Showing posts with label Koan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Koan. Show all posts
  • Note: this is just a general introduction to the purpose of Koan. If you wish to work on Koan, find a deeply realized and qualified Zen teacher and work with him/her. - Soh

  • Soh Wei Yu
    On zen koans, John Tan wrote in 2009,
    “Yes Emanrohe,
    That is precisely the question asked by Dogen that “if our Buddha Nature is already perfect, why practice?” This question continues to bother him even after the initial glimpse and that led him to China in search for the answer that eventually awaken his wisdom into the non-dual nature of Awareness.
    Therefore we must understand in Zen tradition, different koans were meant for different purposes. The experience derived from the koan “before birth who are you?” only allows an initial glimpse of our nature. It is not the same as the Hakuin’s koan of “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” The five categories of koan in Zen ranges from hosshin that give practitioner the first glimpse of ultimate reality to five-ranks that aims to awaken practitioner the spontaneous unity of relative and absolute (non-duality). Only through thorough realization of the non-dual nature (spontaneous unity of relative and absolute) of Awareness can we then understand why there is no split between subject and object as well as seeing the oneness of realization and development. Therefore the practice of natural state is for those that have already awaken to their non-dual nature, not just an initial glimpse of Awareness. The difference must be clearly understood. It is not for anyone and it is advisable that we refrain from talking too much about the natural state. The 'natural' way is in fact the most challenging path, there is no short cut.
    On the other hand, the gradual path of practice is a systematic way of taking us step by step until we eventually experienced the full non-dual and non-local nature of pristine awareness. One way is by first firmly establishing the right view of anatta (non-dual) and dependent origination and practice vipassana or bare attention to authenticate our experience with the right view. The gradual paths are equally precious, that is the point I want to convey.
    Lastly there is a difference between understanding Buddha Nature and God. Not to let our initial glimpse of pristine awareness overwhelmed us. 🙂
    Edited by Thusness 05 May `09, 10:35PM
    Thusness's Conversations Between 2004 to 2012
    Thusness's Conversations Between 2004 to 2012
    Thusness's Conversations Between 2004 to 2012

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    More quotes on koan by JT from the past as I was explaining to someone:
    John Tan:
    “More by john tan:
    Alejandro, I would separate non-arisen and emptiness from the luminosity. Imo, it's a separate pointing. The one hand clapping here directly points to the luminosity.
    What is the way that leads the practitioner to “the direct taste”? In zen, koan is the technique and the way.
    The one hand clapping koan is the instrument that leads one to directly and intuitively authenticate presence = sound.
    Let’s use another koan for example, “Before birth who am I?”, this is similar to just asking “Who am I”. The “Before birth” here is to skilfully lead the thinking mind to penetrate to the limit of its own depth and suddenly completely cease and rest, leaving only I-I. Only this I as pure existence itself. Before birth, this I. After birth, this I. This life or 10 thousand lives before, this I. 10 thousand lives after, still this I. The direct encounter of the I-I.
    Similarly the koan of the sound of one hand clapping, is to lead the practitioner after initial break-through into I-I not to get stuck in dead water and attached to the Absolute. To direct practitioner to see the ten thousand faces of presence face to face. In this case, it is that “Sound” of one hand clapping.
    Whether one hand claps or before both hands clap, what is that sound? It attempts to lead the practitioner into just that “Sound”. All along there is only one hand clapping, two hands (duality) are not needed. It is similar to contemplating "in hearing always only sound, no hearer".
    As for the empty and non-arisen nature of that Sound, zen koans have not (imo) been able to effectively point to the non-arisen and emptiness of one’s radiance clarity.”

  • Soh Wei Yu
    “Liu Zhi Guan Zen koans relate more to the direct pointing of one's radiance clarity whereas mmk is abt letting the mind sees it's own fabrications and allowing it to free itself from all elaborations (non Gelug) or free itself from all fabrications (Gelug). The most crucial insight of both Gelug and non Gelug (imo) is to let the mind realizes the primordial purity (emptiness) nature of both mind/phenomena.
    Although Mipham treated gelug's freedom from self nature as categorized ultimate, I can only tell u I disagree. Both are able to achieve their objectives (imo). In fact if u were to ask for my sincere opinion, I prefer freedom from self nature (Gelug) as if understood properly and with experiential insight, it will lead to both +A and -A of emptiness.
    If we were to treat the conventional (conceptuality) as the cause of ignorance, it prevents some very valuable insights that will take probably a lot of time to detail out. I will not go too detailed into that.
    In short seeing through intrinsic existence will similarly allow practitioners to see through conceptual constructs (non-conceptualities), see through duality (non-dual) and substantiality (essencelessness). Phenomena lack of self-nature also lacks sameness or difference, therefore their primordially purity will likewise be realized and selflessness also results in natural spontaneity; yet because practitioners put freedom from self-nature at a higher order, they will not be bounded by conceptualities and can embrace the conventional fully.”

