The development of chan - zen buddhism, Humanities

The Development of Chan (Zen) Buddhism

Amitabha Buddha Buddha of the Western Paradise, a.k.a. Pure Land Buddhism. Intercession of the help of this Buddha: if you recite his name enough times, he might appear and help.

Pure Land Sect believed in the intercession of Amitabha Buddha. Counterpart of Paradise/Heaven: emphasis on the help of this buddha. Conducive for congregational worship: large masses of people; result: it became the most popular sect in China

Chan or Zen Buddhism unlike the other two Buddhism sects. Not centered around buddha/bodhisattva. Not focused on sutra/scriptures. Centered around "your own innate, enlightened mind." Enlightenment is within yourself: uncovering the enlightenment is their focus. More optimistic. More individualistic. Chan: Sanskrit word dhvana: "meditation" - not named after a Buddha/sutra, named after practice. Esoteric and secret form of transmission from one master to another. Traced the first linear transmission from the Buddha himself. Highly unorthodox.

The "Flower Sermon" The legend of the first transmission of one master to Kashyapa. Story is that Buddha sits on a mat and looks to the crowd, saying nothing. Then he holds up a flower, which shocks the anticipating crowd. Kashyapa is the only one who looks at Buddha and smiles. This marked the first transmission, because he understood buddha's ways.

Bodhidharma early 6th century, Bodhidharma is the first patricarch. "Special transmission outside the scripture not relying on words, directly pointing to the mind, seeing into one's own nature" is the essence of Chan/ popular among the elite. In order to maintain vigilence - bodhidharma cut his eyelid to maintain alertness. Popular because there was so much correlation between Chan and traditional school of thought: Confucianism focused on teacher-student relationship and Taoism focused on spontaneity and one's intuition. Bodhidharma established Chan as a distinct, monumous sect.

Gradualism vs. Subitism Gradualism: Northern School founded by Shen Xiu, 5th patriarch. Emphasis on step-by-step enlightenment. "At all times we must polish mirror of our minds so that no dust would collect." Subitism: Southern school founded by Hui Neng and Shen Hui. Emphasis on sudden step of Englightenment. Meditation and enlightenment = almost synonymous. "Mirror is originally clean and pure, where can it be stained by dust?"

Intrinsic Buddha nature enlightenment is seeing/realizing one's Buddha nature. Becoming a Buddha just the way you are. Nothing more, nothing less. But delusions can become a parasitic "second nature" because life is full of delusions and they can cling on to you and shape your second nature. We are so susceptible to delusions in this life. Delusions: our desires, craving, belief that things have permanent meaning/existence. Delusions can accumulate and some of us are covered in so many layers of delusions since birth that it's harder for us to uncover our Buddha nature. Our habitual or formulaic mental circuitry. Point is to eradicate presumptions, pre-assumptions. You should short circuit it. Strong emphasis on travel in natural setting: best way to re-examine yourself because you're exposed to new things and different perspectives. Manual labor and meditation are also ways to short circuit.

Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng founded the Southern school of thought, subitism. "Mirror is originally clean and pure, where can it be stained by dust?"

"The very passions are enlightenment" holding up a mirror to our mind,

meaning of "no-thought." Hui Neng's paradoxical.

Gong-ans or Koans method towards enlightenment, Question and answer exchanges between teacher and disciple. Intended to provoke and exhaust the mind. Self-exposure and self-effacement: taking a mirror and reflecting your wild mind. "shock therapy for the mind. Example of of Koan is the sound of one-hand clapping.

Posted Date: 2/28/2013 1:52:07 AM | Location : United States

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