2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

Collapse
X
 
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39446

    2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

    ++ I think we will let an extra week go by, and take a few extra days, to let some folks catch up ...

    We come to the Legendary (in more ways than one) "6th Patriarch", and his story best known from the Platform Sutra of the 6th Patriarch ... one of the rare Buddhist writings to have the name "Sutra" although not about a Buddha (thus placing the 6th Patriarch as such).

    Notice that the 6th Patriarch was still a layperson, not yet a monk, when he became the "6th Patriarch". Notice how he is described as an illiterate unable to read or write ... yet in the Platform Sutra is shown to be wonderfully expert in Buddhist stories and doctrine. Notice also all the politics and jealousy and rivalry in the story, something unfortunately the Buddhist world is not free of ... then or now.

    Hungjen, the shining star of the monastery, offered this verse ...

    At all times we must strive to polish it,
    And must not let the dust collect.


    Does he mean that we must remove dirt from the mind, dust from the eyes in order to see and be Buddha-like?

    Huineng responds ...

    Buddha-nature is always clean and pure;
    Where is there room for dust to alight?


    Yet, he spends his days in the rice hut, polishing the rice, washing away the dust! Perhaps both Huineng and Hungjen have a point! Might we see this as the reality of our Practice? nothing to clean, nothing to improve or attain or polish ... yet scrub scrub scrub, polish polish polish ... .

    Cook at 167
    Hixon at 154
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Myoku
    Member
    • Jul 2010
    • 1487

    #2
    Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

    nothing to clean, nothing to improve or attain or polish ... yet scrub scrub scrub, polish polish polish ... .
    ...when i first read this story years ago, I felt that though Huineng has his point, and is right. However, Shenxiu is not wrong either ;-)
    _()_
    Peter

    Comment

    • Rimon
      Member
      • May 2010
      • 309

      #3
      Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

      Originally posted by Peter Lin

      ...when i first read this story years ago, I felt that though Huineng has his point, and is right. However, Shenxiu is not wrong either ;-)
      _()_
      Peter
      Yes I have the same feeling. Maybe the problem is not the poem. Both poems are "right". Maybe Shenxiu failed because he was not actualizing the poem, living by it. According to the story, he wrote in on the wall so in case the verse was not right, he could pretend that it wasn't his and go to the mountains. I'm sure that Huineng composed it in a flash and was convinced from the very beginning of the truth in it. Shenxiu wrote the poem after reflection, it was an intellectual issue. Huineng was speaking directly from his heart and guts.

      Gassho

      Rimon
      Rimon Barcelona, Spain
      "Practice and the goal of practice are identical." [i:auj57aui]John Daido Loori[/i:auj57aui]

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39446

        #4
        Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

        A still highly respected translation of the Platform Sutra (with a wonderful introduction explaining what is known by scholars ... and not known ... and pretty well known to be a legend ... about Huineng) is ...

        The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch by Hui-neng and Philip Yampolsky

        That is the earlier, simpler 'Dunhuang' Version, recommended by Jundo, and is available in print and also available online (but I think without the introduction): http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... polsky.pdf .

        As well, a later, more elaborate version from the 13th century, in which many more writers had a hand, is available online: here

        http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... lation.pdf )

        Here is a scholar's essay (recommended really just for our Buddhist historians out there 8) ) on the relationship of these various versions, and the changing images of Lineage and Enlightenment which they represent:

        http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/His ... enment.pdf

        This very interesting essay may be of more general interest, and also has much to say on the background of the so-called divide between "Northern Chan" and "Southern Chan" that played a role in all this, and may have been the reason the "Platform Sutra" was written in the first place ... I recommend it.

        http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/His ... n_Chan.pdf

        Gassho, J
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Myoku
          Member
          • Jul 2010
          • 1487

          #5
          Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

          Originally posted by Rimon
          ...Shenxiu wrote the poem after reflection, it was an intellectual issue. Huineng was speaking directly from his heart and guts.
          Thank you Rimon,
          that makes all the difference, I read the story quite some times, and always missed this (not literally, but the importance of the difference), nice :-)
          _()_
          Peter

          Comment

          • Rimon
            Member
            • May 2010
            • 309

            #6
            Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

            Originally posted by Peter Lin

            Thank you Rimon,
            that makes all the difference, I read the story quite some times, and always missed this (not literally, but the importance of the difference), nice :-)
            _()_
            Peter
            I always read the story as if the first poem was "bad" and the second was "good" untill I read your comment, so thanks to you, Peter!

            Gassho

            Rimon
            Rimon Barcelona, Spain
            "Practice and the goal of practice are identical." [i:auj57aui]John Daido Loori[/i:auj57aui]

            Comment

            • Hogo
              Member
              • Feb 2010
              • 497

              #7
              Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

              Shelved my books for a long while as things got a bit much, but am going to pick back up with you all here, and do my best to catch up.
              Gassho.

              Comment

              • Taylor
                Member
                • May 2010
                • 388

                #8
                Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

                I have to offer a gassho to both.

                Without the first poem, where are we? Caught in emptiness, feeling no need to do a thing! A dirty mirror may be complete as it is, but it doesn't reflect any light!

                Without the second poem we polish until our hands bleed and the mirror breaks. Yet we keep scrubbing at space saying, "NOT YET CLEAN! NOT YET CLEAN!"

                Sometimes letting go requires a firm hand.

                Gassho,
                Taylor (Myoken)
                Gassho,
                Myoken
                [url:r05q3pze]http://staresatwalls.blogspot.com/[/url:r05q3pze]

                Comment

                • BrianW
                  Member
                  • Oct 2008
                  • 511

                  #9
                  Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

                  Originally posted by Taylor
                  I have to offer a gassho to both.
                  Bingo! As in the Sandokai:

                  The Way has no Northern or Southern Ancestors.
                  Shenxiu poem's (Northern) and Hui-neng’s poem (Southern) both express the Way, but simply emphasize different characteristics.

                  Gassho,
                  Jisen/BrianW

                  Comment

                  • Heisoku
                    Member
                    • Jun 2010
                    • 1338

                    #10
                    Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

                    Perhaps we follow north and south without being caught by either..the middle way?
                    I think maybe that Hui-neng was literally cleaning (out s**t) as this came to him, whereas Shenxiu was maybe in zazen.
                    Ultimately there is no difference, except one's understanding of zazen permeating everyday activity.

                    Thanks to those previously posting.
                    Heisoku 平 息
                    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

                    Comment

                    • Rich
                      Member
                      • Apr 2009
                      • 2601

                      #11
                      Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

                      Huineng 'the diamond cutter' cuts thru to the reality of impermanence. Taking each moment as new and fresh he is free to think and perceive freely and without a permanent ego self there is nowhere for dust to collect. Cleaning rice needs to be done.
                      _/_
                      Rich
                      MUHYO
                      無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                      https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                      Comment

                      • Hogo
                        Member
                        • Feb 2010
                        • 497

                        #12
                        Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

                        I have been clear that I am not skilled at intellectual interperation (at least putting it into words) I must simply say that I very much enjoyed this story, and many of your (everyones) thoughts on it. It seemed so simple and straight a point that I almost became suspicious that maybe I did not understand, but I quickly got over it.
                        Non-doing is the hardest thing I have not done. :roll:
                        Thank you all,
                        Gassho. ~Dave.

                        Comment

                        • Shogen
                          Member
                          • Dec 2008
                          • 301

                          #13
                          Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

                          The light of Radiant Moon available to all without restrictions.
                          Northern scchool, southern school, or schools of the ten directions are of no consequence. What is most paramount is the essence of their teachings. Gassho, Zak

                          Comment

                          • Shohei
                            Member
                            • Oct 2007
                            • 2854

                            #14
                            Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

                            Originally posted by Jundo
                            [i]Yet, he spends his days in the rice hut, polishing the rice, washing away the dust! Perhaps both Huineng and Hungjen have a point! Might we see this as the reality of our Practice? nothing to clean, nothing to improve or attain or polish ... yet scrub scrub scrub, polish polish polish ... .
                            Lots of story there to express this but such great point.

                            also in Cook, Master Keizan's compassionate admonishment of the monk assembly, asking them not to stick to one or the other... to fully understand - this message reaching me today, Thank you!

                            Gassho
                            Shohei

                            Comment

                            • AlanLa
                              Member
                              • Mar 2008
                              • 1405

                              #15
                              Re: 2/19 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Huineng

                              My first thought is who better to know there is nothing to clean than the person doing all the cleaning? (of rice, in this case). It seems to me that the more utilitarian a person is the more chance they have to realize the Way. The hardship of chopping wood and fetching water can be (though such acts are not necessarily so) closer to the Way than having the privilege of not needing to chop wood or fetch water. Being immersed in life's experiences seems closer to the Way than retreating from life's experiences. Zen is Awakeness to this life, so the more of it the better, and samu is quite the life experiential gate!

                              I really liked how Hixon explained the whole rice metaphor. It reminded me a lot of How to Cook Your Life.
                              Remove the husks of ignorance and knowledge! Sift the rice of Mahayana. Cook it effortlessly in the vast boiling pot of the modern world! Without wasting a single grain, serve life-giving nonduality to all conscious beings!
                              I also really appreciated how Hixon said that Huineng was "husking and polishing during waking and dreaming" while in the rice shed. I often feel this way about my practice, that it is not bordered by deeds or conscious states, that I am in a constant state of being husked and polished. My life is one big rice shed, and that is not a bad thing at all.
                              AL (Jigen) in:
                              Faith/Trust
                              Courage/Love
                              Awareness/Action!

                              I sat today

                              Comment

                              Working...