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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Classes are discontinued until January 6, 2011

















Master Sheng Yen died Feb 3, 2009. As well as the many YouTubes of Sheng Yen that are available for view, additional Chan resources exist as listed below.




There will be no classes until January 6, 2011. 
Susan will be leading the Jan. 6th 
and Jan.13th classes until Adrian returns from vacation.


Also check  out:

Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Quantum physicist David Bohm on thought, time and space





















David Joseph Bohm (20 December 1917 – 27 October 1992) was an American-born British quantum physicist  who made contributions in the fields of theoretical physics, philosophy and neuropsychology, and to the Manhatten Project. His theories are profoundly similar to many Zen writers.


Warning, there are a lot of words below. Don't want to read? Then do Zazen! Your choice! 

Thought as a System
Bohm was alarmed by what he considered an increasing imbalance of not only man and nature, but among peoples, as well as people, themselves. Bohm: "So one begins to wonder what is going to happen to the human race. Technology keeps on advancing with greater and greater power, either for good or for destruction." He goes on to ask:
What is the source of all this trouble? I'm saying that the source is basically in thought. Many people would think that such a statement is crazy, because thought is the one thing we have with which to solve our problems. That's part of our tradition. Yet it looks as if the thing we use to solve our problems with is the source of our problems. It's like going to the doctor and having him make you ill. In fact, in 20% of medical cases we do apparently have that going on. But in the case of thought, it's far over 20%.
In Bohm's view:
...the general tacit assumption in thought is that it's just telling you the way things are and that it's not doing anything - that 'you' are inside there, deciding what to do with the info. But you don't decide what to do with the info. Thought runs you. Thought, however, gives false info that you are running it, that you are the one who controls thought. Whereas actually thought is the one which controls each one of us. Thought is creating divisions out of itself and then saying that they are there naturally. This is another major feature of thought: Thought doesn't know it is doing something and then it struggles against what it is doing. It doesn't want to know that it is doing it. And thought struggles against the results, trying to avoid those unpleasant results while keeping on with that way of thinking. That is what I call "sustained incoherence".
Bohm thus proposes in his book, Thought as a System, a pervasive, systematic nature of thought:
What I mean by "thought" is the whole thing - thought, felt, the body, the whole society sharing thoughts - it's all one process. It is essential for me not to break that up, because it's all one process; somebody else's thoughts becomes my thoughts, and vice versa. Therefore it would be wrong and misleading to break it up into my thoughts, your thoughts, my feelings, these feelings, those feelings... I would say that thought makes what is often called in modern language a system. A system means a set of connected things or parts. But the way people commonly use the word nowadays it means something all of whose parts are mutually interdependent - not only for their mutual action, but for their meaning and for their existence. A corporation is organized as a system - it has this department, that department, that department. They don't have any meaning separately; they only can function together. And also the body is a system. Society is a system in some sense. And so on. Similarly, thought is a system. That system not only includes thoughts, "felts" and feelings, but it includes the state of the body; it includes the whole of society - as thought is passing back and forth between people in a process by which thought evolved from ancient times. A system is constantly engaged in a process of development, change, evolution and structure changes...although there are certain features of the system which become relatively fixed. We call this the structure.... Thought has been constantly evolving and we can't say when that structure began. But with the growth of civilization it has developed a great deal. It was probably very simple thought before civilization, and now it has become very complex and ramified and has much more incoherence than before. Now, I say that this system has a fault in it - a "systematic fault". It is not a fault here, there or here, but it is a fault that is all throughout the system. Can you picture that? It is everywhere and nowhere. You may say "I see a problem here, so I will bring my thoughts to bear on this problem". But "my" thought is part of the system. It has the same fault as the fault I'm trying to look at, or a similar fault. Thought is constantly creating problems that way and then trying to solve them. But as it tries to solve them it makes it worse because it doesn’t notice that it's creating them, and the more it thinks, the more problems it creates. (P. 18-19)



Time
 
We always take time for granted. And we take for granted the notion that everything exists in time. We don’t realize that time is an abstraction and a representation, but we believe that time is of the essence - reality - and that everything is existing in time, including thought. 

