Presentation on theme: "Three Important Contributions to the Chan tradition in China 1)Zen and work, rules for living. 2)Non-Metaphysical Zen 3)Recognizing the primacy of the."— Presentation transcript:
Three Important Contributions to the Chan tradition in China 1)Zen and work, rules for living. 2)Non-Metaphysical Zen 3)Recognizing the primacy of the wheel of birth and death. Copyrighted material Do not reproduce or alter without permission.
Old Baizhang Temple
Baizhangs old temple.
The Ancestral Temple Shines Again Baizhangs old temple.
Baizhang carried on the tradition of Mazu (recall the story of Mazu and his teacher entitled Nanquan kills the cat. Here is a story about Baizhangs three jars of sauce from the Record of Baizhang. Mazu gave three jars of sauce to Baizhang. One day [later] Baizhang instructed a monk to place the three jars in front of the Dharma Hall. Then he entered the hall to speak. When the monks had assembled Baizhang picked up his staff and pointed it at the jars. He said, If you can speak I wont break them. If you cant speak then Ill break them. The monks didnt say anything. Baizhang then broke the jars with his staff and returned to the abbots quarters. Question: What are the jars? The Record of Baizhang
Baizhang also adhered to the signless way. Huangbo asked Baizhang, Since ancient times, what teaching has been used for people? Baizhang was silent for a long time. Huangbo asked, How should this be explained to future (spiritual) descendants? Baizhang said, Just say that this old fellow was a person. Baizhang then went back to his abbots quarters. The Record of Baizhang
More on the signless way: Baizhang said, When I was a child, I went with my mother to a temple to pray to Buddha. I pointed at the statue of Buddha and asked my mother, Whats this? She said, Its Buddha. I said, He doesnt look any different than anyone else. Thereafter I always practiced in this way. -The Record of Baizhang
Baizhang entered the hall to address the monks. He said, I want someone to go and say something to Xitang [one of Baizhangs Dharma siblings that was teachings at a different location]. The monk Wufeng said, Ill do it. Baizhang said, What will you say to him? Wufeng said, I speak it when I see him. Baizhang said, Then when you see him what will you say? Wufeng said, Ill tell you when I come back here. Baizhang on Non-Abiding Mind and the appropriate response. The Record of Baizhang
Yunyan asked Baizhang, Master, who is it that youre doing all this work for? Baizhang said, Theres one person who needs me to do it. Yunyan said, Why dont you teach him to do it himself? Baizhang said, He doesnt know the language of our house. The Record of Baizhang
Baizhangs contributions to Zen: 1) The Pure Rules and A day of no work, a day of no eating. Vegetable Garden at Baizhang Monastery
Some Chinese historians claim that with the development of the Signless Precepts by Huineng, some of the traditional incentives toward discipline in the Zen tradition were lost. Accounts say that some monks rejected or even showed contempt for the sutras and precepts. The monk Danxia Tianran reportedly refused to receive the precepts from Shitou, covering his ears and running away from the ceremony. Huineng Tearing Up a Sutra By Liang Kai (13 th century)
Baizhang brought order to the unruly Zen tradition with his Pure Rules for life in a Zen monastery. He formalized the monastic lifestyle said to have been started by Daoxin. The Pure Rules lay out the regulations for life in the monastery, the requirements for observing religious occasions, the various officers and their duties, and other details for the activities of monastic life and discipline.
The original Pure Rules composed by Baizhang have been lost. What we have today are 11 th and 13 th century revivals of Baizhangs rules. Note that the latest rules were entitled the Imperially mandated practice of Baizhangs Pure Rules. This indicates that these later rules did not have the same focus of independence that the earlier rules did. They were composed when Zen had become part of the religious establishment.
In fact, the later Pure Rules pay much attention to how monks should honor the emperors birthday, receive visiting high officials, etc. This is in contrast to early Zens emphasis, by Bodhidharma, Huineng, Daoxin and others, to stay away from imperial circles
This big rock on the mountain behind Baizhangs place has old characters that proclaims The World Famous Pure Rules.
