Bill and Donald,
Thank you both for such useful contributions. For my part, I tend to follow
Bill's advice. Only by realizing non self can we get rid of the effects of
karma (I hope). I believe Donald's way of Qi is very useful too. But it is
difficult to realize. I tried to cultivate it, but Qi never came. My teacher
said maybe it was because I lacked the energy due to my poor health. So it is
beyond my capability. Fortunately there are eighty four thousand ways toward
Buddhahood. I believe Rinzai zen is the 'purest' form of Buddhism, or the
truth. It looks easy, but actually also difficult. It looks very different from
what Sakyamuni taught. But I believe the principle is the same. He taught
Theravada Buddhism, which then developed into Mahayana by numerous clever
people who taught books they claimed to be written by Sakyamuni. In reality,
they were not. But who cares? As D.Suzuki says, Buddhism is a living things
which must evolve and change. In the coutries I have lived in: China,
Hong Kong and Singapore, I am faced with huge volumes of Mahayana scriptures,
which many thousands of camels will have trouble carrying. And the monks can
only talk and be worshipped. I am fed up. Let us 'kill the Buddha' and do zazen.
Bill Smart <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
Thank you for your interesting post. My comments are imbedded below:
Donald Hwong wrote:
Good morning Bill,
Mayka's answer typifies one of the major difference between a Chinese Linage
and wester Zen. This is what I have discovered after learning about Zen in
In my opinion Maykas answer is the same as most Westerners; in fact the same
as most beginning zen students. They believe Buddha Nature is something that
someone else has, someone special - and they need to do something to
polish-up or evolve their Buddha Nature before its mature.
Most of the Chinese Buddhists believe our Buddha nature are within us, but
only through Chan practice can we rid of karma and let it shine through.
This is what I was taught from both a Japanese Soto and a Rinzai teacher
that you already are Buddha, and that your practice is to simply realize
that. Realize meaning to become aware, and also meaning to actualize or
A Chan practitioner means in Chinese to cultivate Bodhisattva Heart and to
act in Bodhisattva way - a cycle fine-tunes each other until "everything" is
consummated, satisfied and fulfilled. Which is the Third Practice in our
I was taught not to cultivate, as to grow or nurture, because your Buddha
Nature is already present and complete; but to realize or discover it by
peeling away all doubts and revealing or realizing your Buddha Nature.
While a meditative practice based on Chi enable the practitioner to be
connected with the universe, it constantly feeds the practitioner with life
force and wisdom far beyond his mental capacity.
I too was taught that mental capacity or intellect is not involved in
realizing your Buddha Nature. In fact I was led to believe and in fact have
experienced that intellect, although not mutually exclusive with Buddha Nature,
can be a big hindrance in realization.
Chi foundation seems to be another major difference between a Chinese Chan
practitioner and a western one. When BodhiDharma taught for the first time in
China, at Shaolin, both Motion Chan and Sitting Chan, the only common thread of
the two is the cultivation of the Chi/Qi/Ki. Without Chi, there is no power to
transform a person. Without Chi the entire practice becomes a mental
interpretation of the experience instead of the experience itself.
The Soto and Rinzai teachers with whom I was involved did acknowledge Chi and
its important role in realization, but I was not taught any specific practices
to cultivate Chi other than zazen. It was inferred that practicing zazen was
all that was needed. From my experience that seems so.
This may be why the foundamental Buddhism of karma and cause and effect is
not a major teaching in western Zen, because there is no practice to support it.
The Soto and Rinzai teachers with whom I was involved did teach karma and
cause-and-effect; but the clear understanding is that these are illusionary and
after realization are not important. Karma and cause-and-effect must have an
object on which to attach. I understand that object to be the Self. When the
Self slips away and there is only Buddha Nature remaining, on what does karma
and cause-and-effect operate?
These are just my personal observations after discussion with several western
These are my personal observations after a long and intimate student-teacher
relationship with the two Soto and Rinzai teachers, many conversations and
discussions with other zen practitioners and zen teachers of many disparate
lineages, and most importantly after 40+ years of practice.
Do let me know your comments.
You got them!
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