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Thread: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

  1. #1

    7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    A man who did not know if he was coming or going.

    And one dandy fairy tale at the start, with a demon and his "bling bling" that turns into "sting sting" (oh, I got a million of em!) 8)

    One part I appreciated was Keizan's comments that we must experience at least "one time [this place] ... transcending birth and no birth ... mind and no mind ... like water conforming to its container" (a perfect fit to all things and circumstances of what is!) ... "not moving not still, not coming not going ... with the emptiness of space holding "is" and "is not", "other" and "self"" ...

    ... but true home leavers realize that both nirvana and samsara are illusions, and are not attached to either enlightenment or the passions ... yet they do not seek Wonderful Mind nor feel the slightest nostalgia for Orignal Awakeness."

    ... i.e., drop the divisions yet keep the divisions ... know stillness in motion and "no place to go wherever you go" ... be as whole with conditions in life, just as they are, as water in a container, as space holding all things ...

    ... and do not seek ... and this can be found ...

    Cook from p 46, Hixon from p. 50

  2. #2

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    Upagupta missed a grand opportunity to teach the demon by removing the garland. Sit with your corpses and your flowers! Life will not change for us by repenting, we need to sit with what we have been given and what we have asked for. Maybe it will change, maybe it wont. Tsk tsk, Upagupta! :wink:

    What straw hut did Upagupta leave when he left home? What makes a renunciate a renunciate? Precepts, shaved head, a bowl? Only accessories to some. Bracelets, necklaces, a way of showmanship. To those who see past the outward form, these may only be "gilding the lily" so to speak. If you realize the Unborn, what difference does hair make? Some lay followers are more monks than monks. Tell me, how long need one meditate to see it, to be considered knowledgeable? Ananda needed 40 years, Upgagupta needed only 7. Neither is better, both just perfect for each of them. Ananda collected knowledge, Upagupta collected sticks. Everything is burned to ash in the end.

    Find one thing not ablaze with the Unborn. What can we possibly find that exists that has not been ignited, that is not already burning alive, or rather alive and burning? There is not a dry stick to cook with here, thus we have nothing to cook ourselves with, nothing to prepare us, boil us, better for the final dish.


  3. #3

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    Up until now I have been ok with Hixon, I thought his writing was so~so, but I think he has done this one a disservice, until the poem at the end...

    He nailed that one..

    Somehow looking at the two poems side by side; I recalled a verse from the Dhammapada:

    House builder, you are seen!
    you will not build a house again!
    All the rafters are broken, the ridgepole destroyed;
    The mind, gone to the unconstructed,
    has reached the end of craving!

    Yours in practice,

  4. #4

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    Absolutely loved this from Keizan:
    If you fall down because of the ground,
    you must use the ground to get up.
    Trying to get up without the ground
    makes no sense.
    But other than that, I needed Hixon to clear up most of the rest of Keizan, especially the koan and somewhat through the commentary. For me, it all boils down to Hixon's lines about "renunciation to the open space beyond vows, beyond religion" and how the "Unborn has nothing to do with home-leaving, whether it becomes visible or remains internal, nothing to do with any vow or religious structure." Yet when you are "consciously Unborn" you can participate sincerely with the sacraments and ceremonies of religious traditions while seeing to their core. So don't throw away the form (oryoki, chanting, communion, hymn singing, etc.) but instead see through to their core. Or, as Buzz Lightyear says,
    To infinity and beyond!!

  5. #5

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta


    In Cook, i read "the demon exorcised it powers" rather than "the demon exercised it powers", thought it funny though...
    And if Buddhas don't leave home physically or mentally, what do you do?

    In Hixon i liked the lines
    open space also contains monastic vows.
    Awakening is unobtainable
    They say so much.
    And don't miss the unborn naturebit...

    And a side thought to that one, where is your mouth?
    How do you show somebody your mouth?
    There's teeth, lips, tongue but where is the mouth?
    Point it out to me. :twisted:


  6. #6

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    I keep finding my self going back after reading each book and saying I liked this over that, this one speaks more clearly to me. In reality they they balance each other, compliment and dance very beautifully.


    Upagupta opened his eyes as Buddha when he was encouraged to close them and experienced the truth found in the darkness, in non-discriminating thought. A very good lesson!
    Home-leaving is beyond the confines of Body or Mind, Monastic or Laity, Any separation, thought of high or low and were far from leaving home, giving another breath of life to ego.
    When asking myself this question in a different space my thought was that of a "1more in mind and a occasionally body" ops:


  7. #7

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    Hi all,

    I went back to the introduction of each book, which helped me understand the format better. I've been working through the chapters and jumped ahead to the current one to "catch up". The result: I'm not really getting it, but that's ok. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough...or maybe I'm trying too hard. So, I'll keep reading along and say something if I have something to say...or I won't if I don't. I'll say, "Hi" once and awhile in either case.


  8. #8

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    There are two sections, one from each translation, that stuck with me through the reading.

    First from Hixon: "Ananda direct;y indicated Unborn Nature to his successor Shanavasa by pointing to his monastic robe. Shanavasa, now the conscious embodiemnt pf Unborn Nature, opens his successor Upagupta by penetrating through the young man's powerful sense of monastic renunciation to open space beyond vows, beyond religion." page 50

    And then Master Keizan: "If you fall down because of thje ground, You must use the ground to get up. Trying to get up without the ground. Makes no sense...."

