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 Mayka’s 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 it’s 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 
‘make real’.
  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 
Zen priests.
  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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