On Wed, Jan 09 Jeff ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:
>Thanks for your reply. I have come across the Zen view that, as you
>say, "you don't have to understand anything". Why, though, did Thich
>Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist, deal with this "no birth-no death" in his
>book? The impression I got was that one should contemplate "no birth-
>no death" as a core concept of Buddhism. If it is a core Buddhist
>concept, is the Zen concept ("you don't need to understand")at odds
I really don't know the answer to that question. You'd have to ask Thich
Nhat Hanh. If you ever do I'd like to know what his answer is.
One of the primary tenets of zen is 'mind-to-mind transmission'. The usual
example of this is the story of Gautama Buddha setting up to teach before a
large gathering of his followers, and instead of speaking he just held up a
flower. One of his students, Mahakashyapa, smiled indicating he had
'received' Buddha's teachings. He became the first Patriarch of zen. Many
teachers refrain from teaching zen using concepts or even words spoken
directly about zen because of their fear of confusing the student. This is
often referred to as 'the finger pointing to the moon'. The saying
pertinent to this is: don't mistake the finger [pointing to the moon] for
the moon. Don't mistake the teaching tools or words for Buddha Mind. Don't
think you 'understand', therefore you are enlightened. Understanding has
nothing (directly) to do with Buddha Mind.
In my opinion Thich Nhat Hanh is like a overly-doting grandmother who gives
her children candy as a bribe so they will do their chores, in spite of
knowing full well the candy is really not good for them. Shame on him!