But what suggests itself is that psychologically - and perhaps eventually for the deepest level physically - we can’t use time as the essence. Rather the moment now is the essence, because all the past and the future that we will ever know are in this moment. The past and the future are now, in so far as it has left any impression, whatever has happened is now. And our expectations are now. Thus we could say that now is the starting point.



Truth/reality

David Bohm uses the word truth in the same way that we use the word reality. He uses the phrase what is or that which is as we use the word Dharma.

“I think that the idea that there is an abstract truth - somewhere, somehow, sitting there waiting for us to get hold of it - is the same as the idea of ultimate knowledge. Truth is something more vital. It has to be that sort of movement which doesn’t deceive itself. And then it has to fit, cohere with ‘that which is.’

Truth is a perception, and is simultaneously an action. Truth is not information about what is. But rather truth is a key factor in what is.

The source of truth must be like the source of insight - beyond that which thought can grasp. 

Truth is not just floating out there abstractly, but truth actually is. That is to say, truth is a factor in actuality. Truth meets that which is, it touches that which is. Truth is a part of that which is. Truth is a movement or act within that which is. It actually is.

The perception of truth is an actual act which changes things; its not merely that it is the truth about something which is different.

Truth acts from moment to moment is what I am trying to say. Truth is the action from moment to moment.”...
...from Wikipedia and Eido Michael Luetchford  in http://www.dogensangha.org.uk/PDF/reality.pdf

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And on the same storyline, here's John Daido Loori's take on truth:



"Get rid of that want. When you walk, just walk. When you sit, just sit. When you live, just live. When you die, just die. Whether you like it or not, whether you agree or not, whether you cling or not, that’s the way it is.
See this for yourself. When you go against this truth, all the barriers appear, and pain and misfortune are created. It doesn’t have to be this way. When it rains, open an umbrella. If you don’t have an umbrella, you’ll get wet. Perfect and complete, just as it is. Like tossing a ball on swift-flowing water, moment to moment, non-stop flow.
The question is, how do we do it? Zazen. Simple zazen. The first thing you learn in practice. Moment-to-moment zazen. Moment-to-moment letting go and coming back, again and again, to the breath, to the koan, to awareness. Be the great perfect mirror of samadhi. It doesn’t just happen. You need to do it, and you need to do it now, not tomorrow. Tomorrow doesn’t exist. By its very nature it doesn’t exist. There’s only now.
So please, do it now. Your practice is right now. Your life is right now. If you miss right now, you miss the whole thing. Be free. Realize that you are free. That freedom is inherent in the life of each one of us. Somehow along the way we’ve buried it, we’ve lost it in that maze of stuff that we’ve created for ourselves. Unload the baggage, take off the blinders. Manifest your life in the ten directions. Realize that your life is the ten directions, from the very beginning, lacking nothing."...from Moment to Moment Non-Stop Flow in Zen Mountain Monastery http://www.mro.org/zmm/teachings/daido/teisho41.php


There will be a class this Thursday night!

===







Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook;
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mind-to-mind transmission


"When we study the Way, we study our own skin, flesh, bones and marrow. When we cast off our own skin, flesh, bones, and marrow, we realize that the mutual study and seeking of the Way between master and disciple is the spiritual and physical entwinement of buddhas and ancestors. This forms the life of the buddhas and ancestors. Their skin, flesh, bones, and marrow are the smile of Kashyapa. Generally, sages study in order to cut off the root of spiritual entanglement but do not use their entanglements to cut off entanglements. Do they know how to use entanglements to transmit entanglements. It's rare to find anyone who knows that entanglements cannot be separated from the transmission of the Dharma. Few have experienced it or even heard it. How can it be possible for many people to experience it?

On Mount Gridhrakuta, Shakyamuni Buddha gave a talk. Two thousand people were in the assembly. Buddha blinked and held up a flower. At this all remained silent. The  venerable Kashyapa alone broke into a smile. The World-Honoured One said, "I have the all-pervading true Dharma, incomparable nirvana, exquisite teaching of formless form. It doesn't rely on letters and is transmitted outside of scriptures. I now hand it to Mahakashyapa."...from John Daido Loori in Cave of Tigers pg. 206.

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There will be a class this Thursday evening the 9th of December. 





Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Monday, November 29, 2010

White rock Saturday the 4th retreat with William
















"The koan path within the Zen Way is yet another whole dimension of play. It's full of that kind of creative, dragonish energy described in the first hexagram of the I Ching, "The Creative"--the electrically charged, dynamic, arousing force of a spring thunderstorm. And yet it is a modest, homely, simple business. Koan work is a fierce, playful form of dressing up in order to stay profoundly at home.

A koan can be a tiny story or a fragment of the record of discourse or encounter between a teacher and a student; or it may be a line from a sutra or a poem, or most simply of all, a vast and simple question, "What is the sound of a single hand?" "What is your original face, before even your parents were born?"  In every case, it defeats the efforts of ordinary consciousness to resolve the questions it raises and we must learn to respond with wide (and wide-awake) awareness, from the depths of our heart-mind."... from Susan Murphy's Upside Down Zen, pg. 45. (Susan's book is a great read and is available in the VIRL.)

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There will be a by donation Chan retreat in White Rock this coming Saturday December the 4th 9:30 to 4:00 p.m. with Willam Tsao, accredited Chan teacher. Email marie Sabine msabine@shaw.ca to register. And of course we will be sitting at the Courtenay Elementary School this Thursday evening.





Also check  out:

Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunday retreat coming up on the 28th

"As the mind becomes clearer, it becomes more empty and calm,
and as it becomes more empty and calm, it grows clearer."...Master Sheng yen
====
Join us to clear your mind this Thursday evening.  There will be a sitting this Sunday 1:30 to 4:00. Due to a PDDay, we will meet at Adrian's. Call first. RSVP Adrian to attend the Sunday sitting.













Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just go straight

 


"I hope you only go straight, don't know, which is clear like space, soon find your correct way, truth, and correct life, get enlightenment, and save all beings from suffering."  ...Zen Master Seung Sahn in Only Don't Know pg. 96
                                                                       ====

There will be a class this Thursday. Events will now be listed on Facebook at Comox Valley Zen (Chan) Centre.






Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Patriarchy and sexual ethics in Chan/Zen

















Patriarchy and sexuality have historically isolated women from practicing Chan and Zen. Miaozong is one woman who refused to be oppressed by her societal obligations. One of Chan Master Yunan's (1063-1135) primary students, Miaozong, asked this question when Master Yuan challenged her request to study Chan.

"Does the Buddhadharma distinguish the difference between male and female forms?"

Her answer revealed a deep understanding of Chan that related back to the exchange between the 5th Chan Patriarch Hongren and the 6th Chan Patriarch Huineng (678-713). When initially denied acceptance into Hongren's monastery because  Huineng was uncivilized, a southern Chinese peasant, and thus incapable of studying Zen, Huineng replied to Hongren, "As far as people are concerned there are north and south, but how could that apply to buddha-nature?"

The 20th/21st centuries have seen the blossoming of women in Chan/Zen studies. Needless to say, the conflict between patriarchy and spirituality has led to a preponderance of ethical crises in many centers/monasteries. At the heart of these ethical crises is the relationship between teacher and students.
Do teacher and student have sex together or not? What's the harm?

For two excellent investigations into sexual ethics, consult Stephen Batchelor's Shaping the Future at
http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/shaping-the-future.html and Zen Women, beyond tea ladies, iron maidens, and macho masters, by Grace Schireson (available in the public library).
 
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Attention:  Who amongst us can write the best chan huatuo (zen koan)? 

To solve the huatuo, here are some suggestions that Zen master Dahui (1089-1163) gave to  Miaodao (a Zen sister of Miaozong).

The huatuo read,  "It is not the mind, it is not the Buddha, it is not a thing; after all, what is it?"


    1. You must not take it as a statement of truth.
    2. You must not take it as something you do not need to do anything about.
    3. Do not take it as a flint-struck spark or a lightning flash.
    4. Do not try to divine the meaning of it.
    5. Do not try to figure it out from the context in which I brought it up.

What's the winnings in this great Zen contest?   Well, first let's decide if after all this meditation, is there even a WHO to award?  You can use the comment section to post your mind boggle!

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ATTENTION: there will be no class this November 11th due to school Remembrance Day closure.  There will however be a silent sitting this Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30. R.S.V.P. Adrian please. 


Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.







Tuesday, November 2, 2010

dancing under the gallows











Is it to be Silent Ilumination or Huatou Method?

"Master Hsu yun has said that the practice of zazen, either as Silent Illumination or in a koan or hua-tou investigation, is to illuminate the mind so that we can see our ‘true nature’. This ‘true nature’ or ‘Buddha nature’ is Emptiness experienced – not a void without objects, nor lacking anything, but rather the basis of sentient being – ‘emptied’ of words. Experiencing and eventually understanding this and applying such understanding in life is the purpose of the Dharma.

In practicing Silent illumination, Shifu (Master Sheng Yen) always stressed the calming of the mind to reach a one-pointed awareness of the totality of a body’s experiencing (Total Body Awareness). Once achieved, this awareness may be widened to admit sensory impressions. Once this is stabilized, changes in experience may appear spontaneously. These may include a loss of a sense of time, a widened awareness of space and later possibly bliss, gratitude, and a disinterested love of being itself. These shifts in feeling lead into a quiet tranquility. The Japanese call these experiences makyo, illusions, since untrained persons may mistakenly think they are enlightened. I call this condition ‘Self at Ease’. The feeling of being a normal self remains present during these shifts in awareness. It is clearly ‘me’ that is having them.

The hua-tou method may be either intense or relatively relaxed. The concentration takes the form of an obsessive enquiry, known as the ‘great doubt’, into such brief paradoxes as “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” or ‘What is next?‘ At some point, during either Silent Illumination or hua-tou work, some stimulus, usually quite small and either of an inner or outer nature, may trigger a sudden change.

This change comes ‘from its own side’ without any self-involvement, wishing or desire and the continuing presence of ‘me’ is disrupted. It is as if at the centre of awareness there is a mirror where the ‘I’ had been and in which all impressions are reflected without any comment from the mirror itself. Shifu calls this experience ‘self forgotten’. While the intensity of the experience may be suppressing the normal awareness of self, it remains possible that the egoic component of self changes in form to a bright witnessing with a mirror-like quality lacking self-reference.

This experience of ‘insight’ (prajna) beyond ego is essentially ineffable – one can try to express it but it is essentially beyond the reach of language. Although this is an experience of ‘emptiness’ – an emptiness of access to word, thought, idea – yet the immediate environment is extra-vividly present in a unique way, extraordinarily brilliant, clear and vivid. One is uninterruptedly ‘present in the presence of the present’." ... from John Crook in
NCF #42 http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/ncf+M5fd1872ceff.html

Really famous Zen Masters, or "Watch it, whether you answer correctly or incorrectly to Zen master's question, you still get 30 whacks from the incense stick. Ouch!!!


Which famous Japanese Zen master devised 'What is the sound of one hand clapping? Hakuin believed he could do much better than the traditional Chinese huatou, 'what is wu' with this new huatuo.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Though Hakouin (1686-1768) visited many Soto temples and frequently quoted  the 13th century Soto Master  Dogen, he despised the technique. "In recent times, however, the Zen schools have been engaging in the practice of "Silent Illumination" doing nothing but sitting lifelessly like wooden blocks. What, aside from that, do you suppose they consider their most urgent concern?....Consuming lots of good rice. Passing day after day in a state of seated sleep." from Wild Ivy, The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin, by Norman Waddell.













Hakuin was a  prolific painter, calligraphist, and writer.
===

Though Alice Herz-Sommer never studied Zen, as the oldest Holocaust survivor in the world, she is a humanitarian mentor to us all. Check out Alice Dancing under the Gallows at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlccsLr48Mw

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There will be a class this Thursday evening.

===

Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.


Monday, October 25, 2010

...and a three hour retreat this coming sunday 1 to 4 p.m.














"Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life."

Dogen(1200-1253)issued his clarion call to revitalize Japanese Buddhism upon his return to Japan from China. He showed no interest in compromising or simplifying the practice that had been handed down by monks of Zen monastic communities for centuries in China and finally transmitted to him by the Chinese Caodong master Rujing. Dogen's community grew to be the Soto School in Japan.

