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Thread: WHAT's NEXT??

  1. #1

    WHAT's NEXT??

    Hey Guys,

    I have just finished going through the Genjo Koan on 'Sit-a-Long' with Jundo', and next I have something very special in store:

    I think the subject is so very useful to anyone studying Buddhism, as it can be extremely confusing (both to newcomers and oldcomers), and so I really want to make this series of talks "mandatory listening" ... or, at least, super-highly suggested!

    The topic is a very clear list of "Eight Types of Enlightenment" as typically found in various forms of Buddhism, meaning the very different and often totally inconsistent (although sometimes overlapping) visions that various schools of Buddhism propose as the ultimate "goal" at the end of the Buddha's rainbow. Different strands of Buddhism really do have very unique ideas on this whole "Enlightenment" thing, and anyone studying Buddhism can become tangled up in the many ways that teachers of various schools, in different books and teachings, often are proposing radically different goals and different ways to get there. Even within the Zen Schools, or even in the ideas of a single teacher, the ideas get mixed and matched and stuck together. Thus, it is important for students to be able to recognize what is going on.

    I ask everyone to download and read the following [PDF], and I will move through it in a series of talks on the blog starting this week:

    http://jundotreeleaf.googlepages.com/Ty ... enment.pdf

    It is from a book called "The New Buddhism" by David Brazier. What is also interesting is that Mr Brazier seems --not-- to be a Zen Practitioner (I believe he is currently a Pure Land student), and thus offers some criticisms of what he sees as the "Zen" concept(s) of Enlightenment. This will give me a chance to talk about those, although (of course) I do not think many of his criticisms are accurate. Naturally, he seems to propose a "Pure Land" concept of Enlightenment as the best.

    I really think you will find it informative, and helpful to your practice and understanding of Buddhist books and teachings. I will start these talks in a day or so.

    After we finish these talks, I am then planning to move on to a series of "Sit-a-Longs" looking at the Heart Sutra. And after that ... who knows?!!

    Oh, and don't forget our big 4 hour Zazenkai is tomorrow (Saturday 5/3) from 9pm Japan Time.

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Should be interesting, got it downloaded ready to read when I get back from my sunny evenings kayaking out on the north sea.

    In gassho, Kev

  3. #3

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Hi Jundo,

    Cool - sounds great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I think the subject is so very useful to anyone studying Buddhism, as it can be extremely confusing (both to newcomers and oldcomers), and so I really want to make this series of talks "mandatory listening" ... or, at least, super-highly suggested!
    Oh, I consider them all to be mandatory. :wink:

    Gassho
    Ken

  4. #4

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    What a great read!! This bit cracked me up (p93)

    There has been a striking tendency since the time of the Buddha to move enlightenment out of reach. It has become a goal out of reach over the horizon. This is in marked contrast to the picture given by the earliest texts, in which people are becoming arhats on every third page
    I don't buy the argument that all those followers were waiting in the bardo for the Buddha and were somehow more special than seekers now :P

  5. #5

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Okedoke Jundo - will do
    Cheers
    Jools

  6. #6

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Thanks Jundo
    These are very helpful and a great benefit to my understanding.
    (not that that is saying much :roll: )

    Thanks anyway

  7. #7

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Hi Jundo

    Haven't finished yet, Just started the Zen part.

    In the text he mentions the Buddha's original teaching and what the Buddha's point was and how from school to school it was not adhered to. What sutra or discourse is he referring to here? Where can this teaching be found? The Heart Sutra? Four Noble truths?

    I apologize if I missed the reference.

    G,W

  8. #8

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    You cut off the Sweet Realm story there. :?

    Thanks Jundo. Good resource and I see the Pureland influence a bit.


    G,W

  9. #9

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Hi Jundo

    Haven't finished yet, Just started the Zen part.

    In the text he mentions the Buddha's original teaching and what the Buddha's point was and how from school to school it was not adhered to. What sutra or discourse is he referring to here? Where can this teaching be found? The Heart Sutra? Four Noble truths?

