Special reading - eight types of enlightenment

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39272

    Special reading - eight types of enlightenment

    Hi Ho,

    Continuing this special series of "readings that will help in understanding Zen readings" ...

    This is something that I introduced here once before, but is well worth re-reading and understanding by all of us.

    The topic is a very clear list of "Eight Types of Enlightenment" as typically found in various forms of Buddhism over its history and currently, meaning the very different and often totally inconsistent (although sometimes overlapping) visions that various schools of Buddhism propose as the ultimate "goal" at the end of the Buddha's rainbow. Different strands of Buddhism really do have very unique ideas on this whole "Enlightenment" whatever, and anyone studying Buddhism can become tangled up in the many ways that teachers of various schools, in different books and teachings, often are proposing radically different goals and different ways to get there. Even within the Zen Schools, or even contained in the vision of a single teacher, the ideas often get mixed & matched and stuck together. Thus, it is important for students to be able to recognize where a teacher's teachings are coming from and pointing to (and neither/both coming & going), and some ability to see each of these separate, sometimes tangled threads.

    Please download and read the following [PDF]:



    The list is from a book called "The New Buddhism" by David Brazier (a book primarily on the theme of Buddhism as a model for engaged, socially conscious action ... but which also touches on other subjects such as this). What is also interesting is that Mr Brazier seems --not-- to be a Zen Practitioner (I believe he is currently a Pure Land student), and thus offers some criticisms of what he sees as the "Zen" concept(s) of Enlightenment. This will give us a chance to talk about those as well, although (of course, being from within the Zen tradition) I do not think many of his criticisms of "Zen enlightenment" are accurate. Naturally, he seems to propose a "Pure Land" concept of Enlightenment as the best.

    Despite that, I really think you will find it informative, and helpful to your practice and understanding of Buddhist books and teachings.

    As always, I emphasize ... different ways up the mountain for different mountaineers and, anyway, ultimately 'what mountain?' (though, as you may see, not everyone throughout Buddhist history might agree with that!)

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-08-2023, 02:00 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Tai Shi
    Member
    • Oct 2014
    • 3309

    #2
    Over three years I questioned often, sometimes interjecting personal feelings and or histories, and now I am not an old timer but young and learning breath every time I sit, or to shift slightly, or to move my head to take pressure off while I sit. And I don’t question so much acceptance is the answer. Sit and more sit to this 66 year old youngster. Thanks to all who have taught me to sit still and yet be comfortable, to maintain some brand of humility. I don’t know everything and Usri and folks yes Lay members with years and years sitting have taught me to sit quietly and to sit.

    Tai Shi
    sat today
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Peaceful, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, for positive poetry 優婆塞 台 婆

    Comment

    • MyoHo
      Member
      • Feb 2013
      • 632

      #3
      Thanks Jundo. Let's go to work with this and see what it will bring.

      Gassho

      MyoHo
      Mu

      Comment

      • Jishin
        Member
        • Oct 2012
        • 4819

        #4
        IMG_0199.JPG

        Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_ , LAH

        Comment

        • Shinshi
          Treeleaf Unsui
          • Jul 2010
          • 3506

          #5
          Wow, a thread first started in 2009. Took a long time for the first response.

          Gassho, Shinshi

          #SaT #LaH
          空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
          I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
          E84I - JAJ

          Comment

          • Jakuden
            Member
            • Jun 2015
            • 6142

            #6
            Originally posted by Shinshi
            Wow, a thread first started in 2009. Took a long time for the first response.

            Gassho, Shinshi

            #SaT #LaH
            I was thinking the same thing, Lol! I’m game, it looks like an interesting read!
            Gassho
            Jakuden
            SatToday/LAH


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

            Comment

            • Jishin
              Member
              • Oct 2012
              • 4819

              #7


              Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_ , LAH

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39272

                #8
                Originally posted by Jishin
                http://instant-enlightenment.com

                Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_ , LAH
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Mitka
                  Member
                  • May 2017
                  • 128

                  #9
                  Thank you, the article was very informative. I was expected the Ox-Herding Pictures but got a conceptual history of the idea of enlightenment in Buddhism instead. The author sure had a lot of negative things to say about Zen social ethics. I suppose he was being thorough. Anyways, it was a good read and I have a clearer sense of what the different tradtiions mean by enlightenment.

                  As for what I mean by enlightment... well, I will trust in my sitting.



                  Matthew
                  Sattoday
                  Peace begins inside

                  Comment

                  • Shokai
                    Treeleaf Priest
                    • Mar 2009
                    • 6391

                    #10
                    Thank you Jundo and Sekishi, wonderful to sit with all of you, Have a great week.

                    gassho, Shokai

                    stlah
                    合掌,生開
                    gassho, Shokai

                    仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                    "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                    https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                    Comment

                    • SNPII
                      Member
                      • May 2018
                      • 50

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jundo
                      Hi Ho,

                      Continuing this special series of "readings that will help in understanding Zen readings" ...

                      This is something that I introduced here once before, but is well worth re-reading and understanding by all of us.

                      The topic is a very clear list of "Eight Types of Enlightenment" as typically found in various forms of Buddhism over its history and currently, meaning the very different and often totally inconsistent (although sometimes overlapping) visions that various schools of Buddhism propose as the ultimate "goal" at the end of the Buddha's rainbow. Different strands of Buddhism really do have very unique ideas on this whole "Enlightenment" whatever, and anyone studying Buddhism can become tangled up in the many ways that teachers of various schools, in different books and teachings, often are proposing radically different goals and different ways to get there. Even within the Zen Schools, or even contained in the vision of a single teacher, the ideas often get mixed & matched and stuck together. Thus, it is important for students to be able to recognize where a teacher's teachings are coming from and pointing to (and neither/both coming & going), and some ability to see each of these separate, sometimes tangled threads.

                      Please download and read the following [PDF]:



                      The list is from a book called "The New Buddhism" by David Brazier (a book primarily on the theme of Buddhism as a model for engaged, socially conscious action ... but which also touches on other subjects such as this). What is also interesting is that Mr Brazier seems --not-- to be a Zen Practitioner (I believe he is currently a Pure Land student), and thus offers some criticisms of what he sees as the "Zen" concept(s) of Enlightenment. This will give us a chance to talk about those as well, although (of course, being from within the Zen tradition) I do not think many of his criticisms of "Zen enlightenment" are accurate. Naturally, he seems to propose a "Pure Land" concept of Enlightenment as the best.

                      Despite that, I really think you will find it informative, and helpful to your practice and understanding of Buddhist books and teachings.

                      As always, I emphasize ... different ways up the mountain for different mountaineers and, anyway, ultimately 'what mountain?' (though, as you may see, not everyone throughout Buddhist history might agree with that!)

                      Gassho, Jundo
                      I am often curious as to the different Buddhas over time? I see that this article here talks about Shakyamuni Buddha. I am more familiar with Gautama "Sid" Buddha? What are some of the more profound differences?
                      In Sincerity
                      Shane

                      Comment

                      • Mp

                        #12
                        Originally posted by SNPII
                        I am often curious as to the different Buddhas over time? I see that this article here talks about Shakyamuni Buddha. I am more familiar with Gautama "Sid" Buddha? What are some of the more profound differences?
                        Shakyamuni Buddha is Gautama Buddha and Gautama Buddha is Shakyamuni Buddha. =)



                        Gassho
                        Shingen

                        Sat/LAH

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39272

                          #13
                          Originally posted by SNPII
                          I see that this article here talks about Shakyamuni Buddha. I am more familiar with Gautama "Sid" Buddha? What are some of the more profound differences?
                          That is the same person. Shakyamuni means "sage of the Shakya tribe." The historical Buddha, believed to have lived some 2500 years ago. The Buddha's name, before his renunciation, was Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha seems to mean something like "finding what is sought." Gautama means something like "dispelling darkness."

                          Mahayana Buddhism also has countless other Buddhas, in every hair tip and grain of sand, as well as various bodies and emanations of Buddhas, and the Dharmakaya Buddha which is the Absolute beyond distinctions. These Buddhas stand for the deep interpenetration and sacredness of all things.

                          In a nutshell.

                          Gassho, J

                          SatTodayLAH
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • SNPII
                            Member
                            • May 2018
                            • 50

                            #14
                            Thanks All! I was talking to another monk I regularly converse with and he informed me the same thing. I missed the boat on that one for sure! So many names! I think I'll stick with Gautama and Sid. lol

                            Sattodaytwice
                            Shane
                            In Sincerity
                            Shane

                            Comment

                            • Kokuu
                              Treeleaf Priest
                              • Nov 2012
                              • 6755

                              #15
                              Hi all

                              This was very interesting and asked a few questions I have myself about enlightenment as it was proposed in early Buddhism.

                              One thing I disagree with David Brazier about (and I have commented about this on articles he has written for Buddhist journals) is the setting up of Zen as self-powered against the Pure Land faith in other power (specifically the power of Amida Buddha).

                              Whereas we do have a self, this self is entirely contigent on the 10 000 things. As the body and self drop away in zazen, what self is their left to be self-powered? Rather we let the 10 000 things flow through us.

                              Master Dogen is very clear about this point in Genjokoan:

                              "To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening."

                              and:

                              "To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly."

                              To suggest that Zen is purely self-powered completely misrepresents and misunderstands the tradition in my opinion.

                              When it comes to types of enlightenment, each of the eight theories seem to be one model of what is believed to be happening based on the notions of rebirth, karma and cosmology of the particular Buddhism in question. It is interesting to argue over them but in the end we can only find our way through practice, which is exactly what Dogen teaches. If you want to pray to Amida Buddha, go do that. If vipassana is your path, that is fine too. Our way is the practice enlightenment of shikantaza zazen and carrying forth the 10 000 things on and off the cushion.

                              As always, my understanding is that of a novice and should not be taken as definitive or reliable.

                              Gassho
                              Kokuu
                              -sattoday/lah-

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