On Saturday, June 17 donald hwong (JMJM) wrote:
[JMJM...]Now we have a common ground...
We definitely have a common ground - that is evident by our participation on
this forum. We also have a common approach in our attitude - that is
evident is our mutual respect for zen and its practice. Thank you engaging
with me on that common ground.
[JMJM...]"Zen is the life force and wisdom of the universe."
[JMJM...]Therefore, it can not be described, defined, talked, communicated
by words, nor can it be comprehend by mind. It can only be connected to it
with our Buddha nature.
[JMJM...]Zen is the one, which menifest the entire universe both present and
past. Every being, every occurance is its menifestation. As trees grow, as
we live and die, this life force is always there. If we can be part of it,
be one with it, then we instantly will know all menifestations of every
moment is impermanent and relative.
'Zen' used in the context above seems to be equivalent to 'tao'. In fact
the thoughts above could have been taken directly from the Tao Te Ching. Is
that what you mean, that the terms 'zen' and 'tao' and the concepts they
represent are the same? If so I disagree.
First of all the term 'zen' as used in English now has many meanings. This
is due in part to its original untranslatable quality (which is evidenced by
its as-is, transliteration adoption in English) and by its merciless
exploitation by pop culture.
The definition of 'zen' has been the topic of a previous, very long tread on
this forum so I won't go into a lot of detail presenting my perspective. In
the end, 'zen' is just a word, and all words (as you have previously pointed
out) are confining at best, and a basis for miscommunication at worst. Zen
also recognizes this and many of its teachings, most notably koans, are
based on this perspective.
For me, 'zen' is a set of teaching methods useful in guiding you to a state
in which you can first realize and then actualize what traditional Buddhists
refer to as 'Buddha' or 'Buddha Nature', Zen Buddhists refer to additionally
as 'True Self', 'Original Face', 'Mu', 'Dried Shit-on-a-Stick', and many
other word-names. I refer to it as 'Bill!'. The primary teaching method in
this set is 'zazen', or 'zen meditation'.
For me, 'zen practice' is first the activity of participating in these
methods from a learning perspective, and eventually from an actualization
So...I don't completely resonate with your statement of "Zen is the life
force and wisdom of the universe." I don't like the pretentiousness of it.
If by 'zen' you mean the realization and actualization of Buddha Nature as I
do, then 'zen' is nothing special. Zen is everyday activities. Zen is
waking up and getting dressed and taking out the garbage. And yes, those
mundane things are the actualization of Buddha Nature, and do manifest the
life force and wisdom of the universe. But to start with those grandiose
concepts as a definition is, I think, misleading.
[JMJM...]As we sit and focusing at the present moment, are we focusing on
the relativity? Or are we trying to connect to the ONE?
In the beginning (depending on your instructions) learning zazen may include
focusing on something, like counting your breaths or a mantra like 'mu', but
after that zazen does not include 'focusing' or 'trying'. It is just zazen.
[JMJM...]No self, no mind is only the first stage of "Purification", when we
are connected, we reach the second stage of "Wisdom", then when we
accomplish the third stage of "Consummation", we become Boddhisatva. Only
when we are enlightened, then we are Buddha.
This is another 'I can live with that' statement. I don't completely
disagree with what you've said, but I don't like the way you divided things
up into stages which imply a graduated evolution culminating in being
Buddha. It is not like that, at least in my experience, and it smacks too
much of the Western-style impatience which brought about things like the
introduction of many, many levels of various colored belts into the Japanese
martial arts. It also implies that 'being Buddha' is better, or a more
advanced, or even a DIFFERENT state than you are now. And on top of that in
introduces a goal (becoming Buddha) into what should be a goal-less
activity. Zen practice doesnt lead to a 'becoming' of anything; it leads
to a realization (or 'awakening') to something that has always been.
[JMJM...]No mind, so self is on the way to Buddha, but not quite there yet.
It is a long struggle, but much more pleasant than just sitting and sitting
and sitting. *smile*
Doing zazen is enough. There is no more than that. What makes pleasant or
unpleasant? Maybe that question is what you should sit with, and your
[JMJM...]Let me know if you're ready to venture.
I have no need to venture. There is no place I'd rather be than here. In
fact there is no place other than here.
[JMJM...]JMJM is "Jue Miao Jing Ming" for short. It is my Dharma name given
to me by my Master. I use it when I talk about Dharma. I am grateful of
having such honor as well as the patience and understanding of this
discussion group in reading my post.
I like that. I'm glad you are using your Dharma name, and am very glad in
fact grateful that you are talking about Dharma. I too once had a Dharma
name but ceased using it when I ceased identifying myself with Buddhism.
Thanks again for your thoughtful posts...Bill!
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