that)...


Why the middle finger? Is there something wrong?


No nothing wrong, it’s just my way of saying I pay no attention to it (anymore)
or I see if for what it is.
In examplus (of the morning fuky waking up and perceives a so called past)
Memory gives the illusion of moment to moment existence, and due to it having been repeated over and over (I woke a lot of time I suppose) one sees a casual link between them, which is only valid on the level of mind (causality) so it creates a mental habit
Waking up thinking I am this-that whatever is the same habit energy as smoking for instance,
yet that does not have to be mental (but it’s just an example)
Ofcourse there’s nothing wrong with it, and that “formation” will last as long as the body remains, yet taking it for something which it isn’t will create a false sense of personality.
Hence the middle finger is just a figure of speech instead of using all these words above. :lol2:
You know, when you’ve seen certain appearances for what they really are you do not need to go through it over and over again, so the middle finger comment is just saying “noted, lets move on with the program” So no, nothing wrong at all. So the finger is a way of saying “yeah I know” The same applies to forum posts [which is also a repetition of things happening together] There’s seeing what last weeks fuki post is for what it is, and then there’s the illusion of creating a false sense of personality, and a causal link due to memory and habits, and giving a sense of so called reality to it and thinking, that’s me! fuki, I have a past, this is my post and I am reading my last weeks post now! You know the post is in the mind of the poster and the poster is in the post, which is in the mind of the poster who is in the post! It’s all quite funny to observe.
Sorry for the confusement. Also the enviroment I was raised ( there we go again) used F’s and middle fingers as a sign of friendship, humour and what not instead of it being used to express a mental state or feeling towards anything.
Might seem weird but I’m allright with anything and just adapt, only within spiritual circles I have to mind not using this too much for they often see it as a sign of negativity and pardon me saying, spiritual humanoids are often quit sensitive (so much for attachments eh)
When I would say F that to you, I would actually be saying: “yeah thanks bud I know”
Allright I fear the mods off topic hammer coming about.
Hope it makes sense, otherwise just throw or show me one :PP:
So for the record, there's no problem with memory (otherwise I could never log in again)
just being aware that it could create the sense of moment to moment existence, causality, personality etc etc and worse the ID attachment to it. So the finger is just a fruit of practise so to speak :lol2:
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby another_being on Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:38 am

:lol2: I love the new Zen aphorism, "The finger is just a fruit of practise."

:rbow:

:huh?:
(I just wanted to use this one.)
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby ed blanco on Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:31 pm

fukasetsu wrote:
ed blanco wrote: We do change wether we want to or not.
But that's just me being cookoo again perhaps.


You're at your best then.

Marcel, huh?
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby fukasetsu on Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:39 pm

ed blanco wrote:You're at your best then.

Marcel, huh?


Touché :lol2:
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:57 pm

Guo Gu wrote:on another matter, what do you all think about the platform scripture? this being a zen forum i take it that you all have read it? or maybe the diamond sutra? or the lotus (which introduced the idea of buddhahood in a single thought and the one vehicle)? maybe some seasoned practitioners/readers can chime in and help the newcomers?

best,
guo gu


The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor is the best catechism of Zen/Chan that I have found in the Zen literature. I would say that any Zen student who has not read the Platform Sutra is not worth his or her salt. For an overview of the teaching of the Zen/Chan lineage there is no better book.

It is interesting to note that the Platform Sutra was written before the name of “Chan/Zen” was attached to the lineage of Bodhidharma and Huineng which did not become a popular appellation until after Guifeng Zongmi’s (780 – 841 C.E.) great compendium which is only survived by the opening section: “Introduction to the Collection of the Various Expositions of the Fountainhead of Zen.” Zongmi’s works established the name “Chan/Zen school” in the popular mind and the literally circles. In the Platform Sutra itself, Huineng calls his teaching the “Dharma Gate of East Mountain,” “this Dharma Gate of mine/ours,” and “this gate of seeing-nature.”

There are quite a few translations and each one has its pluses and minuses. I first encountered the Wong Mou-Lam translationedited by Christmas Humphries and it reads so well, but then I found out how loose the translation was I began to read other translations with interest.

One of the more interesting translations is titled "The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch On The Pristine Orthodox Dharma." The translation is by Paul F. Fung and George D. Fung. Originally published in 1964 by the Buddha's Universal Church in San Francisco it is more recently available in a 2002 editionpublished by Duncan Baird Publishers. I only have the 1964 edition so I don't know how much it has been revised for the later edition.

