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Interest in a thread to study Tiantai samatha vipasyana?

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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby Huifeng on Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:32 am

klqv wrote:oh yes i remember that - that it's used by chan people.


you use all the text in your classes? i remember some finer points about breathing that i never encountered in chan before. just in general, it seems like it adds to the descriptions of zazen i've seen before. not to mention the more soteriological stuff.

i am pretty sure that most tendai practitioners see a big difference between zazen and tientai samatha vipassana, i guess is what i mean. not disagreeing with you - just explaining where i was coming from.


Well, the full name of the text is actually 修習止觀坐禪法要, "The Essentials for Practicing Calming-and-Insight & Dhyana Meditation", where the term translated as "Dhyana meditation" is 坐禪, zuochan, Jp: zazen; and the term translated as "Calming-and-Insight" is 止觀, Zhiguan, Jp: shikan (but not the same shikan in shikantaza = 只管打坐).

What most Japanese Tendai-shu practitioners would call Tendai is probably a fair bit different to what Chinese Tiantai practitioners would call Tiantai. For the Chinese, Master Zhiyi's writings are paramount, and this is one of the most important ones.

Likewise, I'm not saying that this text is the same as Japanese Soto-shu style shikantaza or zazen.
But I will say that this text is important for early period Chan meditation. That's why I'm putting it in the Chan forum, not the Soto-shu forum.
For instance, Master Zhiy is known as a 禪師 Chanshi, which one could translate as "Chan Master" or just "Meditation Master"; as were his teacher and teacher's teacher, 慧思 Master Huisi and 慧文 Master Huiwen .

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby christopher::: on Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:32 am

Huifeng wrote:
Hi Chris!

Yeah, I thought about things like that.
Though, there aren't that many parts where we need to 'see' stuff, really.
Let's see how it goes...

~~ Huifeng


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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby klqv on Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:39 am

Huifeng wrote:
klqv wrote:oh yes i remember that - that it's used by chan people.


you use all the text in your classes? i remember some finer points about breathing that i never encountered in chan before. just in general, it seems like it adds to the descriptions of zazen i've seen before. not to mention the more soteriological stuff.

i am pretty sure that most tendai practitioners see a big difference between zazen and tientai samatha vipassana, i guess is what i mean. not disagreeing with you - just explaining where i was coming from.


Well, the full name of the text is actually 修習止觀坐禪法要, "The Essentials for Practicing Calming-and-Insight & Dhyana Meditation", where the term translated as "Dhyana meditation" is 坐禪, zuochan, Jp: zazen; and the term translated as "Calming-and-Insight" is 止觀, Zhiguan, Jp: shikan (but not the same shikan in shikantaza = 只管打坐).

I'm not saying that this text is the same as Japanese Soto-shu style shikantaza or zazen.
But I will say that this text is important for early period Chan meditation. That's why I'm putting it in the Chan forum, not the Soto-shu forum.

Likewise, what most Japanese Tendai-shu practitioners would call Tendai is probably a fair bit different to what Chinese Tiantai practitioners would call Tiantai. For the Chinese, Master Zhiyi's writings are paramount, and this is one of the most important ones.

~~ Huifeng

is he not paramount in tendai?
i would probably guess that these instructions are if not a replica of samatha vipassana taught in tendai, closer to that then zazen.


so if i practice meditation from this book - to the letter let's say [bar the work of daemons and that sort of thing] am i practicing zen? or tientai? or if it is set by an experienced meditator - then it is zen?
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby Huifeng on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:05 am

klqv wrote:is he not paramount in tendai?
i would probably guess that these instructions are if not a replica of samatha vipassana taught in tendai, closer to that then zazen.


so if i practice meditation from this book - to the letter let's say [bar the work of daemons and that sort of thing] am i practicing zen? or tientai? or if it is set by an experienced meditator - then it is zen?


Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that he is not paramount in Tendai, but rather that Tendai has a number of practices that most Chinese don't really associate with Tiantai. In particular, the esoteric side of things, homa offerings, etc. And the Kaihogyo long walking / hiking practice.

What are you practicing? You are practicing the path, that is what you are practicing.
More specifically, the path of calm and insight. Call it what you like, that's up to you. :)

When Master Zhiyi wrote this, there was no Tiantai school, nor was there a Chan school. There were a group of people practicing the Dharma on Mt Tiantai in Zhejiang, though. These names and schools only come later, and to me, they just aren't that important. I'm not big on brand names, to be honest.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby klqv on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:08 am

I'm not big on brand names, to be honest.

zen?


zen teacher?
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby klqv on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:12 am

group of tendai practitioners read the platform sutra and decide that zen is just a brand name so it is not really a zen text. then teach meditation from it as a tendai practice closer to huineng than zen.

