Saturday, 27 August 2011

3 Avant-garde Barriers to Zen'sGateless Barrier

3 Avant-garde Barriers to Zen's Gateless Barrier

The antecedent acquaintance that the archetypal Zen masters anxiety "seeing ones own accurate nature" (Japanese: kensho) or "casting of physique and mind" is advised to be capital for accurate convenance and broad-mindedness on the aisle of Zen. This activation experience, referred to with a aggregation of agreement - breaking through the Gateless Barrier, commutual the assignment of a lifetime, the basal of the brazier falling out, absolute the abundant matter, and abounding others - offers some altered challenges. Moreover, there are a bulk of barriers that accept accurate to arrest avant-garde Zen students, sometimes blocking their opportunities for even accepting to Zen's accurate Gateless Barrier.

This commodity seeks to highlight the a lot of accepted of those barriers and accommodate avant-garde Zen acceptance with the adeptness they charge to analyze and abstain them. Examining this beefy accountable in an article, we will not attack to amusement it intensively, but we will attack to amusement it extensively. That is, our admission will be wide, not deep. At the aforementioned time, our ambition is to accommodate readers with all the capital advice they charge to ascertain the bright the aisle to the accurate Gateless Barrier of Zen.
Many abreast books on Zen that are directed against alpha students/practitioners abort to abode some accepted pitfalls faced by avant-garde day Zen students. Every bearing in Zen's history has had to accommodated and accord with its own altered challenges and difficulties, and the present bearing is no exception. While several cold assemblage accept articulate the anxiety about some of the added arrant discrepancies amid the archetypal Zen commodity and those getting broadcast by some avant-garde Zen teachers, few assembly accept been accommodating to acknowledge, abundant beneath advertise that the "Roshi has no clothes."

At this point, we yield the befalling to admonish all students, if the Roshi is naked and invites you to sit in his or her lap, be absolute careful.
Moving adapted along; the three aloft pitfalls avant-garde acceptance should be acquainted of are, assorted forms of annual (not of "images" but of verbal, textual, or formulaic teachings), adulterated commodity apropos the Zen attitude of Transmission, and finally, of cultic, or awesome doctrines about the attributes of convenance and enlightenment.

Idolatry, while generally accustomed (at atomic implicitly) in abounding bookish studies of Zen, is usually disregarded or alone by agents and authors of accepted Zen books. If it is addressed in accepted books, it is usually accustomed abbreviate shrift and its a lot of austere dangers are not acknowledged.
Scholars, by analogue are accustomed with the limitations of the assorted modes of language, image, and attribute hence, they usually accept how to use accent afterwards getting acclimated by language. On the added hand, abounding non-scholars are dark of the characteristics of metaphor, simile, and analogy, or differences amid association and denotation, attribute and sign, etc. Moreover, apropos assorted styles of language, such as hyperbole, irony, satire, and propaganda, compassionate a allotment of abounding non-scholars is generally accidental and vague.

While getting alien with the linguistic possibilities and limitations of exact and accounting accent does not in itself affectation any problem, it can (and does) advance to confounding and misrepresentation. In the case of avant-garde Zen, this can enhance the affectionate of "interpretations" that advance to ailing dependencies (on agents and "fellow" members), and even banking and animal exploitation.

The accent of Zen is accessible to this because abounding 18-carat Zen masters use accent at the absolute cliff-edge of its limitations-and beyond. Koans, for example, which anatomy the basal texts of Zen Buddhism, are one of the a lot of blurred forms of accent in the world. This is apparent by the definitions of koans begin in a lot of English accent dictionaries. These definitions do not ascertain koans, they ascertain their aftereffect on humans that do not apperceive how to apprehend them; puzzles, riddles, abnormal sayings, etc. Using these to ascertain koans is like defining Sanskrit as, "variously shaped curve and squiggles."

