Zen Cliché

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  • Seiryu
    Member
    • Sep 2010
    • 620

    Zen Cliché

    "The self is illusion" "We are already Buddha" "All is perfect just as is" phrases such as these get used a lot in books videos and by Teachers. But how can the 'un-enlightened' distinguish between a person who is just repeating what they have heard or read in a book from someone who is saying the same phrases but are saying them from direct experience of the truth?

    Gassho


    Seiryu
    Humbly,
    清竜 Seiryu
  • Taylor
    Member
    • May 2010
    • 388

    #2
    Re: Zen Cliché

    Anyone can spit phrases, vomit words. I think it takes seeing someone, seeing how they move, how they react to life. From there you can make your decision.

    But don't too much weight in your thoughts :P

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

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39392

      #3
      Re: Zen Cliché

      Originally posted by Seiryu
      "The self is illusion" "We are already Buddha" "All is perfect just as is" phrases such as these get used a lot in books videos and by Teachers. But how can the 'un-enlightened' distinguish between a person who is just repeating what they have heard or read in a book from someone who is saying the same phrases but are saying them from direct experience of the truth?

      Gassho


      Seiryu
      I think Taylor said it very nicely. See if a person lives it, not just that they mouth the words. A football player can brag about his talents ... but the proof is on the field.

      Also recognize that ... just like the gifted footballer ... even a "Teacher" is a "an illusory self who is just a self" "a Buddha who is a human, sometimes deluded being" ... so even the most gifted footballer takes the match one play by one play, one step by one step, one shot by one shot. This shall be so until we are all perfect Buddhas who never miss a pass or shot. Just perfectly imperfect, imperfectly perfect. I wrote somewhere on mastery and "perfection" ...

      One can be a "master carpenter", yet not every corner will always be smooth. One can be a "master sailor" ... but had best watch out for the next storm. One can be a master lion tamer ... but it is just lion by lion by lion, step by step by step. A "master surgeon" cannot cure every patient, and even the most gifted may sometimes make a bad cut.

      Mastery does not mean that one will never fall down.

      On the other hand, turning most of one's woodwork to splinters and sawdust, sinking boat after boat, and abusing the lions or negligently butchering patients ... that is -not- mastery.

      In fact, in the martial arts, there is no "Wu Shu master" who never falls ... but endless masters who know to fall well, roll with the forces, recover their feet, move ahead. The true "mastery" is rolling with/as/though what is thrown at one ... stillness in motion (as in the martial arts ... there is no training offered on how to never fall, but endless training on how to fall well). Show me the man or woman who falls down sometimes ... but who demonstrates how to fall well and recover one's footing ... and I will show you a great Zen "Master".
      Last, just a word on one thing you said: I think it not so common to say "All is perfect just as is", though there may be some folks who teach that. I think it better said as "All is perfectly just as is" ... perfectly imperfect, imperfectly perfect ... a kind of Perfection that cares not a lick about human judgments of imperfection or perfection. Kind of like every football match is beautiful in its way, even the messy or frustrating ones we lose on a missed kick.

      Gassho, Jundo (not Pele by any means, but try to be a half-way decent forward :wink: )
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Myoku
        Member
        • Jul 2010
        • 1487

        #4
        Re: Zen Cliché

        Seiryu,
        you might not be able to distinguish, but does it matter ? Personally i have learned from many
        teachers on my way (mainly by reading their books), some being zen teachers, some not, and
        I have no clue who of those was what kind of person. ButI have a natural feeling if the
        teaching is "helpful" or not, is "wise" or not, I believe you too.
        _()_
        Peter

        Comment

        • Nindo

          #5
          Re: Zen Cliché

          Why are you concerned about and trying to see a teacher's seeing? All such phrases want to point you to is to see it for yourself. If you can verify something for yourself, does it matter from which source you originally picked it up from? As Peter says - trust yourself.

