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Thread: Special reading - eight types of enlightenment

  1. #1

    Special reading - eight types of enlightenment

    Hi Ho,

    Continuing this special series of "readings that will help in understanding Zen readings" ...

    This is something that I introduced here once before, but is well worth re-reading and understanding by all of us.

    The topic is a very clear list of "Eight Types of Enlightenment" as typically found in various forms of Buddhism over its history and currently, 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" whatever, 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 contained in the vision of a single teacher, the ideas often get mixed & matched and stuck together. Thus, it is important for students to be able to recognize where a teacher's teachings are coming from and pointing to (and neither/both coming & going), and some ability to see each of these separate, sometimes tangled threads.

    Please download and read the following [PDF]:

    http://jundotreeleaf.googlepages.com...ightenment.pdf

    The list is from a book called "The New Buddhism" by David Brazier (a book primarily on the theme of Buddhism as a model for engaged, socially conscious action ... but which also touches on other subjects such as this). 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 us a chance to talk about those as well, although (of course, being from within the Zen tradition) I do not think many of his criticisms of "Zen enlightenment" are accurate. Naturally, he seems to propose a "Pure Land" concept of Enlightenment as the best.

    Despite that, I really think you will find it informative, and helpful to your practice and understanding of Buddhist books and teachings.

    As always, I emphasize ... different ways up the mountain for different mountaineers and, anyway, ultimately 'what mountain?' (though, as you may see, not everyone throughout Buddhist history might agree with that!)

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-03-2012 at 12:42 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    I found this very interesting, and it does explain some things. From my perspective, It seems his only complaint about Zen is that Samurai can use it to have peace of mind. That may actually be a credit to it. People who urgently need peace of mind find it in Zen.

  3. #3
    Myoshin
    Guest

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    I could not help but wonder after reading if there is going to be a different form of buddhism all together in the west. I mean the thought of enlightenment has altered throughout time and has picked up on a new flavor in each country. The Tao was incorporated when Buddhism came to China and the far east. I was just thinking of what the Westerners have to share with Buddhism. The author touched on the fact of enlightenment was given less importance and turned into more of a goal instead of necessity through the ages. Does this mean enlightenment will eventually be phased out of Buddhism all together? Which may or may not be a good thing.

    Gassho,
    Kyle

  4. #4

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    "Does this mean enlightenment will eventually be phased out of Buddhism all together? Which may or may not be a good thing. "

    Enlightenment is like the big carrot to motivate people to start and continue practicing. All of the ideas about what exactly it is, is interesting but unless you want some kind of teaching degree or certification is not required to understand. But that said, there is something to attain which is 'no attainment with nothing to attain'. So because reality cannot be understood with the intellect alone, you could argue that 'enlightenment will eventually be phased out', but I think there will be a place for the concept of enlightenment but I don't know what the Western version will be. Judging from Buddhism's past performance, it will bring in elements of Western religions and philosophies.
    /Rich

  5. #5

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Quote Originally Posted by Myoshin
    I could not help but wonder after reading if there is going to be a different form of buddhism all together in the west. I mean the thought of enlightenment has altered throughout time and has picked up on a new flavor in each country. The Tao was incorporated when Buddhism came to China and the far east. I was just thinking of what the Westerners have to share with Buddhism. The author touched on the fact of enlightenment was given less importance and turned into more of a goal instead of necessity through the ages. Does this mean enlightenment will eventually be phased out of Buddhism all together? Which may or may not be a good thing.

    Gassho,
    Kyle
    HI Kyle,

    Buddhism is different for each person. I will bet that no one on the list has know many asian buddists (and by that I mean a few hundred at least), so our ideas of what "asian" buddhism is is based on generalizations from books, sterotypes of asian people, etc. If one read books during medieval europe, we would think that christianity was exclusively an intellectual and analytical religion (except for a few like Marjorie Kempe).

    As to what is or was important or not, again he can only generalize from what written records have survived, which probably vary significantly from buddist practice at any given time and monastery.

    As to the 8 varieties of enlightenment - this piece is so riddled with ridiculous generalizations I am having serious trouble reading it. I am not sure why we are reading this piece of bad pseudo-historical/sociological analysis. But I will perservere.

    thank you for your time,
    rowan/jinho

  6. #6

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    "Does this mean enlightenment will eventually be phased out of Buddhism all together? Which may or may not be a good thing. "

    Enlightenment is like the big carrot to motivate people to start and continue practicing. All of the ideas about what exactly it is, is interesting but unless you want some kind of teaching degree or certification is not required to understand. But that said, there is something to attain which is 'no attainment with nothing to attain'. So because reality cannot be understood with the intellect alone, you could argue that 'enlightenment will eventually be phased out', but I think there will be a place for the concept of enlightenment but I don't know what the Western version will be. Judging from Buddhism's past performance, it will bring in elements of Western religions and philosophies.
    /Rich
    Hi Rich,

    You seem to posit only two possibilities -
    1) 'no attainment with nothing to attain'
    2) intellectual understanding of some kind.

    I wish to posit a third side - that of understand that does not begin in the intellect. In my experience there are many understandings to be "obtained" i.e. experienced/understood. Non-attainment in most zen literature refers to the incorrect idea of understanding outside of self (in someone else, only Gautama Buddha or some teacher can understand - it is not possible for me, or that enlightnement is dependent on a particular place or circumstance): not that there is no understanding to be "attained" (understood). We all have much to learn. I am greedy enought to want to learn as much as I can

    And I still assert that it would be good for people to drop all notions/generalizations of east/west (at least for people who don't live in asia). We are all making generalizations out of fantasies and stereotypes.

    gassho,
    rowan/jinho

  7. #7

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Hi.

    An enlightening experience.

    And a joke.

    What does a clock do when i'ts still hungry?
    It goes back four seconds...


    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  8. #8

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Jinho said:
    "I wish to posit a third side - that of understand that does not begin in the intellect."

    I agree and I would call that intuition or wisdom. And I am grateful to Buddha that he taught us how to attain some of that. I also agree that it's a good idea for people to drop notions of east/west. At the same time I think the author provided some good historical information regarding the ideas about enlightenment and I appreciate the opportunity to speculate sometimes.
    /Rich

  9. #9

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Hi.

    There is as much difference in East/west buddhism as there is difference between Western/western buddhism.
    That being said, it is sometimes good to know that there is some difference...
    As for the enlightenment experience, here to is a difference, maybe even as different as the abovementioned difference.
    The question is, is it important to know the difference or to know enlightenment?
    And is there a difference between the two, can you know one without knowing the other?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  10. #10

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Fugen,
    I hope you are feeling better and fully recovered from surgery. My grandmother used to say 'if you have your health, you have everything' . She lived to be almost 98 but she never mentioned enlightenment.
    /Rich

  11. #11

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Hi,

    This is a good point to drop in my major objection to the author's description of the particularly "Zen" flavors of enlightenment ... and that is the passivity and complacency which he seems to imply must go along with Zen practice. For example, he writes in "E7 ENLIGHTENMENT AS IMPASSIVITY" ...

    The monk said, "You see that stone Buddha, out there. He just sits there come what may. He does not budge if it rains or if the sun comes out. It is all the same to him. ... We sit in meditation just like the stone Buddha. Thoughts come and go, but we are not moved by them. Worldly circumstances are all transient. ... "

    ... [But from that perspective] then there is no reason to do anything ... All beings, after all, are already inherently enlightened. ... In reality, all beings were, are and always will be perfect just as they are, so there is nothing to be done.


    This is a GROSS mischaracterization of our practice or, better said, it is seeing only one side of the "not two" sided coin of practice.

    Remember that our teachings emphasize, not just stillness ... but stillness in, as and amid the motion. Yes, we are like the stone Buddha ... yet the stone Buddha rises, dances and lives life!

    This is the reason I repeatedly emphasize that our Way might be described, in one of its aspects, as "acceptance without acceptance" ... stillness in action ...

    Someone wrote to ask whether all this embracing ourselves and life "just as they are" means that, for example, a wife beater or alcoholic or thief should just accept themselves like that, not seek to change or live any other way. Must we accept this world of war and poverty just as it is, without seeking to change a thing about it?

    No. Please recall that, in our Zen Way, we live on several channels at once ... seemingly contradictory, yet not contradictory at all.

    I want to reach for Jundo's handy-dandy "acceptance without acceptance" formula here, and apply it to our personal natures:

    So, in our "Just Sitting" Shikantaza, we completely accept, embrace and allow the universe, and all in it, just as it is. We drop all thoughts of likes and dislikes, dreams and regrets and need for change, hopes and fears. Yet simultaneously, hand in hand without the slightest deviation (on another mental "track", if you want to say that), we live our lives as human beings, and living life requires choices, goals, likes and dislikes, dreams and hopes.

    Thus, living our life is much like living in a house with a leaky roof, spiders and broken windows. In Master Dogen's way, we simply sit to drop all resistance to the house we have been living in all along, to realize that there is nowhere to 'go' in life, to cease all efforts to add to or take away from the structure, to let go of the ego's insisting on how things "should be" in order for the house to be "good" ... we ARE that house, our True Home! Then we find, in dropping that resistance, that the house we have always been in is "perfectly what it is", and we can be joyful right where we are. HOWEVER, we can be content with that house even as, hand in hand, there is still much serious repair work to do (an acceptance-without-acceptance of the leaky windows, spiders and creaky doors). There is nothing to prevent our fixing those, even as we accept their existence! We can accept and not accept simultaneously, repair what needs to be repaired.

    We have goals for repair even as, on the other "track", we drop all goals and thoughts of repair.

    So, even as we can accept that we have been a wife beater, alcoholic or thief, we should immediately set to not be so! One simply cannot taste the fruits of Buddhist practice if one is so filled with anger, violence, pain and need that one is a violent, abusive, clutching! We can accept this world as a garden of flowers and weeds ... and resist neither ... yet immediately set about to nurture the flowers and pull the weeds!

    And what guides us onto the smooth path for life?

    Yes, the Precepts.

    viewtopic.php?p=18925#p18925
    I find this book section valuable for presenting these different historical strands of "enlightenment" in a way that is easy to understand, helpful to readers (especially beginners) who may not know that Buddhism actually evolved and took different forms over the centuries ... and in moving from culture to culture. Yes, the description is very "broad brush", too "in a nutshell" and sometimes just innaccurate. There really are many more than just "Eight" permutations on how folks have envisioned and imagined and tasted "enlightenment" over the centuries, and these different flavors blend together and overlap, merge and diverge, in very subtle ways.

    I'm often asked how much the Buddhism we are practicing in our Sangha, or Zen Buddhism in general, relates to what "The Buddha Taught". I wrote this once, if anyone is interested in that question: I like to say that Buddhism may have even "improved" over the centuries ... :wink:

    But one thing for folks to remember is that Buddhism did change and evolve over many centuries, as it passed from culture to culture in Asia. The Buddha lived 2500 years ago in ancient India, whereupon the philosophy passed to China 1000 years later, and then to someone like Master Dogen who lived about 1000 years after that in medieval Japan. You and I live in the strange world known as the 21st century. Certainly, some changes arose along the way in some important interpretations and outer forms. For example, the Chinese made Zen Practice very Chinese, the Japanese very medieval Japanese, and now we are making it very Western.

    However, the Heart of the Buddha's teachings ... the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Non-Self, Non-Attachment, the Middle Way, etc. etc., ... All are here now as much as there then!!

    How?

