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February 12, 2021


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While your preconceptions about Bodhidharma are historically incorrect (yet another example of the hagiography and spiritual blindness so common to Western Zen which upholds an "image" to cling to such as Zen being the same as "finding peace" or "knowing compassion" or "social engagement"), this is most certainly the case in contemporary "dharma transmissions" which are essentially hollow and spiritually DEAD rituals which can only deceive the ignorant.

This idealized vision you seem to have about Zen being a monolithic "tradition" steeped in a kind of mysterious Asian authenticity which can only be handed from teacher to student ignores that Zen itself is based on one foundational premise which can be simplified as a method of training/purifying the mind in order to know one's own self nature.

A teacher is only necessary if one lacks the spiritual insight to accomplish this meditation/contemplative practice on one's own (as Bodhidharma himself pointed out in one of his sermons). Because this practice is defined by investigation of the nature of one's own mind, with NO intermediaries, there likewise can be NO attainments and NOTHING attained in so doing. Such concepts are devils words and have nothing to do with the practice of dhyana! Anyone who dreams of attainments is already embarking in the wrong direction entirely.

I invite you to look a little deeper into these matters because to say the very least, to go blindly following unenlightened teachers is precisely why there have been decades of scandals and corruption in contemporary Zen centers (all of which is no surprise to the spiritually aware who recognize the evil times we live in).

I invite you to review this insightful critique of some of these topics, specifically the myth of the Zen teacher, whose hooks you have so deeply swallowed, much to your own spiritual confusion:


Jung; May you know true compassion.

Clyde: The so-called Zen lineage belongs to mythology. According to Eric Greene:

"The notion of a special lineage descending from Bodhidharma seems to have first appeared only in the late seventh century, more than a a hundred and fifty years after Bodhidharma's death. Thus, from a historical and analytical point of view, there are many figures, such as Bodhidharma himself and his immediate disciples, who we should not consider as "Chan masters" [chanshi] even though they were integral to the mythology of the later Chan tradition" (Another Look at Early "Chan": Daoxuan, Bodhidharma, and the Three Levels Movement).

The first to conceive and name a 'Chan lineage' 禪宗 was Zongmi (780–841).

Yeti; May you find peace.

Zennist; Here’s the thing. I’m not challenging your enlightenment, but I am challenging that you’re presenting an original/true Zen Buddhism. I accept the conventional definition of Zen as a Buddhist tradition with a set of teachings and practices as originally taught by the legendary figure, the First Zen Patriarch, Bodhidharma. The conventional view is that his teachings and practices were passed from teacher to student with various lineages forming as Zen spread from China to Japan, Korea, and Viet Nam, and now to the West. So, as conventional and imperfect as the system is, it is Zen Buddhism. Unless I missed the information, I don’t think the Zennist is within the Zen Buddhist system. That doesn’t imply anything about the Zennist’s attainments, only that he is outside the Zen Buddhist establishment.

Regarding the Zennist’s understanding and his expression of these, I agree with some and have a different understanding of others. Based on my limited familiarity with established Zen teachers, I think my views would match the overwhelming consensus of those Zen teachers.

That said, take care and be well.

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