    I apologize if I missed the reference.

    G,W
    Hi Will,

    I think the author's meaning is that, at this point in time (and since nobody wrote anything down in the Buddha's time, and did not do so until hundreds of years after he died ... at which point folks immediately started disagreeing on the Buddha's message) one guess is almost as good as another as to what the Buddha actually preached ... and it is in the eye of the beholder. Some Sutra and writings are older than others, but all were written by folks interpreting in very different ways the Buddha's teachings.

    So, I suppose that our perspective in Zen Practice is that, if "Will" finds "Will's Truth", then the "Buddha" has found "Buddha's Truth".

    That, plus there are certain things that all (or almost all) Buddhists agree on, Zen Buddhists included ... such as that the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, Impermanence and 'No-Self'. We believe that for sure!

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS- Read the article again slowly, Will. It is worth going through.

  10. #10

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    at which point folks immediately started disagreeing on the Buddha's message) one guess is almost as good as another as to what the Buddha actually preached ... and it is in the eye of the beholder.
    Thanks Jundo. I kind of got that from the article when I finished. ops:

    So, I suppose that our perspective in Zen Practice is that, if "Will" finds "Will's Truth", then the "Buddha" has found "Buddha's Truth".
    Which means we can't be lead by momma's apron strings the whole time.

    G,W

  11. #11
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    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Jundo,
    Thank you!

    I found a copy of "The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo" and he spends quite a bit of time on enlightenment and its various interpretations. I also note that Heinrich Dumoulin in his "History of Zen Buddhism" also spends a lot of time on this in Volume I, as he discusses the break between the Northern and Southern schools at the time of the fifth and sixth zen patriarchs...

    So I just go sit and perform pi-kuan (wall-gazing)!

    Gassho,
    Alex

  12. #12

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Jundo;

    Thank you for suggesting and providing those two chapters on the Varieties of Enlightenment. I found the authors analysis to be fascinating.

    But this comment was wonderful: “. . . there are Buddhists of all schools who have continued to live lives of service, adapting to the conditions of their times. That surely is the real enlightenment that he [Buddha] was concerned about.” (page 95)

    While we may not know what Buddha actually taught or the details of his life, this “live lives of service” seems to conform to the example of Buddha’s life: he awakened and then performed the service of teaching the Dharma for the remainder of his life.

    clyde

  13. #13

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    That's very interesting Jundo. Thanks. I wonder if you know that Dharmavidya David Brazier is very active on the web and would probably be quite pleased at your interest in his book? I am a Facebook friend of his (he has 418 at the last count).

    http://amidatrust.typepad.com/dharmavidya/

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=677671833&ref=nf


    Gassho,
    John

  14. #14

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    BTW, he told me he trained in Zen for 20 years. I read one of his books called 'Zen Psychotherapy'

    Gassho,
    John

  15. #15

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Thank you, John. I will drop him a note.

    The rest of the book is quite radical, calling for a kind of societal revolution based on Buddhism ... Sentient Beings of the World Unite! Maybe not everyone's taste or view of Buddhism.

    It is interesting and I rather like what he proposes, but it might depend on how political someone is and interested in changing the world. Gassho, Jundo

  16. #16

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Thanks Jundo,

    Well I'm back from my self-imposed exile . . . just had to work some things out myself

    I'm most interested in what you've got planned here. I'll be downloading it right now and reading it over the next few days.

    I hope to keep in better touch with y'all in the coming days.

    take care,

    Greg

  17. #17

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by will

    PS- Read the article again slowly, Will. It is worth going through.

    I bought the book at 1/2 Price Books for $5.99 in Austin, TX this weekend! Can't beat that! :mrgreen: Very good read.

