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Why Bankei is Bunkum

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Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby jundo on Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:12 pm

In our Treeleaf Forum, a question was asked about the wonderful Bankei Yōtaku, and the book "Bankei Zen" by Peter Haskel.

http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthre ... Bankei-Zen

Bankei is a great inspiration to me and cherished by so many of us, a wonderful Teacher from the Rinzai sideless side of the roadless road (although perhaps not a big Koan Zazen fan, as discussed below). From Haskel's Introduction:

Bankei's entire teaching can be reduced to the single admonition "Abide in the Unborn!" This was Bankei's constant refrain. The term "Unborn" itself is a common one in classical Buddhism, where it generally signifies that which is intrinsic, original, uncreated. Bankei, however, was the first to use this term as the crux of his teaching. Rather than obtaining or practicing the Unborn, he says, one should simply abide in it, because the Unborn is not a state that has to be created, but is already there, perfect and complete, the mind just as it is. There isn't any special method for realizing the Unborn other than to be yourself, to be totally natural and spontaneous in everything you do. This means "letting thoughts arise or cease just as they will," and doing the same in regard to physical sensations,

...

"What we have from our parents innately is the Unborn Buddha Mind and nothing else"; "The Buddha Mind is unborn and marvelously illuminating, and with the Unborn everything is perfectly managed"; "Abide in the Unborn Buddha Mind!" These are the basics of Bankei s Zen, his catechism of the Unborn. He explained them over and over in different ways, because he believed the truth of the Unborn was so simple, so straightforward, that anyone
could grasp it. In this sense, Bankei s Zen was truly popular. Other Japanese masters had taught lay audiences. But, in most cases, Zen as such was considered far too difficult for ordinary people, and Zen masters' popular teachings, especially those directed to women, scarcely touched on Zen at all. Instead, teachers spoke in general terms, urging the merits of pious activity and discussing concepts from the Buddhist scriptures. Study of the "inner teachings" was generally confined to qualified monks and members of the upper classes and intelligentsia who could follow to some extent the difficult Chinese of the imported Zen texts.
https://www.google.co.jp/url?sa=t&rct=j ... x6A5jEnxow


Although a rather traditional Rinzai fellow in some respects, he also appears to actually not have been an avid fan of obscure Koan dabblings ...

He maintained that the essence of Zen itself was perfectly plain and direct, and that any person with an open mind could be made to understand. You didn't need to be widely educated or adept at classical Chinese. That sort of thing only got in the way. In fact, the Unborn could best be explained using simple, everyday language. Any other approach was just deceptive. To teach Zen, Bankei insisted, one had to go right to the core, to divest oneself of everything extraneous—all the gimmicks, the technical jargon, the exotic foreign usages. This was Bankei's principal objection to the koan

...

The nature of Bankei's own experience of koan study is uncertain. It seems likely that he had some contact with koan Zen in his student days, and evidence indicates that he occasionally used koans for his own disciples. Judging by Bankei s statements in the Sermons, however, he abandoned koans altogether in his later years. As Bankei saw it, the whole approach of koan Zen was hopelessly contrived. He rejected the need for familiarity with classical Chinese as an unnecessary encumbrance, and rejected the koan itself as an artificial technique. The original koans, he argued, were not "models," but actual living events. The old masters had simply responded to particular situations that confronted them, naturally accommodating themselves to the needs of the students involved. That was the business of any Zen teacher, to meet each situation on its own terms. There was no need to make people study the words of ancient Chinese monks when you could simply have them look at their own "cases," the way in which the Unborn was at work here and now in the actual circumstances of their lives. This was what Bankei called his "direct" teaching, as opposed to koan practice, which he referred to disparagingly as "studying old waste paper." The koan, said Bankei, was merely a device, and teachers who relied on it, or on any other technique, were practicing "devices Zen." Why rely on a device, he argued, when you could have the thing itself?


Bankei was one of the greats and an example of making this Wondrous Way open to all people.

But, I also offer a pair of small criticisms of Bankei, in my personal view. They are triggered by Teachings and claims such as this ...


