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"Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

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"Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:16 pm

.
In CHAN MAGAZINE, Winter 2016,

Chan Master Simon Child (a retired Medical Doctor specializing in Pediatrics in Wales, UK), Dharma heir of the late Chan Master Ven. Sheng Yen, has a long and wonderful 10-page feature article in the Winter 2016 issue of Chan Magazine.

The article, entitled "Constructing a Sense of Self" is taken from a Dharma talk that Simon delivered at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center on May 27, 2015, during a 7-Day Chan retreat that was dedicated to the teaching and practice of the method of Silent Illumination.

Very many issues of CHAN MAGAZINE are online and available as downloads in PDF format. I do not see an issue of 2016 there just yet:

http://chancenter.org/cmc/publications/chan-magazines/

(perhaps in a few more days a volunteer there will put up the Winter 2016 PDF)

Meanwhile, I'd like to point out a section of the talk that I feel is particularly interesting, and important. It concerns "no-self", and the arising of prajna and karuna (in response to circumstances in everyday-life), in the ground of emptiness of self.

I transcribe the heading of this section of the talk, and transcribe the section in-part (bits of just four paragraphs).

--------------------------------------------------

Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self

"In Buddhism we tend to talk about no-self experience as an aspect of insight, the
realization of Wisdom. But it's also identically the realization of Compassion.
...a huge space (which was previously obstructed by self-concern) becomes available
for Compassion to manifest. So Wisdom and Compassion both arise in their full
expression, in no-self.

Without realization of no-self we can still try to be compassionate, but there's always
the risk that some selfishness may be involved in it. We should still try. It's not that
we should wait until we're "enlightened" to do anything compassionate, of course not.
But there's always the risk of self-concern getting in the way. If one is acting from a
position of emptiness of self then there is no self-concern to get in the way. For
someone who has experienced lack of self, but is back in it now, still their approach
to compassion is likely to be improved. They are more available. They are less self-
concerned.

It is worth recognizing that no-self is only a temporary state. You fall out of it and a degree
of selfishness does return, but some aspects of self-concern may be permanently dissolved
by the experience, and the aspects that remain become more obvious and therefore more
trainable because there's now a new baseline against which to contrast them, whereas
previously it just seemed normal.

There is a saying, and it's not just a truism, it's TRUE -- that after such an experience, rather
than finding it's the end of practice, you realize it's the beginning of practice. There's an awful
lot to do. You realize this practice needs to continue, because you realize the harm in the
degree of selfishness you're still continuing, and you know it doesn't need to be so... ."

--------------------------------------------------

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby TTT on Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:17 am

Yes but one needs to have this "disposition" allso for it to be able to arise. Love is allso an aspect of the practis. In general compasson is not easy to do, i thiknk
that the path to wisdom is a bit more or to say less diffucult to "learn". Its a well knowne path, for example, the noble eith fold path, an other example is "the path
of love" or mette. Yes the grownd that is no growned, ak. emptiness, is hot and allowed qualitis to "come forth" as the topic that hes talk is about.

Yes. In Buddhist practis of compassion we can talk of forsfull compassion thet is leading to bodhicitta practis thety is not forceful thet in it is leading to the more
natural typ of compassion that manifests as bodhicitta. This may be a natural proces.



Yes. I dont realy understand this is normal "in" it and what is not. If the mind has knots, one can untie them, thet is normal, as he says. If one rests one will do untie the knots
and enlightenment will be there as a matter of facts.


:Namaste:
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby Jok_Hae on Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:03 am

Thanks for posting the link to the Chan Magazines, Joe. We get a copy sent to our Center and I look forward to reading it.

Regards,
Keith
You make, you get

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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby Avisitor on Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:21 am

All I got out of it was that the act of compassion can be given freely or it can be tainted by the self
Once someone knows which is which then there is a new gauge to go by
And the beginning of practice starts anew

Where does this no-self come from and by which method can it be experienced?
And what is this wisdom and compassion that you talk about?
Where does it arise from? Where does it go when the self is strong in this one?

Never mind ... I think I lost interest when I found myself .. oh wait, ... nah .. I felt something arising .. that was just a hiccup :hide:


On another note:

If one is thinking about giving money to homeless or beggar then please think about this
Have seen where people give the money to someone and then follow them around to see what they do with it
Wondering if the person would use it for drugs, or alcohol
The person goes to the store and buy food. Then go about the park where other homeless are and passes the food out
The person who gave him the money then goes to the guy he gave the money to and tells him of the cameras
This made the person who gave the money very happy to have helped

It looks like there was plenty of self there to want to see what happens next after handing over the money to the homeless
When one is truly compassionate, does one need to know whether it was used for drugs, alcohol or food?

Sorry, just a thought ...
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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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:57 pm

Keith, et al.,

Keith, maybe you've read it at your zendo already? ;)

The Winter 2016 issue of CHAN MAGAZINE containing Chan Master Simon Child's full 10-page article has lately been put on the Chan Center website.