    On the one hand some outer stuff is, well, changed. For example, when Buddhism came to China it was heavily influenced by, and pretty much merged with, Taoism (not to mention that it was already "Mahayana Buddhism" by that time, a very different flavor from the original). The result was this little thing we now call "Zen Buddhism". So, congratulations, we are already "Taoists" and "Mahayana Buddhists" ... not just "Buddhists". When it got to Japan, the Japanese added Japanese culture to it such as emphasis on proper "form" and decorum. In the West, we are now making some very good changes (although we have to, of course, try to avoid bad changes). These good changes include equality of the sexes and a greater emphasis on lay practice.

    But it is still Buddhism. What Dogen taught was Buddhism. What we do around Treeleaf (I do believe) is as Buddhism as Buddhism can be.

    I will even go so far as to say (and this is the kind of statement that has gotten me into all kinds of trouble on with some folks in Buddhism's own fundamentalist quarters) that maybe, just maybe, later Buddhism actually made some big and important "improvements" to the Buddha's original formulation with all those additions, and a couple of thousand years of working out the kinks and bugs. It is much like saying that Buddha was Henry Ford, who first thought up the brilliant idea of sticking 4 wheels on an internal combustion engine, but now we can drive a Prius! I even say that maybe, just maybe, the Buddha was not infallible on every darn thing and, while he was 90% right in his proposals, he also had some klunkers and narrow ideas here and there (as fits a man who lived in a traditional, myth based society some 2500 years ago in ancient India) ... like the whole thing about an overly mechanical view of rebirth, the place of women, the need to abandon the world and family in order to Practice and to repress or extinquish (as opposed to moderate & balance & pierce) the desires and emotions. ...

    Also, do not forget that what the Buddha taught was an oral tradition for hundreds of years, passed down orally alone, until somebody finally wrote it all down hundreds of years after he was dead ... and then all the Buddhists immediately set to disagreeing about which of them had the "authentic" teachings. (The book "What the Buddha Taught" tries to play down that fact). That is why a study of the entire history of Buddhism is useful in knowing the interpretation(s) of the "Eightfold Path".

    Dogen was different from Shakyamuni Buddha, who are both different from all of us.

    But when we are sitting a moment of Zazen ... perfectly whole, just complete unto itself, without borders and duration, not long or short, nothing to add or take away, containing all moments and no moments in "this one moment" ... piercing Dukkha, attaining non-self, non-attached ... then there is not the slightest gap between each of us and the Buddha.
    Gassho, Jundo

  12. #12

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    My little talk on the sit-a-long today happens to be closely connected to what I wrote above ... please make the "effort" to have a look (link below), if you have the time ...

    Last time, in our discussion of the Ten Pure Virtues or "Perfections" (Paramitas) of the Bodhisattva path ...

    we talked about "Patience" ...

    ... and today we will talk about the Perfection of Effort and Diligence (Virya Paramita).


    All the perfections go hand-in-hand, each supporting and nurturing the others. Each is part of the Bodhisattva's vow to "Save All Sentient Beings". But "Patience" and "Diligent Effort" have a special bond ...


    Our way might be called "patience in effort", "stillness in motion" "quiet in action" ...
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... -th-3.html

  13. #13

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Hello,


    I got a lot out of the last two posts and the sit-a-long today. I felt there seemed to some subjectivity toward Zen Buddhism but the author. Now I see the generalizations that were being made.


    Gassho,
    Dave

  14. #14

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    I thought the author's tone was flippant and his grasp of Buddhist philosophy shallow and annoying. If this was an exercise in what kinds of writing can tick one off, it succeeded.

    gassho
    tobiishi

  15. #15

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi
    I thought the author's tone was flippant and his grasp of Buddhist philosophy shallow and annoying. If this was an exercise in what kinds of writing can tick one off, it succeeded.
    :mrgreen:
    Personally, I must confess it was a bit to "intellectualistic" for nothing... I like reading articles (that's part of my job) but ... It was difficult for me to get into the texts, and not because it is in English.
    In the other hand, I learned things, and it's never boring to be curious!

