--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, kahtychen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> How do you study the dharmas with non-attachment? How do you decide
> what knowledge to hold dear, and which to consider with equanimity?
> On what basis do you decide whether it's more important to know who
> the 6th Patriarch is or what the 6th Ground is? To read a sutra, or to
> avoid texts?
> Can we just sit, as Bill suggested, and find all our knowledge, there,
> inside? Can we do this with no training or guidance? One of the
> central aspects of Zen practice is having a teacher. What is their
> function, if not to pass on knowledge?
Awesome questions! I think it behooves all of us - no matter how long our
practice has been - to reflect back on these critical journey markers.
Bill's advice has always been (at least for me) right on :-)! That said, I
think each person
has her/his own path and I think you might want to trust what has been guiding
far. It's obvious that this has brought you to a "good (internal) place)...
I had the karma to have studied at Komazawa Daigaku, the premier Soto Zen
in Japan from 1980-82. Soto Zen is the Zen sect founded by Dogen and
many circles as "Mokusho Zen" (the Zen of silent Enlightenment) and "Shikantaza
Zen of "nothing but sitting [in zazen]). As one enters Komazawa Daigaku through
gate, one of the first buildings encountered is the Meditation Hall marked by a
Golden Wheel signifying, of course, the Wheel of the Dharma. Back then there
plaque hanging near the entrance with a Chinese verse that translates:
A special tradition outside of Scriptures;
No dependence upon words and letters;
Directly pointing at our center;
Seeing into own's essential nature and the attainment of Buddhahood
One would assume that the monks and students at such a "university" would have
zazen meditation as the central "subject" of the curriculum...
This was not the case.
The majority of my fellow students that I took classes with were Zen monks from
and Korea. There were also a few Theravada monks from Sri Lanka. The curriculum
terms of academics was rigorous and very demanding in terms of time spent
the graduate level, every student took multiple languages ([Pali, Sanskrit,
Chinese). When I got there I joined a seminar that was studying the
massive and encyclopedic work traditionally held as authoratative by many sects
of its explanation of the Dharma). The seminar lasted 5 years and I jumped in
beginning of the 2nd year (Needless to say I was - and remained - totally lost)
this seminar and in all the seminars I particiapated in, the course was text
based and - if it
was a sutra or a sastra - every single extant version of the text (Sanskrit,
was laid out and cross-studied. Obviously, there was much time spent preparing
I once asked one of our professors, himself a Soto Zen monk, about the
between the messaage of the plaque hanging in the Meditation Hall and what we
doing in classes. Here's the gist of his answer:
"There's a famous Japanese Zen saying: "Before a person studies Zen, moutains
mountains and waters are waters. After satori, mountains are mountains and
waters". The first is from the perspective of "this shore"; the latter from the
"the other shore". Between the two is an epic journey. The message from the
hanging in the meditation hall is what beckons from "the other shore".
Certainly, when we
have "reached" the "other shore" there are no shores, no reaching, no journey
... But it is
ridiculous for us to posture ourselves as "being there" when we're not. "
WIth that, we went back to the task at hand of studying the list of the dharmas.
Speaking of which, in one of your previous emails you asked for info on a bunch
dharma lists. Where did these dharma lists from? It might be from the
you still want the info, some of us might be able to toss things back your way
if we had
more to go on.
Follow your own path, Sister. We each have our own unique vehicle - Your's
through dharma lists. The proof lies in whether it will get you 'across to the
other shore'. I
don't think anyone on this listserv is in a position to judge the "efficacy" of
the raft you are
on - I certainly am not. I think this is a listserv where folks are
authenically sharing aspects
of their/our personal Zen journeys and struggles and not posturing
as the "sage on stage". This is what has kept me connnected to this listserv -
usually lurk. Thanks again for the wonderfully framed questions - I'll spend
reflecting and meditating on them :-)
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