"Dogen's writings are always grounded in practical methodology: how to concentrate body and mind, how to understand and follow monastic rules, how to view various aspects of life and regulate daily conduct. He repeatedly emphasizes the interpenetration of practice and enlightenment. Practice here means ongoing daily activity centered in zazen. Enlightenment is actualization of buddha nature through practice."
...from Moon in a Dewdrop: writings of zen master Dogen, pg. 18.







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We will be meeting this Thursday and there will be a three hour retreat this coming Sunday 1 p.m. at Adrian's. RSVP please. 

====


Also check out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook;
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
email adriansymonds@telus.net
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ruth Fuller Sasaki
















In the pendulum of awareness, every distraction becomes a recognition point to use as an opportunity to
return to our practice.

====

Really famous Zen Masters, or "Watch it, whether you answer correctly or incorrectly to Zen master's question, you still get 30 whacks from the incense stick. Ouch!!!" 


Alan Watts, Gary Snyder, Janwillem van de Wetering, Nyogen Senzaki, Daisetz Suzuki...these names may be familiar to you if you scan the book shelves of libraries and retailers of both new and second hand book stores for Chan or Zen books. What do they all have in common save for all being literary pillars of the Zen community? 


They all ate at the dinner table of Ruth Fuller Sensaki (1892-1967), a wealthy Chicago socialite who met  Daisetz Suzuki in 1932 in Japan. His introduction of her to a real Japanese roshi resulted in a lifelong pursuit of Zen and eventually the development of (North) American Zen.


Though Ruth was not a recognized Zen master, she was the only Westerner-and the only woman-ever to be made a priest of a Daitaku-ji temple in its many centuries. Ruth Fuller Sensaki forever changed the face of Zen Buddhism. Here's her take on the True Self...


"Of course, as long as this human frame hangs together and we exist as one manifested form in the world of forms, we carry on what appears to be an individual existence as an individual ego. But no longer is that ego in control with its likes and dislikes, its characteristics and its foibles. The True Self, which from the beginning we have always been, has at last become the master. Freely the True Self uses this individual form and this individual ego as it will. With no resistance and no hindrance it uses them in all the activities of everyday life whatever they are and wherever they may be. This is true self-mastery; this is true freedom; and this only is truly living. Now have the long years of Zen study and practice come into full flower.".....from Zen: A Method of Religious Awakening in Isabel Stirling's biography of Ruth Fuller Sensaki in Zen Pioneer, pg. 178. 




Ruth Fuller Sensaki
====

Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201, 
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.
















Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sunday retreat coming up...






WALK. SIT. PRACTICE. BE. 









Really famous Zen Masters, or "Watch it, whether you answer correctly or incorrectly to Zen master's question, you still get 30 whacks from the incense stick. Ouch!!!"

Dongshan Liangjie (807-869) is recognized to have founded the Caodong (Soto) school of Zen, which along with Huatuo  Chan(Rinzai),  is still practiced today. Here's one of his quotes on emptiness to a monk who was asking about Dongshan's illness:

"Students are as numerous as sands in the Ganges but none are awakened. 
They err by searching for the path in another person's mouth.
If you wish to forget form and not leave any traces, 
Wholeheartedly strive to walk in emptiness."

Dongshan then had his attendants help him shave his head, bathe, and get dressed. He then had the bell rung to summon the monks so that he could bid them farewell. He appeared to have passed away and the monks began wailing piteously without letup.

Suddenly Dongshan opened his eyes and said to them, "Homeless monks aren't attached to things. That is their authentic practice. Why lament an arduous life and pitiful death?

Dongshan then instructed the temple director to organize a 'delusion  banquet'. The monk's adoration for Donshan was unending.

He then said, "Don't make a big deal about it. When I pass away, don't go carrying on about it."Dongshan then returned to his room, and, sitting upright, passed away.....Pg 186-7 in Andy Fergueson's Zen's Chinese Heritage

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There will be a 2 hour sitting this Sunday at Adrian's 1 to 3 p.m. The format will be a little different than usual. RSVP Adrian please. 

