Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Authentic Buddha Dharma - Which Zen is Zen? Part 2

The Authentic Buddha Dharma – Which Zen is Zen? Part 2
Dogen’s decision to express the ‘right view’ concerning the significance of how and why the ‘one-vehicle’ or authentic Buddha Dharma came to be identified with notion that ‘Zen’ (Chinese; ch’an, Indian; dhyana) was a distinct school or sect of Buddhism was certainly not an arbitrary or spur-of-the-moment event. According to the journal that is supposed to represent the record of Dogen’s time in China studying under Master Ju-ching, this was a question that raised serious concerns for Dogen personally. For example, in one of his evidently early interviews with his teacher (prior to Dogen’s own awakening experience, also recorded in this journal), we read:
[Dogen] asked: ‘If the Great Way of all the buddhas and patriarchs cannot be confined to one narrow corner, why do we insist on calling it the Ch’an School?’
Ju-ching replied: ‘We must not arbitrarily call the Great Way of the buddhas and patriarchs the Ch’an School. The Ch’an School is a false name that is lamentable indeed. It is the name of bald-headed little beasts have been using. All the ancient virtuous ones of the past knew this. Have you ever read Shih-men lin-chien lu?’
Dogen replied: ‘I have not yet read the book.’
Ju-ching said: ‘If you read through it once, it will be sufficient. The purport of the book is correct.
Hokyo-ki, Dogen’s Formative Years in China, Takashi James Kodera
This citation nicely brings us to the next section of the Shobogenzo, Butsudo fascicle – the fascicle we have been discussing wherein Dogen presents his most comprehensive view of the matter. For the next section begins with a quote from the text that Ju-ching advised Dogen to read on the subject; the Shih-men lin-chien lu (Sekimon’s Rinkanroku).
Sekimon’s Rinkanroku says:
Bodhidharma first went from the land of the Liang dynasty to the land of the Wei dynasty. He passed along the foot of Suzan Mountain and rested his staff at Shorin [Temple]. He just sat in stillness facing the wall, and only that—he was not learning Zen meditation. He continued his for a long time but no one could understand the reason, and so they saw Bodhidharma as training in Zen meditation. Now, dhyana is only one of many practices: how could it be all there was to the Saint? Yet on the basis of this [misunderstanding] the chroniclers of that time subsequently listed him among those who were learning Zen meditation: they grouped him alongside people like withered trees and dead ash. Nevertheless, the Saint did not stop at dhyana; and at the same time, of course, he did not go against dhyana—just as the art of divination emerges from yin and yang without going against yin and yang.
Shobogenzo, Butsudo, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross
Now, immediately following his quotation of this record, Dogen comments:
Calling him the twenty-eighth patriarch is on the basis that [Maha]kasyapa is the first patriarch. Counting from Vipasyin Buddha, he is the thirty-fifth patriarch. The Seven Buddhas’ and twenty-eight patriarchs’ experience of the truth should not necessarily be limited to dhyana. Therefore the master of the past says, “Dhyana is only one of many practices; how could it be all there was to the Saint?” This master of the past has seen a little of people and has entered the inner sanctum of the ancestral patriarchs, and so he has these words. Throughout the great kingdom of Song these days [such a person] might be difficult to find and might hardly exist at all. Even if [the important thing is] dhyana we should never use the name “Zen sect.” Still more, dhyana is never the whole importance of the Buddha-Dharma. Those who, nevertheless, willfully call the great truth that is authentically transmitted from buddha to buddha “the Zen sect” have never seen the Buddha’s truth even in a dream, have never heard it even in a dream, and have never received its transmission even in a dream. Do not concede that the Buddha-Dharma might even exist among people who claim to be “the Zen sect.” Who has invented the name “Zen sect”? None of the buddhas and ancestral masters has ever used the name “Zen sect.” Remember, the name “Zen sect” has been devised by demons and devils. People who have called themselves a name used by demons and devils may themselves be a band of demons; they are not the children and grandchildren of the Buddhist patriarchs.
Shobogenzo, Butsudo, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross
Following Dogen’s presentation of the significance of the fallacious view, he presents a clear view of what he regards to be the accurate expression of Buddhist mythology:
The World-honored One, before an assembly of millions on Vulture Peak, picks up an uḍumbara flower and winks. The assembly is totally silent. Only the face of Venerable Mahakasyapa breaks into a smile. The World-honored One says, “I have the right Dharma-eye treasury and the fine mind of nirvana; along with the saṃghaṭi robe, I transmit them to Mahakasyapa. The World-honored One’s transmission to Mahakasyapa is “I have the right Dharma-eye treasury and the fine mind of nirvana.” In addition to this there is no “I have the Zen sect and I transmit it to Mahakasyapa.” He says “along with the saṃghaṭi robe;” he does not say “along with the Zen sect.” Thus, the name “Zen sect” is never heard while the World-honored One is in the world.
Shobogenzo, Butsudo, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross
To Be Continued…

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