John R. McRae has a translation "THE PLATFORM SUTRA OF THE SIXTH PATRIARCH" available at the Zensite (as a PDF file).

Thomas Cleary has The Sutra of Hui-Neng, Grand Master of Zen: With Hui-neng's Commentary on the Diamond Sutra

The Buddhist Text Translation Society has a PDF version of “The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra With the Commentary of Tripitaka Master Hua”

And of course there are the two translations of the Dunhuang manuscripts version:

The translation by Philip Yampolsky and Red Pine’s translation.

These are the English translations that I’m familiar with.

There is so much in this work that it is difficult to pull out any best part. As an advocate of notion that “Zen is the One Vehicle,” one of my favorite parts is where Huineng confirms this. When asked about the Lotus Sutra, Huineng replies,

How much more clearly could the sutra say to you, ‘There is only the one buddha vehicle and no other vehicle’? Whether there might be two or three or an infinite number of expedient means, with various stories, metaphors, and sayings, these teachings all constitute the one buddha vehicle. How can you not understand? The three carts are provisional and [were preached] because of the past. The One Vehicle is true and [was preached] because of the present. I teach only that you should repudiate the provisional and revert to the true.” (McRea translation p. 59.)


Chapter 5 on Zazen (Seated or Sitting Meditation) is another favorite of mine. Here Huineng defines sitting (za) meditation (zen) and also emphasizes the related central principle of zen-samadhi that is taught from Bodhidharma to Hakuin, as well as in Hui-Hai’s discourse mentioned above under the title “Entering the Tao of Sudden Enlightenment.”

In Chapter 10 on “Handing Down Instructions” Huineng outlines the teaching about the transformation of the 8 Consciousnesses into the 4 wisdoms and details the teaching on how to neutralize the confusion arising from the mind’s polarizing propensity to see things as opposites.

“If one can be free and use this Dharma of the 36 paired-opposites, then it is the Way that threads though the Dharma of every sutra, and [one’s] going out and entering are then free from both extremes.

"In the active functioning of your own nature and in conversations with people, while outwardly in appearances, be free from appearances; while inwardly in emptiness, be free from emptiness. If you wholly attach to appearances (i.e., the view of materialism), then your perverted views broaden. If you wholly grasp emptiness (i.e., the view of nihilism), then your ignorance broadens.

"People who grasp emptiness have slandered the Sutras (by saying) “straight words do not use written words.” Since they say “Do not use written words” these people too are not united with (their own) speech, simply as this speech then is the appearance of written words. Again, to say, “The straight Way is not established by written words,” then this “not established” are both words and are written words. On seeing a person who explains, then immediately they slander the other’s words as being attached to written words. You who are ranked (as Dharma heirs) must know self-delusion like this is able repeatedly to slander the Buddha’s Sutras. Do not desire to slander the Sutras; the hindrances of the sin are countless.

“If [one] attaches to external appearances and then seeks the truth in the activity of things, or [one] widely establishes places of the Way (i.e., temples, monasteries, etc.) and explains the mistakes and suffering of existence and nonexistence, people who are like this are unable to see the nature for accumulated aeons.

“Yet to listen to and take refuge in the practice of cultivating the Dharma, while [you] also cannot not think of the 100 objects, nevertheless, in regard to the Way is an obstruction of the nature. If [you] listen to explanations and do not cultivate, [you] cause people to flip-out and give birth to perverted thoughts. Yet taking refuge in the practice of cultivating the Dharma without dwelling in appearances (without stopping appearances) is giving (dana) of the Dharma.

“You who are ranked [as Dharma heirs], if you awaken in accord with this explanation; in accord with this functioning; in accord with this practice; and in accord with these doings; then you do not lose the root of the lineage.