    1. If I am reading him right, he's basically saying a) Zen is not really, really Buddhism and b) more like a stew of Daoism and Buddhism. :shock:

    2. My quibble w/ the author with this point is that he does make good arguments in regards to the different traditions in Buddhism, but I did notice he wasn't too critical with Pure Land Buddhism. His main critique is that it's feels a bit too Protestant.

  18. #18

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    1. If I am reading him right, he's basically saying a) Zen is not really, really Buddhism and b) more like a stew of Daoism and Buddhism. :shock:
    You know, I think I'm OK with that. When I started out reading the old Pali canon I was initially really put off by the view that this world is a horrible awful pit of despair and the goal is to never come back. That's not really my scene. I'm not denying the problem of evil, but aren't good and bad projections of the mind? And there's a lot of good stuff in the world, too, things I wouldn't mind experiencing over and over for a kalpa or two.

    In fact I've always struggled with the fact that Mr. Gautama ditched his wife and kid to go on his spiritual quest. Of course there are lots of debates and justifications, but it still feels kinda wrong to me. *horror, shock*

    I think the blending of Taoist ideas (nature's order, the way, wu-wei, inaction) and Confucian ideals (one's responsibilities, not withdrawing from the world, being engaged) did a lot of good for the "faith".

    In some ways, when I hear the "many" and the "one" it could also be mapped not only to Therevadan and emptiness doctrines, it could also refer to Confucianism (hierarchy) and Taoism (the Dao).

    Skye

  19. #19

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Jundo,

    Thank you for this remarkably clear reading!

    As you say, the author seems to have social change in mind, and it got me wondering. In my absence I've done a bit of reading on Engaged Buddhism, and this writer's view seems close to much of what I've read: a "socially-conscious" dharma.

    This sort of outlook is interesting to me, and speaks to my past as an activist. I found myself thinking during reading that our Treeleaf view tends to agree with what the author calls "Enlightenment as Passivity": the world is perfect as it is, it too will pass away, we just have to realize reality as "non-dual." Is this correct, or am I being too reductive?

    I also wonder what your thoughts are on the broader idea of an "engaged Buddhism."

    Sorry if this is too many broad questions for one post! Very glad to be back home.

    gassho
    justin

  20. #20

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Hi Justin,

    I propose one simple thing perhaps helpful to everyone's practice and mutual understanding of this and other topics related to Buddhism:

    It is to keep in mind that, in Zazen and throughout Buddhism, countless varied, and seemingly directly inconsistent or fully opposing viewpoints can be, and are, simultaneously true and co-existing without the least disharmony.

    Case in point: suffering is seen through and drops away, suffering exists through and through. No conflict between these conflicting ideas.

    Likewise, samsara is samsara, nirvana just nirvana, nirvana precisely samsara, samsara the source of nirvana, all thought of samsara and nirvana fully fall away.

    All true and present at the same time, which we seek (by non-seeking) to experience in Soto practice in just a "moment of Zazen".

    In a moment of Zazen, suffering is seen to be completely removed (for Zazen-Life is completely what it is), and suffering is precisely and tragically suffering. All and neither, each and both and none at once!

    My stance is the seemingly contradictory viewpoint of total, to the marrow, embracing acceptance hand-in-hand with non-acceptance, all without the least conflict. I summarized that in the following ...

    Here are three ways to view tragedy in this world:

    First, this world can appear ugly - and is ugly - so many times. War and violence, poverty, hunger, disease and painful death ... If I had the power, if I were king, there's so much I would change. Abused children, lonely elders, the fearful and forsaken would be abused, lonely, fearful and forsaken no more.

    Of course, I do not have such power, I am not king. I can write a check, perhaps, or volunteer hours ... yet the problems remain. Many will never go away, appear the inevitable state of things, and it sometimes drives me toward frustration and despair. When viewed by human eyes, both nature and human society are so cruel.

