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What Is Chan? Master Sheng Yen

Discussion of Chinese Chán (禪) Buddhism.

Re: What Is Chan? Master Sheng Yen

Postby Bob Skank on Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:20 pm

1handclapping wrote: Has anyone read the essay Dan74 provides, that gives the context of Sheng-Yen's comment? Is it just me, or does this essay seem really off-kilter?


Yes, I read it, Clapping Hand, and I wonder if Sheng Yen might simply have been too innocent and naive about human conduct to believe any religious teacher would do the kinds of things that we realists have unfortunately come to know.

Bob
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Re: What Is Chan? Master Sheng Yen

Postby fragrant herbs on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:23 pm

Bob Skank wrote:
1handclapping wrote: Has anyone read the essay Dan74 provides, that gives the context of Sheng-Yen's comment? Is it just me, or does this essay seem really off-kilter?


Yes, I read it, Clapping Hand, and I wonder if Sheng Yen might simply have been too innocent and naive about human conduct to believe any religious teacher would do the kinds of things that we realists have unfortunately come to know.

Bob


Love your posts Bob. I wonder though if we are justifying his words, after all he is saying even if the master tells lies, steals, and chases women..., he is still to be considered a true master as long as he scolds his disciples for their transgressions. i wonder if that is what his teacher taught him to believe. even Hinduism tells you to leave such a guru and actually call gurus fake when they behave in this manner. But then I also wonder if he taught the way the Tibetan Buddhists teacher, where when you become a lama you can do what you want morally and can drink alcohol have sex, etc? but I don't know if this is all lamas or just certain ones, but they call it the law of inversion as you more than likely know.
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Re: What Is Chan? Master Sheng Yen

Postby fragrant herbs on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:30 pm

Thanks for the complete article, whoever posted it. I can't go back and look. That was enough for me.
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Re: What Is Chan? Master Sheng Yen

Postby Bob Skank on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:52 pm

fragrant herbs wrote: I wonder...if we are justifying his words, after all he is saying even if the master tells lies, steals, and chases women..., he is still to be considered a true master as long as he scolds his disciples for their transgressions.


Thank you, Fragrant Herbs—yes, rereading his words, I concede that perhaps I was too generous in giving Sheng Yen the benefit of the doubt here, probably because I learned so much from his books and essays. Thank you for making me reconsider both his remark and mine!

Bob
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Re: What Is Chan? Master Sheng Yen

Postby 1handclapping on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:59 pm

Huifeng wrote:I think that the root idea for this is neither Japanese nor Confucian, but stems back to the notion of the skillful means (upaya-kausalya) of the bodhisattva, as they use methods to liberate sentient beings. Classic example would be Vimalakirti - he does things which externally appear to run contrary to Buddhist ethics, but they are just skillful means to help others. However, although Chinese Buddhism considers that this is definitely possible, it is considered one of those things that only the greatest and most advanced of bodhisattvas can actually do. So, if anyone but a very great teacher were to do such things, they would be censured by the Buddhist population at large (in light of their behavior in general).

I think this is what the belief behind Sheng-Yen's statement stems from. The idea that a bodhisattva may occasionally break a vow in order to serve a higher good, and that in some of those instances, we may not know his motives, though they may be pure. But vow-breaking shouldn't be a regular occurrence, and I fail to see how chasing after women could serve a higher humanitarian purpose. I think teachers need to be aware that that type of behavior puts Buddhism in a bad light, and could turn people off to the Dharma, a consequence that teachers generally regard as a serious downfall.

Sheng-Yen's tone in the essay is surprisingly harsh and condescending. Perhaps this is a reaction to his Western students and colleagues questioning him about his stance. It doesn't seem consistent with his other writing. If I thought this was representative of his general demeanor, I would be motivated to elsewhere for a teacher.
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Re: What Is Chan? Master Sheng Yen

Postby ed blanco on Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:01 pm

Carol wrote:
chicka-Dee wrote:Just imagine forgetting the existence of yourself... whew! what a relief, lol. What possibly could be the problem?


Who is relieved? :lol2:


Forgotten.
:O:
What a grate thread!
IT SPEAKS IN SILENCE
IN SPEECH YOU HEAR ITS SILENCE

Yongjia Xuanjue
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Re: What Is Chan? Master Sheng Yen

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:45 am

That's my Teacher. Bless his heart. Bless your heart, Shih-fu. Be seeing you. -- Joseph.

(he always called me "Joseph")

--Joe

hrtbeat7 wrote:What Is Chan?
A lecture by Master Sheng-yen (1977)


[i]In 1977 Shifu was at the very beginning of his teaching career in America.

__/\__
"The abundance of Nature is not a matter of its 'providing' ". -- William James, c. 1901.

"I'd like to say thank-you on behalf of the band and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition". -- John Lennon, clowning on the Let It Be album (1970) recording session.
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