Hi Bill and Mayka, I love the sincerity, honesty and warmth of your post. Instead of picking on Bill, which I am guilty of, I like to share with you my experience of Chan/zen.
Historically, in most of the written words, Chan is a Chinese invention regarding BodhiDharma as the founder or the First Patriarch. He came from the linage of Kasyapa, who were told to teach without words and formalities. So yes, Chan has Buddhism DNA. Gradually however, Taoist influenced Chan. Compare the Shin-Shin Ming by the Third Patriarch of Chan with that of Tao-Te-Chin by Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism. They are almost similar in content. In other words, words are useless. Essence is in the synchronization of spirit, or chi in Chinese. Because the Taoist meditative technique is more effective and Buddhist teaching is more popular, gradually Chan meditative practice became more Taoist, such as QiGong, acupuncture, etc., Yet Chan still utilizes Buddhist terms for describing spiritual experience. Chan is quite a hybrid. Since the Sixth Patriarch, Chan split into the sudden awakening in the south and the gradual awakening in the north. I have a huge linage book given to me by my Teacher. It listed every patriarch in the linage with some of the recent records destroyed by the communist. Northern Chan was passed to Japan and pronounced zen about 700 years later. Because its 2,000 year history, there are variation in the linages. Some are more Buddhist and some are more Taoist and some are neutral. The essence and bulk of Chan, however, are actually quite well maintained in the at-home practices. Through out Chinese history, most scholars, court officials practices Chan. Because they are the most suitable candidates. I agree with Bill, Chan/zen is the core of all spirituality, because of its simplicity. It is just a naked connectivity of one's spirit with that of the universe. It is just a formless, formality less, wordless spirituality. There is no robe, no shaving head, no bible. Any religion can dress it any way they prefer. As long as the practitioner is truly and spiritually in touch his true self internally and with that of the universe externally, nothing else matters. All labels and descriptions existed for a reason. They are all forms. Forms are all relative and pertinent to that particular moment only. We don't have to compare, accept or reject. These actions in the knowledge domain does not relate to our well being whatsoever. In the end, be liberated from all sufferings, be content with every moment is the only thing matters. A bow to all, JM Bill Smart wrote: > > Mayka, > > Thank you for your very candid and profound post. I appreciate your > sharing with the forum your admiration for Thich Nhat Hanh. You are > representing him and his teachings very, very well. > > Please remember that I don't get your posts in my email, and I don't > always check the website. So, if you have a post you want to direct > specifically to me or to assure my awareness of the post, please > email it to me directly as you have in the past. > > My comments are embedded in your post below: > > --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>, > "Mayka" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: > > > > Bill; > > > > I have no idea if Thich Nhat Hanh is a self proclaimed Buddhist or > > not. Knowing him a little bit I can not see him doing any > > proclamation about anything for he's a very wise, sweet, humble > > profoundly peaceful man. I know about him that he has turn round > the > > dharma wheel and created a new way slightly different way tradition > > from the tradition he comes from. This is natural, the dharma is > > something alive which comes first from guiding books and education > > and becames through daily direct experience practice a living > dharma. > > I can say for sure about him that whatever he teaches is something > > that he has experienced first by himself. He won't ever talk about > > something that he has not experienced first. In fact one amongst > his > > multi remarkable skills is to reduce to the minimum the use of > words > > that can create distraction in the mind and using words that are > very > > simple but a smack to the intelectual mind, individualism and ego. > A > > person who is looking for sophisticated discourses and candy words > > would find Thic Nhat Hanh tedious and boring. Or on the other > hand, > > a perosn who can also be intelectual but has reached to conclusion > > that intelectuality can be a boundary when this is not used in the > > appropiate way, then that person, if receptive enough, would find > > Thich Nhat Hanh a very enlightened person. > > > > My direct experience about him is that he is a living Buddha. I > can > > sense, touch and see that in all his body language, his living > > dharma, his energy, in each action he does.... When he pass on his > > dharma he doesn't pass on just words but also pass on his direct > > experience about it!. So the words become like something very > lively > > and real in him. He never talks about something that he has not > > experiencing first by himself. > > > > Thank you again for your vivid description of Thich Nhat Hanh and > your impression of him. He is honored to have you as a student. > > One of the things you've said above rings especially true for this > forum: living dharma cannot be expressed by words alone - especially > in only written text. It's only from face-to-face contact with some > as you describe that you can fully appreciate their total absorption > in the dharma. > > > The tradition he teaches I'm not sure but I'm under the impresion > > that has its roots in Mahayana Buddhism. > > > > Zen Buddhism does have it's roots in Mahayana Buddhism. Some beleive > Zen is a type of Mahayana Buddhism, and some beleive Zen is the > evolution (culmination) of Mahayana Buddhim and is a branch of its > own. I assum Thich Nhat Hanh being Vietnamese would have grown up > under the influence of Theravada Buddhism, but anyway Theravada is > not mutually exclusive from Mahayana Buddhsim. > > As you and I both know and have said repeatedly, none of these names > or terms are really important. I usually only bring these up in > response to someone else's post referring to some specific type of > Buddhism. I'm not really overly concerned with Buddhism. All you > Buddhists can give it what ever names, and divide it up into whatever > categories you want. > > > I have never hear before zen without the influence of buddhism or > > having as buddhism in its root. Interesting also the simplicity you > > seem to follow your own practice. > > > > I know what you say is true. Most people (99.9%?) inextricably > assocaiate zen and Buddhism. Some think it is just one of the many > branches of Buddhism. Some, like the Vispassana Buddhists here in > Thailand, think Zen is not a part of Buddhism at all - more like a > cult, a derranged and impure psuedo-Buddhism. Some think of Zen as > the culmination of all Buddhism - the most pure form. > > I think of zen as pre-dating Buddhism, Hinduism, Judiasm, > Christianity and all other religions. I think of zen as the core of > most other religions, and these other religions, including Buddhism, > are zen with a lot of extra crap stuck all over it. In a lot of the > religions the extra crap is so thick that the zen core is totally > obsucured. I do think that in Zen Buddhism, even with all the crap > attached, at least the zen core is recognizable and accessible. > > >I like from it [Bill's zen practice] how direct is and > > its simplicity. I also like from it how open is to criticism, and > > the fact that one can talk about positve things and negative > things > > happening to one in a very open way. In constrast to the profound > > wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh I have always found difficult to relate > > myself in the non monastic sanghas due to its kind of Disneyland > way > > of doing. I certainly share with you that as a practicioner I don't > > like to wave but to deal with what it comes as it comes alone. > > Though, I do lack of the mental stability over my emotions and > > solidity you seem to have. > > > > I also feel a close connection with you, even though we often > disagree, or at least seem to disagree. I respect your perspective > and enjoy your posts. > > > You say that you practice from the perspective "Just This". > But "Just > > This" can not exist without "Just That". > > > > Your statement above is actually true. As soon as you say 'this', > you imply there is a 'that'. This is a good example of dualistic > thinking, but something that is all but impossible to extract from > our language. Language ASSUMES and is based on dualism. This is why > zen masters often refrain from giving language-based answers to > questions like 'What is Buddha Nature?'. As soon as you open your > mouth to speak, you're lost. So what do they do? > > Sometimes they do use language, but in such a non-ordinary way that > the listener cannot take their reponose literaly. Examples of these > are 'mu', or 'the cypress tree in the garden', or 'dried shit on a > stick'. Sometimes they just yell something that is not a word at > all, like 'Katz!' or 'Wah!'. Since these are not words they cannot > be misunderstood. Sometimes they don't speak but just slap the > floor, or turn around and walk away. They do avoid using ordinary > langauage if at all possible. > > If you and I were face-to-face and your were to ask me about Buddha > Nature I would not say 'Just THIS!'. I would demostrate Buddha > Nature. The best way I figured out how to do this in writing like on > this forum is to type Just THIS! > > > zen or buddhism are not bigger or smaller. They may be different > > ways in which the dharma is transmitted and nothing else. > > > > When I say zen is smaller than Buddhism, I mean zen is the core and > Buddhism (or Hinduism or Christianity) is the packaging. Like zen is > the marrow and Buddhsim is the bone which contains but hides the > marrow, or maybe even Buddhism is the entire body. It's hard to get > to the marrow if you have to hack through the body and the bone. > > > I'm truly happy to see you active in the list. Sorry if we can't > > help oneselves by letting you lurking. I suppose we all miss you > > very much. The zen forum is not the same without you, JM, Mike, > > Edgar.... > > > > A respectuos bow to you > > Mayka > > > > El gusto es mio... > > ...Bill! > > ------------------------------------ Current Book Discussion: any Zen book that you recently have read or are reading! Talk about it today!Yahoo! 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