Simon's article, "Constructing a Sense of Self", spans pages 15-24.

The URL is below:

http://chancenter.org/cmc/publications/chan-magazines/

--Joe
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby chankin1937 on Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:16 pm

Joe,
Joe wrote: Meanwhile, I'd like to point out a section of the talk that I feel is particularly interesting, and important. It concerns "no-self", and the arising of prajna and karuna (in response to circumstances in everyday-life), in the ground of emptiness of self.


Hello Joe,
If I perform a compassionate act and it improves the lot of the receiver of my largesse, how does my view of myself change the good I have introduced into the world?
[Aha!
I have a psychic vision!
Joe will tell me to ask somebody else.!] :lol2:
Colin
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:34 pm

I think it is clear that your view of yourself and your motivations change the benefit you yourself receive when giving benefit to others. For example, if I give money to a beggar with an open heart (no giver, no receiver) or with a slightly open heart (out of fellow feeling or compassion), my mind becomes more open, kinder, and more peaceful. If I give money without compassion to pay beggars to stop their annoying whining or remove their disturbing prescence from my sight, my heart feels moe closed, more selfish, less peaceful, and more delusional.
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:47 pm

C.,

chankin1937 wrote:If I perform a compassionate act and it improves the lot of the receiver of my largesse, how does my view of myself change the good I have introduced into the world?

The fly in the ointment is that Compassion (karuna) is not largesse.

Compassion (as karuna) is a spontaneous response, informed by Wisdom (prajna), which arises spontaneously and simultaneously with Wisdom, in seamless response to circumstances, only when there is no sense of "self", and hence no separation between beings.

To rephrase, prajna and karuna arise only when there is no sense of "self", and while one resides, in one's daily life, in emptiness, the ground of being of all.

If you see "others", then there's no way that karuna can arise (nor prajna).

That's about the long and short of it.

So you see how your question collapses. There's nothing in the question that is appropriate to the discussion of true, spontaneously-arising, Compassion (karuna).

That's just "the way it is". Hail!

Try again. Thanks for playing. Roll again!, you are not a winner.

:O:

--Joe

[Aha!
I have a psychic vision!
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:03 pm

chankin1937 wrote:If I perform a compassionate act and it improves the lot of the receiver of my largesse, how does my view of myself change the good I have introduced into the world?


Great question!
Is it clear that the sense of self means "I am different from you", "I want this not that"?
Without the sense of self, conflict is not possible, fear and desire are not possible. Some say that all suffering stems from here. Adam and Eve are prime examples of the theory.

Ideas such as "I am a wonderful fellow and what I do is just dandy", "My ideas are better than your ideas" are based on the protocol of separation, judgement, duality and conflict which is the self. So of course are "I am a worthless fellow etc..."
Much good and bad shall come of my view of myself and the things I do : Capitalism, free exchange, the moon landings, war etc...
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby chankin1937 on Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:26 pm

Hello All,
I’m rying to make sense of the above comments .
It all comes down to the quality of what motivates an action , not whether or not a “self” exists.
That the “self” exists is self evident . There is no need to deny that it exists .
In “The living thoughts of GOTAMA THE BUDDHA” Presented by Ananda Coomaraswamy and L.B.Horner we find
on page 5 :
Finally he (Gotama) taught them the doctrine of liberation resulting from full comprehension and experience of the proposition that of one and all of the constituents of the unstable psycho-physical individuality that men call “I” or “myself” it must be said, “that is not my Self” (na me so atta)---- a proposition that has very often , despite the logic of the words, been mistaken to mean that “there is no Self”.

Page 17: In the whole of the Buddhist canonical literature it is nowhere stated that “there is no Self”.
On the contrary the “Self” is both implicitly and explicitly asserted.


And: Buddha said ,”I have taken refuge in the Self.".(Digha-nikaya ii 120)
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:25 pm

Now, now. Please, all. remain on topic.

"Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self".

tnx,

--Joe
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby macdougdoug on Sat Feb 13, 2016 4:59 pm

chankin1937 wrote:It all comes down to the quality of what motivates an action , not whether or not a “self” exists.
That the “self” exists is self evident . There is no need to deny that it exists .


Absolutely, we are discussing what motivates our actions. The psychological sense of self.

You are getting sidetracked and confused by the debate as to whether solid objects are actually solid, and whether separate objects are actually separate. And I suppose by the need to affirm that something definately exists. Maybe because you don't want to undermine your thesis on CMA and 21st C zen so dear to yourself.

What motivates our actions is our sense of self. This is what is known as Karma : selfish action.
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby Linda Anderson on Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:54 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:"Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self".

tnx,

--Joe


Simply elegant (ooops, that's myself speaking)... thanks for the article Joe. Simon has answered the questions in this thread quite nicely.

