The Source of Zen

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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03 March 2018 11:31
 

In the lecture hall, Zen master Yangshan said, “If I were to explain the source of Zen, there wouldn’t be a single person around, let alone a group of five hundred or seven hundred.  If I talk about this and that, however, you race forward to pick it up.  This is like fooling a child with an empty fist - there is no reality in it.”

Generally, Zen masters, including Yangshan, are always pointing to the source of Zen - the human mind, the mind ground.  What else could it be?

Zen master Fenyang said to the assembly, “Few people believe their inherent mind is Buddha.  Most will not take this seriously, and therefore are cramped.  They are wrapped up in illusions, cravings, resentments, and other afflictions, all because they love the cave of ignorance.  When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are still not enough.  When you have realized understanding even one word is already too much.” 

(Yangshan and Fenyang quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

 
 
jdrnd
 
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03 March 2018 11:56
 
unsmoked - 03 March 2018 11:31 AM

In the lecture hall, Zen master Yangshan said, “If I were to explain the source of Zen, there wouldn’t be a single person around, let alone a group of five hundred or seven hundred.  If I talk about this and that, however, you race forward to pick it up.  This is like fooling a child with an empty fist - there is no reality in it.”

Generally, Zen masters, including Yangshan, are always pointing to the source of Zen - the human mind, the mind ground.  What else could it be?

Zen master Fenyang said to the assembly, “Few people believe their inherent mind is Buddha.  Most will not take this seriously, and therefore are cramped.  They are wrapped up in illusions, cravings, resentments, and other afflictions, all because they love the cave of ignorance.  When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are still not enough.  When you have realized understanding even one word is already too much.” 

(Yangshan and Fenyang quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

Not sure where you are going with this. Fenyang’s words sound knowledgable, but he says nothing.

 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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03 March 2018 12:16
 
jdrnd - 03 March 2018 11:56 AM
unsmoked - 03 March 2018 11:31 AM

In the lecture hall, Zen master Yangshan said, “If I were to explain the source of Zen, there wouldn’t be a single person around, let alone a group of five hundred or seven hundred.  If I talk about this and that, however, you race forward to pick it up.  This is like fooling a child with an empty fist - there is no reality in it.”

Generally, Zen masters, including Yangshan, are always pointing to the source of Zen - the human mind, the mind ground.  What else could it be?

Zen master Fenyang said to the assembly, “Few people believe their inherent mind is Buddha.  Most will not take this seriously, and therefore are cramped.  They are wrapped up in illusions, cravings, resentments, and other afflictions, all because they love the cave of ignorance.  When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are still not enough.  When you have realized understanding even one word is already too much.” 

(Yangshan and Fenyang quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

Not sure where you are going with this. Fenyang’s words sound knowledgable, but he says nothing.


I don’t think it says nothing, but I agree it is hard to follow without some kind of applicability discussed in the post. If I said “2+2 equals four. Air is made of molecules. Zaire used to be a country in Africa, I fact that I probably only know because it was difficult to find countries that began with ‘Z’ when playing the Alphabet Game on long car rides as a child.”, you’d probably go “Uh, ok, thanks for sharing I guess?”


I find zen-speak that is removed from any real world context kinda hard to follow like that. I guess it sounds like saying “If you were a mathematician you would understand calculus.” I mean yeah, I probably would, but that statement by itself tells me very little about how to learn calculus. (That is an absurd thought experiment hypothetical, of course, as everyone knows understanding calculus is impossible.)


Unsmoked seems to enjoy zen quips, though, so I feel like they work for some people.

 
 
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04 March 2018 11:56
 
jdrnd - 03 March 2018 11:56 AM
unsmoked - 03 March 2018 11:31 AM

In the lecture hall, Zen master Yangshan said, “If I were to explain the source of Zen, there wouldn’t be a single person around, let alone a group of five hundred or seven hundred.  If I talk about this and that, however, you race forward to pick it up.  This is like fooling a child with an empty fist - there is no reality in it.”

Generally, Zen masters, including Yangshan, are always pointing to the source of Zen - the human mind, the mind ground.  What else could it be?

Zen master Fenyang said to the assembly, “Few people believe their inherent mind is Buddha.  Most will not take this seriously, and therefore are cramped.  They are wrapped up in illusions, cravings, resentments, and other afflictions, all because they love the cave of ignorance.  When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are still not enough.  When you have realized understanding even one word is already too much.” 

(Yangshan and Fenyang quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

Not sure where you are going with this. Fenyang’s words sound knowledgable, but he says nothing.

Zen master Dazhu said, “You are luckily all right by yourself [your inherent mind is Buddha, the mind you were born with is Buddha], yet you struggle artificially.  Why do you want to put on fetters and go to prison?  You are busy every day claiming to study Zen, learn the Way, and interpret Buddhism, but this alienates you even further.  It is just chasing sound and form.  When will you ever stop?”

(Dazhu quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

 

 
 
unsmoked
 
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04 March 2018 12:51
 
NL. - 03 March 2018 12:16 PM
jdrnd - 03 March 2018 11:56 AM
unsmoked - 03 March 2018 11:31 AM

In the lecture hall, Zen master Yangshan said, “If I were to explain the source of Zen, there wouldn’t be a single person around, let alone a group of five hundred or seven hundred.  If I talk about this and that, however, you race forward to pick it up.  This is like fooling a child with an empty fist - there is no reality in it.”

Generally, Zen masters, including Yangshan, are always pointing to the source of Zen - the human mind, the mind ground.  What else could it be?