========



Also check out
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201, email adriansymonds@telus.net

Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kill the Buddha


"The goal of practice is to have nothing in your mind. Only then will you accord with dharmas. Check to see if you still have attachments in your mind. If you cannot emptty your mind of attachments instantly, then you must use a method to lessen them." .....Master Sheng Yen in Song of Mind, pg. 22


Really famous Zen Masters, or "Watch it, whether you answer correctly or incorrectly to Zen master's question, you still get 30 whacks from the incense stick. Ouch!!!" 


More on Linji, the eleventh generation teacher (d. 866) who was a disciple of Huangbo Xiyun. He is a preeminent figure in the history of Zen. As the founder of the Linji school of Zen (in Japanese, Rinzai), his tradition remains, along with the Caodong (Soto) school, as one of the two lineages that survive to the present day. (William Tsao received accreditation to teach both methods from Master Sheng Yen in 2004.)


                                                        Japanese painting of Linji Yixuan


In this quote of Master Linji, is he truly recommending mass folly? What does this quote point towards? 

"Followers of the Way [of Ch├ín], if you want to get the kind of understanding that accords with the Dharma, never be misled by others. Whether you're facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it! If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat. If you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk. Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go."           ...picture and text from Wikipedia.


Also check out
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; classes in Vancouver/White Rock with Master William Tsao at http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/
Call Adrian at 250 898 8201 or email adriansymonds@telus.net for information on Chan classes in Courtenay.
Please notify me if you do not wish to receive Chan emails. 





Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nagarjuna and Emptiness






"Clinging", says Nagarjuna, "is to insist on being someone…."






"To be empty is no longer to be full of Oneself.The Buddha encourages abiding in emptiness as a way to realize liberation of the mind. Lao Tzu advises a daily process of subtraction in order that one’s life can be filled. Nagarjuna declares that emptiness is the middle way itself. For Hui-neng, emptiness “includes the sun, moon, stars and planets,” while for Dogen “forgetting oneself is to be awakened by all things.” For Shantideva, emptiness entails letting go of preoccupation with “self” to find oneself extended into a network of endless relationships with others. Shabkar understands how the mind’s emptiness is integral to its radiant, unimpeded responsiveness."....from Stephen Batchelor's Verses from the Center, pg. 43

Nagarjuna (ce 150 to 250) “Nagarjuna kick started Mahajana Buddhism and called into question assumptions so easily resorted to in our attempt to understand the world. Among these assumptions were the existence of stable substances, the linear and one-directional movement of causation, the atomic individuality of persons, the belief in a fixed identity or selfhood, and the strict separations between good and bad conduct and the blessed and fettered life.” … http://www.iep.utm.edu/nagarjun/.

What follows is one of Nagarjuna’s poems.


Awakening

The dharma taught by buddhas
Hinges on two truths:
Partial truths of the world
And truths which are sublime.
Without knowing how they differ,
You cannot know the deep;
Without relying on conventions,
You cannot disclose the sublime;
Without intuiting the sublime;
You cannot experience freedom.

Misperceiving emptiness
Injures the unintelligent
Like mishandling a snake
Or miscasting a spell.

The Buddha despaired
Of teaching the dharma,
Knowing it hard
To intuit its depths.

Your muddled conclusions
Do not affect emptiness;
Your denial of emptiness
Does not affect me.

When emptiness is possible,
Everything is possible;
Were emptiness impossible,
Nothing would be possible.

In projecting your faults onto me,
You forget the horse you are riding.

To see things existing by nature,
Is to see them without
Causes or conditions,
Thus subverting causality,
Agents, tools and acts,
Starting, stopping and ripening.

Contingency is emptiness
Which, contingently configured,
Is the middle way.
Everything is contingent;
Everything is empty.

Were everything not empty,
There would be no rising and passing.
Ennobling truths would not exist.
Without contingency
How could I suffer pain?

This shifting anguish
Has no nature of its own;
If it did, how could it have a cause?
Deny emptiness and you deny
The origins of suffering.

If anguish existed by nature,
How would it ever cease?
Absolute misery could never stop.
How could you cultivate a path
That exists by nature?
How could it lead to the end of pain?
A path on which you tread
Can have no essence of its own.

If confusion existed by nature,
I would always be confused.
How could I know anything?
Letting go and realizing,
Cultivation and fruition
Could never happen.