Unlike the man of the Unborn, however, the impulsive person suffers from attachment. He is never natural because he is a slave to his responses, which he fails to realize are only passing reflections. As a result, he is continually "hung up," entangled in particular thoughts and sensations, obstructing the free flow of the mind. Everything will operate smoothly, Bankei insists, if we only step aside and let it do so. He illustrates this to the members of his audience by pointing out that, even while engrossed in listening to his talk, they automatically register and identify everything else around them—the calls of crows and sparrows, the various colors and aromas, the different sorts of people in the room. No one is deliberately trying to do this; it simply happens. That, Bankei says, is how the Unborn functions.


There is the tendency of some old (and modern!) Zen Masters to assert that, should one be in touch with this Suchness one will "naturally always know what to do", will always "do the right thing" and will spontanteously behave correctly when freed from ignorance. It is a bit like those cheap Kung Fu movies, where the hero always somehow knows the right punch to throw.

I just don't believe that is the case.

The Unborn reintroduces to our hearts something beyond and right through all "right and wrong, win and lose", and there is no "wrong answer" or "losing" because no place to fall. Tis kind of a Big R Right that holds everything, including when we have "all the right moves" and also when we fall right on our butt. But alas, in this day to day world, there is right and wrong, and countless places to trip and fall in the mud. Realization will not tell you whether to stay with the bad job or marriage or leave it, whether to go back to school or more to California. Our Way may quiet the heart, and allow one to go beyond our usual excess desires, attachments, anger and frustrations, divided thinking, but it will not and cannot make us always "do the right thing" in the mixed up world of Samsara.

A promise like Bankei makes seems maybe overreaching and extreme, a bit of an over-promise.

Even his example ... that we "naturally" recognize crows and colors because the Unborn naturally knows, is a bit silly. We recognize so, like a cat knows the birdcall ... because it is in our brains and senses. That is not proof of much beyond that.

One final criticism is that some name like "Unborn" can be reified into a thing, a "cosmic spirit", a godhead. That is also a little risky for Buddhists to do, because it turns the "Unborn" into some idea.

Anyway, apart from those little criticisms, Bankei is the Bomb!

Gassho, J
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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby Nothing on Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:49 pm

jundo wrote:But, I also offer a pair of small criticisms of Bankei, in my personal view. They are triggered by Teachings and claims such as this ...


Unlike the man of the Unborn, however, the impulsive person suffers from attachment. He is never natural because he is a slave to his responses, which he fails to realize are only passing reflections. As a result, he is continually "hung up," entangled in particular thoughts and sensations, obstructing the free flow of the mind. Everything will operate smoothly, Bankei insists, if we only step aside and let it do so. He illustrates this to the members of his audience by pointing out that, even while engrossed in listening to his talk, they automatically register and identify everything else around them—the calls of crows and sparrows, the various colors and aromas, the different sorts of people in the room. No one is deliberately trying to do this; it simply happens. That, Bankei says, is how the Unborn functions.


There is the tendency of some old (and modern!) Zen Masters to assert that, should one be in touch with this Suchness one will "naturally always know what to do", will always "do the right thing" and will spontanteously behave correctly when freed from ignorance. It is a bit like those cheap Kung Fu movies, where the hero always somehow knows the right punch to throw.

I just don't believe that is the case.


Hi Jundo

I think that what Bankei is trying to say there, is that the discriminating mind or activity is possible only because of the existence of the non-discriminating Mind. And when one have seen into one's own true Nature, there is no subject that is acting on a object or doing right or wrong thing, but there is only being, seeing, acting which is non-abiding, so in that way everything will operate smoothly. And Bankei never says that one will always do the right thing.


jundo wrote:One final criticism is that some name like "Unborn" can be reified into a thing, a "cosmic spirit", a godhead. That is also a little risky for Buddhists to do, because it turns the "Unborn" into some idea.


I would say that anything from the Buddhadharma can be turn into some idea, no matter whether it is 'unborn' or no-self, no-mind, emptiness, enlightenment, nirvana etc..:) as long there is a lack of correct understanding and practice.

Gassho :Namaste:

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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby jundo on Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:41 am

Nothing wrote:
Hi Jundo

I think that what Bankei is trying to say there, is that the discriminating mind or activity is possible only because of the existence of the non-discriminating Mind. And when one have seen into one's own true Nature, there is no subject that is acting on a object or doing right or wrong thing, but there is only being, seeing, acting which is non-abiding, so in that way everything will operate smoothly. And Bankei never says that one will always do the right thing.


Hi Victor,

That is lovely, and it is hard to argue with that. This is precisely why I am a big fan of Bankei. I describe my own Practice so.