?
i exaggerated this point...
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby Huifeng on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:15 am

May I inquire as to where you are going with all this?
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby klqv on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:20 am

i wasn't going anywhere - i just asked a question and you responded then i responded with a question...



such is internet life :lol2:
i'm not being off topic - i just didn't understand what you were saying about tendai and zen. to say that tendai and zen are just brand names is fine - it was not a loaded question; my last post was really just a defence of, if not where i was going, then maybe where i had gone...
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby christopher::: on Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:14 am

Huifeng wrote:
What are you practicing? You are practicing the path, that is what you are practicing.
More specifically, the path of calm and insight. Call it what you like, that's up to you. :)

When Master Zhiyi wrote this, there was no Tiantai school, nor was there a Chan school. There were a group of people practicing the Dharma on Mt Tiantai in Zhejiang, though. These names and schools only come later, and to me, they just aren't that important. I'm not big on brand names, to be honest.

~~ Huifeng


:Namaste:

Huifeng wrote:Hi,

Okay, that was a mighty quick and enthusiastic response from everyone!
I was kind of thinking to myself - "So, how many people do we need to reckon it worthwhile?"

Yes, the text in question on the Kalavinka site is:
The Essentials of Buddhist Meditation: The Essentials for Practicing Calming-and-Insight & Dhyana Meditation

There are actually a couple of different PDF sources on the Kalavinka site:

The "Front Matter" can be found here.
Then, the link I gave previously, from the first title here.

By the way, el Gatito, you mention that you have a copy that was available on the net. Just to let you know, apart from my link above to the Kalavinka site, any other versions that are online are taken from much older, draft versions of the text. So, please use the Kalavinka site ones instead. I know this for a couple of reasons: Ven Dharmamitra has communicated to me a few times about "rogue" versions online, and he would prefer people not to use them. And also, the style of "pinyin" that you used is obviously the old CTTB style, which Ven Dharmamitra does not use, he uses standard Hanyu Pinyin.

I just noticed that each of the PDF files, one per chapter, start pagination from "1", so we'll have to be careful with the referencing. The actual printed book is very useful, because it is Chinese (both simplified and traditional characters) and English translation on facing pages. So, I think that it may be best to reference the Chapter, then the section within that. Should be fairly clear.

I'll post a cut-and-paste of the section of the translated text, and then provide some further details on it. The details may include a bit of history, some notes about the Chinese terms, references to other sutras, sastras, and whatever. And of course any key points for their application. Then we can discuss it for a while, giving everyone time to input, before we move on to the next section of the text.

Just wondering about the pace of progress. The whole text has 10 chapters, some shorter and some longer. However, while it would be nice to finish the whole thing, we don't need to. This is because the content gets deeper and deeper, and if we don't have the earlier stuff in hand, then the later stuff will be more and more abstract and beyond us. So, let's just see how it goes, huh?

Any further comments, thoughts, etc. before we get into it? I'll start in a new thread, but we can use this as a preparation thread to sort out what we want to do exactly.



Sounds great to me. I think many of us not presently working directly with a teacher are extremely grateful for the guidance you are offering to us here.

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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby chicka-Dee on Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:25 pm

Yes, thanks Ven. Huifeng for your offering. The above sounds good, and the question of pacing is a good one. So far I've yet to take a look at the text. Since I haven't really been involved with something like this before, I'm not sure what to suggest, but will follow along as best I can. This week will be a bit of a busy one, so I'm unsure how much time I can spend. But I will follow along with interest, with you all. :Namaste:
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby klqv on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:09 pm

i still am looking forward to this, thanks :Namaste:

i will just assume that it is a buddhist manual - i don't think tendai sect is a brand - it has a lineage i think. but it is somewhat beside the point what tendai says as this text can be taught from other perspectives..?


cheers.
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby klqv on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:48 pm

el gatito wrote:
klqv wrote: - but it was more a question about what others were going to do -

For the record, personally, I found interesting the "Chapter Nine", namely, "The Treatment of Disorders" as per my [old] version, and "explaining the methods for treating the disorders". For in the classic literature there are not many passages dealing with the negative sides of the "Way", and their explanations. This is especially valuable for those who practice in a such manner that any communications with the people "in the know" in this field are, say, a bit limited.