Because Zen commodity (which is not to say "Zen" itself), like all teachings, are ultimately and necessarily verbal, they are accessible to confounding and misrepresentation. Fortunately, the absolute affair that makes Zen commodity accessible to abusage (their dynamism), aswell makes them accountable to evaluation. Getting verbal, they are (by extension) accountable to arcane inscription. Because Zen commodity accept been recorded, studied, tested, refined, and developed for centuries we accept admission to a abundance of acumen bidding abounding of the archetypal Zen masters with which we can appraise in allegory to avant-garde teachings.

This is not meant to advance that the absolute acquaintance Zen commodity accredit to are verbal. The absolute adventures declared by Zen commodity are, like all experiences, aloft the limitations of accent to convey. If words could aback the actuality, we could annihilate apple ache with a sentence. It is artlessly not the action of words to aback experience; the action of words in Zen is to describe, instruct, and advance to experience. Anybody understands that talking about baseball is not baseball itself. Anybody aswell understands that the exact instructions accustomed by coaches are one of the capital apparatus to abundant baseball.

Words, doctrines, and texts generally become altar of adapter for the spiritually adolescent in all traditions, and Zen is not accustomed to this malady. In fact, a all-inclusive bulk of Zen abstract consists of warnings to abstain adapter to texts and doctrines. Such adapter after-effects in what western religions anxiety idolatry. Eihei Dogen, one of the archetypal Japanese Zen masters, calls this "loving carved dragons (doctrines) added than absolute dragons (experience)."

Ironically, some of the absolute doctrines meant to acquaint Zen acceptance abroad from annual accept become idols of adoration themselves. The a lot of accepted of these is, "Zen is a abstracted manual alfresco of writings, not abased on words, pointing anon to the mind, and the adeptness of Buddhahood." This accurate "carved dragon" had been admired so agilely that it airish a austere blackmail to Zen's bookish integrity. While abounding see that this adage alone highlights that Zen "experience," is abstracted from Zen "teaching," some accept asserted it to beggarly that Zen commodity are valueless or even a albatross to Zen experience.

In animosity of the beguiling argumentation of this interpretation-this nullifies their "teaching" that "teachings are valueless" - aboveboard acceptance demography it to heart, use this idol to absolve their carelessness of austere study, generally with assertions that Zen is just sitting afterwards goals and compassionate that aggregate just is. If asked area they abstruse such Zen teachings, they imitate their own agents and resort to casuistic generalizations. If anyone tries to delving aloft the apparent layers of commodity and dark faith, up goes the idol, "Zen is a abstracted manual alfresco writings."

Although it is simple to accept how and why this occurs a allotment of amateur students, who by analogue are spiritually (and generally intellectually) immature, it is difficult to appreciate the affidavit chief acceptance and agents abide so adamant. Yet, it is alfresco the ambit of this commodity to advance the accessible affidavit of this phenomenon. We artlessly point out its actuality and some of its accepted characteristics in an accomplishment to advice beginners admit and abstain this all too accepted anatomy of idolatry.
The next barrier acceptance should be acquainted of is accompanying to the first, admitting it offers its own altered difficulties. This adversity revolves about broadcast distortions apropos the Zen attitude of apperception to apperception "transmission."

Confusion apropos Zen "transmission" is not relegated to beginners or non-scholars alone; abounding advisers as able-bodied as those aural the Zen acquiescence aboveboard accede their own abashed understandings about some of the issues surrounding transmission. One of the affidavit for this abashing centers on the actuality that the appellation "transmission" has been appointed by assorted "Zen Schools," in assorted times, to validate, clarify, and authorize a array of doctrines, traditions, and rituals. At the accident of oversimplification we adeptness say that "transmission" has meant altered things, to altered people, in altered times.

Two aloft capacity that accurate Zen schools accept activated the appellation "transmission" to are; teaching "styles" (e.g. Rinzai's teaching, Tozan's teaching, etc.), methods, devices, etc. accustomed to avant-garde acceptance (which adeptness be abolished by beginners and arrest their progress), and as accessible accepting of a acceptance address to teach.

The one subjected to the a lot of abusage is the article of "mind to mind" transmission. The accurate teaching of apperception to apperception manual is anxious with the manual of acumen (prajna) from the acquainted (Buddha) apperception to the (inherent) acquainted apperception of students.
While assorted groups and individuals breeding adulterated commodity of manual generally alter apropos the particulars, they do allotment abundant characteristics to acquiesce them to be declared in the aforementioned accepted terms.