But it does frequently sound as if Bankei is saying that the Unborn Buddha mind is much more than non-discriminating mirror mind in his often repeated example of hearing and recognizing sounds and sights and natural recognition, and he seems to say again and again that the Unborn mirror mind naturally knows how to discriminate and tell Tom from Mary. I believe he is very clear that his Unborn is more than the mirror in this section (Haskel p. 78) ...

THE MIRROR - "Since this Buddha Mind is unborn and marvelously illuminating, it's a thousand, ten thousand times brighter than a mirror, and there's nothing it doesn't recognize and distinguish. With a mirror, no sooner do the forms of things pass before it, than their reflected images appear. Because, from the start, the mirror is without conscious intention, it hasn't any thought of rejecting or not rejecting the forms of things that come before it, no thought to remove or not to remove those images it reflects. This is the function of the shining mirror. We can't help comparing the marvelously illuminating function of the Buddha Mind to a mirror, so I'm simply making the comparison. But the mirror doesn't even come close—the Buddha Mind is a thousand times, ten thousand times more wonderful!

"With the dynamic function of the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind, every object that comes before your eyes is individually recognized and distinguished without your doing a thing. So, even though you're not trying to do so, you recognize thousands of different impressions by sight or by sound. All these are things with form, but even those without form—the things in people's hearts that can't be seen—are precisely reflected. Even with the different sorts of faces you encounter, their good or evil thoughts are reflected by the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind.

"Take the people assembled here, intent on listening to my talk: If someone happens to cough, you're not making a deliberate effort to listen; but as soon as there's coughing—even though you're not trying either to hear it or not to hear it—you can distinguish it well enough to say whether that cough just now came from a man or a woman, an old person or a young one. Or take the case of someone whom you last saw twenty years before: You haven't seen him since, and then, by chance, you meet on the street and, prompted by this encounter, the events of twenty years before at once spring clearly to mind. How different this is from the function of the mirror!"


As big a Bankei fan as I am, I believe that such often repeated Teaching in his talks claims a bit too much. The rest of Bankei is super OK!


jundo wrote:One final criticism is that some name like "Unborn" can be reified into a thing, a "cosmic spirit", a godhead. That is also a little risky for Buddhists to do, because it turns the "Unborn" into some idea.


I would say that anything from the Buddhadharma can be turn into some idea, no matter whether it is 'unborn' or no-self, no-mind, emptiness, enlightenment, nirvana etc..:) as long there is a lack of correct understanding and practice.


For sure.

Gassho, J

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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby Nothing on Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:35 pm

jundo wrote:
Hi Victor,

That is lovely, and it is hard to argue with that. This is precisely why I am a big fan of Bankei. I describe my own Practice so.

But it does frequently sound as if Bankei is saying that the Unborn Buddha mind is much more than non-discriminating mirror mind in his often repeated example of hearing and recognizing sounds and sights and natural recognition, and he seems to say again and again that the Unborn mirror mind naturally knows how to discriminate and tell Tom from Mary. I believe he is very clear that his Unborn is more than the mirror in this section (Haskel p. 78) ...

THE MIRROR - "Since this Buddha Mind is unborn and marvelously illuminating, it's a thousand, ten thousand times brighter than a mirror, and there's nothing it doesn't recognize and distinguish. With a mirror, no sooner do the forms of things pass before it, than their reflected images appear. Because, from the start, the mirror is without conscious intention, it hasn't any thought of rejecting or not rejecting the forms of things that come before it, no thought to remove or not to remove those images it reflects. This is the function of the shining mirror. We can't help comparing the marvelously illuminating function of the Buddha Mind to a mirror, so I'm simply making the comparison. But the mirror doesn't even come close—the Buddha Mind is a thousand times, ten thousand times more wonderful!

Gassho
Victor

"With the dynamic function of the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind, every object that comes before your eyes is individually recognized and distinguished without your doing a thing. So, even though you're not trying to do so, you recognize thousands of different impressions by sight or by sound. All these are things with form, but even those without form—the things in people's hearts that can't be seen—are precisely reflected. Even with the different sorts of faces you encounter, their good or evil thoughts are reflected by the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind.