Zen master Fenyang said to the assembly, “Few people believe their inherent mind is Buddha.  Most will not take this seriously, and therefore are cramped.  They are wrapped up in illusions, cravings, resentments, and other afflictions, all because they love the cave of ignorance.  When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are still not enough.  When you have realized understanding even one word is already too much.” 

(Yangshan and Fenyang quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

Not sure where you are going with this. Fenyang’s words sound knowledgable, but he says nothing.


I don’t think it says nothing, but I agree it is hard to follow without some kind of applicability discussed in the post. If I said “2+2 equals four. Air is made of molecules. Zaire used to be a country in Africa, I fact that I probably only know because it was difficult to find countries that began with ‘Z’ when playing the Alphabet Game on long car rides as a child.”, you’d probably go “Uh, ok, thanks for sharing I guess?”


I find zen-speak that is removed from any real world context kinda hard to follow like that. I guess it sounds like saying “If you were a mathematician you would understand calculus.” I mean yeah, I probably would, but that statement by itself tells me very little about how to learn calculus. (That is an absurd thought experiment hypothetical, of course, as everyone knows understanding calculus is impossible.)


Unsmoked seems to enjoy zen quips, though, so I feel like they work for some people.

These quips may be prescriptions for someone with PTSD.  Or helpful to someone who is under extreme pressure to save their company from ruin, but doesn’t know how to do it.  Or for a lawyer whose innocent client is facing the death penalty, but is missing some critical evidence, or can’t locate a witness. 

Hence Zen koan practice.  For most of us, nothing is going to shut us up mentally unless it’s a matter of life and death.

“The ground of mind does not produce useless plants.”

 
 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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04 March 2018 16:10
 
unsmoked - 04 March 2018 12:51 PM
NL. - 03 March 2018 12:16 PM
jdrnd - 03 March 2018 11:56 AM
unsmoked - 03 March 2018 11:31 AM

In the lecture hall, Zen master Yangshan said, “If I were to explain the source of Zen, there wouldn’t be a single person around, let alone a group of five hundred or seven hundred.  If I talk about this and that, however, you race forward to pick it up.  This is like fooling a child with an empty fist - there is no reality in it.”

Generally, Zen masters, including Yangshan, are always pointing to the source of Zen - the human mind, the mind ground.  What else could it be?

Zen master Fenyang said to the assembly, “Few people believe their inherent mind is Buddha.  Most will not take this seriously, and therefore are cramped.  They are wrapped up in illusions, cravings, resentments, and other afflictions, all because they love the cave of ignorance.  When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are still not enough.  When you have realized understanding even one word is already too much.” 

(Yangshan and Fenyang quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

Not sure where you are going with this. Fenyang’s words sound knowledgable, but he says nothing.


I don’t think it says nothing, but I agree it is hard to follow without some kind of applicability discussed in the post. If I said “2+2 equals four. Air is made of molecules. Zaire used to be a country in Africa, I fact that I probably only know because it was difficult to find countries that began with ‘Z’ when playing the Alphabet Game on long car rides as a child.”, you’d probably go “Uh, ok, thanks for sharing I guess?”


I find zen-speak that is removed from any real world context kinda hard to follow like that. I guess it sounds like saying “If you were a mathematician you would understand calculus.” I mean yeah, I probably would, but that statement by itself tells me very little about how to learn calculus. (That is an absurd thought experiment hypothetical, of course, as everyone knows understanding calculus is impossible.)


Unsmoked seems to enjoy zen quips, though, so I feel like they work for some people.

These quips may be prescriptions for someone with PTSD.  Or helpful to someone who is under extreme pressure to save their company from ruin, but doesn’t know how to do it.  Or for a lawyer whose innocent client is facing the death penalty, but is missing some critical evidence, or can’t locate a witness. 

Hence Zen koan practice.  For most of us, nothing is going to shut us up mentally unless it’s a matter of life and death.

“The ground of mind does not produce useless plants.”

I do not see how any of this will help save a company from ruin.

 
sojourner
 
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04 March 2018 16:33
 
unsmoked - 04 March 2018 12:51 PM

These quips may be prescriptions for someone with PTSD.  Or helpful to someone who is under extreme pressure to save their company from ruin, but doesn’t know how to do it.  Or for a lawyer whose innocent client is facing the death penalty, but is missing some critical evidence, or can’t locate a witness. 

Hence Zen koan practice.  For most of us, nothing is going to shut us up mentally unless it’s a matter of life and death.

“The ground of mind does not produce useless plants.”


Have you worked with people with PTSD using these quotes? Or people saving companies, or lawyers who needed help freeing clients from the death penalty?


If so, I’m glad they worked for all involved. They still sound kinda random to me, but again, I respect your right to have your own practice that clicks with you, and for others to do the same.

 
 
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05 March 2018 11:16
 
jdrnd - 04 March 2018 04:10 PM

I do not see how any of this will help save a company from ruin.

That’s the point.  The executive under pressure to save his company from ruin doesn’t know what to do.  During the Great Depression a number of people in that position jumped out of their skyscraper office window.  Some changed their identity and disappeared etc.  The Zen masters I’m quoting here are suggesting another option.

In some traditional Zen centers, this other option is learned by koan practice.  Zen master Dahui said to his students, “If you think there are any verbal formulations that are special mysterious secrets to be transmitted, this is not real Zen.  Real Zen has no transmission.  It is just a matter of people experiencing it, resulting in their ability to see each other’s vision and communicate tacitly.” 

Here we’re stuck with words, but it’s better than nothing don’t you think?  Here in the West we trust conditioned mind - knowledge, expertise, experience.  We hardly acknowledge original mind - the mind that took several billion years to evolve.