Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: No need for reverence?

  1. #1

    No need for reverence?

    So I was reading the Bloodstream Sermon earlier. This part struck me as interesting.

    Our nature is the mind. And the mind is our nature. This nature is the same as the mind of all Buddhas. Buddhas of the past and future only transmit this mind. Beyond this mind thereís no Buddha anywhere. But deluded people donít realize that their own mind is the Buddha. They keep searching outside. They never stop invoking Buddhas or worshiping Buddhas and wondering Where is the buddha? Donít indulge in such illusions. Just know your mind. Beyond your mind thereís no other Buddha. The sutras say, "Everything that has form is an illusion." They also say, "Wherever you are, thereís a Buddha." Your mind is the Buddha. Donít use a Buddha to worship a Buddha.

    Even if a Buddha or Bodhisattva should suddenly appear before you, thereís no need for reverence. This mind of ours is empty and contains no such form. Those who hold onto appearances are devils. They fall from the Path. Why worship illusions born of the mind?

    Those who worship donít know, and those who know donít worship. By worshiping you come under the spell of devils. I point this out because I'm afraid youíre unaware of it. The basic nature of a Buddha has no such form. Keep this in mind, even if something unusual should appear. Donít embrace it, and donít fear it, and donít doubt that your Mind is basically pure. Where could there be room for any such form? Also, at the appearance of spirits, demons, or divine conceive neither respect nor fear. Your mind is basically empty. All appearances are illusions. Donít hold on to appearances. If you envision a Buddha, a Dharma, or a Bodhisattva and conceive respect for them, you relegate yourself to the realm of mortals. If you seek direct understanding, donít hold on to any appearance whatsoever, and youíll succeed. I have no other advice. The sutras say, "All appearances are illusions." They have no fixed existence, no constant form. Theyíre impermanent. Donít cling to appearances and youíll be of one mind with the Buddha. The sutras say, "íThat which is free of all form is the Buddha."

    But why shouldnít we worship Buddhas and Bodhisattvas?

    Devils and demons possess the power of manifestation. They can create the appearance of bodhisattvas in all sorts of guises. But theyíre false. None of them are Buddhas. The Buddha is your own mind. Donít misdirect your worship.
    It sounds to me that giving respect, reverence, etc. to the teaching and the teachers, is contradictory to the above advice. Is it not? It clearly says "If you envision a Buddha, a Dharma, or a Bodhisattva and conceive respect for them, you relegate yourself to the realm of mortals."

    But isn't that exactly what we do with the teachings and the teachers who teach them?

  2. #2
    Hi Seeker

    There is a saying from the Tibetan teaching 'Seven Points of Training the Mind' which says "Don’t turn gods into demons". In my opinion, this seems to be what Bodhidharma is getting at here.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with having reverence for Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and teachers. However, if we start to worship them as an end in itself, rather than as exemplars of what we ourselves are and how we should behave then we have missed the point. Buddha and enlightenment are merely ideas in our head and we need to let them go in order to face life just as it is in this moment. It is not for nothing that Linji said "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." He is referring to our conceptual ideas of what Buddhahood is rather than the actual Buddha.

    Conversely, should we be respectful to our teachers and elders and have gratitude for the teachings of the Buddha and numerous dharma ancestors? I believe we should. However, we should not mistake our own ideas of what they are like for who they really are and what the path is. Thoughts are just thoughts, not reality (the old 'finger pointing at the moon is not the moon' teaching). Also we should be careful of not clinging to teachers for salvation as they are human too and will not always be there for us. Seeing reality face-to-face is the only thing that will free us.

    During Bodhidharma's time it is probable that people were engaged in the worship of spirits and gods. I imagine that this sermon is also a warning against approaching Buddhas and ancestors in the same way - as deities who you can beseech for favours.

    Anyway, that is my take on it. There are others which may well be closer to the truth.


    Gassho
    Kokuu
    #sattoday
    Last edited by Kokuu; 10-01-2015 at 12:34 PM.
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  3. #3
    Joyo
    Guest
    Thank you, Kokuu, for the very interesting and helpful post.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    I don't think there is anything wrong with having reverence for Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and teachers. However, if we start to worship them as an end in itself, rather than as exemplars of what we ourselves are and how we should behave then we have missed the point. Buddha and enlightenment are merely ideas in our head and we need to let them go in order to face life just as it is in this moment.
    I really like and agree with this part, thank you Kokuu. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  5. #5
    Hello,

    "If you envision a Buddha, a Dharma, or a Bodhisattva and conceive respect for them, you relegate yourself to the realm of mortals."


    So . . . don't "envision" . . . realize the Buddha, the Dharma, the Bodhisattva; self-reverence stops at ego.




    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    Last edited by Myosha; 10-01-2015 at 05:01 PM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  6. #6
    He says don't respect them. The whole notion of respect implies that you are less than. How can you be less than when you are a Buddha. Instead of fearing or respecting; love and accept.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  7. #7
    Lovely what Kokuu expressed.

