Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tao & Zen

Taoism is the most ancient native religion of China, a path that teaches followers different ways of achieving physical immortality through union with Nature. When Chan Buddhism came to China, it adopted the use of some Taoist terms for convenience sake, so that it will be easier for the Chinese people to grasp. But this had led many to believe that Chan or Zen is merely an off-shoot of Tao. Although their teachings may appear similar in the beginning; but trust me, the final goal is totally different. If you only understand the teachings of Taoism, u'll not be misled to think in that way. The best way to illustrate this is through the story of the famed Taoist Immortal Lu Dongbin (above) meeting with Chan master Huanglong.

One day Lu was passing by Huanglong Mountain when he noticed a holy aura surrounding its peak. He knew there was an extraordinary person staying in this mountain, so he decided to pay this person a visit. Now it happened that Huang was about to give a sermon. Lu sneaked in among the followers to listen what he had to say. Huang knew that Lu had came, so he sternly shouted:
"I won't speak today as there is a Dharma thief among you."
At this, Lu bravely stepped out & asked the master:
"A single grain contains the world, a half-litre pan can cook mountains & rivers; what does this verse mean?"
"You corpse-horder!" (this was a sacarstic remark on the Taoist ideal of finding physical immortality)
"I have the pill of immortality inside my robe pocket!"
"Even if it lasts 80,000 kalpas, in the end it still crumples into nothingness."
Lu was shocked to hear this, so he mystically unleashed his flying sword upon Huang. Huang merely waved his duster as the sword flew towards him, & down it fell with a clang!
Lu immediately dropped to his knees & begged for instruction.
Huang said:
"I won't ask abt the half-litre pan, but what is the single grain containing the world?"
Lu was enlightened upon hearing these words.

What did Lu see? If you see what Lu saw you will also know your own true mind. Within this Koan lies the difference between Tao & Zen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since Tao only desire to benifit the finite self(ishness) - it has only finite potiential
Dharma has unfinite compassion to save unfinite being, hence has unfinite potiential