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October 15, 2009

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As an addendum, it's Episcopalian Zen...

The whole SFZC debacle showed the unreliability of the lineage.

Good point! I also tend to forget that mainstream Zen communities are still very much attached to the myth of a Zen lineage going back to the Buddha -ignoring scholars who have clealy demonstrated that these fairy tales were made up during Song Dynaty. I would add that if the idea of lineage (or 'gotra' in Sanskrit) certainly appealed to the Chinese mind, it was already present in the Vedic society where all casts can be traced back to the Rishis. It seems however that, in its rejection of the cast system (normal considering that the sangha was not a separate religion but an order of sadhus or shramanas), Buddhism interpreted the term gotra in a more mystical way. For instance, one should note that 13th stages of insight of Theravada Buddhism is called "Change of Lineage", while in the Mahayana sutras, the term lineage or gotra is sometimes used in reference to the Tathagatagarbha. Some Mahayana sutras and shastras seem to say that the yogi who is able to gain insight into the Tathagatagarbha can be said to be born again as a bodhisattva and belongs to the lineage (gotra) of the Tathagatas.

Kind regards,

Huanshen

And,"Fathering Our Fathers", by Alan Cole.

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