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December 20, 2011


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" It is a realtively new developement that a student is responsible first to one and only one teacher, and only then (if at all) to the sangha as a whole. In the past, and even today in old-school Theravada Buddhism, a monk is admitted into the sangha by all of the members of that specific sangha. When he is expelled, the decision is not made by one teacher, but by the sangha as a whole. In Buddhist history, the horizontal structure came first, and after the death of Shakyamuni, I could imagine that the vertical structure and vertical integration into the sangha was very weak at first. But that led to problems, like the one that is mentioned in the Broken Buddha: "In India today all sorts of disreputable types turn up at the few Thai and Burmese temples in the country and are given ordination as long as they go somewhere else afterwards. They amble off, without training, knowing nothing about the Dhamma, using their robes to make a living and usually giving Buddhism a bad reputation in the process."

(Taken from the Japanese Antaiji Soto-shu temple's homepage)

Here's a link to English Translations of the Ariyapariyesana Sutta:


Easier said than done?

Everyone will learn a lot from reading the Ariyapariyesana Sutta, the earliest autobiographical account of Gotama's self-awakening path. That's the only way to enlightenment. There is no other way.

In this account we don't read about shikantaza or sitting or anything like that.

There is nothing Eastern about enlightenment or what the Zennist calls "awakening to the pure substance of mind", and we had many self-awakened people in Europe (although the degrees of awakening, of course, vary).

Take the first European philosopher, Heraclitus. He spoke about the "Logos":

"Most mortals lack understanding of the logos. They are like sleepwalkers unaware of the reality around them. The wise, having heard the logos, agree that all things are one."

So if one hears the Logos, one knows that all is one. A sleepwalker (worldling) perceives many things through name-and-form.

Heraclitus used the word "hear" - it is not uninteresting to note that the Shurangama Sutra prefers the organ of hearing as the quickest way to realize the pure Mind-essence.

Now how can this be found? Where should it be sought? In teachers? in books? in philosophy? in sitting shikantaza? in temples, monasteries, sutras, Buddha statues?

Heraclitus gave us all the guidance we need. He said:

"I searched within myself."

He simply followed the god's commandment - Gnothi Seauton, Know Thyself.

Why don't we do it, then? What are we waiting for?

Gregory Wonderwheel, The authors of the Vinayapitaka were born long after the Buddha’s death. As for the transmission from teacher to disciple where in the Nikayas does the Buddha speak of such a transmission?

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