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Questions About a Few Words

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Questions About a Few Words

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:04 pm

Teachers, and others...

There is much use of certain words in Zen Buddhist literature, but little explanation of some of them, and seldom and few referents for them in common Western (and probably also common Eastern) culture, and life. Without experience of what these words refer to, there can be little understanding of the words (leading to much confusion).

I'd like to ask about some words which apply to states, or a state, which may result from practice.

Usually in Zen Buddhist practice circles, there is little talk of these (or this) state(s), and some teachers will not even use some of these words, nor synonyms of them, at all. For example, Robert Aitken Roshi, after a short while of his beginning to teach in USA (Hawai'i), completely eschewed use of one or more of them. Whereas, in Japan, at some dojos, practitioners were seated by the master or head-monastic in the hall (in distance from the altar) in the order in which they attained kensho, by (calendar-) date: people whose kensho occurred long ago were seated closest.

I think there are differences in the states or conditions that the words below refer to. I'll make a list of a few I recall now, which probably is not complete:

    Enlightenment (nearly completely eschewed or deprecated by everyone, nowadays) :EEK:
    Awakening
    Seeing One's Nature (kensho)
    Seeing THE Nature
    Experiencing Emptiness
    satori
    Attaining Buddhahood

There may be other such words. I would say that they do not refer to seated meditation (zazen), but instead to what may naturally spring from it and from Zen Buddhism's diverse other practices.

Are some in this list equivalent / synonyms?

Teachers are probably better at distinguishing between some of these, if there are differences, and have probably seen students whose state or condition better fits one or the other of them.

I ask about these words and their equivalences or differences because I know of no published writing that deals with them systematically in a Zen Buddhist context. Other Buddhist schools may mean different things by some of them than Zen Buddhists do. I'm mainly interested in their Zen Buddhist use.

Thanks!, to anyone who will address any of this in any way.

--Joe
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby lobster on Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:53 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
    Enlightenment (nearly completely eschewed or deprecated by everyone, nowadays) :EEK:
    Awakening
    Seeing One's Nature (kensho)
    Seeing THE Nature
    Experiencing Emptiness
    satori
    Attaining Buddhahood


All these are degrees of the same thing.
At the moment frauds, the deluded, lamas and spiritual narcissists imply or represent Buddha Hoody. :hide:

As Zen is a top down Buddhist approach, one awakening, begins all realisations. In other words, awake first. Then chop wooden heads, starting with ones own kindling ... :O:

'Being Empty', rather than experiencing United States is currently Beyond-Me :)X

:>.>: Soon I will be a Beginner again. Can hardly wait ... :hide:
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:09 pm

L.,

lobster wrote:All these are degrees of the same thing.
At the moment frauds, the deluded, lamas and spiritual narcissists imply or represent Buddha Hoody.

Thanks, Lobster.

Yes, I gather that the words and the corresponding states or conditions are related.

As for "Buddhahood", I'd still be interested in characterizations of the condition or state of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, even if it may be true that more recent claims of Buddhahood of other figures may be fraudulent or mistaken.

--Joe
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby lobster on Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:14 pm

I have little idea what Shakyamuni was actually like. The four hundred year oral tradition points to someone who integrated inner and outer integrity to a high degree. However that usually relates more to the developing sangha/tradition/religion rather than the source. :blush:

From my own experience I find peoples sleeping judgements, fantasies and expectations are only partially like the real insights and methodolgies that circumstances generate. The Zen tradition of awakening before being an exemplar is praiseworthy. There are enlightened individuals inside and outside of dharma. They sense each others insight and promote a beneficial direction according to their capacity and understanding.

:daisy:
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby babybuddha on Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:57 am

悟 = to apprehend, realize, become aware

忄= heart; mind, intelligence; soul
五 = 5 elements and also 5 organs, wood, metal, fire, water, earth
口 = mouth; open end; entrance, gate

Here are my own interruptions:

The mind has open the gate to all natural elements.

Most of us are usually busy and pre- occupied our entire lives with chasing "this or that"
 and never open the the complex dynamic that provides the "this or that" or aware of it.

Awakening is similar to aware but waking up first.

悟 is the greater awareness.


Seeing One's Nature (見性)
見 = seeing
性 = nature, character, sex

Being able to recognize and see yourself as part of the greater whole.

悟 is the greater whole.

Satori is Japanese term for 悟, you know each country likes to have their own identity and use their own language.

空性 is emptyness
空 = to empty / vacant / unoccupied / space / leisure / free time
性 = nature, character, sex

Being aware that emptyness is where form begins.