"Take the people assembled here, intent on listening to my talk: If someone happens to cough, you're not making a deliberate effort to listen; but as soon as there's coughing—even though you're not trying either to hear it or not to hear it—you can distinguish it well enough to say whether that cough just now came from a man or a woman, an old person or a young one. Or take the case of someone whom you last saw twenty years before: You haven't seen him since, and then, by chance, you meet on the street and, prompted by this encounter, the events of twenty years before at once spring clearly to mind. How different this is from the function of the mirror!"


As big a Bankei fan as I am, I believe that such often repeated Teaching in his talks claims a bit too much. The rest of Bankei is super OK!


Hi Jundo

Thanks for making it clearer your point with this post.

Although I understand your point I still do not find it incorrect that Bankei does not equate the mirror with the Buddhamind and you know much better than me that the example of the mirror and the Buddha mind is just an expedient teaching.

And for the rest of his teaching that you think it is bit too much maybe Bankei again is using expedient mean by means of exaggerating in order to motivate his disciples to practice with more diligence, but of course I can be very wrong about that.

On a side note, we can never know for sure whether those were the exact words of Bankei.
- From Norman Wadell in the preface of the book
" THE JAPANESE RINZAI PRIEST BANKEI YOTAKU (1622-1693) did not leave behind any written exposition of his Zen teaching, and he gave strict orders that no one else was to reduce it to writing. But records were made nonetheless, his followers being unable to bear the thought that their master's words and deeds should go unrecorded and, as one of them put it, "just left for the sparrows to play around with." So although much more was lost than they were able to com-mit to paper, we must be grateful for the record they have preserved for us: it is our sole means of learning about his Un-born Zen."

Gassho
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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby jundo on Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:27 pm

Hi Victor,

All very good, and point taken. At the very least, the quoted words can be misleading or hard to understand for some folks, but is probably as you say.

In any case, the rest is gold.

Gassho, Jundo
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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:33 pm

jundo wrote:Bankei was one of the greats and an example of making this Wondrous Way open to all people.

But, I also offer a pair of small criticisms of Bankei, in my personal view. They are triggered by Teachings and claims such as this ...


Unlike the man of the Unborn, however, the impulsive person suffers from attachment. He is never natural because he is a slave to his responses, which he fails to realize are only passing reflections. As a result, he is continually "hung up," entangled in particular thoughts and sensations, obstructing the free flow of the mind. Everything will operate smoothly, Bankei insists, if we only step aside and let it do so. He illustrates this to the members of his audience by pointing out that, even while engrossed in listening to his talk, they automatically register and identify everything else around them—the calls of crows and sparrows, the various colors and aromas, the different sorts of people in the room. No one is deliberately trying to do this; it simply happens. That, Bankei says, is how the Unborn functions.


There is the tendency of some old (and modern!) Zen Masters to assert that, should one be in touch with this Suchness one will "naturally always know what to do", will always "do the right thing" and will spontanteously behave correctly when freed from ignorance. It is a bit like those cheap Kung Fu movies, where the hero always somehow knows the right punch to throw.

I just don't believe that is the case.

The Unborn reintroduces to our hearts something beyond and right through all "right and wrong, win and lose", and there is no "wrong answer" or "losing" because no place to fall. Tis kind of a Big R Right that holds everything, including when we have "all the right moves" and also when we fall right on our butt. But alas, in this day to day world, there is right and wrong, and countless places to trip and fall in the mud. Realization will not tell you whether to stay with the bad job or marriage or leave it, whether to go back to school or more to California. Our Way may quiet the heart, and allow one to go beyond our usual excess desires, attachments, anger and frustrations, divided thinking, but it will not and cannot make us always "do the right thing" in the mixed up world of Samsara.

A promise like Bankei makes seems maybe overreaching and extreme, a bit of an over-promise.

I wouldn't put much stock in the words of the introduction about as compared to Bankei's own words.
I agree that there are some people, including some narrow minded Zen teachers, who assert that compassion arises "naturally" or "spontaneously" from kensho. But that ignores why Hakuin and Torei emphasized the need for "post-satori" practice and cultivation. We need to remember the dimensional aspects of horizontal and vertical. There is a "natural" compassion in realizing we are fundamentally unborn one mind. But there is an ongoing need to cultivate compassion to redress habitual patterns. Korean Zen teacher Jinul who was a contemporary of Dogen emphasized this post-kensho need for the practice of compassion.

I don't see BANKEI's "promise" as the kind described by the words of Haskel. I see that as Haskel's mistaken interpretation.
jundo wrote:Even his example ... that we "naturally" recognize crows and colors because the Unborn naturally knows, is a bit silly. We recognize so, like a cat knows the birdcall ... because it is in our brains and senses. That is not proof of much beyond that.

Going back to the metaphor of the vertical and horizontal, the recognition of the unborn is one axis and the on-going practice of compassion in the weeds is the other axis. Too many people do not notice the distinction. The Unborn is knowing, is the aware-ing. Zen teachers like Hui Neng and Linji emphasize that it is NOT our brains, our eyes, ears, other senses, liver, spleen, or any part of the skinn bag that knows or is aware. I think Dogen says the same. The Surangama Sura goes on and on meticulousy to demonstrate that we don't recognize because it is in our brain. All the Mahayana Sutras have dome degree of confirmation of this point.

jundo wrote:One final criticism is that some name like "Unborn" can be reified into a thing, a "cosmic spirit", a godhead. That is also a little risky for Buddhists to do, because it turns the "Unborn" into some idea.

As Victor noted this is always an ongoing caveat, and while it is perfectly valid concern, it is not unique to the word "unborn." The words of Dogen are frequently subjected to the same reification.
jundo wrote:Anyway, apart from those little criticisms, Bankei is the Bomb!

Gassho, J
SatToday

Yes, Bankei is a bomb because he blows up the habitual grasping at things in his rigorous pointing to "just this," the "unborn" knowing mind.

jundo wrote:But it does frequently sound as if Bankei is saying that the Unborn Buddha mind is much more than non-discriminating mirror mind in his often repeated example of hearing and recognizing sounds and sights and natural recognition, and he seems to say again and again that the Unborn mirror mind naturally knows how to discriminate and tell Tom from Mary. I believe he is very clear that his Unborn is more than the mirror in this section (Haskel p. 78) ...

THE MIRROR - "Since this Buddha Mind is unborn and marvelously illuminating, it's a thousand, ten thousand times brighter than a mirror, and there's nothing it doesn't recognize and distinguish. With a mirror, no sooner do the forms of things pass before it, than their reflected images appear. Because, from the start, the mirror is without conscious intention, it hasn't any thought of rejecting or not rejecting the forms of things that come before it, no thought to remove or not to remove those images it reflects. This is the function of the shining mirror. We can't help comparing the marvelously illuminating function of the Buddha Mind to a mirror, so I'm simply making the comparison. But the mirror doesn't even come close—the Buddha Mind is a thousand times, ten thousand times more wonderful!

"With the dynamic function of the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind, every object that comes before your eyes is individually recognized and distinguished without your doing a thing. So, even though you're not trying to do so, you recognize thousands of different impressions by sight or by sound. All these are things with form, but even those without form—the things in people's hearts that can't be seen—are precisely reflected. Even with the different sorts of faces you encounter, their good or evil thoughts are reflected by the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind.

"Take the people assembled here, intent on listening to my talk: If someone happens to cough, you're not making a deliberate effort to listen; but as soon as there's coughing—even though you're not trying either to hear it or not to hear it—you can distinguish it well enough to say whether that cough just now came from a man or a woman, an old person or a young one. Or take the case of someone whom you last saw twenty years before: You haven't seen him since, and then, by chance, you meet on the street and, prompted by this encounter, the events of twenty years before at once spring clearly to mind. How different this is from the function of the mirror!"


As big a Bankei fan as I am, I believe that such often repeated Teaching in his talks claims a bit too much. The rest of Bankei is super OK!


This exposition on the metaphor of the mirror is traditional Zen, and as traditional as it gets, going back to Hui Neng in the Platform Sutra. This is the teaching of the transformation of the 8 consciousness into the four wisdoms/knowings/awarenesses. i.e., 四智 the four jnanas.
(1) 大圓鏡智 the great/round/perfect/complete mirror wisdom/awareness/knowing;
(2) 平等性智 the nature of equality wisdom/awareness/knowing;
(3) 妙觀察智 the profound observing wisdom/awareness/knowing;
(4) 成所作智 the accomplishing of work wisdom/awareness/knowing.

The Platform Sutra Chapter 7 wrote:Again [Hui Neng] articulated a gatha stating:
“The Great Round Mirror Wisdom is clear and pure by the nature;
The Equality Nature Wisdom is without illness in the mind.
The Subtle Investigation Wisdom sees effortlessly;
The Accomplishing That Which Is To Be Done Wisdom is the same as the Round Mirror.