Who can attain absolute goals
That by nature are unattainable?
Since no one could reach them,
There would be no community;
With no truths, no dharma either.
With no community or dharma
How could I awaken?
I would not depend on awakening
Nor awakening on me.

A naturally unawakened person
Would never awaken
No matter how hard
He practiced for its sake.
He would never do good or evil;
An unempty person would do nothing.
He’d experience fruits of good and evil
Without having done good or evil deeds.
How can fruits of good and evil not be empty
If they are experienced?

To subvert emptiness and contingency
Is to subvert conventions of the world,
It engenders passivity:
Acts without an author,
Authors who do not act.
Beings would not be born or die;
They would be frozen in time,
Alien to variety

If things were unempty,
You could attain nothing.
Anguish would never end.
You would never let go of compulsive acts.

To see contingency is to see
Anguish, its origins, cessation and the path.

from Stephen Batchelor, Verses from the Center, pg. 126


Also check out
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201, email adriansymonds@telus.net


Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One day retreat Sunday the 26 Sept in Courtenay



Notes
from
the
Sept.
retreat
on
Denman
Island
2010


Let go. Let go. Relax the body. Relax the mind.

Eyes Open or Closed? William said one could practice with eyes closed, eyes ¼ open or fully open (always in each position fully relaxed). William suggested to practice with eyes open, that we would eventually be doing that anyways, so why not start now. (What’s the difference? Why not try a week of one way, then switch and switch. Find out yourself the differences; they are definitive.)

What is diligent practice? Sit at home; sit weekly with others to receive the benefits from group mind; do retreats 1 day, 3, 5, 7, ….49 days;

When not sitting, practice throughout the day/evening using mindfulness, non self-centered deluded thinking and non-attachment; walking meditation, direct contemplation, and most importantly, help others, including helping others not to be self centered.

Two main techniques: Silent Illumination (develops great resting) and Huatuo (develops questioning sensation) Either technique: not too tight, not too loose, but relax, relax, relax, let go of mental/physical tensions.

Main Principle: pure awareness, non-discrimination and no deluded thinking

Three Guiding Principles: great confidence, great vow and great determination

Three Supportive Methods: no seeking, no attainment and effort of
no-effort

Auxiliary Practices: Repeat each morning...

1. Your great vow: “I vow to (make up your own obligation).”
2. Renewal: “I realize that because of my self-centered attachment I have hurt sentient beings, those I know and those I don’t know. I have decided not to do this again.”
3. Transfer Merit: “I transfer all the merit I have accumulated thus far to all sentient beings (and /or to a specific individual in need.”)

Challenges when meditating: low energy produces drowsiness. Remedy? Open eyes wide until tears come; kneel on bare floor (pain wakes you up) and do your meditation; ask for incense stick (Timekeeper will use it to tap your shoulders.); Wash your face in cold water; Do mindful exercise such as walking or bowing (Requires permission from the Timekeeper.)

High energy: Wandering monkey mind….use one of your Methods (Silent Illumination or Huatuo)

Huge Mental Obstruction: When the Method is not working:
1. Repeat your great vow (said everyday: limits the obstructive quality of thoughts);
2. Label your Obstructive thought: it is either classified as Greed, Anger or Delusion (all other types of thoughts); one to ten and start labeling over again;
3. Return to one of the two primary methods when you no longer compulsively attach to the Obstructive thought.

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Are you attending Thursdays? On wet evenings, ensure you take off your shoes at the front entrance of the school and carry them upstairs to room 208. The janitor will have already cleaned the stairs. If you can, bring a small lamp so we don't have to turn on the very noisy florescants.

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Really famous Zen Masters, or "Watch it, whether you answer correctly or incorrectly to Zen master's question, you still get 30 whacks from the incense stick. Ouch!!!"

Linji Yixuan is an eleventh generation teacher (d. 866) who was a disciple of Huangbo Xiyun. He is a preeminent figure in the history of Zen. As the founder of the Linji school of Zen (in Japanese, Rinzai), his tradition remains, along with the Caodong (Soto) school, as one of the two lineages that survive to the present day. (William Tsao received accreditation to teach both methods from Master Sheng Yen in 2004.)

