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August 16, 2011


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Imperishable Night; I humbly suggest reading and reflecting on the Buddha’s First Teaching ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.than.html ), a teaching given to five monks. These five monks were known by the Buddha and were not novices. And what did he teach these five monks: the Four Noble Truths which included the Noble Eightfold Path. And hearing this teaching, one of the monks, Kondanna awakened.

As I have an affinity for Zen, I have read and studied some of the Mahayana Sutras. And I understand the Mahayana teaching regarding the sutras. I don’t see a conflict between accepting the Buddha’s First Teaching and, for example, the Heart Sutra; one is not ‘more ultimate’ than the other, each is an expression of the Dharma.


Clyde .. it's good to think of Buddha's teaching as a "ladder". the Eightfold and Four Noble Truths is the first step. It's useless to teach worldlings about ultimate matters because it's impossible to grasp in their limited worldviews. So Buddha chose his teaching to be centered around dukkha. Why? Because dukkha is the link they have with the transcendent (as Zennist explains: it's the transcendent that wrongly identifies with the transient). So the Buddha chose this teachings because it's what we unenlightened people KNOW very well (dukkha) and what we already WANT to get rid of. It would be pretty useless if he came and said: "Hey guys there is a transcendent reality a True Self completely beyond what you see" - such teaching would sound fantastic and mythic. This is my understanding of it.

The later Mahayana sutras talk about more ultimate teachings directly.

The only thing I disagree with Zennist or I can't understand is how he views Dogen. Reading the Shobogenzo I don't see Dogen as a phenomenalist, at all. What do you think he refers to when he writes about the "One Bright Pearl"?

And what does Zennist think Dogen means that Zazen is the method taught by all Buddhas and Patriarchs? It is not that Dogen doesn't think gnosis is the way. Dogen never said: ZAZEN IS THE WAY TO ... Zazen isn't the way to anything. It's an expression of something.

"The disciple of the Noble Ones, Kalamas, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom four solaces are found here and now.

"'Suppose there is a hereafter and there is a fruit, result, of deeds done well or ill. Then it is possible that at the dissolution of the body after death, I shall arise in the heavenly world, which is possessed of the state of bliss.' This is the first solace found by him.

"'Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit, no result, of deeds done well or ill. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hatred, free from malice, safe and sound, and happy, I keep myself.' This is the second solace found by him.

"'Suppose evil (results) befall an evil-doer. I, however, think of doing evil to no one. Then, how can ill (results) affect me who do no evil deed?' This is the third solace found by him.

"'Suppose evil (results) do not befall an evil-doer. Then I see myself purified in any case.' This is the fourth solace found by him.

"The disciple of the Noble Ones, Kalamas, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom, here and now, these four solaces are found." - Kalama Sutta, translated by Soma Thera [4]

On these four solaces, Ven. Soma Thera wrote:
“ The Kalama Sutta, which sets forth the principles that should be followed by a seeker of truth, and which contains a standard things are judged by, belongs to a framework of the Dhamma; the four solaces taught in the sutta point out the extent to which the Buddha permits suspense of judgment in matters beyond normal cognition. The solaces show that the reason for a virtuous life does not necessarily depend on belief in rebirth or retribution, but on mental well-being acquired through the overcoming of greed, hate, and delusion.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalama_Sutta

Ooops! Yes, five, not six. Sorry for my error.

No, the actual world; hence the Fourth Noble Truth of the Eightfold Path.

It's 5 khandhas bozo not 6!

In sutta, Gotama did NOT teach to awaken to this world but to "transcend (nissarana) it and transcend the 5 khandhas" (SN 2.153)

clyde my boy, you give the word 'dumb-arse' new meaning.

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