In the section selected above Bankei is describing the Great Complete Mirror Awareness/Wisdom and the Equality Nature Awareness/Wisdom which are the transformations of the 8th and 7th consciousnesses.
Because, from the start, the mirror is without conscious intention, it hasn't any thought of rejecting or not rejecting the forms of things that come before it, no thought to remove or not to remove those images it reflects. This is the function of the shining mirror.

This describes the transformed 8th consciousness into the Great Round Mirror Awareness/Wisdom.
"With the dynamic function of the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind, every object that comes before your eyes is individually recognized and distinguished without your doing a thing.

This describes the transformed 7th consciousness into the Nature of Equality Awareness/Wisdom. "Things" are distinguished in the mirror, but their nature is known and realized as equal.

Bankei is focused on leading people to the transformation at the base of consciousness in the alayavijnana, which Dogen called "turning the light around and taking the backward step." Since that was his emphasis in public, Bankei did not much discuss the "return to the weeds" of the 3rd and 4th Wisdoms in the transformations of the 1st to 6th consciousnesses which would be more the focus of post-satori training.

_/|\_
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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby TigerDuck on Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:02 am

jundo wrote:There is the tendency of some old (and modern!) Zen Masters to assert that, should one be in touch with this Suchness one will "naturally always know what to do", will always "do the right thing" and will spontanteously behave correctly when freed from ignorance. It is a bit like those cheap Kung Fu movies, where the hero always somehow knows the right punch to throw.

I just don't believe that is the case.


Actually, if the practitioner can remain in his/her unborn state, it is true that his behaviour is unstained.

The question is can his/her surrounding society, who is still dualistic, accept it or not?

The second question is how good that practitioner can remain in his/her unborn state? If the society criticizes him/her, can he/she remains in the unborn of criticism? If he/she can, and his/her strange acts can eventually bring good thing to the society in an unusual way, why not?

The main problem is the practitioner just has a glimpse or just a beginner, but acting as if he is already in the level of if someone chops his hand, he can still peacefully accept it.

Through nonconceptuality, he is immovable.

[Nagarjuna]
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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:14 am

TD,

TigerDuck wrote:Actually, if the practitioner can remain in his/her unborn state, it is true that his behaviour is unstained.

This would be my assertion, too. And it is the motivation for assiduous practice. Because, our practice (in Mahayana) is not just for oneself, but is for all beings, ...such as exist (I assert, too, that there is one being, if that many).

Belief, or disbelief in this principle is irrelevant: if it is not a part of your very direct experience, or realization, then, yes, all you have is belief, or disbelief. That's worth exactly nothing.

Of course, we do not neglect development of upaya, skillful means. That simply goes with the territory -- naturally -- and need not be enforced or recommended by outside actors (if there really be any such presumed actors).

:Namaste: ,

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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby jundo on Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:46 pm

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:
I agree that there are some people, including some narrow minded Zen teachers, who assert that compassion arises "naturally" or "spontaneously" from kensho. But that ignores why Hakuin and Torei emphasized the need for "post-satori" practice and cultivation. We need to remember the dimensional aspects of horizontal and vertical. There is a "natural" compassion in realizing we are fundamentally unborn one mind. But there is an ongoing need to cultivate compassion to redress habitual patterns. Korean Zen teacher Jinul who was a contemporary of Dogen emphasized this post-kensho need for the practice of compassion.


Thank you. Yes, this is so correct. But how often do some Buddhist folks still, these days, fall into the "Kensho and you are done" category, or assert something to the effect that the great Zen Masters of the past [such as Bankei or Dogen etc. and other religious heroes] were "perfectly enlightened beings who had left each and all of their bad habits and human foibles behind." I think that this very forum over the years has been filled with people asserting just such idealistic beliefs as faith. (I even resist such overly idealist and hagiographical statements about the historic Buddha himself!).

I believe it is important to remind folks that, in reading these old texts, that they were often written by authors trying to put a very romantic and idealized image on people and history, and that one needs to see through that quite often. These teachings provide a kind of Perfection beyond human ideas of "perfection" and "imperfection", and they point us toward how we can live as very good human beings ... even though "perfect" human beings may be few if any. There is still great Wisdom present, even if not buying the most extreme claims hook line and sinker.