    Too often we think that "if I can only do this, or that...get to there...or get ordained" all the rest will follow. It is obvious the Upagupta did make a very conscious choice to leave home, but it seems that that is what he was hanging onto in order to validate himself. That is something I know a bit about. Even in the monastic life, one can fall victim to avarice and pride. We wnat to be"seen" as holy, we wnat to "achieve" certain positions; we convince ourselves it is so we can better serve the community, but secretly we want the recognition, the robe , the elevated seat. All of that is worthless if there was, and is, no true renunciation not only of the world, but also of our own mind. I can imagine that all the disciples Upagupta had whose "sticks" were in the sotrage room, were rather shocked when they were all put to use as part of his funeral pyre. "Did they mean nothing???" :cry: "NO, THEY DIDN'T!!!" :shock:

    All the effort means nothing, all the striving, attention, labor or attainment mean nothing if it hasn't meant that we are able to get up off the ground...the ground of our own being. All the kings horses..., all the wonderful powers obtained through countless hours of work aqnd sacrifice, all the knowledge gleaned from whole libraries cannot be sufficient to lift us from the dirt. We have to lean down into ourselves and rise from there, knowing that we can, even without all the artificial help in one of those.. "Oh Yeah..." moments.

    It is good for us to read and see that these Masters did not atainment through some form of magic or external force transforming them, but rather by being able to stand on their own feet for that "Oh Yeah" moment. It makes it available to us.


    Seishin Kyrill

  9. #9

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I'm not really getting it
    Yes many times I feel like I am right on the edge of understanding...yet it falls away from my grasp conceptually. Nevertheless, perhaps that is the point. Much of the logic seems very similar to the Diamond Sutra....but maybe that's just me.

    It is also fascinating to see what everyone picks up from the readings. For me I seem to be fixated on the poems, which intrigues me as I normally shy away from poetry. Perhaps it is the "between the lines" nature of poetry that seems to me to best express what I am picking up. Thus, Hixon's ending poem really spoke to me this week:

    Every cloud
    Only blue fire
    of clear sky,
    Here is true body and mind!
    Where can they hide?

  10. #10

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    One of the things I read into the story of the demon king from the Cook presentation (p. 47) is that taking refuge and practicing the dharma sorts all manners of things out. After all, the demon king turns to the dharma for very practical reasons - freeing himself from the garland. Another point in this story might be that you cannot run away from your actions but must tangle with the consequences, in this case by practicing the dharma.

    From Hixon (p. 52) I can add that while practice does bring benefits, when we practice we need to focus on the practice and not on notions of benefits or goals.

    Like many others in this thread, I appreciated this quote from Hixon (p. 50):
    Shanavasa, now the conscious embodiment of Unborn nature, opens his successor Upagupta by penetrating through the young mans poweful sense of monastic renunciation to the open space beyond vows, beyond religion.
    I read that as a note about non-duality and attachment to form.

  11. #11

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    The part of this case that struck me the most was the demon's story. I think the demon's situation is parallel with our own. We scheme to try to achieve selfish ends and over time develop the selfish stink of death and decay. Upagupta did not defile the demon with the garland, he merely showed the demon his situation as it already existed. The demon finally realized that his beautiful ornament was really a garland of rotten corpses. This is like a spiritual seeker's first sense that something is wrong, is "off" about life and the way it seems to be.

    So the demon went out seeking for a solution. The demon wanted a god to remove the stinking death-garland from him but the gods could do nothing to alter this fundamental Reality (I love how useless the gods are in Buddhist stories). This is like our running from one teacher to another, doing one practice after another, trying to fix ourselves, to purify ourselves. Maybe if we do enough bows, or get a yoga practice going, or fast, our bodies and minds can become pure and we can then wake up! What a waste, all this effort to scrub the mind clean; we do not realize the mind cannot be cleaned, only seen for what it is and thus no longer instinctively obeyed.

    Upagupta helped the demon by showing the demon how to take refuge in Reality. It was only by learning how to no longer discriminate between pure and impure that the demon could be released from his defilement. Similarly, it is only when a teacher points us to our own minds and shows us how to take refuge in this very situation that we can be freed from our desperate need to escape ourselves.

    Upagupta should have bowed to this demon as his mirror and his teacher, but in his pride he placed himself above the demon and threw another tally in his pile of grotesque trophies, as if awakening were a sport and something Upagupta could adorn himself with, as if Upagupta could wear the awakening of others like a hunter wearing several animal skins. Upagupta had a sharp and clear mind, but could not see his own pride and clinging to form, his identification with his monasticism and missionary crusade. Shanavasa compassionately ripped away the title and self-justification Upagupta held on to, freeing him from his cursed adornment as Upagupta had done for the demon.

  12. #12

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    And then Master Keizan: "If you fall down because of thje ground, You must use the ground to get up. Trying to get up without the ground. Makes no sense...."
    Thank you Kyrillos for making this chip of text so clear...Indeed, in practice, the magic is not where you would expect it to be. In practice, you use the very ground of what makes you fail or fall to get up and make it real. it is not difficult to understand, if you have a child who is learning how to walk, you have a living example of what Keizan is talking about.

    Hi Dosho, not getting it is right...In these two very rich texts, you may get a few words that ring a bell and write what the sound is like...Nobody needs to thoroughly understand the whole thing. Do you think I do?!!!

    thank you all for trying and not trying



  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Redding California USA

    Re: 7/16 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Upagupta

    In Hixon:
    "They realize that any attempt to exterminate personhood is a spiritual sickness, like anorexia, and that the drive to contemplate and become lost in some formless Absolute is a dangerous play of the subtle ego." Mind games, and the more intellectual you are, the more likely you are to play them.
    In Cook:
    "They do not entertain love for even a moment or covet anything."
    and then:
    They realize that exterminating the passions is a sickness, and that aiming for ultimate reality is wrong."
    Which one is it? Or is it both? Neither?


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