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Checking my understanding from Zen perspective

misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a HinduIndia Veteran

Hi All,
Writing this thread as I want to check my understanding from Zen perspective.
Just now I read the web-page at https://terebess.hu/zen/nanyue.html and the below section in this web-page:
When Huairang first arrived, Master Huineng asked, “Where did you come from?”
Huairang said, “From Mt. Song.”
The master asked, “What is it that has come?”
Huairang was stuck and couldn't answer. He then decided to stay and practice there.

_Eight years later Huairang one day said to Master Huineng, “Now I have an understanding.”
The master asked, “What is it?”
Huairang said, “To say or do anything misses the mark.”
The master asked further, “Then is there any real practice to do, or awakening to experience?”
Huairang said, “It's not that there isn't practice and awakening, it's just that they can't be defiled.”
The master said, “Just this that can't be defiled is what is upheld and sustained by all the awakened ones. You are like this, I am like this, all the ancestors in India were like this.”
_

In the above section - the part that they can't be defiled - for this part, some thought came to my mind, so thought of checking with you all if my understanding is in right direction from Zen perspective. My thinking says: What Huirang meant was - there is practice and enlightenment, but it cannot be defiled. Defiled here means the moment we think I am doing practice and I can attain enlightenment - that moment both practice and enlightenment comes impure. Not that there is no practice and there is no enlightenment, but categorizing something as practice and enlightenment would miss the mark - practice is enlightenment - to carry our idea/notion/thought that there is something like practice, which we should do to achieve something like enlightenment, this idea/notion/thought is what makes the activity we are engaged in a defiled/impure/not complete activity or practice or enlightenment.

So no 'I', so no clinging to any idea and no disliking of any idea - would be the way of not to defile the practice as we will not bring 'I' to the practice - and since ultimate truth or reality is always there and is not dependent on us doing anything, because if it is dependent on us, then it is not unconditioned and it will not always be there, which would negate the Ultimate truth or Ultimate reality itself, because Ultimate truth or Ultimate reality should be something which is always there and so not dependent on us.

Any thoughts/suggestions, please suggest. @how , @Cinorjer , @seeker242 any comments on above thread.

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Personally, I think you've thought it out quite logically.
    Now, don't OVER-think it, or the very question itself will be defiled.... :)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited November 25

    @misecmisc1 I’m afraid @cinorjer won’t be commenting as he passed away early this year. Fede made a thread called “a sad first time duty” to inform us all back in July.

    Given my limited knowledge of zen perhaps I shouldn’t comment but your analysis looks reasonable.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited November 25

    Thank you kindly, @Kerome , I'm sorry, I didn't catch that one.

  • @Kerome said:
    @misecmisc1 I’m afraid @cinorjer won’t be commenting as he passed away early this year.

    Excuses, excuses!

    🤐

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Wow, @lobster... not appropriate! :angry:

    lobster
  • My apologies to @cinojer o:) and anyone else who is no longer offensive ...

    <3 RIP <3 or better still RIZ - Rest In Zen

  • “Just this that can't be defiled is what is upheld and sustained by all the awakened ones."

    In context, Master Huineng pointed to the knowledge (just this) that, irrespective of "real practice" and "awakening to experience", the original self (enlightened and awakened) cannot be defiled. Ultimate reality is regarded similarly to karma in Zen in that not much is really spoken about it definitively. It sort of transcends what can be expressed. So, here we are back to the effing ineffableness of it all.....

    lobsterpaulyso
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited November 26

    @Kerome said:
    @misecmisc1 I’m afraid @cinorjer won’t be commenting as he passed away early this year.

    Oh sad to hear that about @Cinorjer as he was a good Zen teacher for me though online, as he helped me by replying to my Zen queries. RIP @Cinorjer.

    lobster
  • Tee hee.

    As we all know purity is defiled
    Right speech is silent
    Samsara is death and Nirvana
    Simplicity is complicated
    And dharma ... appropriated
    https://buddhismnow.com/2017/06/09/guidepost-for-the-hall-of-pure-bliss-by-hongzhi/

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited November 26

    Defiled here means the moment we think

    I agree!