yeah - i was just reading it literally - if you see a deamon etc.. which is unlikely unless floridly mentally ill?


i could be wrong and it's advice for if you think of a daemon or spirit [and feel scared, whatever] but i don't associate that with needing special advice... also that chapter is straight after the one about physical disorders and ill health :)
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby klqv on Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:51 pm

The 9th is the very chapter dealing with what you call "physical disorders" and "ill health", though some people here do not differentiate "body and mind" that much.
oh sorry - i mixed up chapters 8 and 9 there.
i would suggest that one is able to distinguish between disorders of the liver and lung, as opposed to seeing daemons. if we can't make that distinction i would suggest that language has broken down - somewhat. that is not to say that i am my mind and not my body or anything like that!

to address your original point. while the directions are refreshingly clear for a zen text ;) i don't think they quite do what they say on the tin. i took a module in philosophy at uni - history of the body... it doesn't sound so far from Hippocratic ideas - though, curiously these disorders might be limited to meditators - which sounds... unusual? "in a case where the malady has developed from a cause associated with the lungs the body may become edematous... there may be such symptoms as nasal congestion... loss of flavour... abdomen may become distended... deafness". i am not suggesting that that chapter is completely non psychological - "one may become distressed, worried or unhappy" - but do you not think that chapter 8 is more about physical disorder rather than what would normally in medical models be considered the more mental disorders of chapter 9? it's the distinction i naturally drew i guess...
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby Carol on Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:24 pm

Moderator's Note: :offninja:

This discussion is starting to veer off topic. So, please return to the original purpose of this thread -- to express your interest in a thread to study Tiantai samatha vpasyana.

I also suggest waiting to discuss the actual text until Ven. Huifeng sets it up for us. Otherwise, we'll be all over the map, with no organization (as usual) rather than trying this new experiment in actually studying a text together.

On the other hand, if you can't wait to start discussing the text ahead of time, would you please start a new topic somewhere for that purpose.

Thanks,

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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby clyde on Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:09 am

Ven. Huifeng;

Thank you for providing the link to this text. I’ve read the “Front Matter”, the Prefaces and Chapter 1. WOW! Thank you. I’ll wait to see how you proceed and cover this material.

It appears that each section has footnotes, but the online version does not seem to provide those. Is it possible to have those Endnotes uploaded?

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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby Carol on Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:01 am

el gatito wrote:Quite obviously, we can't wait to start discussing the text ahead of time, however, to start a new topic somewhere for that purpose would be disrespectful to the topic starter, therefore, we are about to quit talking about it, and just abide in silence, waiting.. though we can't wait to start discussing the text.. ahead of time. Yes.


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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai samatha vipasyana?

Postby fukasetsu on Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:49 am

Yeah, it would be nice if I got like a 3 day window since I'm uber-busy at the moment with various projects.
Also I haven't read online yet, I'm waiting for Huifeng to say "you can read this section on wednesday and ... day[s] later we start with it" or whatever is reasonable.
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai śamatha vipaśyanā?

Postby Huifeng on Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:19 am

clyde wrote:Ven. Huifeng;

Thank you for providing the link to this text. I’ve read the “Front Matter”, the Prefaces and Chapter 1. WOW! Thank you. I’ll wait to see how you proceed and cover this material.

It appears that each section has footnotes, but the online version does not seem to provide those. Is it possible to have those Endnotes uploaded?

clyde


Hi Clyde,

Regarding the endnotes, most of them are short and brief, except where they indicate that the given text in the manual is from another larger source, and then the full version from the larger original source is give. So, I'll indicate all of these. But, in general, there are not many endnotes, and not having them won't make very much difference.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai samatha vipasyana?

Postby Gwyn on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:20 am

Venerable Huifeng

May I also express an interest in studying this text under your guidance? Apologies for my tardiness in posting a reply, but it took three days to get my account on this site activated. I already have a copy of the bilingual text, published by Kalavinka Press.

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Re: Interest in a thread to study Tiantai samatha vipasyana?

Postby Huifeng on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:28 am

Gwyn wrote:Venerable Huifeng

May I also express an interest in studying this text under your guidance? Apologies for my tardiness in posting a reply, but it took three days to get my account on this site activated. I already have a copy of the bilingual text, published by Kalavinka Press.

Gwyn


Hi Gwyn, you are welcome to join us. The first thread, which is already underway, can be found here.

~~ Huifeng
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