  • Soh Wei Yu
    Having said that john tan did deviced a “koan” as a pointer to emptiness:
    “Now is not a container to him but rather a ground for him to land.
    Say that there is
    Share with him the post abt daniel's post on anatta and emptiness.
    Then say there is a related koan that I ask u to a direct taste of the emptiness of the "here and now" but requires one to hv direct experience of non-dual presencing:
    Appreciate the vivid, lurid scenery in non-dual and ask,
    Where is this scenery?”
    “André, to me "no awareness" in anatta is like telling us not to stop moving air to experience wind so that we can experience the blowing directly, effortlessly and naturally.
    Dependent origination is to explain the conventional relationship between wind and moving air to establish it's validity conventionally and frees the inherent and dualistic rigidity.
    Emptiness is very special, it is a koan. 🤪
    The convention "wind" is empty and non-arisen,
    What is that "wind"?
    Why express that it originates in dependence and is empty and non-arisen?”

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    (On the last point: also see Daniel's Post on Anatta/Emptiness)




    Liu Zhi Guan
    Before I am born,who was "I"?
    The sound of wooden block hitting the table.

    Soh Wei Yu
    Liu Zhi Guan That is not the "correct answer" to that koan. Although, there are no correct answers to koan so memorising one is besides the point - the only correct answer is your own satori.
    But if you give this answer, the Zen master will tell you it is wrong.
    10/27/2012 8:19 PM: Soh Wei Yu: I just heard lol, now attending his talk
    10/27/2012 8:20 PM: Soh Wei Yu: But he ask about the source, where does thoughts come from, where does cause and effect come from, who am i
    10/27/2012 8:22 PM: John: One day got the opportunity tell why zen is become one with action is becoz of the realization that source is not necessary
    10/27/2012 8:23 PM: John: Although what needed now is the direct experience of I m.
    10/27/2012 8:26 PM: Soh Wei Yu: What u mean
    10/27/2012 8:26 PM: John: What he expect the answer
    10/27/2012 8:30 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Shld be the I amness. He is going through a list of koans
    10/27/2012 8:31 PM: Soh Wei Yu: He rejected people hitting the floor for that qn
    10/27/2012 8:31 PM: Soh Wei Yu: He said u came from hitting the floor? Lol
    10/27/2012 8:31 PM: John: Lol
    10/27/2012 8:31 PM: John: Yeah the I M
    10/27/2012 8:32 PM: John: U din tell him
    10/27/2012 8:32 PM: John: Lol
    10/27/2012 8:34 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Lol
    10/27/2012 8:35 PM: John: For zen the 7 phases of insights will hv to b re-written for them to understand
    10/27/2012 8:36 PM: John: But koan now has become a q&a game
    10/27/2012 8:36 PM: John: Unlike the past
    10/27/2012 8:36 PM: John: Like studying a 10 yrs series
    10/27/2012 9:08 PM: Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    10/27/2012 9:22 PM: Soh Wei Yu: "For zen the 7 phases of insights will hv to b re-written for them to understand" - how is it to b re written
    10/27/2012 9:22 PM: John: Shorten to directly point

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    Огњен Пушац
    What practice does she do?

  • Yin Ling
    Огњен Пушац Samatha and vipassana 🙂

  • Огњен Пушац
    Yin Ling would shikantaza be something similar to samatha?

  • Yin Ling
    Hmm.. I am not sure exactly what Shikantanza entails.
    But I did do some “do nothing” meditation or you can call it “open awareness” midway. And now even.
    And I find that both Samantha and vipassana intermix .
    Actually I did a lot of stuff lol, my teacher was trying really hard to break down my “self” along the path. She call it my toolbox 🧰 haha.
    She probably can see my conditions and prescribe me the medicine becusse she told me not everyone will work with what she gave me to do.
    I’m careful of advising , hence.

  • Огњен Пушац
    Yin Ling I get it. Thank You for Your sincere answers 🙏. Is it too much to ask who Your teacher is?

  • Yin Ling
    Огњен Пушац I won’t put it out in public coz she doesn’t want publicity and I have to respect her privacy. But if you are sincerely looking for a teacher you could personally message me any time. 🙂

  • Soh Wei Yu
    Yin Ling Shikantaza (只管打坐) is actualization of anatta. As Hong Wen Liang often said, shikantaza is not "meditation". And it is not "you" meditating or "you" sitting. Sitting is sitting. Universe is sitting.

  • Ryan Weeks
    Soh Wei Yuthere are several very different understandings of shikantaza, be careful. I like yours. But most people think of shikantaza as sitting down and doing nothing, then expecting realization. But it is rare. Yours only makes sense after some realization. Before that, you have to break through somehow. And sitting doing nothing is not usually enough.

  • Ryan Weeks
    Since shikantaza is literally "only/just sitting" and is interpreted dogmatically by most in Soto Zen these days.

  • Soh Wei Yu
    I like this article:
    In authentic shikan-taza neither of these two elements of faith can be dispensed with. To exclude satori from shikan-taza would necessarily involve stigmatizing as meaningless and even masochistic the Buddha's strenuous efforts toward enlightenment, and impugning the Ancestral Teachers' and Dogen's own painful struggles to that end. This relation of satori to shikan-taza is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately it has often been misunderstood, especially by those to whom Dogen's complete writings are inaccessible. It thus not infrequently happens that Western students will come to a Soto temple or monastery utilizing koans in its teaching and remonstrate with the master over the assignment; since all are intrinsically enlightened, they argue, there is no point in seeking satori. So what they ask to practice is shikan-taza, which they believe does not involve the experience of enlightenment.[5]
    [5]For the attitude of one such novice, see p. 147.
    Such an attitude reveals not only a lack of faith in the judgment of one's teacher but a fundamental misconception of both the nature and the difficulty of shikan-taza, not to mention the teaching methods employed in Soto temples and monasteries. A careful reading of these introductory lectures and Yasutani-roshi's encounters with ten Westerners will make clear why genuine shikan-taza cannot be successfully undertaken by the rank novice, who has yet to learn how to sit with stability and equanimity, or whose ardor needs to be regularly boosted by communal sitting or by the encouragement of a teacher, or who, above all, lacks strong faith in his or her own Bodhi-mind coupled with a dedicated resolve to experience its reality in one's daily life.
    Because today, Zen masters claim, devotees are on the whole much less zealous for truth, and because the obstacles to practice posed by the complexities of modern life are more numerous, capable Soto masters seldom assign shikan-taza to a beginner. They prefer to have the student first unify the mind through concentration on counting the breaths; or where a burning desire for enlightenment does exist, to exhaust the discursive intellect through the imposition of a special type of Zen problem (that is, a koan) and thus prepare the way for kensho.
    By no means, then, is the koan system confined to the Rinzai sect as many believe. Yasutani-roshi is only one of a number of Soto masters who use koans in their teaching. Genshu Watanabe-roshi, the former abbot of Soji-ji, one of the two head temples of the Soto sect in Japan, regularly employed koans, and at the Soto monastery of Hosshinji, of which the illustrious Harada-roshi was abbot during his lifetime, koans are also widely used.
    Even Dogen himself, as we have seen, disciplined himself in koan Zen for eight years before going to China and practicing shikan-taza. And though upon his return to Japan Dogen wrote at length about shikan-taza and recommended it for his inner band of disciples, it must not be forgotten that these disciples were dedicated truth-seekers for whom koans were an unnecessary encouragement to sustained practice. Notwithstanding this emphasis on shikan-taza, Dogen made a compilation of three hundred well-known koans,[6] to each of which he added his own commentary. From this and the fact that his foremost work, the Shobogenzo (A Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma), contains a number of koans, we may fairly conclude that he did utilize koans in his teaching.
    [6]In Nempyo Sambyaku Soku (Three Hundred Koans with Commentaries).
    Satori-awakening as Dogen viewed it was not the be-all and end-all. Rather he conceived it as the foundation for a magnificent edifice whose many-storied superstructure would correspond to the perfected character and personality of the spiritually developed individual, the woman or man of moral virtue and all-embracing compassion and wisdom. Such an imposing structure, Dogen taught, could be erected only by years of faithful zazen upon the solid base of the immutable inner knowledge which satori confers.
    What then is zazen and how is it related to satori? Dogen taught that zazen is the "gateway to total liberation," and Keizan-zenji, one of the Japanese Soto Dharma Ancestors, had declared that only through Zen sitting is the "human mind illumined." Elsewhere Dogen wrote [7] that "even the Buddha, who was a born sage, sat in zazen for six years until his supreme enlightenment, and so towering a spiritual figure as Bodhidharma sat for nine years facing the wall."[8] And so have Dogen and all the other great masters sat.
    [7]In his Fukan Zazengi (Universal Promotion of the Principles of Zazen).
    [8]Following Bodhidharma's example, Soto devotees face a wall or curtain during zazen. In the Rinzai tradition sitters face each other across the room in two rows, their backs to the wall.
    For with the ordering and immobilizing of feet, legs, hands, arms, trunk, and head in the traditional lotus posture,[9] with the regulation of the breath, the methodical stilling of the thoughts and unificatio of the mind through special modes of concentration, with the development of control over the emotions and strengthening of the will, and with the cultivation of a profound silence in the deepest recesses of the mind--in other words, through the practice of zazen--there are established the optimum preconditions for looking into the heart-mind and discovering there the true nature of existence.
    [9]See p.36 and section IX.
    Although sitting is the foundation of zazen, it is not just any kind of sitting. Not only must the back be straight, the breathing properly regulated, and the mind concentrated beyond thought, but, according to Dogen, one must sit with a sense of dignity and grandeur, like a mountain or a giant pine, and with a feeling of gratitute toward the Buddha and the Dharma Ancestors, who made magnifest the Dharma. And we must be grateful for our human body, through which we have the opportunity to experience the reality of the Dharma in all its profundity. This sense of dignity and gratitude, moreover, is not confined to sitting bu must inform every activity, for insofar as each act issues from the Bodhi-mind it has the inherent purity and dignity of Buddhahood. This innate dignity of the human being is physiologically manifested in an erect back, since humans alone of all creatures have this capacity to hold their spinal columns vertical. An erect back is related to proper sitting in other important ways, which will be discussed at a later point in this section.
    In the broad sense zazen embraces more than just correct sitting. To enter fully into every action with total attention and clear awareness is no less zazen. The prescription for accomplishing this was given by the Buddha himself in an early sutra: "In what is seen there must be just the seen; in what is heard there must be just the heard; in what is sensed (as smell, taste or touch) there must be just what is sensed; in what is thought there must be just the thought."[10]
    安谷 (白雲) 量衡 Yasutani (Hakuun) Ryōkō (1885-1973)
    安谷 (白雲) 量衡 Yasutani (Hakuun) Ryōkō (1885-1973)
    安谷 (白雲) 量衡 Yasutani (Hakuun) Ryōkō (1885-1973)