    But earlier you said:

    the part that they can't be defiled - for this part, some thought came to my mind

    Where's the stick? That deserves a good beating! A good stick beating can't be defiled. Smack!
    Ouch!

    lobstermisecmisc1
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Did you mean a Keisaku...? Happy to oblige, Master!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 26

    @misecmisc1 said:
    Hi All,
    Writing this thread as I want to check my understanding from Zen perspective.
    Just now I read the web-page at https://terebess.hu/zen/nanyue.html and the below section in this web-page:
    When Huairang first arrived, Master Huineng asked, “Where did you come from?”
    Huairang said, “From Mt. Song.”
    The master asked, “What is it that has come?”
    Huairang was stuck and couldn't answer. He then decided to stay and practice there.

    _Eight years later Huairang one day said to Master Huineng, “Now I have an understanding.”
    The master asked, “What is it?”
    Huairang said, “To say or do anything misses the mark.”
    The master asked further, “Then is there any real practice to do, or awakening to experience?”
    Huairang said, “It's not that there isn't practice and awakening, it's just that they can't be defiled.”
    The master said, “Just this that can't be defiled is what is upheld and sustained by all the awakened ones. You are like this, I am like this, all the ancestors in India were like this.”
    _

    In the above section - the part that they can't be defiled - for this part, some thought came to my mind, so thought of checking with you all if my understanding is in right direction from Zen perspective. My thinking says: What Huirang meant was - there is practice and enlightenment, but it cannot be defiled. Defiled here means the moment we think I am doing practice and I can attain enlightenment - that moment both practice and enlightenment comes impure. Not that there is no practice and there is no enlightenment, but categorizing something as practice and enlightenment would miss the mark - practice is enlightenment - to carry our idea/notion/thought that there is something like practice, which we should do to achieve something like enlightenment, this idea/notion/thought is what makes the activity we are engaged in a defiled/impure/not complete activity or practice or enlightenment.

    So no 'I', so no clinging to any idea and no disliking of any idea - would be the way of not to defile the practice as we will not bring 'I' to the practice - and since ultimate truth or reality is always there and is not dependent on us doing anything, because if it is dependent on us, then it is not unconditioned and it will not always be there, which would negate the Ultimate truth or Ultimate reality itself, because Ultimate truth or Ultimate reality should be something which is always there and so not dependent on us.

    Hmm. I was right with you until "no I".

    I am no expert but I think I see a problem and I could be simply mis-reading.

    When you say "no I" do you mean to say the distinction between "I" and "other"/subject and object is an illusion or that all is somehow "other" and "I" doesn't exist?

    I understand it may seem like a simple-minded question but in my mind it could mean the difference between nihilism and the Middle Way. Between compassion being a nice ideal and being the logical position in light of the truth.

    I think I am a pretty handy tool of exploration that we could all benefit from. Just like every other aspect of I.

    I am not the bad guy but rather how we see I.

    Without I, there is no seeing. There is no waking up and no experience of being.

    Kerome
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran

    @seeker242 said:

    Defiled here means the moment we think

    I agree!

    But earlier you said:

    the part that they can't be defiled - for this part, some thought came to my mind

    Where's the stick? That deserves a good beating! A good stick beating can't be defiled. Smack!
    Ouch!

    @seeker242: You are another Zen teacher for me here, though online, apart from @Cinorjer. Also @genkaku is another Zen teacher for me here, though online. Thanks.

  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Explorer

    As Huineng referenced the Indian ancestors - it's pretty clear he is referring to Vasubhandu, who is the Buddhist equivalent of Aristotle. Vasubhandu and his compatriots argued that all things (dharmas) are conditioned (dependent on other things for their existence) except for space and nirvana (awakening). And that all conditioned dharmas are impure (cause suffering) except for 'the path' (practice).