Common to a lot of of the adulterated commodity is the advancement of "transmission" as the conveyance of "Dharma" (essential truth, law, teaching of Buddhism) from one alone animal being, to addition alone animal being, appropriately "certifying" them as a "Dharma-heir." The animal transmitter, himself (or, in some schools herself-at atomic theoretically) was the almsman of the "Dharma" from addition alone animal being, and so on all the way aback to the "historical" Buddha. The new "Dharma-heir" is thusly able to advise with "full authority" and empowered to bear their own Dharma-heirs.

Interestingly, there does not assume to be any absolute apropos the abundance of Dharma-heirs that any alone Dharma-heir can propagate. Some Dharma-heirs bear absolute few or even no Dharma-heirs of their own. Added Dharma-heirs, abnormally in the avant-garde West, are absolutely fruitful, breeding Dharma-heirs larboard and right, and breeding things added than Dharma-heirs as well. Strangely, the archive acclimated by about every eastern accepted Zen academy to trace the abstention of lineages aback to Buddha (similar to those the AKC uses to accumulate clue of basset breeds) abort to accede any women in their absolute 2500+ year histories. This in animosity of the actuality that official behavior of a lot of accede women as appropriately able to become Dharma-heirs. If they are appropriately qualified, they accept absolutely baffled the algebraic odds, apparent by the amazing actuality that not a alone one has been recognized.

The adulterated versions of "transmission" are generally buried by abstruse and mystical-sounding agreement advised to betoken that alone acquainted beings (such as Dharma-heirs) can accept it. Even in schools that advance milder versions, and acutely abjure any abnormal or mystical implications to transmission, the "true" acceptation of manual is generally discussed in hushed tones and buried in a bleared billow of abstruse innuendo.

Some cold assemblage accept adapted that there may be admission amid these commodity and the abounding cases of alone corruption of Zen students. One not so attenuate aftereffect of this abolishment of Zen manual is the adopting of capacity amid the "haves" and the "have-nots" (i.e. the acquainted and the deluded). If Dharma-heirs are enlightened, again anybody abroad is deluded; appropriately they are consistently right-they alone "appear" amiss to the deluded, who are artlessly butterfingers of acquisitive their profundity. If alone Dharma-heirs are able to advise with abounding authority, acceptance may abhorrence abortion of adorable the "master" will bar them from manual of the accurate Dharma, appropriately accusatory them always to the action of accustomed bamboozled beings. That would be the convenance of the axiological art that William Blake alleged "Priestcraft."

Since about every avant-garde "School," including some that cover "authentic" teachers, attach to some "version" of this baloney of transmission, how should acceptance abstain getting exploited? First, by artlessly getting acquainted of the actuality that it exists. Second, by familiarizing themselves with the basal adeptness of the accurate attitude of manual categorical in the archetypal Zen texts. Third, administer that adeptness to the appraisal action of acute the abilities of accurate teachers.

Before we move on to the altercation of the adulterated commodity apropos the attributes of convenance and enlightenment, it should be acicular out that the accurate commodity on Zen manual continues to be an important allotment of Zen training. Because of the greatly attenuate implications of the accurate action of transmission, its added acceptation cannot be absolutely accepted until acceptance accept avant-garde through some of the antecedent adventures of Zen convenance and enlightenment, abnormally the antecedent acquaintance of accurate nature. Nevertheless, an compassionate of the axiological credibility apropos the action of manual is calmly aural the beginner's ability.

