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Thread: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

  1. #1

    9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Today's passage reads a little like an old Vaudeville comedy routine ... Abbot & Costello doing their version of 'Waiting for Godot' ...

    Costello: Hey, Abbot, I'm looking for Buddha. I've never met him.

    Abbot: So, how will you know when you find Buddha?

    Costello: Because he looks like Buddha, of course!

    Abbot: Well, that sounds easy enough!

    Costello: My problem is, cause I've never met Buddha, so I don't know what Buddha looks like! What's he look like, tell me please so I can find him?

    Abbot: Sure. Well, ya see, Buddha looks just like that guy sitting on the bus over there. Oh, and Buddha is the spitting image of that squirrel over there. Oh, and the prisoner in the county jail, an angel or a devil in hell, the grass and trees. In fact, Buddha is the spitting image of me, so take a good look ... but he looks just like you, in fact! Buddha looks just like that.

    Costello: So ... what does Buddha look like?

    Abbot: Yes ... but no.

    Costello: Huh!?

    Abbot: Buddha looks just like "Buddha" cause Buddha doesn't necessarily look like "Buddha", but neither does he not look like "Buddha". Oh, and Buddha usually doesn't bother to use the name "Buddha" ... but we gotta call "Buddha" somethin'.

    Costello: Then, if Buddha doesn't just look like "Buddha" and looks like all that, and doesn't go by the name "Buddha" ... how can I know its Buddha when I meet Buddha?

    Abbot: Yes.

    Costello: Huh?

    Abbot: In that case, my advice is to 'don't know' its Buddha in order to know Buddha.

    Costello: (Turning red in the face and raising his voice) Then, how will I know its Buddha if I don't know its Buddha, for crying out loud?

    Costello: Well, if you don't know Buddha, how will you know its NOT Buddha?

    (curtain)
    Cookfrom p 79, Hixon from p. 79

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    These guys are getting a bit Zenny :? as they go along!!!

    What I'm getting now is that I don't know what I know; and I also don't know what I don't know yet.

    Ya know?!

    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  3. #3

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Putting faces on the patriarchs; moving from one to the next, feeding our imaginations with the descriptions of their bodies, their aura, their demeanor. All useless!

    If we needed to put a face on the Buddha we should look at ourselves then promptly smash the mirror. Each fragment reflecting Buddha, Buddha me, Buddha sky, Buddha this, Buddha that. Point is, you can't put a face on it. Even a face to Taylor wouldn't be correct. Taylor is wave in ocean, here for a time, then back as it is. Just so, Taylor may as well be Greg, Roy, Constantine. Just a puff of air I surround myself with. And even more, it would seem that we and others die, still nothing is missing, wholly whole. just wholly whole without that name, that body, that energy. Dispersed to the four corners and back.

    Ordination interests me. A preist is a priest, a lay person a lay person. Throw a kesa on either and sit zazen and what do you see? Buddha is as Buddha does.

    Not knowing must be infinite, but knowing this and that does not contain it either. Only when we attempt to make relative absolute do we squash infinity! Thus I take issue with Hixon once again, "There is not a single thread of frustration, only blissful release." PAH! The infinite is now put in a box. Then again, having never swallowed a gulp of the sea, I can only say I hear it is salty and unpleasent

    Gassho,
    Taylor

  4. #4

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Making my way through the teisho 3 times this one still touches me the most

    "You wish to know the Buddha, gut he who does not know is the buddha"

    I'm sure I heard this truth many times before but this weekend it was different, how
    mysterious the human mind is

    _()_
    Peter

  5. #5
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Hixon really helped on this one. He wrote:
    True not-knowing, though faceless, can manifest any face. It has no particular way to be, no mark by which it can be recognized. It is always simply us. Our own most intimate awareness.

    True or unconditional not-knowing is pure being and pure doing, wisdom and compassion, without subject or object. We must simply not remain confined in knowing, even within transcendent knowing…
    These quotes were both helpful and timely for me, as I have been pondering if zen is somewhat anti-intellectual. I don’t actually believe zen is anti anything, as Dogen (Mr. Zen) was clearly an intellectual, yet over and over again it seems zen prefers experience over knowledge. While this may be true, to think it means ANTI-intellectualism would be a duality, thus an incorrect view. The zen way, as I see it, is to come from this not-knowing perspective, being open to experience as it mingles and interacts with knowledge (not two). As a person that trains people to be counselors, this makes a lot of sense, as I am always telling students to stop “knowing” and start experiencing the person they are working with. Knowledge so often gets in the way, though it can be very useful sometimes also. Knowing when to know and not-know might be wisdom.

    Jundo’s Abbot and Costello analogy is appropriate, because putting this post together I find my head saying things like, “Coming from a not-knowing position allows you to know and not know (who’s on first.)”

    Also, this last Hixon quote reminded me of the Sandokai:
    [T]rue not knowing… is neither light nor dark, neither absolute nor relative. There is no more dialectic.

  6. #6

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Thank you Alan,
    especially your first quote from Hixon hit me ( I yet only have Cook), very helpful,
    _()_
    Peter

  7. #7

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Hiyas
    I was getting my tire plugged (big ole roofing nail in stuck in there) and so i had 30mins in a room and so i broke out Cook first and 2 x reads later I was FULL ON double not knowing NOTHING :roll: Seriously,be it the air ratchets, the sound the grinder... yeah thats it... not my thick brain bucket at all...It was not sinking in. encrypted and so on. Hixons was the encryption key i needed this time. A wonderful back and forth with Buddha. Not much to say beyond that. Alan the part you quoted, id like to Ditto it


    Gassho
    Shohei

  8. #8

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    I don't think they are talking about the ordinary 'not knowing' of facts or theories or beliefs or opinions. Not knowing is direct experience with nothing added. Not Knowing is like home base or original mind. After thinking, feeling, perceiving - where do you go?

    /Rich

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hogo's Avatar
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    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Hmmmm, another paradox?
    Know? Do not Know?
    Should not know? Can not know?
    Want to know? Want not to know ?

    Who knows?

    Going to read these sections again I belive.
    I dunno. ops:
    Gassho ~ Dave.

  10. #10

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Nothing really struck me with these two readings....I guess the main points just didn't gel. Until...in the last paragraph of Hixon:

    A certain common red clay pigment is used by traditional artisans as an artifice, a knowing, where as the uncommon red of the peach blossoms is an effortless red. It does not know the artifice of red. It is true not-knowing. Consider the tender expression in the eyes and the subtle smile on the lips of Ling-yun when he simply becomes these red blossoms, far beyond any concept or experience of red, untouched by any tradition of red, and method of producing red, and expectations of achieving red.
    Ok now that hits the spot.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

  11. #11
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    What do I know?
    (Nothing)

  12. #12

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    I had a go at this on Monday, but didn't get anywhere; now it's Wednesday night and it seems to be making a sort of sense, so it might be worth hanging in there for those of us who bounced off this one first time round. Anyway, who knows if this is what was intended, but this is where I am with it now:

    I was thinking about the, "What do you do if you meet Buddha while walking along the road?" question.("Kill him!"). And that gave me an idea on how to approach the, "The person who truly does not know Buddha is Buddha" opening volley.

    Then comes the knowing/not-knowing back and forth conversation, and it does sound like a couple of guys sawing through a piece of wood. They could carry on for ever, adding ever expanding clauses of knowing and not knowing, getting deeper and deeper, drowing in sawdust.

    Then comes the realization that while there are always two things (actions, objects, viewpoints), there really is no duality and Ashvaghosa is 'cut through'. That's a handy phrase to my ears - with its negative connotation of being destroyed, and its positive one of sudden successful access.

    And the rest seems to be mainly taken up with Hixon, in a virtuoso passage, being at great pains to clarify, "True not-knowing never excludes careful knowing on every level".

    It's one of those, "both sides of the same coin", moments.

    gassho, Monkton

  13. #13

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Ashvaghosa had become "untainted" attention. Within untainted attention the Great Manisfestation unfolds without his minds interference. The allowing mind of pure observation acquires knowledge but does not linger nor attach to it for an instant. When the mind becomes attached the Great Manisfestation can only be known by its wake.
    To know Buddha is to be dragged through life bound by a rope. To not know Buddha is to discover him a billion times in a billion moments. Gassho zak

  14. #14

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Hi.

    I seem to remember that somewhere along the line i have seen the line "When you drop the Buddha, you meet the Buddha".
    Seems apropriate here...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  15. #15
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Zak wrote: The allowing mind of pure observation acquires knowledge but does not linger nor attach to it for an instant. When the mind becomes attached the Great Manisfestation can only be known by its wake.
    Oh, I like this!!

  16. #16

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW
    Nothing really struck me with these two readings....I guess the main points just didn't gel. Until...in the last paragraph of Hixon:

    A certain common red clay pigment is used by traditional artisans as an artifice, a knowing, where as the uncommon red of the peach blossoms is an effortless red. It does not know the artifice of red. It is true not-knowing. Consider the tender expression in the eyes and the subtle smile on the lips of Ling-yun when he simply becomes these red blossoms, far beyond any concept or experience of red, untouched by any tradition of red, and method of producing red, and expectations of achieving red.
    Ok now that hits the spot.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW
    I had the same feeling about this, Jisen/Brian. I found it to be quite beautiful. It truly did "hit the spot."

    Gassho, Jikyo

  17. #17

    Re: 9/10 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Ashvaghosa

    "You are cut through by me."
    At the time of reading, 6 feet above my head there was a helicopter spinning
    its blades on the flight deck.

    I spent an abnormal amount of time reading over this case.
    How interssting.

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