    Gassho,
    Luis

  16. #16

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    A latecomer to this, I must say it was a fascinating article and I learned a great deal. So far as the tone being flippant, many, if not most teachers I have read have emphasized the importance of having a humorous approach. The tone was a bit snarky, but if one is not attached to a particular belief, this is not offensive. I am quite agnostic about dogma regarding rebirth, precisely what enlightenment is or precisely how it is attained. When it comes it comes and one should know it. After all, we all agree that awareness is key, nicht wahr? And the author made many excellent points regarding the Buddha's goal of bringing enlightenment as opposed to pushing the possibility off into many lifetimes from now. He was broad and at some points caricatured the beliefs-but he said this was going to happen from the outset!
    Thank you Jundo, for providing this article and your attendant talk.
    Roger

  17. #17

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Could it be that when we cease to see existence as "objects", through the practice of meditation, that the subjective voice of existence can be "tasted"--- a voice which we are a part of, that is inclined toward the fixing of leaky roofs and broken windows?

    What if everything, the rocks, trees, animals, myself, people I like or do not like, planets, areas of outer space no one has ever considered, are just at different places on the path. Some more ignorant, some more advanced, but to "save them all" is the direction of the path.

    I am saying this in a very crude way. I have been living for the last month at a nature preserve in Ohio, with a trip to Florida's last remaining pieces of the longleaf pine ecosystem as well, and the more I learn about ecology and science and mystical traditions, the more I am inclined to meditate. If I look at the evolution of the human mind scientifically, within it there is a plant mind of sleep and clairvoyance, wrapped in an animal mind of emotion, wrapped in a human mind of will and intellect (our individual personalities seem to be made of all of these things)--- and then in meditation, I seem to see a place which connects (non-divides) all of these things and doesn't focus so much on their individual permutations. Like a series of nested bowls. Zazen seems to be the biggest bowl/non-bowl of all--- which includes all of the smaller bowls like a mother bird with babies under her wing.

    It seems like schools of Buddhism, or any religions for that matter, that use more imagery to point toward where we are going, are helpful for some who those signposts work for. As long as the signposts are not confused for where we are going. Zen is helpful, for me, because I see a lot fewer signposts and a lot more focus on "where we are going" being nowhere/everywhere--- it seems to be looking right at the fount of mysticism. Not for any reason, but just because it is. I still enjoy reading and discussing other mystical/religious traditions-- I just personally don't think it gets much more mystical than Zen.

    I am very excited by Buddhism as a way to discuss ideas of ecology across the cultural and religious divides. I don't discuss it as "Buddhism", per se, but focus on non-divisiveness and consilience. Buddhism makes a great bridge between left and right, fundamental religious types and scientific materialists, etc etc. Thanks for listening to my unsophisticated babbling!

    Gassho, Manatee

  18. #18

    Re: 0620 - SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT

    Quote Originally Posted by Manatee
    What if everything, the rocks, trees, animals, myself, people I like or do not like, planets, areas of outer space no one has ever considered, are just at different places on the path. Some more ignorant, some more advanced, but to "save them all" is the direction of the path.
    It is my personal view (and I believe, one fully in keeping with the viewpoint of most Buddhist teachings) that the rocks, trees, animals, myself, people, planets, most distant star, life around those distant stars ... are all as whole and intimately connected as the hairs on your little head, the toes on your two feet, are to "you". There is no doubt (in my view, anyway) that we are all part and parcel of something grand on on going and unbroken and ...

    ... what that is? Well ... take care of this life before you, nurture this planet we call home. What that is is in charge, and will take care of the details.

    Gassho, J

  19. #19
    Hi there - Brazier's book has been sitting on the shelf for a while - I skimmed it after reading this thread but couldn't get fully engaged as his style of writing can sometimes drift off into polemics.

