Chan Buddhism Bodhidharma’s “Wall-Gazing” for nine years, (NPM, Taipei)
BodhidharmaRidding on the blade of a reed to cross the Yangtze River Left, by Li Yaofu, Yuan Dynasty Right: by Master Liaoan Qinyu, Yuan Dynasty
Huineng’s Chan • Non-thought: • For one’s mind to remain undefiled within the sensory realms • Within one’s own thoughts, one should always transcend the realms, one should not generate the mind relative to the realms • If one does not think of the hundred things, then thoughts will be completely eliminated • Comment: scriptures teach that one should rid oneself of sensory desire. The “non-thought” meditation helps one do that.
“The Six Patriarch Cutting Bamboo,” Scroll, by Liang Kai, Southern Song, Tokyo National Museum
The Dharma, the Words, and the Meaning • Huineng’s teachings: • “The wondrous principle of the Buddha has nothing to do with words.” (said to the nun Inexhaustible Treasury, who studied the Great Nirvana Sutra) • “Meditation and wisdom are maintained equally/all is pure within the consciousness/the dual cultivation [of meditation and wisdom] is correct. (said to Fa-hai, who learned that the mind is fundamental Buddha and that the function of the dual cultivation is transcendence of all things)
Understand the meaning, forget the words • Understand the meaning of the Lotus Sutra but not recite its words only (said to Fada [Fa-ta] who recited the sutra 3,000 times without understanding its meaning) • The central doctrine of the Lotus Sutra : true Enlightenment • Open the perpetual understanding of the buddhas; manifest the perpetual understanding of the buddhas; enlightened to the perpetual understanding of the buddhas; enter the perpetual understanding of the buddhas • Your mind is the Buddha. There is no other Buddha
“The Second Patriarch’s Seated Meditation,” Tokyo National Museum
Understanding the Sutras • The sutras cannot be in error. They would not impede one’s mindfulness (said To Fada, or Fa-ta, who didn’t understand the meaning of the sutra and had doubts) • Delusion impedes enlightenment (e.g., according to the Lotus Sutra) • Deluded in mind, one is turned by the Lotus • Enlightened in mind, one turns the Lotus
To recite (with mouth) and to practice (with the mind) is to turn the sutra (zhuan jing); to recite but not practice (with the mind) is to be turned by the sutra (bei jing zhuan) [said to Fada]
Understanding the meaning of three bodies and four wisdoms • Three bodies and four wisdoms in the Lankavatara Sutra (said to Zhitong, or Chih-t’ung, who recited this sutra more than 1,000 times without understanding the meaning of:) • Three bodies: • The true dharmakaya: (the Buddha as identified with ultimate truth) your nature • The perfect sambhogakaya (the Buddha’s “heavenly body”): your wisdom • The thousand billion nirmanakaya: (the Buddha’s earthly body) your practice
Four wisdoms: • the great round, • the universally same nature, • the seeing of wondrous contemplation, • what creates that which is accomplished Bodhidharma, Kyoto, Myoshin ji
Complete understanding, complete detachment • Not seeing a single dharma, not maintaining the view of nonbeing, not knowing a single dharma, not maintaining one’s knowledge of emptiness (said to Zhitong) • Three vehicles: (based on practice) • To learn and recite—small vehicle • To be enlightened to the dharma and understand its meaning—great vehicle • To penetrate/be equipped with all the myriad dharmas—supreme vehicle Bodhidharma, Anonymous, Song Dynasty, NPM, Taipei
Sudden and Gradual • “The dharma is without sudden and gradual; it is people that are clever or dull, therefore the names of sudden and gradual” (p.91) • What did Huineng mean by “sudden”? • Apprehension of truth/principle all at a single instance of meditation? • Enlightenment in which all qualities of Buddhahood are gained simultaneously through meditation? • From the beginning of meditation to enlightenment, how “immediate” can this process and result be defined as “sudden”? • How much weight is given to the meditative exercise if it does lead to sudden enlightenment? • Sudden cultivation results in sudden enlightenment?
Huineng’s theory of meditation • “Externally, to transcend characteristics is meditation.”“Internally, to be undisturbed is concentration.” (p. 60) • Not “Fix the mind to contemplate purity and sit constantly without lying down” (p.91) • Not “seated meditation” that aims at concentration on mind, purity, or motionlessness.” (p.57) • “Seeing the various realms without the mind being disturbed.” (p. 60) • “My fundamental self-nature is pure” (p.60) • Within every moment of thought, you should see yourself that your fundamental nature is pure. (p.61)
Huineng’s Practice of Meditation • Samadhi of the single practice (or the “Single-practice samadhi”) • “always practice the single direct mind in all one’s actions whether walking, standing still, sitting, or lying down.” (p. 57) • “enlightened to the self-nature” • Never departs from the self-nature • Seeing the nature • The self-nature becomes enlightened itself (p.94)
Repentance • “See your own dharmakaya, see the Buddha within your own mind” (p.61) • “Five dharmakaya incenses of the self-natures” (p.61) • Incense of the precepts • Incense of meditation • Incense of wisdom • Incense of emancipation • Incense of emancipated perpetual understanding • “Formless repentance” (p.62) • In every moment of thought not subject to the defilements of stupidity, deceitfulness, deception, jealousy, pride, etc.
Huineng’s Three Learnings • “My morality, meditation, and wisdom are directed to the people of supreme vehicle.”(p.92) • “my morality, meditation, and wisdom is for exhorting those of great capacities of wisdom” (p.93)
Four Great Vows • Save all sentient beings • Eradicate all afflictions of our own minds • Learn all the teachings of our own minds • Achieve enlightenment of Buddhahood
Formless Precepts of the triple refuge • Take refuge in the Two-legged Honored One of Enlightenment • Take refuge in the Honored One of the Correct Transcendence of Desire • Take refuge in the Honored One within the Pure Assembly • To sum up: take refuge in the “self-Buddha”; take “self-refuge”
Huineng’s Impacts • Major disciples: Fahai (Fa-hai), Zhicheng (Chih-ch’eng), Fada (Fa-ta), Shenhui (Shen-hui), Zhichang (Chih-ch’ang), Zhitong (Chih-t’ung), Zhiche (Chih-ch’e), Zhitao (Chih-tao), Fazhen (Fa-chen), Faru (Fa-ju) • Shenhui made Huineng and his Chan prevail • Theory of sudden enlightenment, seeing one’s Buddha mind and Buddha nature, no-thought, complete detachment, the single dharma, non-duality of meditation and wisdom, supreme vehicle, master’s authority
Chan Study and Encounter Dialogue • Southern Chan: the “Direct pointing into mind” entails • Master-disciple relationship • Compatibility between the master and the disciple • True lineage of Southern Chan • Five houses: Fayan (Fa-yen), Kuiyang (K’uei-yang), Yunmen (Yun-men), Linji (Lin-chi), Caodong (Ts’ao-tung) • Chan adepts traveled to Chan monasteries to seek truth master and true dharma
Gongan (Kung-an, Koan) Chan • A Kung-an is usually a story drawn from Chan historical accounts that contain stories/records regarding a disciple’s awakening process. • It entails an enigmatic question posed to a disciple by a master to solicit a creative and insightful answer
The Liji (Rinzai) Lineage/School, regarded as the most influential of the “five houses of Chan”, used Kung-an, or Gongan (Jpn. Koan) to facilitate learning and understanding of the dharma and enlightenment; • The approach is said to have been effective in helping disciples to advance their Chan learning and realization • Master would shout/scream at the disciple, and beat him with a stick if the answer is based on a rational/logical thinking and does not show any insight.