In Buddhism we tend to talk about no-self experience as an aspect of insight, the
realization of Wisdom. But it's also identically the realization of Compassion.
...a huge space.....

So Wisdom and Compassion both arise in their full expression, in no-self....

Without realization of no-self we can still try to be compassionate, but there's always
the risk that some selfishness may be involved in it. We should still try. It's not that
we should wait until we're "enlightened" to do anything compassionate, of course not.
But there's always the risk of self-concern getting in the way....


There is a diff between giving food to the hungry because 1. they are hungry OR 2. I want to bolster my self-image as a kind, generous and supreme person. Still, we try and as Simon says, there is a danger in doing the wrong thing if we are still trying. It is good to know we can mess up kindness, and to be discerning about it's delivery. why, it's similar to being a world policeman who causes war, the collapse of dictators and countries, the creation of a new brand of terrorist, and the death and displacement of millions in the name of peace .... all because the cop wants to think of himself as the greatest supreme cop, the best in the world. This is simple science and why one would want to practice on a spiritual path.

There is indeed a self in Buddhism, it has nothing to do with moi.... to study the self is to forget the self.

I am dog sitting, looking out from the hilltop at redwoods and dense fog... no self needed with them. (3 Havanese) I bring my cute netbook... it can't sit still long enough to display the article... it's running on Windows 7 Starter. It's cute and loveable but still has a self that is bound by a small memory. When I get home, I'll access the article on the big one who has an expanded memory and view.... she doesn't ask questions, she just is and does the next thing.

Anyone can practice good deeds, and as Simon says, it is good to try, but no one can fake compassion.... anymore than I can fake an imitation of Joe. Somebody might see thru it. ;)

My early Tibetan teacher spoke about wisdom and compassion being the wings of a bird. It stuck like glue. :ghug:

linda
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not this morning;
Melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:35 am

To me, a fantastically important and valuable part of Simon's teaching-talk has to do with what he ascribes as the temporality -- the often temporary extent or time of persistence -- of Awakening.

Multiple awakenings are of course possible and practicable, mind you. Zen Buddhist literature is replete with accounts of this fact.

But, indeed, by the way, when, say, awakening erodes, or collapses, one is not too happy, but the experience undergone of it influences everything afterwards. One takes it as a challenge to enable awakened awareness to enter, or re-enter, every waking moment. One continues to practice, therefore. But, often, the special circumstances which have allowed the awakening can become exhausted eventually, by the challenges of everyday life, or what-have-you, ...maybe more especially for those of us who are not monastics, but who are householders, instead. I grant, though, that it's not easy to maintain the awakened state, no matter who or where or what mantel or robe or jacket or t-shirt, or lack of clothes, you don, or don't don. Even for a Buddhist nudist.

So, we practice.

Catch me when I'm less sleepy and more awake, and I'll tell you the same thing.

--Joe
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby Linda Anderson on Sun Feb 14, 2016 6:48 am

Joe,

Get some sleep. Maybe it will look diff in the am. I'm going in the other direction ... with talk about erosion and collapse and temporality... these are the stuff of self. Why do you feel the need to go beyond your own wisdom... that wisdom and compassion arise from no self.

I was lucky to meet and practice with Simon once and I don't think he is putting out that energy.... I can feel him in the OP, so let's not add anything.

linda
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby chankin1937 on Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:15 pm

Macdougdoug
Macdougdoug wrote:You are getting sidetracked and confused by the debate as to whether solid objects are actually solid, and whether separate objects are actually separate. And I suppose by the need to affirm that something definately exists. Maybe because you don't want to undermine your thesis on CMA and 21st C zen so dear to yourself.

Hello Macdougdoug
It astounds me that anybody in this day and age actually believes that nothing exists and that all are one.
You will find that 21st Century Zen does not posit anything so ridiculous.
It merely explains why happiness results from the extinction of conscious mental activity during meditation – clearly echoing the Buddha’s statement – Nirvana is the extinction of dukkha.
Fortunately your misconceptions will not obstruct your access to the common human goal – so long as you don’t think about them [and every other mental construct] while you meditate.
I wish you every success in that.
Colin
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby chankin1937 on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:10 pm

desert_woodworker
Joe wrote: To me, a fantastically important and valuable part of Simon's teaching-talk has to do with what he ascribes as the temporality -- the often temporary extent or time of persistence -- of Awakening.
Multiple awakenings are of course possible and practicable, mind you. Zen Buddhist literature is replete with accounts of this fact. But, indeed, by the way, when, say, awakening erodes, or collapses, one is not too happy, but the experience undergone of it influences everything afterwards. One takes it as a challenge to enable awakened awareness to enter, or re-enter, every waking moment. One continues to practice, therefore. But, often, the special circumstances which have allowed the awakening can become exhausted eventually, by the challenges of everyday life, or what-have-you, ...maybe more especially for those of us who are not monastics, but who are householders, instead. I grant, though, that it's not easy to maintain the awakened state, no matter who or where or what mantel or robe or jacket or t-shirt, or lack of clothes, you don, or don't don. Even for a Buddhist nudist.


