« We are far away from climbing this Zen mountain | Main | Zen requires an intuitionist »

January 23, 2019


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"And you needed Bodhidharma to point that out for you, why? If the Mind is the Buddha, what need was there to go to some dude named Bodhidharma for quotes?"

There isn't. If this truth was not already present one's innermost heart there would be no Bodhidharma to point it out.

The self-appointed dog that suffers the painful predicaments of its own karma, is in dire need of Joshu´s compassionate reminder, as to stay above the recycling vortex of the walking dead.

"As Bodhidharma pointed out,there is no Buddha but one’s own mind." - And you needed Bodhidharma to point that out for you, why? If the Mind is the Buddha, what need was there to go to some dude named Bodhidharma for quotes?

Obviously, you are using things as "mirrors" to help you see the nature of the mind already. Do you think a quote is better or a book is better or a living enlightened master? Which is better? Which can respond, and which can point your ignorance?

A true teacher that can point to the nature of the mind is actually superior to all the sūtras. Every word he says is a mantra.

As for the "early Buddhism" - Buddha had 3 teachers, as did all Buddha's disciples (obviously).


To Graham: of course you can make progress on your own ... the main thing is the real motivation people have behind not looking for qualified teachers

Anyway, the person who writes this blog seems to know what he's talking about when it comes to Zen. So he is your teacher in a way, even if indirectly.

Graham points out the role of faith. I would like to add - and sorry for the wall of words since much can be said on this - the oft-cited Kalama sutra, which supposedly denies faith in preference for reason, is very relevant to this discussion.

The gist of the Kalama sutra is that every person needs to evaluate things on their own, rather than go by what is taught or held to be true by others. From this basis, many modern Buddhists who are abject atheists and, like Stephen Batchelor, seek to eradicate faith from contemporary Buddhism, because they lack awareness of any truth which does not pass through the screen of materialist rationality. Rather, this sect of nihilists seems to want to strip from Buddhism any aspect of the supramundane such as karma and rebirth, which are very much core aspects of what the Buddha taught. There is no way around this based on an honest read of the scriptures, much as the "secular Buddhist" community insists there is.

I think it is important to consider the Kalamas were confused by their teachers. That is the context of what was going on in the historical background of the sutra. And because they were confused, the Buddha invited them to cut that knot by looking inward, instead of placing their blind faith in teachers who were in conflict with one another, or more importantly, with each persons's own inner light which illuminates all understandings.

To support what Graham is saying, I am in full agreement that faith is an indispensable component of spiritual inquiry. When doubts are resolved, there is no longer need for faith because noble wisdom has taken root.

But really this is the crux of the matter: the teacher might guide or correct such inquiry through skillful means, but ultimately Buddhism is not a dogmatic religion and no one can find the answers for anyone else.

Although the pratyekabuddha has been replaced by the bodhisattva ideal in modern discourse, it is incorrect to state pratyekabuddhayana is somehow a "lesser" vehicle than that of sravakas. Quite to the contrary, in early Buddhism, the pratyekabuddha stands above the arahant of the sravaka vehicle, and is also one of four enlightened beings worthy of a stupa. In the Ekottarika-āgama, for example, Mahākāśyapa quite plainly states that for one like himself full awakening was certain, independent of whether or not a Buddha existed.


The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo