Well Bill,

If you agreed on #3, that all words are illusory, then perhaps "your insistent denial based on your teacher's words" could itself be illusory?

My teacher reminded us constantly, "don't swallow my words as is. All spoken, written, thinking dharma are just form. If you experience it, then it is yours. Otherwise, they are just forms."

The label of chi and karma are indeed form, but the experience of chi and karma requires practice, so is the experience of spirituality and the wisdom this practice contains.

"The way is not hard, if we don't pick or choose." Xin Xin Ming by the Third Patriarch.

Every way leads somewhere determined by the quieting of our discriminating mind. Not just while meditating, but in every second of our daily lives.

BoddhiDharma also said, "When we sever all external associations and quiet all internal murmur, then we are on the way."

Don't take my words for it.  Don't take anyone's words.  Just Experience.

With all due respect, I have said nothing,
JMJM

On 9/10/2010 7:49 PM, billsm...@hhs1963.org wrote:

JMJM,

Thanks for your reply.

I've numbered your points so I can refer to them more easily.

The zen I practice, the items that seem to be the same are 3, 4, 5 and 6; although I'd have to investigate what you mean by 3 and 6 before I could be 100% sure.

As you know I consider both chi and karma illusory, teaching tools at best and comforting superstitions at worst.

...Bill!

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Jue Miao Jing Ming - ????
Sent: Friday, September 10, 2010 10:48 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill

Hello Bill,

As always, thank you for your detailed explanation. Let me get some of our definitions listed.
1. Chi is just a medium. The wisdom it contains is the spirit.
2. We all have chi, without it we die. Some can sense it. Some don't care. 3. In Chan, only True Form is not illusion. Everything else is, including this post of mine. 4. Every practice, no matter how different, is just a bridge. Some longer and some shorter.
5. Some bridge enable us to help others more efficiently.
6. The end result is still the same -- liberate ourselves and others from sufferings.
7. Depending on our karma, our paths are shaped.
Thank you as always,
JMJM

On 9/10/2010 6:24 AM, billsm...@hhs1963.org <mailto:BillSmart%40HHS1963.org> wrote:

JMJM,

Please don't take my posts as some kind of 'official' Zen Buddhist position. It's not. It's my position and I'm willing to take responsibility for it and explain it when asked.

If y

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Jue Miao Jing Ming - ????
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2010 12:30 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill

I always know that Zen and Chan are the same in description, but different in practice. Now I am certain the missing practice in Zen is the "Mystic Inner Witness" practice or 『秘密內證法』 in Chinese.

[Bill!] I'm not sure what the 'Mystic Inner Witness' practice is, but I think I can guess. It sounds like something described by many in the West as the 'watcher' or the 'witness'. A bodiless awareness that passively and exclusively observes. If it is this it is not taught in Japanese Renzai/Soto Zen Buddhism. I have experienced this phenomenon while sitting, and when I questioned my Roshi (Zen Teacher) about it during dokusan (private interview) I was told to just ignore it, that is was just maya (illusion). I did that and after a short while I never experienced it again.

That's the reason Zen lost its spirituality and became an everyday rationalization, as described by you.
[Bill!] 'Spirit' is defined by Merriam-Webster Online as:
"1: an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms
2: a supernatural being or essence"
Using those definitions as a basis for 'spirituality', I think you are referring to #1 - which I also think you call 'chi'. Again, during my beginning Japanese Renzai Zen Buddhist training, and when working on the 'breakthrough' koan 'Mu', I was encouraged to generate 'joriki', which was described as a 'ball of energy, like a small fire, located in my 'hara' (a spot just below the navel). I was told it would help me build up my ability to focus and achieve the necessary concentration that was necessary to pass the koan. After passing 'Mu' I asked my Roshi about joriki and if I needed to continue to generate and accumulate it. He replied that it was not necessary to do that anymore, that it was a form of maya and that although useful as a teaching technique it could actually become a hindrance when doing Shikan taza (clear mind zazen) which is the direct expression of Buddha Nature. So, if 'chi' is what you mean when you say 'Zen has lost its spirituality', you are correct. It is necessary to discard that along with all other illusions.

Well??
[Bill!] I am well, thank you. And you?

On 9/8/2010 9:00 PM, billsm...@hhs1963.org <mailto:BillSmart%40HHS1963.org> wrote:

JMJM,

You asked if "...Zen has a "mystic" practice?"

My short answer would be definitely NO.

My long answer would be: Buddhism may have mystical practices, and therefore Zen Buddhism may also; but zen in and of itself is the opposite of mysticism as the term is usually used. It is nothing special. It is available to all sentient beings. It is just everyday life. Zen practice is the 'cypress tree in the garden', 'three-pounds of flax', 'a dried shit-stick'. Zen practice is Just THIS!

An addendum (long one) to my long answer is: I differentiate Zen Buddhism and zen. I do not believe zen is co-dependent with, exclusively associated with or a merely a sub-set of Buddhism. I do of course recognize a sub-set or sect of Buddhism called 'Zen Buddhism'. I refer to this in my posts as 'Zen' with an upper-case 'Z' to denote it is a proper noun. I use 'zen', which I believe to simply be the direct experience of reality, with a lower-case 'z' to refer to non-denominational zen.

For me Zen Buddhism is a Buddhist expression of zen. It has taken the essence of zen and has encased it with the religious dogma of Buddhism. A further extension of this would be 'Japanese Zen Buddhism' as contrasted with 'Korean Zen Buddhism'. These have been further encased with culture values associated with the Japanese or Korean cultures. This layering goes on and on and on until the layers are so thick the kernel or essence which is zen is sometimes completely obscured. This is also true of Christianity, and I believe all other 'religions'. In fact that is what I think most 'religions' are: a stylized expression of zen - which as I said above very often puts more emphasis on the layers of 'style' than the kernel of 'zen'.

I think there are certainly 'mystic practices' within most religions. I think religions encourage the belief in 'mysticism' to protect the layers they've overlaid on the basic kernel of zen, and to justify the creation of hierarchies within the religion - like lay people, monks, priests, prophets, 'mystics', etc... 'Mysticism' protects the religion by shielding it from access by most of the 'lay people' so the upper hierarchies, such as priest classes, can continue to define and reinforce the adherence to the layers. Although 'mystics' are sometimes seen as rouges and revolutionaries in a religion, they only are allowed to do so under the watchful eye and approval of the religions upper hierarchies. Of course some 'mystics' are not accepted, and they are either denounced as 'heretics' or, if they are popular enough, might succeed in breaking off a group into a sect or even a new religion - such as Jesus did.

...Bill!

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Jue Miao Jing Ming - ????
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2010 12:56 AM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill

Hello Bill and all,

Thank you for your answer. As we both know definitions are just labels, my next question is whether Zen has a "mystic" practice?

Since Chan is the "Grand Mystic", the foundation of our Chan practice is "Inner observation and witnessing the direction unification with the universe, including all the phenomena as well as the life force that caused everything."

Through this practice, there will be no conflict between our mind and our heart. Both the logic and the universal truth will be one. The discriminating mind will be wise to accept all.

What can you comment?

Thank you for your time to read my post,
JM

On 9/8/2010 12:40 AM, billsm...@hhs1963.org <mailto:BillSmart%40HHS1963.org> wrote:

JMJM,

You bring up a very good question.

According to Merriam-Webster Online the definitions of these words and my opinion as how they could be applied to zen are:

MYSTICAL
1:a : having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence [Bill!] Zen is not 'spiritual' and is definitely apparent to the senses, so this definition doesn't seem to fit. Zen is however not obvious, nor even accessible as far as I'm concerned, to the intelligence. b : involving or having the nature of an individual's direct subjective communion with God or ultimate reality [Bill!] This is pretty close, although I would take out the words 'subjective' and 'God or ultimate' which leaves 'direct communion with reality'.

MYSTICISM
1: the experience of MYSTICAL union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by MYSTICS
[Bill!] I could live with this definition.
2: the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight) [Bill!] Again, this is close, but I don't associate Buddha Nature with intuition or insight - although I know in the West these could be used as a poor substitute.
3:a : vague speculation : a belief without sound basis
[Bill!] I don't like this one at all.
b : a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power [Bill!] This is pretty close. I like the word 'ineffable'. That definitely fits. I don't like the words 'intuitive, acquisition, knowledge and power'.

In English, 'mysticism' is generally associated with God or 'hidden' knowledge or insight. I associate zen with just everyday stuff. It's no big deal.

...Bill!

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Jue Miao Jing Ming - ????
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2010 2:14 AM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill

Dear all,

I have a question. In Chinese, the Tibetan practice is literally translated as the "Mystic Order", the Chan practice is literally translated as the "Grand Mystic Order". Chan is the grand one, because Rong-Shu Patriarch brought the Chan to Tibet and affected their practice.

In Chan 『秘密內證法』 "Mystic Inner Witness Dharma" means an inward practice enabling heart to heart witness of Buddha. That's all. There is really nothing mystic about it.

Is the term "mystic or mysticism" means the same as the I described above or not?

Much obliged,
_/\_
JMJM

On 9/7/2010 8:13 AM, DP wrote:

That's kind of the point of the book. She is trying to bring mysticism down to Earth, as it were. She wants to show that not only monks can do it.

--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>, <billsm...@...> wrote:
>
> DP,
>
> I haven't heard of this book, but it does sound interesting.
>
> I don't, however, associate mysticism with zen, or with `seeing the world as
> it is' (which I do associate with zen). How could anyone call that
> mysticism? Or with spiritualism as so many are wont to do?
>
> …Bill!
>
> From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf
> Of DP
> Sent: Monday, September 06, 2010 9:22 PM
> To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>
> Subject: [Zen] Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill
>
>
> I recently downloaded this ebook from a public domain site (the book is
> nearly 100 year old) and I have to say I'm very impressed with it. Underhill > was an ANglo-Catholic, but her main focus is on how anyone can appreciate
> the mysticism of everyday life by seeing the world as it is, without
> categorization. I think this sounds very Zen, and I wonder if anyone else
> had read it.
>
>
>
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Be Enlightened In This Life - We ALL Can
http://chanjmjm.blogspot.com
http://www.heartchan.org

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