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  • Soh Wei Yu
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:11pm UTC+08
    Imo he cannot just teach 只管打坐 (shikantaza, only sitting) for anatta, must 参 (contemplate)
    Soh Wei YuWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:12pm UTC+08
    Soh Wei YuWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:12pm UTC+08
    yeah his explanation for zazen is like 'zuo wang' (forget self)
    Soh Wei YuWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:12pm UTC+08
    fusing into everything
    Soh Wei YuWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:12pm UTC+08
    but it seems like a stage
    Soh Wei YuWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:12pm UTC+08
    im not sure how that can lead to anatta
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:14pm UTC+08
    One must 参 (contemplate) the view
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:14pm UTC+08
    Because karmic tendencies r strong
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:15pm UTC+08
    However it is sincerity that counts
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:15pm UTC+08
    Otherwise it is only an experience
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:16pm UTC+08
    Unless one is truly wise otherwise it is not easy to realize ANATTA and progress to the prajna wisdom that penetrates extremes.
    Soh Wei YuWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:21pm UTC+08
    Soh Wei YuWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 4:21pm UTC+08
    i wonder how he leads people to anatta
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 5:52pm UTC+08
    I think his 只管打坐 (shikantaza; only sitting) is to directly experience his teachings so there is no 参 (contemplate) Koan per say but directly experience what he taught and explain.
    Soh Wei YuWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 5:54pm UTC+08
    Oic.. but experience not necessarily will have realization isnt it
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 6:13pm UTC+08
    It is not just experience, there is realization. It is just that it is a guided journey rather than a on one's own after certain pith instructions or koan.
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 7:02pm UTC+08
    Lol...but one also needs to know the insights of the individual. After certain lvl of insights spoon feeding becomes a disservice to one's progress.
    John TanWednesday, October 1, 2014 at 9:34pm UTC+08
    That said, as 洪文良has too many students, it is not possible to monitor the progress of each student
    Soh: One more comment
    Hong Wen Liang also utilize koan -- he also gave me a koan before.

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      Ryan Weeks
      Soh Wei Yu yes. The path my teacher and others, both Soto and Rinzai, teach is counting breath-->koan-->kensho and eventually shikantaza.

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