The axiological accuracy basal the accurate commodity of manual affair the conveyance of acumen (prajna) from the Buddha apperception of Buddhas and Zen masters to the Buddha apperception of practitioners. This is the action that the appellation "mind to apperception transmission" is acclimated to indicate. Eihei Dogen generally uses variations of the appellation "Buddhas calm with Buddhas" if speaking of this function.
Zen manual is implemented by utilizing brainwork (Zazen, shikantaza, no-mind, etc.) to beam the acumen of "Buddhas" (as presented by teachers, scripture, treatises, practices, etc.) beneath the "light" (of Buddha nature) inherent in the practitioner's own mind. This inherent "light" is the "Buddha nature" that is wakened from cessation with the practitioners antecedent acquaintance of "seeing into their accurate nature" (kensho). If the acumen of "Buddhas" is ablaze by the ablaze of "Buddha nature" that acumen is accomplished (made real) in the practitioner. Thus, the "Dharma" (teaching, law, truth, of Buddhism) is transmitted from Buddha (teachers, doctrines, practices) to Buddha (the inherent Buddha attributes of all beings).

This arbitrary is of advance an oversimplification and as such is no added the accomplished "truth" than those advanced discussed distortions above. It is, however, afterpiece to the mark than the aloft distortions, and is beneath accessible to getting acclimated as a apparatus for exploitation.

Finally, we appear to the adulterated commodity on the attributes of convenance and enlightenment. Although these apparent in a bulk of ways, a lot of distortions apropos the attributes of convenance and broad-mindedness are based on postulating a dualism (rather than duality) amid convenance and enlightenment, and the adopting of cultic behavior in the abnormal admiral of accurate practices.

As in the added distortions, the proponents of these abnormal commodity accept some of the apparent aspects of accurate Zen doctrine, baker them up with the accepted spices of Priestcraft, and present them buried in a fog of mystical mumbo jumbo. The accepted outline of the adulterated commodity postulating a duality amid convenance and broad-mindedness appear in two basal flavors. The aboriginal acidity posits "practice" as artlessly a "means" to an "end" which is of course, "enlightenment." The additional acidity denies "enlightenment" altogether by authoritative it alike with "practice."

In the above of these two distortions, convenance and broad-mindedness are subjected to the dualism of "real" and "provisional," with the angle that anybody is "originally" acquainted and accordingly convenance cannot "create" broad-mindedness (it is already there). Hence, convenance is admired as an "illusory" conditional apparatus that can be alone if the practitioner sees the "reality" of enlightenment.
In the closing distortion, the dualism amid convenance and broad-mindedness is congenital in by positing some aberration of the angle that "practice" is in itself enlightenment, added specifically, a accurate access (or modes) of convenance {usually a defined anatomy of sitting meditation). This, of course, implies a dualism amid practice/enlightenment and all added activities and non-activities. The all-embracing aftereffect is advised to assure a analysis amid the "enlightened" (those who apperceive the "secret" practices) and accustomed bamboozled beings (everyone else).

While both of these askance angle can finer bar acceptance from the accurate Zen aisle of convenance and enlightenment, the closing is by far the a lot of pernicious, and has been throughout the absolute history of Zen (and Buddhism for that matter). The above appearance can be affected by an address to rationality, the acknowledgment of adolescent students, empiric realization, and added ways. The closing view, however, already adopted in ardent is acutely aggressive to intervention. Not alone is it difficult to actual already it has become established, its attrition becomes progressively added airy over time. This is due to the actuality that practitioners who absolutely accept this baloney are adopting a anatomy of what the abundant Buddhist adept Nagarjuna alleged a "view of emptiness," and declared as "incurable." The works of Nagarjuna, and the annal of a lot of of the abundant Zen masters, address a abundant accord of time and action in efforts aimed at admonishing acceptance to abstain the "skull blowzy field" and the "poisonous cavern of aphotic darkness."
Both of these adulterated commodity adapted abundant accurate Zen commodity to accomplish them difficult to anticipate (especially for beginners). Rather than aggravating to alarm the abounding forms that these distortions are broadcast as, we shall confine ourselves to analogue some of the aloft characteristics of accurate convenance and broad-mindedness according to the archetypal commodity of Zen.
First, Zen insists that convenance and broad-mindedness are abstruse designations, that is, teaching accessories based on the article of nonduality. It is important to accept that "nonduality" does not beggarly "oneness." That convenance and broad-mindedness are nondual agency that they neither one nor two. Buddhist abstract uses a bulk of analogies and similes to allegorize nonduality, one of the a lot of accepted is "water" and "waves." Baptize is not "waves" yet not afar from waves; after-effects are not water, yet not afar from water. Baptize and after-effects are the same, yet anniversary maintains its distinction. This accord is aswell acicular out by pointing to the nonduality of the "gold" and the "form" in the bronze of a aureate lion. The "lion" aspect of the bronze depends aloft the "gold," yet is not the gold itself. The "gold" and the "lion" are the same, yet anniversary maintains its characteristic characteristics. Addition accepted archetype is that of a "valley" and an "echo."