Linji said, "There's a type of student who goes to Mt. Wutai to seek out Manjushri. That student has already made a mistake! There's no Manjushri at Mt. Wutai. Do you want to know Manjushri? It's just what is in front of your eyes! From first to last it's not anything else. Don't doubt it anywhere you go! It's the living Manjushri!"....from from Zen’s Chinese Heritage by Andy Ferguson

===

There will be a silent one day retreat this Sunday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. R.S.V.P/ please to Adrian.


Also check out
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/
Call Adrian at 250 898 8201, email adriansymonds@telus.net
Do you wish to remove your email address from the Courtenay Chan list? Please inform me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Guiding Principle!!!














Practice with pure awareness. No discrimination. No delusion.

=====

"By sound and form, Huang-po was referring to the sense objects (dusts) of the six sense organs and their respective consciousnesses. The six sense organs and consciousnesses are the eyes and seeing, the ears and hearing, the nose and smelling, the tongue and tasting, the body and feeling, and the mind and thinking. The six dusts are forms, sounds, odors, flavors, objects, and symbols. Since humans rely mostly on their ears and eyes to interact with others and the environment, many methods of concentration make use of these two senses, and their accompanying objects - sound and form - to train the mind.

Nothing is intrinsically wrong with the methods of practice, but problems can arise in the minds of practitioners. In the course of meditation, one will undoubtedly hear sounds and see things. Some of these phenomena will be external, and some will come from within, but all should be regarded as illusion. As the mind begins to move from scatteredness to clarity, it will often reach out to grasp things: the hum of the refrigerator may sound like beautiful music. The rule of practice is not to attach to phenomena, even if the sights and sounds of paradise fill your eyes and ears.

As the mind quiets, the senses become more acute and the mind becomes more expansive. The sound of an ant moving across the floor may sound like a stampeding buffalo. You may become so immersed in a particular sound that everything else around you fades away. The sound may grow, like ripples expanding outward when a stone is thrown into a pond, until you yourself become the sound, and the sound becomes one with the entire universe. Likewise, you may see flashes and circles of light in your visual field. One retreatant saw his fellow practitioners surrounded by golden halos. You may sense light emanating from your chest, and if your mind is stable and clear, the light might expand, like sound, until you, the light and the universe are one.

What I have described may happen to you on the path of practice. They are good experiences and signposts of progress, but they are not the final destination. If you become attached to these phenomena, they become serious obstructions. Even if you experience oneness with the entire universe, it is not liberation. It is attachment to sound and form. Huang-po said that attaching to sound and form, no matter how beautiful or expansive it may seem, is not in accordance with enlightenment, and has nothing to do with liberation. Better it would be for the mind to be like a withered trunk or cold ash. These analogies describe a mind that is settled and undisturbed by sound and form. Such a mind, though not enlightened, is close to Ch'an.

The mind of Ch'an is one that is boundless, illuminating, and free from entanglements, like a sun hanging in empty space. One should strive in practice to be like this sun, empty of all attachments. One does this by letting go of the previous thought - the past - and the next thought - the future. When this happens, the present thought will naturally fall away as well, leaving one unattached to existence and emptiness. This is true Ch'an practice."

Excerpts from The Principles of Transmitting the Mind
Commentary by Master Sheng-yen

http://www.chan1.org/ddp/chanmag/sum1996.html#HeartSutra

=======

Really famous Zen Masters, or "Watch it, whether you answer correctly or incorrectly to Zen master's question, you still get 30 whacks from the incense stick. Ouch!!!"

Huang-po (d.850) was the disciple of Baizhand and the teacher of Linji Yixuan. Here is an account of Huang-po had with one of his monks.

"One day Huang-po made his hand into a fist and said, "All the teachers under heaven are right here now. If I let out a string of words about it, it will just confuse you. If I don't say a single phrase, you'll never get rid of it."

A monk asked, "What happens if you let out a string of words?"

Huang-po said, "Confusion."

The monk said, "If you don't let out a single phrase and it can't be gotten rid of, then what?"

Huang-po said, "Everywhere." ...from Zen's Chinese Heritage by Andy Ferguson, pg. 120

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Please note: we have a new meeting place at Courtenay Elementary School. 7 to 9 p.m, thursday evenings, by donation.

===

For more information on Chan, Google Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; Google http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201, email adriansymonds@telus.net