Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: For Wonks Only: The Roots of Shikantaza in the Poetry of Hongzhi

  1. #1

    For Wonks Only: The Roots of Shikantaza in the Poetry of Hongzhi

    For Zen history wonks who also have an interest in poetry only:

    For those with an interest in traditional Zen poetry together with our Shikantaza roots in Silent Illumination, this paper looks at the poems of Ancestor Hongzhi. It makes the point that Hongzhi's poetry reflects a Zazen practice of silence, yet also activity which arises from silence.

    Verses of Silent Illumination: Hongzhi Zhengjue's Poetic Vision of Caodong Zen
    https://www.academia.edu/41626936/Ve...ork_card=title

    Zen master Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157) is best known for bringing the Caodong [in Chinese, Soto in Japanese] lineage to prominence during the Song dynasty and for coining the phrase “silent illumination” (mozhao) which came to define Caodong meditative practice. Hongzhi was anything but silent, however, in his promotion of the insights of wordless meditation and produced one of the most extensive recorded sayings (yulu) in the Song, whose poetic content far exceeds any other yulu of the period. In this article, I argue that poetic composition is a central component of Hongzhi’s Zen practice and a privileged means for asserting a distinct Caodong identity. Rather than constituting a rejection of words and letters, the principle of silence transforms the character of Hongzhi’s poetic compositions in a manner that characterizes his Caodong practice. Hongzhi primarily promotes and articulates his vision of silent meditation through poetic means, including his famous “Inscription of Silent Illumination” (Mozhao ming), as well as the images of the “withered tree” and “cold ashes” associated with the Caodong meditative ideal of absolute silence. Furthermore, when these texts and images are analyzed in their poetic contexts, “silent illumination” appears to be far more dynamic than usually conceived, thus, accounting for an active component that encompasses the vital role of words and letters. In this manner, Hongzhi depicts a vision of Caodong practice that synthesizes wordless meditation with poetic composition as two complementary sides of a single mode of religious cultivation. Furthermore, this paradoxical synthesis corresponds to the identification of the ultimate and conventional truths within Caodong Zen philosophy. In sum, contrary to the predominant perception of Caodong practice as simply identified with absolute silence, for Hongzhi, an active and dynamic engagement with poetic composition more accurately characterizes how he imagined the lineage’s teachings.
    Gassho, J
    STlah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-21-2020 at 12:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you!

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  3. #3
    Thank you, Jundo!

    I am not sure if I am a wonk or just wonky!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  4. #4
    Kokuu - perhaps you are a "wonker"?

  5. #5
    Well, that's charming, Risho!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Kokuu - perhaps you are a "wonker"?
    ALMOST the "W" word!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Lovely thank you. And this reminds me a little of a mutual connection of some of us here - Ando McDonnell, a poet and artist whose ethos of silent contemplation and illumination is expressed through beautiful poetry, images and music .
    And boys, please.....
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  8. #8
    Member RobD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Massachusetts, United States
    This is amazing! Thank you Jundo!

    And as many folks will attest, I am certainly of the "wonky" sort...

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -stlah-


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    thanks, Jundo.
    i am a wonky kind of guy too..



    aprapti

    std

    Let silence take you to the core of life

  10. #10
    Is there The Roots of Shikantaza in the Poetry of Hongzhi for Dummies?

    I feel SO ineptly wonky!

    Gassho, Chris satlah

  11. #11
    Interesting paper! Thanks for sharing Jundo
    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah

    Στάλθηκε από το SM-T510 μου χρησιμοποιώντας Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Would this mean (no disregard for our lineage), that no matter how"empty" (or non-reactive) our minds, that words are needed? Not slaps or shouts or even Shakespeare, but simple poetic phrases?
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  13. #13
    Hi Getchi

    I was just reading about this in terms of Dōgen's writings and he talks about the fact that the Buddha holding up a flower and Mahakasyapa reacting to it is often seen as the archetypal essence of Zen, with the dharma being transmitted wordlessly.

    However, in the Shōbōgenzō fascicle Mitsugo (secret talk), he expressly states that does not mean rejecting verbal teachings (which he obviously used a great deal in his writing and dharma talks):

    If you regard Sakyamuni's verbalisation as superficial, then twirling the flower and winking must also be superficial. If you regard Sakyamuni's verbalisation as just names and forms, then you are not modelling youself after the Buddha's truth... The Buddhas and Patriarchs, having completely penetrated their body minds and molted them, expound the Dharma, do so verbally, and turn the dharma wheel.
    Zen teaching has been delivered wordlessly and through a variety of verbalisations, including shouts, poetic phrases, essays and much else. I would not exclude any of them in terms of ways that the dharma can be transmitted.

    Apologies for an extra sentence. Ah, words!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

Posting Permissions

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