          Comment

          • disastermouse

            #6
            Re: Zen Cliché

            Originally posted by Seiryu
            "The self is illusion" "We are already Buddha" "All is perfect just as is" phrases such as these get used a lot in books videos and by Teachers. But how can the 'un-enlightened' distinguish between a person who is just repeating what they have heard or read in a book from someone who is saying the same phrases but are saying them from direct experience of the truth?

            Gassho


            Seiryu
            Are you looking to test for a teacher or are you looking to test for a teaching? All of these phrases have double edges. They are tools used for a purpose, not pronunciations of a timeless or actual truth. "We are already Buddha" as a phrase used to dislodge an attitude of pursuing attainment is a useful tool. Used indiscriminately though, the tool becomes dull and worn. (Its all good practice ) Used inappropriately, it can justify lack of right effort or way-seeking mind. Whether the phrase has independent truth is not for me to determine - but is the right teaching used at the right time with the right intent? Teachers will flub it now and again and misjudge a situation or not be in proper communication with it, but are they generally connected and sincere? Are they capable of seeing clearly or do they stumble on using the right tools at the right times in the right situations mostly by blind chance?

            Comment

            • Onshin
              Member
              • Jul 2010
              • 462

              #7
              Re: Zen Cliché

              "We are already Buddha" as a phrase used to dislodge an attitude of pursuing attainment is a useful tool. Used indiscriminately though, the tool becomes dull and worn.
              How true of most things
              "This traceless enlightenment continues endlessly" (Dogen Zenji)

              Comment

              • Rev R
                Member
                • Jul 2007
                • 457

                #8
                Re: Zen Cliché

                Originally posted by Seiryu
                "The self is illusion" "We are already Buddha" "All is perfect just as is" phrases such as these get used a lot in books videos and by Teachers. But how can the 'un-enlightened' distinguish between a person who is just repeating what they have heard or read in a book from someone who is saying the same phrases but are saying them from direct experience of the truth?

                Gassho


                Seiryu
                Greetings Seiryu,

                The Kalamas Sutta suggests:

                when you yourselves know
                these things are good
                these things are not blamable
                these things are praised by the wise
                undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness
                enter on and abide in them.
                ~Soma Thera translation
                http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el008.html
                Maybe these teachers do have a direct experience of truth, maybe they don't. In the end it doesn't really matter since it's not a good idea to rely on some "outside authority" as the sole validation of a truth claim. Consider it this way, the claim is a hypothesis, existence is the lab, and practice is the experiment. Your practice and your insight are the tools to falsify or reinforce any claims of spiritual truth. But, (and there always seems to be a "but" ) what is validated today may be falsified later and what proves to be false may be validated later.

                Truth in the relative world of concepts and words is subject to the mark of impermanence. Yet I would be bold enough to assert that Truth (yep with a capital T- that ultimate sense) is formless.

                Comment

                • disastermouse

                  #9
                  Re: Zen Cliché

                  Originally posted by Rev R
                  Originally posted by Seiryu
                  "The self is illusion" "We are already Buddha" "All is perfect just as is" phrases such as these get used a lot in books videos and by Teachers. But how can the 'un-enlightened' distinguish between a person who is just repeating what they have heard or read in a book from someone who is saying the same phrases but are saying them from direct experience of the truth?

                  Gassho


                  Seiryu
                  Greetings Seiryu,

                  The Kalamas Sutta suggests:

                  when you yourselves know
                  these things are good
                  these things are not blamable
                  these things are praised by the wise
                  undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness
                  enter on and abide in them.
                  ~Soma Thera translation
                  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el008.html
                  Maybe these teachers do have a direct experience of truth, maybe they don't. In the end it doesn't really matter since it's not a good idea to rely on some "outside authority" as the sole validation of a truth claim. Consider it this way, the claim is a hypothesis, existence is the lab, and practice is the experiment. Your practice and your insight are the tools to falsify or reinforce any claims of spiritual truth. But, (and there always seems to be a "but" ) what is validated today may be falsified later and what proves to be false may be validated later.