“If there is a person asking you about a meaning, and asks about existence, go to the paired opposite of nonexistence; if asking about nonexistence, go to the paired opposite of existence. If one asks about the worldly, use the paired opposite of the saintly (the sage); if asking about the saintly (the sage) use the paired opposite of the worldly. The mutual causation of the Way of dualities, gives birth to the meaning of the Middle Way. So, for a single question, a single pair of opposites, and for other questions the single (pair) that accords with this fashion, then you do not lose the principle.
(My translation)



_/|\_
Gregory
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
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby clyde on Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:17 am

Regarding the Lotus Sutra, I’ve not read the entire sutra, but I have studied Chapter 2, Expedient Devices and found this passage especially beneficial when considering others:
"Shariputra, when the Buddhas of the future shall come into the world, they will also by means of limitless, countless expedient devices, various causes and conditions, analogies and expressions, proclaim all the Dharmas to living beings. These Dharmas will all be for the sake of the One Buddha Vehicle. Hearing the Dharma from the Buddhas, all these living beings will ultimately attain to the Wisdom of all Modes.”


I also appreciate this assurance:
Of those who have heard the Dharma,
None will fail to become Buddhas.
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DO NO HARM
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby Guo Gu on Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:28 pm

clyde, you hit the nail on its head.

the main theme of the lotus is that the three vehicles of sravaka, pratyekabuddha, and bodhisattva all return to the one buddha vehicle, revealing that all teachings have a single taste of liberation. one vehicle (and its relation to three vehicles) is in fact the theme running through the first half of the sutra (chp 1-14). but the term one vehicle can also to be found in the early buddhist scripture of samyuktagama-sutra.

expedient means play a central role in the lotus sutra as well; it's the theme running through the second half of the sutra (chp 15-28).

these two aspects have special affinity with the madhyamaka (middle way) teaching.
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby Guo Gu on Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:01 pm

thanks, gregory, for pointing to those translations.

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:Chapter 5 on Zazen (Seated or Sitting Meditation) is another favorite of mine. Here Huineng defines sitting (za) meditation (zen) and also emphasizes the related central principle of zen-samadhi that is taught from Bodhidharma to Hakuin, as well as in Hui-Hai’s discourse mentioned above under the title “Entering the Tao of Sudden Enlightenment.”


that chapter is one of the highlights indeed. the unity of samadhi and prajna in chp 4 is also the defining feature of the chan/seon/zen tradition.

p.s.: if a book is available on google books, does it mean the pdf version of that book is downloadable somewhere on the internet?

be well,
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby Anders on Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:11 am

Guo Gu wrote:on another matter, what do you all think about the platform scripture? this being a zen forum i take it that you all have read it? or maybe the diamond sutra? or the lotus (which introduced the idea of buddhahood in a single thought and the one vehicle)? maybe some seasoned practitioners/readers can chime in and help the newcomers?


I am loathe to call myself a seasoned practitioner ( :blush: ) , but having marinated in many of these scriptures for some years, I'll give it a go anyway:

Early on in my practise when I was putting together pieces from here and there in random order, I liked the Diamond Sutra. Then when I discovered the Platform Sutra, I was initially enthused, but that quickly turned to aversion. I guess I must have been a madhyamikan in a past life because all I could see was a lot of nonsense about "we're all buddhas" and "wisdom is innately present" and :blah:. For me, I felt, this was just an invitation to not practise and I was rather more interested in the straight dope.

Upon further reflection I also had to concede that a great deal of people over the ages I did have conviction in placed a lot of value on this text - so I figured, perhaps this is an opportunity to work on my own bias.

And so I went back to it and sat with it as a meditation, every line that was disagreeable to me like a small koan to be asked "where does resistance to this come from?", every line too obscure a view of samadi inviting to just open to the vision of the presentation moreso than attempting understanding of it.

Within a month or two, reading the Platform Sutra over and over in this fashion had totally transformed my practise - I don't think I began to make real progress in my early practise before having saturated in this. For that, Huineng will always be a dharma bro to me.

Later on, I think I must have caught a scholastic bug of some sort, because for a good long while, I began to consider it rather incoherent in its presentation and lacking a certain depth compared to other scriptures. :blush:

The love is back on, although it has been a while since I last cracked the covers of it, though truth be told I don't crack the covers of many scriptures these days. When I do, I prefer to have look at the Prajnaparamita Upadesha - when it's not churning abidharma the writing is clear, the stories excellent, the humour delightful and the wisdom profound. That, or a few lines of poetry from old adepts to soak in slowly.
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I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"
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Re: Key Mahayana Scriptures with comments

Postby Guo Gu on Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:05 am

sometimes it is nice to crack open a scripture and pick up a sentence that intrigues us.... and let that rest within us throughout daily life.
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