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Thread: Beautiful words

  1. #1

    Beautiful words

    Hello All,

    I thought I would share these beautiful words of Bankei (Bankei Yōtaku was a Japanese Rinzai Zen master, and the abbot of the Ryōmon-ji and Nyohō-ji):

    The One Mind, Unborn—this is “the one” that, in everybody, sees images via the eyes, hears sounds via the ears and, generally, when it encounters the objects of the six senses, reveals whatever is seen or heard, felt or thought, with nothing left concealed. (H 101)

    The Buddha-mind in each of you is immaculate. All you’ve done is reflected in it, but if you bother about one such reflection, you’re certain to stray. Your thoughts don’t lie deep enough—they rise from the shallows of your mind. Remember that all you see and hear is reflected in the Buddha-mind and influenced by what was previously seen and heard. Needless to say, thoughts aren’t entities. So if you permit them to rise, reflect themselves, or cease altogether as they’re prone to do, and if you don’t worry about them, you’ll never stray. In this way, let one hundred, nay, one thousand thoughts arise, and it’s as if not one has arisen. You will remain undisturbed. (SI 86)

    Don’t hate the arising of thoughts or stop the thoughts that do arise; simply realize that our original mind, right from the start, is beyond thought, so that, no matter what, you never [actually] get involved with thoughts…. Thoughts arise temporarily in response to what you see and hear; they haven’t any real existence of their own [like the objects seen and heard]. You must have faith that the original mind that is realized and that which realizes original mind are not different. (H 136)

  2. #2
    Not two, one.

    Thank you.

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  3. #3
    Nice sittingzen, thank you.


  4. #4
    Thank you.

    I read Peter Haskel's work on Bankei during the summer, and really liked Bankei's style of teaching, or at least the way Peter Haskel translated it. It is however surprising that Bankei with his Rinzai heritage was not a huge advocate of Zazen.


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MattW View Post
    It is however surprising that Bankei with his Rinzai heritage was not a huge advocate of Zazen.


    I recently re-read Bankei too, and felt that, although of a Rinzai heritage, he seemed to recommend Zazen of a surprisingly Shikantaza flavor. He was not opposed to Zazen. As he advises on page 59 here, it is not that he says that one should not sit Zazen, but rather that all of life is Zazen too without division on and off the cushion (much the same lesson as around this Sangha if I might say) ...

    As for zazen, since za (sitting) is the Buddha Mind's sitting at ease, whilst Zen (meditation) is another name for Buddha Mind, the Buddha Mind's sitting at ease is what is meant by zazen. When you are abiding in the Unborn, all the time is zazen; zazen isn't just when you are practicing formal meditation.
    more here on p 59, in which he says his folks should sit because, well, ya gotta do something with the time ...

    As I said, I was surprised to see almost no mention of sitting Zazen focused on a Koan (in the Rinzai way), and much advice like this to a disciple (quoted in the OP) ...

    Don’t hate the arising of thoughts or stop the thoughts that do arise; simply realize that our original mind, right from the start, is beyond thought, so that, no matter what, you never [actually] get involved with thoughts
    more here ...

    He says (page 96) that Zazen is to be Goalless, not a means to try to attain enlightenment [my bold]...

    "All of you should realize the vital, functioning, living Buddha Mind! For several hundred years now, [people in] both China and Japan have misunderstood the Zen teaching, trying to attain enlightenment by doing zazen or trying to find 'the one who sees and hears,' all of which is a great mistake. Zazen is just another name for original mind, and means to sit in tranquility with a tranquil mind. When you do sitting meditation, you're simply sitting, just as you are; when you do walking meditation, you're walking, just as you are."
    (Bankei Zen, p. 96, tr. Haskel)

    "To exert yourselves in religious practice, trying to produce enlightenment by doing religious practices and zazen, is all wrong too. There's no difference between the mind of all the buddhas and the Buddha Mind of each one of you. But by wanting to realize enlightenment, you create a duality between the one who realizes enlightenment and what it is that's being realized. When you cherish even the smallest desire to realize enlightenment, right away you leave behind the realm of the Unborn and go against the Buddha Mind. This Buddha Mind you have from your parents innately is one alone—not two, not three!"
    (Bankei Zen, p. 76, tr. Haskel)
    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-19-2013 at 06:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Thanks. Indeed very beautiful words.
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  7. #7
    I must admit to only being dimly aware of Bankei and these words definitely inspire me to seek out more.

    Many thanks for sharing.


  8. #8
    Very good! Thank you for sharing!


  9. #9
    Thank you.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  10. #10
    Frankly, Bankei offered many insightful and important teachings, and he was a great Ancestor of ours in the lesson of bringing this Way into all of life, that Zazen or any Practice is All of Life and All of life is simply this Way. But he is not one of my favorite old dead guys, and I think sometimes he was just a little too much a casual "do whatever you feel, no need to Practice really, anything goes" type of popularizer preaching to lay folks who came to see him.

    Yes, there is "no need to Practice" to someone realizing "Unborn Buddha Mind" in their life ... but the way to realize "Unborn Buddha Mind" is typically to do some Practice. It is a bit like saying "there is no need to wash the dirty dishes, just realize they are clean". Well, that is only half a lesson. Better to say "there is no need to wash the dirty dishes, they are already clean ... now wash them and clean them beyond clean vs. dirty". The first Teaching alone may leave people just with a sink full of dirty dishes!

    Also, he said many Wise Teachings, but some dumb stuff (Granted, that is true for any Teacher, cause they are all just artists saying whatever inspires 'em in the moment). Just because he is dead, and people write books about him, doesn't mean he was all that good and talented all the time (he was to Zen what Andy Warhol was to art). Particularly, throughout his talks he repeatedly preaches the following as "proof of the Unborn", which I feel is pretty silly reasoning even for a Zen guy ...

    When you all left your homes to come here to the temple, you did so precisely in order to hear me speak this way; you didn't come with any preconceived idea that if, while I was talking, there were sounds of dogs and birds, children or grown-ups some-where outside, you were deliberately going to try to hear them. Yet here in the meeting you recognize the noises of dogs and crows outside and the sounds of people talking;your eyes can distinguish red from white, and your nose tell good smells from bad. From the start, you had no deliberate intention of doing this, so you had no way to know which sounds, colors or smells you would encounter. But the fact that you recognize these things you didn't expect to see or hear shows you're seeing and hearing with the Unborn Buddha Mind. If outside the temple a dog barks, you know it's a dog; if a crow caws, you know it's a crow. Even though you're not deliberately trying to hear or not to hear these different sounds, you recognize each one the moment it appears, and this is proof of the Buddha Mind, unborn and marvelously illuminating.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-20-2013 at 04:52 AM.

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