                  Truth in the relative world of concepts and words is subject to the mark of impermanence. Yet I would be bold enough to assert that Truth (yep with a capital T- that ultimate sense) is formless.
                  Also, IMHO - Zen is not a truth claim. It's not even 'truth' - as the quote above illustrates, truth is what is useful - not to the ego, but to what lies beneath, within, and through the ego. What is that? Better not to say it.

                  Likely we're pointing at the same thing with different fingers. Your fingers have warts, so do mine.

                  IMHO.

                  Comment

                  • Omoi Otoshi
                    Member
                    • Dec 2010
                    • 801

                    #10
                    Re: Zen Cliché

                    I would say it depends on how you define 'truth claim'.
                    Genjokoan = the realized law of the universe = the real universe itself = the Dharma = the Truth

                    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Phi ... d_Zen.html
                    "Rather than explanatory interpretation, Zen is interested in descriptive interpretation. Rather than governing the transformation of nature, the Zen Buddhist tries to be the agent of nature. Rather than setting a moral standard to live up to, the Zen Buddhist achieves his humanity by letting go of external standards of value and by becoming more spontaneous. In the final analysis, therefore, the Western philosophers stipulate a tension between man and world: as Thomas put it, the mind must conform to things and things to the mind. Harmony is achieved through mutual adaptation. Zen philosophy, on the other hand, stipulates an essential unity: the tension between man and world is the result of egocentric delusion. If we destroy that delusion, man’s activity—his thinking and his doing— becomes just an expression of nature itself."

                    Gassho,
                    Pontus
                    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
                    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
                    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
                    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

                    Comment

                    • disastermouse

                      #11
                      Re: Zen Cliché

                      I don't think Dogen would claim that he'd laid out the real truth of the universe. I think that in Zen there's a certain understanding that even the concept of a 'law of the universe' is just a placeholder.

                      Comment

                      • Rev R
                        Member
                        • Jul 2007
                        • 457

                        #12
                        Re: Zen Cliché

                        the "moon in a dewdrop" idiom DM?

                        Comment

                        • Taylor
                          Member
                          • May 2010
                          • 388

                          #13
                          Re: Zen Cliché

                          Originally posted by Omoi Otoshi
                          Genjokoan = the realized law of the universe = the real universe itself = the Dharma = the Truth
                          I think the point is to live, and not have it reek of this "Zen" business. Then again, I never was a big fan of heavy math :wink: :P

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

                          Comment

                          • JohnsonCM
                            Member
                            • Jan 2010
                            • 549

                            #14
                            Re: Zen Cliché

                            Originally posted by Omoi Otoshi
                            I would say it depends on how you define 'truth claim'.
                            Genjokoan = the realized law of the universe = the real universe itself = the Dharma = the Truth



                            Gassho,
                            Pontus
                            Genjokoan = The Matter at Hand

                            Law of the Universe? I'm not so sure. Seems a bit too concrete for this world of ours.
                            Gassho,
                            "Heitetsu"
                            Christopher
                            Sat today

                            Comment

                            • Omoi Otoshi
                              Member
                              • Dec 2010
                              • 801

                              #15
                              Re: Zen Cliché

                              Originally posted by disastermouse
                              I don't think Dogen would claim that he'd laid out the real truth of the universe. I think that in Zen there's a certain understanding that even the concept of a 'law of the universe' is just a placeholder.
                              Thank you for your comment (and by the way, I think you're doing great with the IMHO effort)!

                              I'm not a Dogen scholar, so I can't tell, but you are probably right. Dogen was not a Buddha, and even though his realization/insight/wisdom/enlightenment was great, maybe a hundred or a thousand times greater than mine, it was probably miniscule compared to the 'real truth'. But wouldn't you say he considered Zen to be a way that, if practice is pure, could lead to the realization of the 'real truth of the universe', ie Buddhahood? That could be called a truth claim in a way, but I understand what you say about a placeholder.

                              Gassho,
                              Pontus
                              In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
                              you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
                              now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
                              the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

                              Comment

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