    Anyway _ I decided to give it another go (partly driven by bemusement that Brazier has now set up an institute of 'Zen Therapy' in the UK and also wrote a book on Zen therapy a few years back (he writes a lot of books - I enjoyed 'The feeling Buddha'). So I was curious.

    If I'm honest - reading the rest of the book did bring up questions for me and forced me to face head on niggling doubts that I'd side stepped. I'm no way near sorting this out in my mind - but my overall impression is that although Brazier can bring up factual stuff to criticize Zen he misses at some level the spirit of Zen. He also misses the fact that most of his objections are explored - with greater eloquence - by many of the authors on our Tree Leaf reading list. As he doesn't seem to have read any of these works (he mentions Dogen once but it's easy to name drop) it's a bit like reading crib notes on Zen - but there's no real heart or experience in the writing (despite his 'dropping' into the text that he had a Zen master).

    I was wondering Jundo - if you could say a bit more about the next few chapters - (Critical Buddhism) where the concept of Buddha nature is criticised and also the co-arising version of dependent origination. Brazier's also keen to point out (within his frame) that Buddha was a dualistic and that (in his view) the Non-Dual type of enlightement is 'dangerous because it unhooks enlightenment from ethics'.

    To be honest - Zen gets a real bashing in this book (but the aim is unashamedly iconoclastic and veers towards popular writing) with a kinda apologistic 'well - Zen's got its good points and will be fine in the hands (minds) of the right individuals' (towards the end of the book.)

    But the trajectory is Pure Land - and this is where I feel the book falls into a polemic of utopian politics at the expense of a pretty shallow rendering of Zen.

    After the challenge and discomfort of reading it I simply came to the conclusion that my heart belongs to Zen.

    Gassho



    Willow

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi,

    This is a good point to drop in my major objection to the author's description of the particularly "Zen" flavors of enlightenment ... and that is the passivity and complacency which he seems to imply must go along with Zen practice. For example, he writes in "E7 ENLIGHTENMENT AS IMPASSIVITY" ...

    The monk said, "You see that stone Buddha, out there. He just sits there come what may. He does not budge if it rains or if the sun comes out. It is all the same to him. ... We sit in meditation just like the stone Buddha. Thoughts come and go, but we are not moved by them. Worldly circumstances are all transient. ... "

    ... [But from that perspective] then there is no reason to do anything ... All beings, after all, are already inherently enlightened. ... In reality, all beings were, are and always will be perfect just as they are, so there is nothing to be done.


    This is a GROSS mischaracterization of our practice or, better said, it is seeing only one side of the "not two" sided coin of practice.

    Remember that our teachings emphasize, not just stillness ... but stillness in, as and amid the motion. Yes, we are like the stone Buddha ... yet the stone Buddha rises, dances and lives life!

    This is the reason I repeatedly emphasize that our Way might be described, in one of its aspects, as "acceptance without acceptance" ... stillness in action ...



    I find this book section valuable for presenting these different historical strands of "enlightenment" in a way that is easy to understand, helpful to readers (especially beginners) who may not know that Buddhism actually evolved and took different forms over the centuries ... and in moving from culture to culture. Yes, the description is very "broad brush", too "in a nutshell" and sometimes just innaccurate. There really are many more than just "Eight" permutations on how folks have envisioned and imagined and tasted "enlightenment" over the centuries, and these different flavors blend together and overlap, merge and diverge, in very subtle ways.

    I'm often asked how much the Buddhism we are practicing in our Sangha, or Zen Buddhism in general, relates to what "The Buddha Taught". I wrote this once, if anyone is interested in that question: I like to say that Buddhism may have even "improved" over the centuries ... :wink:



    Gassho, Jundo
    Wonderful to wake up this morning to this old post. Thank you.

    Gassho, kojip.