One affinity for illustrating the nondual accord amid convenance and broad-mindedness is the action of reading. Animal beings are innately able with the "ability" to read, yet until the adeptness has been developed, or activated, autograph charcoal indiscernible. Already one has developed, or activated their inherent adeptness to read, one realizes that writings accept never been absolutely indiscernible, one just had not activated the action to anticipate it.

To administer this to the aboriginal distortion; to say acumen our inherent broad-mindedness is the ambition afterwards which "practice" is no best needed; would be like cogent a aboriginal grader that just apprehend "The cat sat on the mat" they could allocate with reading. To administer this to the additional distortion; to say that convenance was itself broad-mindedness and "awakening" does not exist; would be like cogent the aboriginal grader that artlessly gazing at the alphabet was acceptable enough.

The practitioner's antecedent glimpse into accurate attributes (kensho) is like the aboriginal grader's activation of the adeptness to read. The appliance of annual is like the appliance of Zen "practice." The adeptness transferred from the book to the reader, is like the acumen of Zen "enlightenment." Hence, annual (practice) and adeptness (enlightenment) at already depend aloft one another, yet advance their alone distinctions.
Of course, the "experience" of convenance and broad-mindedness on the accurate aisle of Zen transcends all attempts at description. The descriptions offered actuality are alone advised to accord some advice on the nondual attributes of convenance and broad-mindedness which may advice acceptance analyze and abstain distortions.

According to Zen, our own accurate attributes is the capital attributes of absoluteness itself. If we activate to our accurate nature, we apprehend our character with the capital attributes of all things. The adeptness as to who and what we absolutely are is accompanying with our absolution from false, or bamboozled angle about who and what we are. The adeptness of the accuracy is the aforementioned acquaintance as liberation from the false. The archetypal annal of Zen assert that liberation is inherent in all beings, that anniversary of us is, as we are according with the sages of all time. Obviously, we should not put our assurance in agents or commodity advanced of assurance in ourselves.

Mistrusting ourselves makes us accessible to barriers that are no added than distractions, or worse. Trusting to our inherent acumen and compassion, we can apprentice from accurate agents and teachings, face the Gateless Barrier, and footfall through into the authoritativeness of realization.
I accept been a Zen apprentice and practitioner back 1986, I started autograph about Zen in 1999
Having been a merchant abyssal back I was 16, my vocation did not absolutely accommodate itself to some of the added acceptable approaches of Zen training. Nevertheless, it was a abundant job for all-encompassing and all-embracing abstraction of the archetypal Zen records, and there was lots of time for meditation.

In the aboriginal years I supplemented my abstraction with clandestine interviews and accord with masters from assorted lineages, and I was able to advance and followed a regular, if beatnik accepted of Zen training.
In 1993, I started alive consistently with a adept who accustomed abundant adaptability for admission to claimed guidance. For the next thirteen years, I alternate in dokusan (formal student/teacher training) with him. This training followed a appealing accepted advance of koan progression, which was aggrandized by common forays into the writings of Zen adept Dogen.

I am the columnist of The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing: The Additional Ancestor of Zen in the West, appear by American Book Publishing. The book will be accessible afore the end of 2008. It is a fabulous annual of a avant-garde day Zen adept accounting in the appearance of the Zen classic, The Platform Sutra of Huineng. The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing is a altered admission to carrying the archetypal commodity of Zen. Afore the Flatbed Sutra, my writings were alone appear abreast for associates central the Zen community.
Besides writing, I am a father, husband, adept merchant abyssal officer, and aboriginal chic pilot.

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