    But, second, we can abandon all human judgments:

    For, when we drop all thought of "good" and "bad" , "right" , "wrong" , "just" and "unjust" , we experience a world that just is-what-it-is. It goes-the-way-it-goes, even if that way is not the way we personally might desire. Letting aside both "cruel" and "gentle" , "ugly" and "kind" , we no longer resist, do not judge, and embrace it all ... even the most terrible.

    By such perspective, sometimes there is war in the world, sometimes there is peace. Sometimes there is health, sometimes disease. Same for all the rest. In Zen Buddhism, we may embrace the world as-it-is, with all its seeming imperfections. The world is just the world. We are free of disappointment at a world, at its people or a society failing to meet our ideals and expectations. In this stance, our minds are still, our hearts tranquil, our attitude soft and yielding. We merely observe it all, accept it all ... war, peace or whatever comes.

    And dropping all divisions, we see this too: There is no separate person to be killed, no separate person to do the killing. There's nothing taken away and nothing to lose, as nothing is ever lacking. Without thought of birth and death, what birth and what death? It is like the water of a sea that is always wet, whole and complete, while waves go up and down. We can experience the world in that way too. More than a sad resignation to life (do not think that Zen practice is mere resignation), it is the subtle taste of no loss no gain.

    Yet. should we simply stop there? In that self-satisfied tranquility, ignoring the daily pain of others, are we not left uncaring, blind, apathetic, cold-hearted?

    Is there, perhaps, a third way to be?

    For ours can be a path of acceptance sans acceptance - precisely blending both views. It is much the same in the case of a man or woman who, facing an illness, perhaps some cancer, accepts the condition fully - yet fights the good fight for a cure. We need not feel anger within at the natural state which is the disease, we can accept within that all life is impermanent and that death and sickness are just the reality ... but still we might search for the healing medicine, struggling without for health and life. We can know that within and without are not two.

    War, fire, flood, death and disease, humanity and nature's most horrible turns can all be observed dispassionately and from an unshakable inner peace, fully accepted ... all while we choose to resist what we can, to extend comfort and compassion as we can, to make the world better when and where we can.
    Gassho, Jundo

  21. #21

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Quote Originally Posted by Skye
    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista

    You know, I think I'm OK with that.
    I hear ya. I hear ya. Having read critiques of Buddhism and, specifically, Zen Buddhism, I understand where Brazier is coming from. But. I think my main quibble with his analysis (and this is just from reading four chapters in his book) is that he doesn't put a same level of critique on his tradition. Additionally I am not sold on his take that the historical Buddha was a little d "Dualist."

    Nevertheless, I am enjoying the book so far. As someone who has a 14 year career as a social service provider (low-income housing, GED, etc), active in lefty politics, I am always interested in figuring out what is the balance with that and my personal understanding on Buddhism.

  22. #22

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Thanks Jundo, I'll begin reading this evening. It seems that I joined up at the precise right time. These topics are deep and timely for me. I've looked into a number of traditions for the thread that joins them all and this is an ongoing clarifying interest.

    Also I've been something of an activist over the many years since Vietnam and I still have some trouble integrating just allowing everything to be as it is while countries and people continue to be blown apart by what I observe as greed.

    The best I have been able to do so far, is to observe the engaged precept from Thich Nhat Hanh's 14 that instructs to not look away from suffering. There seems only one way I am able be aware of and to hold onto that one.

    Also I look forward to knowing much more about Dogen' way. Much of what I've read is frankly too dense for me but the interpretations I've gotten elsewhere are really beautiful. I'm working on something like just sitting when anywhere at all.

    Thanks again
    In Gassho,

    kshetra

  23. #23

    Re: WHAT's NEXT??

    Jundo,

    Sounds very interesting. Have printed the text out and look forward to reading it and hearing what you and the treeleafers have to say about it. The topic is very interesting to me already because I have never heard any teacher speak about it before. In fact, I have got a feeling that it is somewhat of a taboo, at least in the Western Buddhism. I might be mistaken, of course.
    Thanks for bringing it up!

    Gassho,

    Irina

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