In the context of the Baizhangs ancient Pure Rules we can see the importance of his dictum A day of no working is a day of no eating. The Compendium of Five Lamps gives this account: In the everyday work of the monastery, Baizhang always was foremost among the assembly at undertaking the tasks of the day. The monks in charge of the work were concerned about the master. They hid his tools and asked him to rest. Baizhang said, Im unworthy. How can I allow others to work in my behalf? He looked everywhere for his tools but was unable to find them. He even forgot to eat [while looking for his tools], and thus the phrase a day without working is a day without eating has become known everywhere.
2) Non Metaphysical Zen Practice Baizhang Huaihai strongly opposed a metaphysical interpretation of Zen and Zen practice. He made the following statement with respect to metaphysical speculation about Zen.
If you cling to some fundamental [read: metaphysical] purity or liberation, or that you yourself are Buddha, or that you are someone who understands the Zen Way, then this falls under the false idea of naturalism [i.e. something not subject to cause and effect]. If you cling to [the idea of self or things] existence, then this falls under the false idea of eternalism. If you cling to [the self or things] non-existence this falls under the false idea of nihilism. If you cling to the twin concepts of existence and non- existence, this falls under the false idea of partiality. If you cling to a concept that things do not exist and also do not not exist, then this is the false idea of emptiness, and [all of these ideas] are also called the heresy of ignorance. One should only practice in the present without views of Buddha, nirvana, and so on, nor with any ideas about existence or non-existence, and so on; and without views about views, which is called the correct view; or what you have not heard or not not heard, for this is true hearing. This is all called overcoming false doctrines.
A monk asked, How can a person gain freedom? Baizhang said, If you attain it at this moment then youve attained it. If you can instantly cut off the emotions of the self, the five desires and winds of attachment, the greed and covetousness, the pollution and purity, that is to say, all delusive thoughts, then youll be like the sun and the moon hanging in space, purely shining–the mind like wood and stone; thoughts spared from worldly entrapments; like a great elephant crossing a river, engulfed in the rapids but taking no missteps. Heaven and hell cant pull in such a person. When that person reads a sutra or observes a teaching, the words return to the person. The person knows that all teachings with words are only a reflection of the immediacy of self-nature and are just meant to guide you. Such teachings dont penetrate the revolving realms of existence and non-existence. Only Diamond-Wisdom penetrates the revolving realms of existence and non-existence, and thus constitutes complete, independent freedom. Baizhang also responded to a question as follows:
If you dont understand in this manner and just go on chanting the Vedic scriptures, then youre just making matters worse, and moreover youre slandering Buddha. This is not practice. But to be separate from all sound and form, though not abiding in the separateness, and not abiding in intellectual comprehension, this is the true practice of reading sutras and observing the teachings. One who lets the world be as it is, always acting in countless situations with clear rectitude, this is one who has truly cut off the passions.
3)Baizhangs 3 rd contribution: Seeing the wheel of birth and death, the revolving realms of existence and non- existence, without engaging in metaphysics.
Every day when Zen master Baizhang spoke in the hall, there was an old man who would attend along with the assembly. One day when the congregation had departed, the old man remained. Baizhang asked him, Who are you? The old man said, Im not a person. Formerly, during the age of Kasyapa Buddha, I was the abbot of a monastery on this mountain. At that time a student asked me, Does a great adept fall into cause and effect or not? I answered, saying, A great adept does not fall into cause and effect. Thereafter, for five hundred lifetimes Ive been reborn in the body of a fox. Now I ask that the master say a turning phrase in my behalf, so that I can shed the foxs body. Baizhang said, Ask the question. The old man said, Does a great adept fall into cause and effect or not? Baizhang said, A great adept is not blind to cause and effect.