    (By the way, historians are now pretty sure that the Bloodstream Sermon was not actually written by Bodhidharma, but by someone much later)

    https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=...oxhead&f=false

    In any case, reminds me of the story of burning the Buddha statues on a cold night, or selling it to feed the poor.

    http://www.purifymind.com/StoryBuddhaStatue.htm

    Sometimes, I replace the Buddha on the altar with a coke bottle, empty space, a flower or a picture of George Bush/Bin Laden after 9-11.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post27423

    And yet, on most days those other priests and me honor that very same Buddha statue with bows. Why? Because that very same Buddha statue is a reMINDer ... even embodies (as does all the universe and all reality) that very same "MIND" of the Bloodstream Sermon. Is this "MIND" limited to inside or outside you or not you?

    When I bow, I bow with gratitude ... for all of life (both the good and bad by small human eyes), for all the world, for this Path. As I write about bowing and full Prostrations for our Rohatsu Retreat ...

    Many Westerners don't care for it, because it is not part of our culture generally. We see it as humiliating, embarrassing, somehow "idol worshipping" or undemocratic. I am often asked to whom or what we are bowing ... Is it to some thing, god, place like Mecca, person or effigy?


    I answer by saying that there is nothing that's true that is omitted from our bow. We might consider that we're simply bowing to the whole universe, and to ourself and the other people around us … after all, 'All is One'! The hands, palms upwards, are raised in a gesture traditionally symbolic of lifting the Buddha's feet over one's head, but that truly means lifting all things of the universe over one's head as the world lifts us.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post143300
    Another example might be the President of the United States in the US: Sure, in one sense, he is just a common citizen among citizens like you or me. One of us. Yet, one might stand when he or she walks in the room out of respect for who and what he embodies.

    So, I bet you the author of the Bloodstream Sermon, whoever he was, also bowed down to Buddha Statues like almost all of the old monks. Zen folks have a lovely way of talking out of both sides of their no sided mouth.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-02-2015 at 12:49 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    It reminds me of the eightfold path, how it can be viewed as prescriptive: "here is a set of rules to follow in order to wake up." Or it can be seen as descriptive: "here are the behaviors that a buddha demonstrates naturally. In the same way, the text above is a reminder that teachers are people just like us, and at the same time shows us that a buddha might regard everything as a teaching, without hierarchy.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    It is not for nothing that Linji said "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." He is referring to our conceptual ideas of what Buddhahood is rather than the actual Buddha.
    I would agree. If you have already killed the Buddha then the above passage would no longer be applicable. Although, he also said "Kill your teachers". Does that mean we should put Jundo's head on the chopping block? And then go sharpen the katana for the impending decapitation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    He says don't respect them. The whole notion of respect implies that you are less than. How can you be less than when you are a Buddha. Instead of fearing or respecting; love and accept.

    SAT today
    Yes, that's what I was thinking of. Although, it seems quite natural for a student to think they are less than the teacher. After all, the teacher is the teacher for a reason. They don't just hand out "dharma transmission" to just anyone. At least they aren't supposed to! But, if you don't really understand the teaching, how can you think of yourself as a Buddha, without becoming arrogant or perhaps conceited would be a better word? I mean, if you are a Buddha, then you should be able to understand all the sutras no problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Lovely what Kokuu expressed.

    (By the way, historians are now pretty sure that the Bloodstream Sermon was not actually written by Bodhidharma, but by someone much later)
    Either way, still a good one I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    The fat guy would laugh at you or give you a tasty snack if you showed him reverence
    I'm betting he would probably do the same even if you punched him in the face.
    Last edited by seeker242; 10-01-2015 at 11:35 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by seeker242 View Post
    I would agree. If you have already killed the Buddha then the above passage would no longer be applicable. Although, he also said "Kill your teachers". Does that mean we should put Jundo's head on the chopping block? And then go sharpen the katana for the impending decapitation?



    Yes, that's what I was thinking of. Although, it seems quite natural for a student to think they are less than the teacher. After all, the teacher is the teacher for a reason. They don't just hand out "dharma transmission" to just anyone. At least they aren't supposed to! But, if you don't really understand the teaching, how can you think of yourself as a Buddha, without becoming arrogant or perhaps conceited would be a better word? I mean, if you are a Buddha, then you should be able to understand all the sutras no problem.



    Either way, still a good one I think.



    I'm betting he would probably do the same even if you punched him in the face.

    Is your name seeker or did I miss it?
    Do you sit zazen?

    it makes a difference in how I respond.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  11. #11
    Member FaithMoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Southern California
    This thread brings to mind the story of the Bodhisattva Never-Disparaging. He bowed to everyone, saying "I would never disparage you! You too will become Buddha! See http://nichiren.info/buddhism/lotuss...xt/chap20.html for Burton Watson's translation (Chapter 20 of the Lotus Sutra).

    Faith-Moon
    sat today

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Is your name seeker or did I miss it?
    Do you sit zazen?

    it makes a difference in how I respond.

    SAT today
    Hi Rich! Yes, I've been sitting zazen since 1993 or so. Although, I admit that is has not been for 8,030 consecutive days. That would be extraordinary for any practitioner I would think.

    Quote Originally Posted by FaithMoon View Post
    This thread brings to mind the story of the Bodhisattva Never-Disparaging. He bowed to everyone, saying "I would never disparage you! You too will become Buddha! See http://nichiren.info/buddhism/lotuss...xt/chap20.html for Burton Watson's translation (Chapter 20 of the Lotus Sutra).

    Faith-Moon
    sat today
    Jeremy's quote about Budai brought to mind the same story! It's a good one!

    Sat today
    Last edited by seeker242; 10-05-2015 at 11:52 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •