Dear Kathy,

So many shared directly from the heart.  They are all valid and wonderful.  They are many ways to "Rome", including what I am about to share from another angle in the knowledge domain, based on my limited exposure to it.

After BodhiDharma brought the "teaching without words and formalities" to China, this Buddhist teaching is slowly mixed with the Daoiest teaching, which states, "Any description of path is not the path."  This mix is then called Chan. then brought to Japan 600 years later and prounced Zen. We noticed this not only in the teaching of the Third Patriarch, also in the difference of chakra positions and the related Chi(Qi) channels of Indian and Daoiest practices. Dao, as you know is the origin of accupuncture, herbal medicine, etc.

Then there is the major split of Zen teaching during the Six Patriarch. As written in the Tan Jin by the Six Patriarch,  Shen-Xiu (神秀), the one who wrote, "we practice Dharma diligently to clean up our mirror ....," and lost the Masterhood to HuiNeng, the Sixth Patriarch, went North to form his own school.  Buddhist later called the northern school, the "gradual school" and the souther school by the Sixth patriarch  the "instant school".

The northern school has more practitioners in China, because it is more logical and easier to practice.  The southern school is more spiritual with less practitioners nowadays. 43 disciples of the Sixth Patriarch continued to teach.  They developed into five schools of Instant enlightenment. Of which, I was told only two remain, LinJi in China and Soto in Japan.  Even among the two, many have lost its transmission of the "Momentum of Witness" from Master to Master and became a ritual or a life style, with just "Witness" remain.

Worse, when Communists took over in 1945, they have destroyed many temples, and renamed all monks to the same last name and assigned Masters from the Central party.  The linage, the transmission as well as many valuable sutras are gone.

Equally disappointing, there are very little translations to English on the teachings of Chan Masters of China.  Most of the translations are about Tibetan Buddhism, Japan Soto and original Buddhist Sutras.

I hope these information provide you with some reference in your search for "knowledge".

Practice wise there are differences also. I am from the Southern School and trained in Taiwan, we don't just sit.  I was taught to fine tune the Qi(Chi) in our body in order to be sync with the Qi(Chi) of the universe, or Chan.  Many of our practitioners have experienced the "momentum of witness.", which could be illogical and somewhat far fetched to many.

Yet our Master said, "you practice and witness yourself. I only point the way." which is no different than everyone else in this discussion group have already mentioned. If you are interested, I can share what limited I know as well as what I have benefited so far.

There is no tree look exactly alike.  Each of us are here influenced by karma of our previous lifes. The only way to stop reincarnation is first to surpass the three realms, the realm of desire, the realm of consciusness and the realm of subconsciousness.  Then "wisdom" shine through, not knowledge.  Through consummation of all our relationships, meaning all karmic influences of our past lives, we became Boddhisatva. Then as we ferry all sentient beings to the land of Buddhahood, we become enlightened.

It does sound structured, rigid, attached, doesn't it? 

But these are just words, anyone "get it", can be awakened instantly and on the way to Buddhahood.

Shyamuni Buddha said during later part of his teaching, "I have not said a word."

Diamond Sutra said at the end, "All descriptive methods are dreams and bubbles."

Namaste,
JMJM - another finger with a smile.












kahtychen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
Thanks for your reply, Bill! I enjoyed the paint-by-numbers analogy.

Dear Everyone (or two),
Here's a question about knowledge.

:-)

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?

If we vow to master the dharmas, we're putting a lot of investment in
them. How would we find equanimity to release them as easily as hold
them?

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?

The best I can make of it, today, is to consider Right Effort, arising
skillful qualities. The moral and philosophical tenets of zen
(Buddhism, the Tao) are objects that provide pivot points for our
attention, and hold little value outside of that function. (Yes, it
logically follows that Playboy Magazine is just as useful a text as
the Diamond Sutra.) Zen, zazen, is practicing awareness, of dancing
such pivot points. To me a fruitful sitting isn't the one in which
I've had an easy and tranquil mind, it's the one in which I've
struggled on my pivot points. When I exercise my capacity for
equanimity through observing my thoughts, it works much as repetitions
in the gym, which build a muscle by first tearing it: dancing my pivot
points breaks my habits and I get to build new, more aware mental
formations to dance with another day. :-)

I've also read the analogy that it's like fine tuning an instrument,
which is why we're always practicing and never performing.

So, what do you know?

Regards,
Kahty

On 6/20/06, Bill Smart <[EMAIL PROTECTED]org> wrote:
>
> If you really want to live your life as a masterpiece you should consider
> not taking this 'paint-by-numbers' approach. You should seek the source.
> The only way, or at least most effective way, I know to do discover that
> source is zazen. Just sit. The source is there. It's always been there,
> it's there now and it always will be there. It's waiting for you. Just sit.

--
~say beautiful things to yourself~


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