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February 16, 2010


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"Mind is the substance of Ch’an."

Substance? You are quite correct in that many Ch'an / Zen teachings hypostatize the 'Mind' and that practitioners of those traditions should be aware of this. It never fails to amaze me how little many who claim to practice Zen actually know about it's doctrine. At the same time, however, it must be clear that substantive essentialist teachings like these don't have 'diddly-squat' to do with the Buddhadharma.

"anyone can disagree with my previous comments about Mind and awareness which usually means the person knows diddly-squat about Zen or Buddhism."

"Usually" indicates you are sometimes disappointed in your expectation. So your arrogant sneer isn't true. Truth is always true.

That said, you are correct that awareness is not the ultimate goal. Awareness of everything - especially Mind and what it's doing - is the goal.

We could mention however that the word 'awareness' (if we can translate the Chinese word 'chih' 1st tone by awareness) has been used by Tsung-mi quoting Sheng-hui's famous sentence "the one word 'awareness' is the gateway to all mysteries".

My problem with the word 'awareness', often used in contemporary Dzogchen and neo-Advaita circles, is that Buddhist practitioners tend to reify it, making it into an object, or worse, to confuse non-dual primordial awareness with alertness, mindfulness or consciousness (vijnana).

A better but more technical term seems to be cognizing-emptiness used by a famous Dzogchen teacher, but it only refers to the cognizing function of the Mind, not to the origin and substance of phenomena.

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