Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ramana and Zen

A Small Tribute to Bodhidharma

October 5th (Chinese Lunar Calendar) was the birthday of Bodhidharma, the 28th Patriarch of Indian Buddhism and The First Patriarch of Chinese Zen Lineage.

Bodhidharma (also known as Pu Tai Ta Mo in Sanskrit and Daruma Daishi in Japanese) was an Enlightened Buddhist Master who is credited with reviving Buddhism in China and founding martial arts.

Bodhidharma began his life as a royal prince in Southern India in the Sardilli family in 482 A.D. In the midst of his education and training to continue in his father's footsteps as king, Bodhidharma encountered the Buddha's teachings. He immediately saw the truth in Lord Buddha's words and decided to give up his esteemed position and inheritance to study with the famous Buddhist teacher Prajnatara. Bodhidharma rapidly progressed in his Buddhist studies, and in time, Prajnatara sent Bodhidharma to China, where Buddhism had begun to die out, to introduce the Sarvastivada sect Buddhist teachings to the Chinese. Bodhidharma arrived in China after a brutal trek over Tibet's Himalayan Mountains surviving both the extreme elements and treacherous bandits.

His Teachings:

1. Bao Yen Hsin: The willingness to accept, without complaining, suffering and unhappiness because you understand it is your own karma.

2. Sui Yen Hsin: Understanding that all situations are the consequences of karmic causes, and therefore, you maintain equanimity in all circumstances, both negative and positive.

3. Tsung Fa Hsin: Realizing through practice the essence of your Buddha Nature, which is equanimity.

Bodhidharma was an extraordinary being who remains an example and an inspiration to practitioners today. He is the source of many miraculous stories of ferocity and dedication to the Way. One such legend states that Bodhidharma became frustrated once while meditating because he had fallen asleep. He was so upset that he cut off his eyelids to prevent this interruption in meditation from ever happening again. Yet another legend states that Bodhidharma meditated for so long that his arms and legs eventually fell off. This is a reminder of the true dedication and devotion necessary in meditation practice. The Bodhidharma doll was developed as a symbol of this dedication. In Japan and other parts of the world, when someone has a task they wish to complete, they purchase a red Bodhidharma doll that comes without pupils painted on the eyes. At the outset of the task one pupil is colored in, and upon completion, the other pupil is painted. The dolls and the evolution of martial arts and meditation, are a continuous reminder of Bodhidharma's impact on Buddhism and martial arts.

... Bodhidharma sat meditating facing a wall for the next 9 years, boring holes into it with his stare. ...

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admin – Thu, 06/10/2005 – 12:18pm

The Whole is the sum of its parts

"The Whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

And there lies the cause of mankind's suffering!

If the Buddha had heard this opinion, The Enlightened One would have disapproved. If a Zen master had heard his disciple say this, he would definitely have hit him repeatedly with a stick till the disciple fainted or died.

Such a dastardly lie, and so blindly believed by all - including mathematicians. This is precisely the self-deception that results in the illusion of the self. As one peers within using self-enquiry and the truth, the self vanishes like it never was, leaving just functional parts, and sudden freedom! And all our life, society, writers and poets (or whatever) have bludgeoned this lie into us, that "I" exists. A lie that the label actually signifies something grand, even though undefinable. When the lie shows up to be a lie, one feels so cheated that one wants to bludgeon the perpetrators of the lie, except that there is no one to bludgeon anyone. Or else the Buddha's loving kindness shows up, and what happened to what-never-existed is forgotten.

In what way was the sum inferior that something 'grander' had to be invented?

Two and Two will always make Four. The ocean will always remain exactly the sum of all waves, no matter how much one may romanticize the name, no matter how much one may write stories or poems about it. Beautiful words and concepts will only remain so much - empty - when the water has evaporated and theres' no ocean left to glorify. And there is no room for empty words for the seeker of reality.

As the Zen folks say: There never was a Buddha. If you see Him kill Him!.

And thus i come to the koan that has troubled me so much over the last few days.

"The Buddha twirls a flower, and Kashyap smiles. The dharma is passed on."

All Kashyap's delusions are clear, without a word spoken. The Koan troubles me no more.

BTW, later i looked up the Koan and finding Wumen's comment ( it made no sense till today) I burst into laughter. Here's he praises the Buddha with this comment:

"Gold-faced Gautama insolently degrades noble people to commoners. He sells dog flesh under the sign of mutton and thinks it is quite commendable."

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October 16, 2005 15:04pm

admin – Sun, 16/10/2005 – 1:51pm
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Ramana and Zen

Many disciples and visitors came to the Maharshi with the Gita, Bible or other works, asking him to throw light on what was written. Unfortunately, it seems no one came to the Maharshi to throw light on zen koans. I feel Ramana would have found some of them quite delicious. In fact, He may have even come out with a few great ones of His own.
OTOH, who knows, maybe He did....

"Silence is the true upadesa.
It is perfect upadesa."

- Ramana Maharshi

Now although I don't claim the above is a Koan (and oh by the way, i learned the meaning of Koan like last week, and i still do not know what Zen is, despite reading D.T. Suzuki's Introduction to Zen Buddhism) but let's just keep reading on ...

A philosopher asked Buddha: `Without words, without the wordless, will you tell me truth?'
The Buddha kept silence.
The philosopher bowed and thanked the Buddha, saying: `With your loving kindness I have cleared away my delusions and entered the true path.'
After the philosopher had gone, Ananda asked the Buddha what he had attained.

The Buddha replied, `A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip.'

There's more ... Here is what the Holy Bible says:
"Be still and know that I Am God."

And somewhere they also say something like ...
"Meditation is not thinking and not not-thinking.". If you are made of steel, please try to read these two.
Shikantaza and Zazen

If you found this interesting, please come back to this site often. There'll be more comin' up.

admin – Tue, 11/10/2005 – 11:03am