Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Zen & Chi-gong

Some people ask why Zen does not have any special meditation, chi-gong, yoga or cakra activation techniques like Taoist or tantric traditions. They have an impression that Zazen is incomplete as a system due to its no frills simplicity. Regarding the cultivation of chi or chakra energy, Taoists have a very famous adage that goes "To refine the Essence (semen) into Chi, to refine the Chi into Spirit, to refine the Spirit into the Void." Each stage involves specialized chi-gong techniques that leads the Taoist yogi to deeper union with Heaven and Earth.
However, when it comes to Zen, all these practices are not necessary for they are already inherent in the Buddha-nature. One might as well ask "Who" is refining the Essence into Chi, into Spirit and into Voidness? If one realizes what is "Who", one will also see that Essence is "Who", Chi is "Who", Spirit is "Who", and Voidness is also not apart from "Who". Nothing is really apart from it. That's why when Yinzong asked Huineng what other teachings did he received from Hongren, he replied there was only "instructions on seeing one's own nature, but nothing on meditation and liberation." And although Huineng never practiced any formal meditation, chi-gong or tantra techniques, yet he automatically developed various psychic powers all the same. How can this be possible if Zen is not complete? I leave this for your wise consideration.

1 comment:

hoangkybactien said...

he replied there was only "instructions on seeing one's own nature, but nothing on meditation and liberation." And although Huineng never practiced any formal meditation,


On the Sixth Patriarch practiced 'formal' 'meditation' or not practiced 'formal''meditation' (dhyana):

Originally, when Lord Buddha turned the wheel in Dear park, he used the word 'Dhyana' to describe the state of an (his) enlightened mind to his first five disciples with whom Lord Buddha himself used to be practicing with in the first six years. These disciples were experienced practioners, the best of men at that time. All they needed was a little hint to arrive at it (realize their own buddha nature).

This was the case with the Sixth partiarch Hui-Neng. Like the first five disciples of Lord Buddha, the Sixth Patriarch must have attained enormous power of samadhi in previous lives. And now all he needed, too, was a little hint to arrive at it.

There is no such thing as attain enlightment without cumulative samadhi in previous lives.

(One just simply cannot make food out of thin air.)

Now, what happened after that (enlightenment)? The enlightened ones will take complacency and relax?

The answer is no. The enlightened ones are like physicist/professor Issac Newton, who having understood thoroughly the ever presence of Earth's gravity, always keeps himself at ground level, leaving zero chance to be fell down by the pull of gravity!

In the same manner, enlightened ones always be mindful, always in samadhi, always be aware of the power of karma.

So, the main point is: 'dhyana' is the end result of a practice. It is a destination. It is not the road that leads to that destination. One can practice counting breaths. One can practice visualize a deity. One can practice observing all sensations on one own body, one can practice to hold a koan, one can practice to hold a 'huatou', etc.... But that is not 'dhyana'. Not yet. Not 'meditation' (dhyana) yet. The better word is " I am learning,trying, and/or practicing to concentrate my mind".

But Once one can enter samadhi, and continue to stay in it, then one can say, fairly and humbly, "I am practicing 'meditation' (in conversation with others).

Of course, if one persists, could be in few days or could be in 10,000 days, whatever long it takes, but one will, in just a sudden, arrive at it. That's why it is called sudden. Sudden in realizing it, but it may take a long, very long time to prepare (practice) for that moment.

But future generations after Lord Buddha mistook the road (methods of practicing) for the destination
as demonstrated in the quote cited above.

Thus, to hold the view that the Sixth Patriarch never take a formal 'meditation' (dhyana)practice is a mistake. The Sixth Patriarch practiced 'abiding to nothing, attaching to nowhere' since the instant he heard the verses from the Diamond sutra recited by a monk. He always kept his mind in the state of samadhi ever since.

Since he needed to make a living like everyone else, he might not have much time to sit. But that is secondary. (people on death bed cannot sit. Many handicapped people cannot sit. Wounded soldiers cannot sit, etc...).

While his physical body was at work, his mind was always in samadhi. He always practiced in his mind.

The same thing when he was at mount Hoangmei, his physical body always at work but his mind was always in the state of samadhi.

The night the Fifth Patriarch asked him to be in his room was to to offically recognize him as his successor and to officially hand down the mission/responsibility for him to carry on (spread the authentic teaching of Lord Buddha).
That was the whole purpose of his reincarnation. The mission since Lord Buddha was accomplished under the Sixth Patriarch's time as predicted by Bodhidharma.

Again, there is no complacency in enlightened mind.