  21. #21
    Fascinating. Iíve never seen the different ideas of enlightenment laid out on a timeline and according to cultural influence. An enlightenment buffet. It gives some good insight into how and why these different ideas evolved. I now realize my vague idea of enlightenment is a stirfry of several of these tossed together. I donít worry too much about enlightenment though -- have enough on my plate with the practice. Iím glad that the Dharma is a living, growing thing. This seems natural and right to me. The way I think of Buddha, I donít think he would want his teaching frozen in time... after all his last instruction was to seek your own salvation. I think as long as we keep the 4NT and the N8FP we can't go too far astray.

    Myoshin's question is really interesting...

    I was just thinking of what the Westerners have to share with Buddhism. The author touched on the fact of enlightenment was given less importance and turned into more of a goal instead of necessity through the ages. Does this mean enlightenment will eventually be phased out of Buddhism all together? Which may or may not be a good thing.
    Thank you Jundo, I'd like to see more of these "readings to help understand readings" for us newbies!

    Gassho
    Lisa

  22. #22
    Senior Member Heion's Avatar
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    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. It is always great to have nicely-written literature.

    Gassho,
    Heion

  23. #23
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Thank you for this post. I appreciate everyone's comments on this read, and especially Jundo's. I see no difference in the filtering down, changing altering, progressing of Buddhism over time any more than other faiths and paths historically. I really agree that this doesn't make what we have in Soto Zen NOW a bad thing. I would echo with Willow that this is where my heart seems to find me.

    As far as the author, he is flippant and seems somewhat derogatory to other concepts historically, obviously building up a case for his perspective. However, in doing so he seems to be hypocritical or ignorant of his theme of "selling" Buddhism, which he himself also seems to be doing. Still it is a good read generally on the idea that there have been other ideas and a historical change over what do we exactly mean by enlightenment.

    This to me, as a newbie begs the question, and I would really like to have seen more discussion about it in this thread:

    What do WE exactly mean by enlightenment, at least as far as THIS tradition, and of what import do we place on it?

    Gassho
    C

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    What do WE exactly mean by enlightenment, at least as far as THIS tradition, and of what import do we place on it?

    Gassho
    C
    Clark, I truly feel that that is the only question we talk ... and non-talk ... about around here all day.

    Now, go sit and embody such.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Clark, I truly feel that that is the only question we talk ... and non-talk ... about around here all day.

    Now, go sit and embody such.

    Gassho, J
    You are too kind to say it but yes that was a frivolous question.
    Gassho
    C

  26. #26
    Hm, frivolous, maybe, but I had the same question after reading. Granted, I am new here, so maybe I just need to stick around and it will become clear, but I do not have a specific idea of what our teachers, each, personally, think about enlightenment. I know it doesnít matter, and we each walk the path to our own understanding. Just sit, just sit, yes. It is the practice that matters. But isnít there a time to discuss the finer points? I admit, I enjoy the discussion of these things far too much, and maybe it is distracting and frivolous. Donít know.

    Gassho
    Lisa

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by raindrop View Post
    Hm, frivolous, maybe, but I had the same question after reading. Granted, I am new here, so maybe I just need to stick around and it will become clear, but I do not have a specific idea of what our teachers, each, personally, think about enlightenment. I know it doesn’t matter, and we each walk the path to our own understanding. Just sit, just sit, yes. It is the practice that matters. But isn’t there a time to discuss the finer points? I admit, I enjoy the discussion of these things far too much, and maybe it is distracting and frivolous. Don’t know.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    Hi Lisa,

    My bedtime now, but we recently had this chat.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post129581

    Hard to define some of this. One can describe "Strawberry Pie" in words, but such is better backed and tasted. Well, "Enlightenment" is better realized (pierced) and realized (lived and made real in life).

    This is rather long and says not much ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post39386

    Anyway, night.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    Yes Teacher, I understand.


    P.S. About that ďHow to attain enlightenmentĒ thread... I thought the original posting was brilliant. But the thread quickly goes off into another direction, which, although very educational and worthy in it's own right, sort of left behind the original idea. I wonder if a repost in a new thread would be of benefit to allow a fresh look? I donít want to re-write history or anything, just think the original post got lost. I say this with all respect to the posters on that thread.


