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February 04, 2021

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Zennist; Mind-to-mind transmission is not paper transmission. There is an old Chan saying, “First awaken on your own, then see someone else.”

Clyde:

I haven't the slightest doubt what Zen Buddhism is. What I am asking you is what YOU mean by "actual Zen Buddhists". This is your term it should not be so hard to explain. So what do you mean by "actual Zen Buddhists"?

Clyde: it is nice to learn that you are familiar with paper transmissions. Dokuan Genko (1630–1698) openly questioned the necessity of written acknowledgment from a teacher, which he dismisses as a "paper transmission". He said, "Those nowadays who claim to be Dharma heirs are merely receiving paper Zen."

I've met a few people over the years through the Internet who went to Japan to receive such a paper transmission. For Dōgen Kigen such a paper transmission was very important. His shisho was later found to be a medieval forgery.

Yeti, If you want to know who is a Zen Buddhist, visit a Zen Buddhist sangha and see for yourself. You know, “A person drinks water and knows himself whether it is cold or warm.”

Clyde:

I might remind you of a couple of things. First, in traditional Buddhism, according to the Pali Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta (Sutta 16 of the Digha Nikaya):

“So, Ānanda, you should all live with yourselves as your island, yourselves as your refuge, with no other as your refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, with no other as your refuge. And how does a monk live with himself as his island, himself as his refuge, with no other as his refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, with no other as his refuge? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself—ardent, alert, & mindful—subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves… mind in & of itself… mental qualities in & of themselves—ardent, alert, & mindful—subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. This is how a monk lives with himself as his island, himself as his refuge, with no other as his refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, with no other as his refuge. For those who, now or when I am gone, live with themselves as their island, themselves as their refuge, with no other as their refuge; with the Dhamma as their island, the Dhamma as their refuge, not with another as their refuge, will be my foremost monks: those who are desirous of training.”

So my interpretation of this is that we must rely upon ourselves before we rely upon a teacher. I see that you have said in your case you failed on your own so found benefit in a teacher, but your own karmic limitations do not necessarily extend to anyone else. Why not clean up your own house before offering suggestions to others?

Furthermore, though I doubt you even know this, the original Ch'an history is quite open for study. There were not, evidently any "schools" as we think of today-- those being developed over time (as per the research of Foulk 1999) principally in an effort to drum up patronage and define a sort of legacy in the contemporary culture of Confucian China which heavily emphasized ancestral lineages.

Now, please, you keep avoiding the question. Who is an actual Zen Buddhist?

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