This exposition on the metaphor of the mirror is traditional Zen, and as traditional as it gets, going back to Hui Neng in the Platform Sutra. This is the teaching of the transformation of the 8 consciousness into the four wisdoms/knowings/awarenesses. i.e., 四智 the four jnanas.

(1) 大圓鏡智 the great/round/perfect/complete mirror wisdom/awareness/knowing;
(2) 平等性智 the nature of equality wisdom/awareness/knowing;
(3) 妙觀察智 the profound observing wisdom/awareness/knowing;
(4) 成所作智 the accomplishing of work wisdom/awareness/knowing.

The Platform Sutra Chapter 7 wrote:Again [Hui Neng] articulated a gatha stating:
“The Great Round Mirror Wisdom is clear and pure by the nature;
The Equality Nature Wisdom is without illness in the mind.
The Subtle Investigation Wisdom sees effortlessly;
The Accomplishing That Which Is To Be Done Wisdom is the same as the Round Mirror.



In the section selected above Bankei is describing the Great Complete Mirror Awareness/Wisdom and the Equality Nature Awareness/Wisdom which are the transformations of the 8th and 7th consciousnesses.


This is very interesting. Would you provide another source for this interpretation, or is it something you discovered in the text? I personally do not read it quite as the "transformation of the 8 consciousness into the four jnanas", but it is an intriguing interpretation.

Gassho, J
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen, interaction with other practitioners and teachers & all activities of a Soto Sangha, fully online without charge (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby TigerDuck on Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:55 am

Hi Jundo, you can find from here:

Chán[edit]
A core teaching of Chan/Zen Buddhism describes the transformation of the Eight Consciousnesses into the Four Wisdoms.[note 8] In this teaching, Buddhist practice is to turn the light of awareness around, from misconceptions regarding the nature of reality as being external, to kenshō, "directly see one's own nature".[citation needed].

Thus:

the Eighth Consciousness is transformed into the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom,
the Seventh Consciousness into the Equality (Universal Nature) Wisdom,
the Sixth Consciousness into the Profound Observing Wisdom, and
First to Fifth Consciousnesses into the All Performing (Perfection of Action) Wisdom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses

I don't think transform is the correct word.

It is like when we see a thief, we dislike him. Then we realize he is actually Robin Hood, now we like him.
Can we say our perception transform from dislike to like?
I don't think it is a good choice of word.

Basically, due to realization of emptiness, all those CONCEPTUAL consciousness automatically also recognize things differently. Recognize from angle A to angle B.
Is it transformation???

It is weird to say he transforms from human to buddha.

Human to buddhahood is not like human to Power Ranger.

May be shifting is a better word.

Instead of
The eight consciousness transforms to Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom,
probably
The eight consciousness shifts to Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom.

Similar to shifting from like to dislike.

Through nonconceptuality, he is immovable.

[Nagarjuna]
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Re: Why Bankei is Bunkum

Postby jundo on Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:43 pm

TigerDuck wrote:Hi Jundo, you can find from here:

Chán[edit]
A core teaching of Chan/Zen Buddhism describes the transformation of the Eight Consciousnesses into the Four Wisdoms.[note 8] In this teaching, Buddhist practice is to turn the light of awareness around, from misconceptions regarding the nature of reality as being external, to kenshō, "directly see one's own nature".[citation needed].

Thus:

the Eighth Consciousness is transformed into the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom,
the Seventh Consciousness into the Equality (Universal Nature) Wisdom,
the Sixth Consciousness into the Profound Observing Wisdom, and
First to Fifth Consciousnesses into the All Performing (Perfection of Action) Wisdom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses


Hmmm. Apparently this is something found in the later, much added to and complicated versions of the Platform Sutra (MacRae's translation of a later Platform has something close to this), but not (as far as I can see) the earlier simpler Dunhuang version (Yampolsky translation). Hui Hai and Hakuin also seems to have spoken of this. Although off the topic of Bankei, I do not believe that most Japanese Soto folks would think in such terms although we speak, of course, of "mirror mind" and such.

Also, I don't really see where this can be read into what Bankei's words even so, but that is not worth debating.

Anyway, thank you.

Gassho, Jundo
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen, interaction with other practitioners and teachers & all activities of a Soto Sangha, fully online without charge (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
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