    Gassho
    Lisa

  29. #29
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    I hope you don't mind, but this is so perfect I want to re-post it here:

    Jundo's words and certainly not mine, but certainly great. I think iI should print this and frame it on my wall.

    Gassho
    C


    The following is important, so BOLDFACE and UNDERLINE ...

    Different folks approach and define all this in their own way. In our Soto View, some folks way way way overvalue an experience of timelessly momentary "Kensho" ... as the be all and end all (beyond being or ending) of "Enlightenment" ... and chase after it like some gold ring on the merry go round. For Soto folks, that is like missing the point of the trip. For Soto Folks, when we realize such ... every moment of the Buddha-Bus trip, the scenery out the windows (both what we encounter as beautiful and what appears ugly), the moments of good health and moments of passing illness, the highway, the seats and windows, all the other passengers on the Bus who appear to be riding with us, when we board and someday when we are let off ... the whole Trip ... is all the Buddha-Bus, all Enlightenment and Kensho, all the "destination" beyond "coming" or "going" or "getting there", when realized as such (Kensho). This ride is what we make it.

    Most folks just don't pierce that fact and are lost in delusion about the Nature of the trip. Most sentient being "passengers" on this ride just don't realize that, feeling homesick, car sick, separated from all the other passengers, revolted or attracted to what they see ... filling the whole trip with thoughts of greed and anger, spoiling the journey, making a mess of the bus and harming themselves and the other riders, unhappy until they get to the "promised destination" somewhere down the road. They may even get to the Grand Canyon, snap a picture and buy a sovenier, then wonder "is that all it is"?

    That is why many Soto folks, like Sawaki Roshi above, think "Kensho Schmensho" ... running after some timelessly momentary fireworky experience of "Kensho" is not True "Grocking the Nature" Buddha-Bus Kensho. He says ...

    You want to become a buddha? There’s no need to become a buddha! Now is simply now. You are simply you. And tell me, since you want to leave the place where you are,where is it exactly you want to go?
    Zazen means just sitting without even thinking of becoming buddha.
    We don’t achieve satori through practice: practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

  30. #30
    Hi,

    I was too tired and lazy, maybe two fast to speak. But, as Katagiri Roshi used to say about such questions, "Ya Gotta Say Something!". So, below again, my best effort from another thread today. Please have a look:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post130111

    Nobody can describe what must be tasted and is ultimately beyond words. Even the greatest poet cannot describe "love", but they never quit trying. What is more, one does not merely talk about love ... nor simply feel love (although that is vital), for one must also LIVE LOVE, and bring it to life by being in love and living a relationship. So it is with this so-called "Enlightenment" ... not just an idea, not just a feeling (although vital), but to be brought to life and lived.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  31. #31
    Jundo,

    Yes, you know, thinking about it, I realize (for the zillionth time) that I am full of beans, as my Mom would say. I don’t care about enlightenment. I usually don’t think much about enlightenment or daydream about it or wish for it. There was a time when I did, but not for a long time now. My interest now is bringing the practice to life and living it, as you say.


    However! My brain likes to discuss things like this. My brain loves words and putting together words and finding just the right word. My brain likes chewing on ideas and parsing them out and testing them for logic, truth or meaning. My brain and my ego like doing what they are good at. And it’s just a habit -- part of my illusion of self -- that “I” like to discuss stuff like this. Ideas, views, philosophies, bla, bla, bla, who cares? Who or what is it that cares? Why am I talking about something that’s not even important to me? Because it’s fun, because there are a lot of smart interesting folks here with interesting things for my brain to chew on. The answer, duh, is in my own post earlier. Frivolous and distracting. (Bla bla bla me me me )


    Thank you Teacher, I am happy to realize (again) that I am a fool, and grateful for your kind patience.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    Last edited by raindrop; 06-19-2014 at 06:28 AM.

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