    So, it's clear that Huairang is referring to these notions when he says that practice and awakening can't be defiled (practice can't cause suffering and nirvana cannot be created or destroyed and so is essentially eternal). I guess the question that then needs to be asked is ... Did Huairang come to this realization independent of Vasubhandu's writings? Or perhaps his confidence in stating these propositions was good enough for Huineng.

    HozanlobsterDavidwojciech
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    Negate the mud, negate the lotus.

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited November 27

    Hi All,
    In Dogen's Genjokoan, there is a sentence - To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.
    Can somebody please tell me what is the meaning of 'That myriad things come forth and experience themselves' in the above sentence? Please suggest. Thanks.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    @misecmisc1 said:
    Hi All,
    In Dogen's Genjokoan, there is a sentence - To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.
    Can somebody please tell me what is the meaning of 'That myriad things come forth and experience themselves' in the above sentence? Please suggest. Thanks.

    hi misecmisc1.im no zen guy,gosh ...the clue might be that lao-tzue quote....as someone suggest the original roshe?

    David
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    the lao quote above ,in this thread.

  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Explorer

    @misecmisc1 You can do this ...

    It's worth repeating that when the Zen guys talk, it's always about the mind. When my teacher talked of the wife tucking the husband into bed and the husband mumbling that he wasn't tired - it was all about the mind. And, of course, when Dogen talks of weeds and flowers ... well you know.

    So, what would be the 'myriad things' when you only consider the activity of the mind? Or put another way, what does the mind actually do that might reinforce the notion of a self, and what might that activity look like if there were no notion of a self directing that same activity?

    misecmisc1
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited November 28

    When I read Fukanzazengi, in it Dogen just gives the instructions for the physical posture, i am referring to this text on Fukanzazengi:
    https://sanfranciscozencenter.blob.core.windows.net/assets/21_Fukanzazengi.pdf

    Moreover, when I heard a commentary on it by Norman Fischer at everydayzen website, those commentary talks also I think referred to the above web-page pdf file.

    So Dogen just gave the physical body sitting posture details and after that he says to take a deep breath and then he says 'Think not-thinking' which Norman Fischer says is about bringing the attention back to body and breath.

    So just to clarify if I am understanding Fukanzazengi's instructions on zazen correctly (assume me to be a really stupid person) - Does it mean that when we sit in zazen as per Dogen, after putting the body in the physical sitting position, after that we just don't do anything, rather just be with whatever is arising? means no trying to breath out slowly to relax the body more, no trying to focus on breathing, no trying to focus on hara (3 fingers below the navel), no trying to do anything? Rather just be with whatever arises and when we find there is thoughts arising, then bring the attention back to breath and body and then again just be with whatever arises?

    Can somebody please confirm if my above understanding of doing zazen as per Fukanzazengi is correct or not? If my understanding is incorrect, then please correct it. So please suggest. Thanks for your help.

  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Explorer

    You got it! (But also realize that zazen instruction is not universal and that other schools may include things like counting breaths)

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited November 28

    @jwredel said:
    You got it! (But also realize that zazen instruction is not universal and that other schools may include things like counting breaths)

    So just to confirm - Does Dogen's Fukanzazengi's instructions on zazen mean that when we sit in zazen, after putting the body in the physical sitting position, after that we just don't do anything, rather just be with whatever is arising - means no trying to breath out slowly to relax the body more, no trying to focus on breathing, no trying to focus on hara (3 fingers below the navel), no trying to do anything - rather just be with whatever arises and when we find there is thoughts arising, then bring the attention back to breath and body and after that then again just be with whatever arises? Please confirm if this understanding of Dogen's Fukanzazengi's instructions on zazen is correct or not? Thanks.

  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Explorer

    Yes B)

    lobstermisecmisc1
  • @David said:
    Negate the mud, negate the lotus.

    :)
    Indeed.

    We are not dead clay, not a lotus.
    From clay we can learn solidity. From a lotus, flowering. From both, balance and independence. Just as a finger pointing at the moon is

    a finger pointing at the moon

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