Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation

By Carl Bielefeldt

Zen Buddhism may be most sensible recognized for its emphasis on meditation, and possibly no determine within the heritage of Zen is extra heavily linked to meditation perform than the thirteenth-century eastern grasp Dogen, founding father of the Soto institution. This research examines the historic and non secular personality of the perform because it is defined in Dogen's personal meditation texts, introducing new fabrics and unique views on probably the most influential religious traditions of East Asian civilization.

The Soto model of Zen meditation is named "just sitting," a tradition within which, throughout the cultivation of the sophisticated kingdom of "nonthinking," the meditator is related to be introduced into ideal accord with the better attention of the "Buddha mind" inherent in all beings. This research examines the historic and non secular personality of the perform because it is defined in Dogen's personal meditation texts, introducing new fabrics and unique views on some of the most influential religious traditions of East Asian civilization.

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Nien-fo tsan-ch'an chiu tsung-chih shuo," Lu-shan lien-tsungpao-chien, T. forty seven: 3*8025— 26. 30. "Lien-hua sheng-hui wen," T. 47:177c; "Nien-fo hui-hsiang fa-yuan wen," ibid. , 178c. 31. Tsung-tse's nien-fo perform appears to be like time and again during the Ch'an-yuan ch'ing-kuei and obviously represented a tremendous point within the ritual of his monastery. His blend of Ch'an culture with Sung well known faith is likely to be nowhere larger symbolized than in his announcing, "The one be aware 'filial' [hsiao] is the gateway to all mysteries," an expression that provides a homey, moral twist to Tsung-mi's well-known metaphysical dictum, "The one notice 'knowing' [chih] is the gateway to all mysteries.

38 but, no matter what else we could say in regards to the authenticity of the textual content, this little passage not often turns out able to bearing the type of weight it's been given through either defenders and critics of its message. learn dispassionately, it truly is in actual fact comparable to the traditional warnings stumbled on all through Ch'an and Zen literature opposed to the thought that learn of the files of the faith can function an alternative to "the backward step" that results in the conclusion of one's personal brain. to ensure, for Dogen, such recognition happens merely in the cultivation of the normal monastic practices of the Patriarchs; to that volume he'll inevitably reject not just this sort of literary Zen criticized in addition via Ta-hui but in addition the advice fostered by means of Ta-hui's letters that laymen don't need to domesticate meditation yet can only cross approximately their company with "wu" in brain until eventually they abruptly see their natures.

The expression nien hsiang kuan, translated right here as "thoughts, principles, and perceptions," is quite much less universal and a little ambiguous. it's best recognized from the "Prajfia-paramita-stotra," quoted within the Ta-chih-tu lun (T. 25: igob2o—21), the place it most likely shows vikalpa, or discriminative cognition; yet culture additionally affiliates the 3 part phrases with contemplative workouts (see, e. g. , Chih-i's Chiieh-i san-mei, T. 46:626a2g), and there could be an undercurrent in our passage of the Ch'an dismissal of conventional meditation perform.

Dogen is the following alluding to a sentence from Nan-yueh's solution to Ma-tsu that he doesn't trouble to cite: "In a nonabiding dharma, there can be no greedy or rejecting. " The dialogue of the "mark" (so, laksana) of the Buddha the following and later relies at the well-known doctrine of vacancy within the perfection of knowledge (prajila-paramita) literature, where—as within the Diamond Sutra so well known in Zen—we are instructed that the real mark of the Buddha isn't really His thirty-two significant and 80 minor actual marks of non secular excellence yet accurately His freedom from all marks.

I: 376-79. Dogen fees Hui-hung's passage in different places to boot: see Shobo genzo gyojt (2), DZZ. i: 142; Eihei koroku, DZZ. 2:129. using the time period ch'an tsung turns out to have began someday throughout the latter half the 8th century. it seems that most likely for the 1st time in Ch'an literature within the Tun-urn ta-shtng cheng li chiieh (Paul Demieville, Le Concile de Lhasa, planches 1, 2, 9); see Yanagida Seizan, Shoki zenshu shisho no kenkyu, 454-55. four. DZZ. i :5i6. In a impressive swap from the standard Zen figuring out, he identifies this error the following with the silence of the layman Vimalakirti.

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