悟 is the form and the formless.

Attaining Buddhahood is the untimate achievement of breaking through from process or practice.

修成正果 = to achieve Buddhahood through one's efforts and insight / to obtain a positive outcome after sustained efforts / to come to fruition

佛 = a person cutting thru a bow or (vexation?)
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby Avisitor on Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:41 am

Those words are for the student and hold meaning for the student.
Otherwise, there is no sense in them ... non-sense

When the master put his hand into the mud and pulled out the lotus, one person understood
Does this mean all teachers must put their hands in mud?? No, of course not.
It was just used so the student would know and understand

Time for me to sleep ... still want that cup of coffee before bed.
Decisions, decisions ... even when awake, one needs to go back to sleep for a while ... lol

Hmm, don't mind me ... no sleep makes for ramblings ... hahahaha
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby lobster on Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:39 pm

I feel it is depth and degree that can be formulated for example in the excellent Ox herding pics ...
http://www.buddhanet.net/oxherd1.htm

Very temporary states such as kensho, which for me are similar to samadhi or an intense mindfulness are probably our first 'ox glimpse'.

The ordinary state or 'returning to the market place', I remember recognizing in somone but knowing it as a greater realisation beyond. In a similar way a teacher needs to be 'beyond us'. Otherwise they are just companions - whatever the outer form. I feel the heirarchy of realisation is not ego centric but far more service orientated. Zen is not always outwardly big on humility but will still recognise maturity and depth.
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:57 pm

L.,

lobster wrote:I feel it is depth and degree that can be formulated for example in the excellent Ox herding pics ...
http://www.buddhanet.net/oxherd1.htm

I feel and think that the differences (such as there may be), are in depth and degree, too. Thanks!

Now, do some of the words account for that, while they name or describe states or conditions or realizations that are stronger, more clarified, or deeper than the others? (perhaps only a teacher with much experience of many students over a long time teaching can answer this).

lobster wrote:Very temporary states such as kensho, which for me are similar to samadhi or an intense mindfulness are probably our first 'ox glimpse'.

I myself am not sure how long-lived kensho is considered to be, nor how short. Again, maybe a teacher can say.

I think kensho is not a form or level of samadhi. Well, it persists well into walking-around life, I mean, into activity. At least, I think it does. You see my problem with the confusion of the descriptive words I listed, or names.

lobster wrote:The ordinary state or 'returning to the market place', I remember recognizing in somone but knowing it as a greater realisation beyond. In a similar way a teacher needs to be 'beyond us'. Otherwise they are just companions - whatever the outer form. I feel the heirarchy of realisation is not ego centric but far more service orientated.

I think that's all well considered, and I agree.

lobster wrote:Zen is not always outwardly big on humility but will still recognise maturity and depth.

I can't say that first part. First, there is no 'Zen': there's Zen Buddhism, and there are Zen Buddhist practitioners. But among practitioners, I have never known anyone who is not humble; although, not as an affect, either, but by the nature of the work we do together, and by its effects as it changes us to become more natural (more like our true selves, and, eventually, suddenly, exactly our true selves, with no trimmings).

The state of Nature has no non-humility, nor any humility. I'd say that Humility and its shades and colors is not even a category that Nature participates in. But, deluded people do! A person in delusion may behave not very humbly because self-hood asserts itself to aggrandize itself. Or, the deluded person may put on an act of extreme "humility" for show, in order to aggrandize oneself by appearing admirably "humble" (icch!: bad taste in the mouth).

And a person in delusion may view and adjudge an awakened person to be "humble", while the awakened person instead actually is just behaving naturally, guided by true Wisdom and true Compassion, and is not tending or reigning-in any kind of "self" at all.

Maybe the outward evidence of such "self-less-ness" is seen and described by deluded people as "humility", but if so, and whenever so, they are mistaken. The behavior or demeanor is just an absence of any self; it is Nature, living its true life in the life of the Human being, without more to be said and done about it (in "meta-" fashion).

Well, simple things, but fundamental, I'd say.

--Joe
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby lobster on Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:49 am

One of my hobbies is humility :p:

So exactly so ...

In a similar way words are used in slightly different ways or expressed according to different needs. Teachers are constrained by expectations, traditions, public good etc. For this they should be respected but as much for what they can not say ... :O:

Personally I feel the new management should boot all the teachers out of the CASK A TEACHER SECTION :peace:

I never go there, so I am sure they could do with an airing ... :p: I for one could do with the wordy or wordless clarity :hugs:
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby organizational on Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:20 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:I'd like to ask about some words...

    Enlightenment (nearly completely eschewed or deprecated by everyone, nowadays) :EEK:
    Awakening
    Seeing One's Nature (kensho)
    Seeing THE Nature
    Experiencing Emptiness
    satori
    Attaining Buddhahood

Thanks!, to anyone who will address any of this in any way.

--Joe



before or after the enlightenment?
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby lobster on Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:35 am

I have never known anyone who is not humble; although, not as an affect, either, but by the nature of the work we do together, and by its effects as it changes us to become more natural (more like our true selves, and, eventually, suddenly, exactly our true selves, with no trimmings).


Humility has like depth of realisation, hidden possibilities:

If we start in the humble hell realms:

- Trump like arrogance and aggrandisement
- Humble beginnings, the concern for other, child, society, other Republicans
- Honourable mench-en, practicing humble charity for self worth
- Unseen humility, private effort, without show
- Disguised or empowering others humility, beyond need for internal or outer worthiness
- Natural humility, unknown by even the practitioner as other than being ...

:heya:
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:25 pm

Org.,

organizational wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:I'd like to ask about some words...

    Enlightenment (nearly completely eschewed or deprecated by everyone, nowadays) :EEK:
    Awakening
    Seeing One's Nature (kensho)
    Seeing THE Nature
    Experiencing Emptiness
    satori
    Attaining Buddhahood

Thanks!, to anyone who will address any of this in any way.

--Joe

before or after the enlightenment?

Anytime, especially after an awakening, and preferably a good while after. Now, why? Do you have something to offer from either "timeframe"? Please do... . :Namaste:

--Joe
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Re: Questions About a Few Words

Postby jundo on Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:25 pm

Hi,

Some of these words are much as beauty, love, justice, truth ... hard to clearly define, may change by the situation, no firm borders, eye of the beholder, one sometimes knows only by experiencing ... yet each is real and knowable in our lives.

Many Zen words are labels for some " ... " that is beyond nouns and verbs, subject and object. But, we have to sometimes put a label and make a coherent sentence nonetheless.

So, all that being said ...

Enlightenment (nearly completely eschewed or deprecated by everyone, nowadays) :EEK:
Awakening
Seeing One's Nature (kensho)
Seeing THE Nature
Experiencing Emptiness
satori
Attaining Buddhahood


All certainly are the realization that one is not just our usual experience of a separate self residing in an often subjectively dissatisfying world of separate things and people. There is also some great flowing dance of wholeness which we sometimes call "empty" although so rich and full, and this dance sweeps up all and is all the separate pieces including me and you. One comes to have insight of this and all dissatisfaction and friction vanishes, for nothing can be lacking or wrong. Sometimes the insight comes in grand winds in which the walls of separation blow away, sometimes all is just profoundly known in the bones. Sometimes such understanding can be deeper or lighter or even seemingly hidden, varying day to day.

Of course, that is just a start to the real work of getting back to life in this world of broken pieces, lack and error, me and you and all the mess.

One must figure out how to integrate each (although also knowing that they are never truly apart) in the day to day, nitty gritty disatissfying ups and downs and right and wrong frictions of samsara. So, "seeing the Naturing " or "awaking" or such is one thing, but "living the nature" or "woke" is ever right underfoot. For me the "Ox-Herding" pictures are not a one way trip, but a constant journey ... like learning to ride a real brahma bull ... that we get better at with experience, but may go back and forth upon, getting on and off the bull ... sometimes rider riding just one, sometimes falling off in the mud.

I won't say that seated "Zazen" is indispensible for this, and all our actions are the place of Practice. Nonetheless, seated Zazen is certainly the cats meow for many of us.

Now, words like "seeing" are funny, because it is more like the eye realizing it is the eye all along, rather than seeing something outside (although everything outside and everything inside turns out to be the eye too). "Attaining" is another funny word because there was nothing to attain that was not so all along (and "attaining" realization of this "nothing to attain all along" is an amazing attainment!)

In my corner of the Buddhist woods, we also say that we are "already Buddha all along". However, we must realize (make real and bring to life) this fact by actually living in a Buddha-like way. When we do so, we make Buddha real in that moment. Further, although we are all Buddha all along beyond failing, we are full of faults and must walk the long road step by step to someday become "perfect Buddha" as we are far far from being there yet. If all those perspectives on "becoming Buddha" sound contradictory, and something of a Koan ... that is because it is.

Gassho, J

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