Hello Joe ,
One satori is “awakening” – then we understand in the most intimate way – by personal experience - what Zen is all about. The psychology of the common human goal into which the taproots of all religions [including Buddhism] feed is revealed.
But, as Suzuki warns, in his book “An Introduction to Zen Buddhism”, too many Satoris are not only unnecessary but far from beneficial .
Knowing what the goal is , we practice to benefit from that knowledge. Eventually our brain gets the idea and every waking moment is suffused with contentment.

Colin
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:47 pm

Linda,

The very, very, kindly thing that Simon shares in mentioning that awakening is temporary ...is one of the best things in the world, I'd say.

What it dispels is a myth or uninformed misconception of "Enlightenment", where "enlightenment" is not only a life-changing development, but also assumed beforehand to be permanent. Surely it is a life-changing development, but it has a lifetime, like everything else, in that it can become covered-over again (and, I think, always does).

What it also dispels is a perhaps unspoken notion that one can cease practice -- or, that "practice ceases" -- after this development has once occurred. It dispels too the notion that "practice" is only for instigating this development, not for cultivation and care and feeding of this development forever afterwards.

Well, none of this is news to any of us who have practiced intensively in our formal practice for a good period of time, and have had good cooperating causes and conditions. But it is just good -- very good -- to see a teacher proclaim this in the clear, openly and succinctly to all attending or reading.

So, in addition to his sharing what he shares about the source-conditions and prerequisite (no-self) for the opening of prajna and karuna to arise, I thank him for this frank public statement about the ephemeralness of the awakened state or condition. Again, because it not only tells the truth about a vicissitude of awakened mind, but indicates the very long-term value of practice, as continued practice.

(On a personal note, I've sat a couple or three long Chan retreats led by Master Sheng Yen while Simon and I and over 50 other people from all over the world were participants, before Simon was transmitted by Sheng Yen as a successor and Master. On one retreat, the first or second 7-day retreat ever held at the then-new retreat center upstate two hours out of the City at Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Bush, New York, both our assigned jobs on the retreat were to keep the large Chan Hall heated with one small wood-burning cast iron stove. There was then no other heating. It was a Winter retreat, over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, and it was deeply cold, and there was snow. We burned a lot of firewood in the very efficient stove that week, and kept the place warm. At the start of each day, though, and for hours, it was easy to see your breath inside. People bundled-up inside as needed. Everyone worked very hard, and made it a wonderful retreat. Simon and I worked well together, and got to know each other without using words, while observing Noble Silence through the week).

Wishing you a good new week, Linda,

--Joe


Linda Anderson wrote:Get some sleep. Maybe it will look diff in the am. I'm going in the other direction ... with talk about erosion and collapse and temporality... these are the stuff of self. Why do you feel the need to go beyond your own wisdom... that wisdom and compassion arise from no self.

I was lucky to meet and practice with Simon once and I don't think he is putting out that energy.... I can feel him in the OP, so let's not add anything.
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:03 pm

chankin1937 wrote:One satori is “awakening” – then we understand in the most intimate way – by personal experience - what Zen is all about.

Well, if we are Zen Buddhists, and awaken, we see the wisdom and compassion of the Zen Buddhist tradition of this path of practice, and of all its ancestors who promulgated it to the Present for us and our successors, and see the need for keeping alive this wise, compassionate, skillful tradition of medicine for knitting back together the seemingly divided panoply of Beings, and appreciating our lives and differences.

--Joe
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Re: "Wisdom and Compassion Arise from No-Self"

Postby chankin1937 on Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:37 pm

Joe,
Joe wrote: What it dispels is a myth or uninformed misconception of "Enlightenment", where "enlightenment" is not only a life-changing development, but also assumed beforehand to be permanent. Surely it is a life-changing development, but it has a lifetime, like everything else, in that it can become covered-over again (and, I think, always does).


Hello Joe,
If those are your experiences then you are not doing it correctly. And I’ll have a guess at why:
On page 115 of “An Introduction to Zen Buddhism” by Professor D.T.Suzuki is written:

“ A thoroughgoing enlightenment, however, is attained only through the most self-sacrificing application of the mind, supported by an inflexible faith in the finality of Zen. It is not to be attained by climbing up the gradation of the koans one after another, as is usually practiced by the followers of the Rinzai School. The number really has nothing to do with it; the necessary requirements are faith and personal effort, without which Zen is a mere bubble.”

The traditional Zen is rest from mental work. . You, it seems, are in the bubble! :lol2:
Colin
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