20110423 five aggregates and fifth patriarch of zen buddhism 2

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Buddhism, Blue Cliff Record, Meditation, Koan

Buddhism, Blue Cliff Record, Meditation, Koan

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  • 1. Buddhist Association of Canada
    Cham Shan Temple
    加拿大佛教會 湛山精舍 禪修學佛入門
    Introduction to
    Buddhism and Meditation
    2011/04/23
  • 2. Buddhist Association of Canada
    Cham Shan Temple
    ná mó fó tuó
    南 無 佛 陀
    Namo Buddha
    ná mó dá mó
    南 無 達 摩
    Namo Dharma
    ná mó sēng qié
    南 無 僧 伽
    Namo Sangha
  • 3. Meditation禪修
    Towards a
    Liberated and
    Enlightened Life
    煩惱輕智慧長
  • 4. Initial Stages of Meditation
    Sustained attention on the present moment; (Let “past and future” go)
    Silent awareness of the present moment; (No inner chatter)
    Silent present moment awareness of the breath; (Observe and appreciate your breath as a bystander)
    Full sustained attention on the breath; (100 Breaths without disruption)
    Full sustained attention on the beautiful breath. (Breath disappears)
    Experiencing the beautiful Nimitta
  • 5. Sustained Attention on the Present Moment
    • The effort is directed to letting go, to developing a mind that inclines to abandoning….
    • 6. Do not think about your work, your family, your commitments, your history, …during meditation.
    • 7. You become someone who has no history during the time that you meditate.
    • 8. When any thought hits the wall of the 'padded cell', it does not bounce back again.
    • 9. The reality of the “silent now” becomes magnificent and awesome.
    • 10. You achieved “mindfullness sustained only in the present moment”.
  • Sitting with Silent Awareness of the Present Moment
    Develop inner silence by giving up great burden of random thoughts.
    Develop silent awareness by recognizing the space between thoughts and between periods of inner chatter.
    Silence is so much more productive of wisdom and clarity than reactive thinking.
    Abandon the inner speech and abide in silent awareness of the present moment long enough, you will realize how delightful it is.
    You realize that most of our thinking is really pointless, that it gets you nowhere, only giving you many headaches and distresses.
    You gladly and easily spend much time in inner quiet and peace.
  • 11. Sitting with Silent Awareness of the Present Moment
    When you are perfectly in the moment with every experience, every thought that comes in your mind, then you just do not have the space for inner speech. You cannot chatter to yourself because you are completely taken up with mindfully greeting everything just as it arrives in your mind. This is refined present moment awareness to the level that it becomes silent awareness of the present in every moment.
  • 12. Experiencing the Beautiful Nimitta
    It is achieved when you let go of the body, thought and the five senses so sompletely that only the beautiful nimitta remains.
    Repeat the Stage 1 – 5 to make the nimitta brighter and clearer.
    You must be able to sustain your attention on the beautiful breath with ease for at least 30 minutes without interruption.
  • 13. More Stable and Brighter Nimitta
    The main reason why the nimitta can appear dull and unstable is that the depth of contentment is too shallow and the “doer” is on the way to interfer your “let go” process.
    There are two common obstacles at the door into Jhana: exhilaration and fear.
    There is just a clear singleness of perception, an experience of non-dualistic bliss which continues unchanging for a very long time.
  • 14. More Stable and Brighter Nimitta
    You do not need to do anything here because the intense beauty of the nimitta is more than capable of holding the attention without your assistance.
    There is no need to pay attention to the existence and the properties of the nimitta.
    Let the doer, knower, decision maker, planner and desire completely disappear
    Let the mind merge in the bliss automatically without doing, knowing, planning and desire.
  • 15. The Five Aggregates
    1. Who am I?
    2. Why can’t I see things as they are?
    3. Am I a self or not a self?
    We can answer all these questions if we know what the 5 aggregates are and how they work.
     
    The Five Aggregates
    The 5 aggregates are the Aggregate of Form, of Feeling, of Perception, of Volition and of Consciousness. They are the 5 component parts that make up our body and mind i.e. our life.
    Form is physical and the other 4 are mental.
  • 16. The Five Aggregates
    1. Form, our physical body, is materialized, can be seen and may deteriorate. It is made up of the four elements.
    Earth --- Solid e.g. bone and flesh.
    Water --- Liquid e.g. blood and bile.
    Fire --- Heat e.g. body temperature.
    Air --- Movement e.g. breathing.
    2. Feeling refers to our emotions e.g. joy, hatred, fear, grief. There are 3 types of feeling: pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
  • 17. The Five Aggregates
    1. Form, our physical body, is materialized, can be seen and may deteriorate. It is made up of the four elements.
    Earth --- Solid e.g. bone and flesh.
    Water --- Liquid e.g. blood and bile.
    Fire --- Heat e.g. body temperature.
    Air --- Movement e.g. breathing.
    2. Feeling refers to our emotions e.g. joy, hatred, fear, grief. There are 3 types of feeling: pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
  • 18. The Five Aggregates
    3. Perception is the process of recognizing, identifying and attaching a name to an object. It also brings about memory.
    4. Volition refers to our intention or our will to do something. It can be good, bad or neutral which in turn may lead to wholesome, unwholesome or neutral karma.
    5. Consciousness is the master of the 4 mental aggregates. It coordinates the other aggregates to have the overall cognition and differentiation of an object.
  • 19. An example of how the five aggregates work:
    One evening, I was walking in the garden. Suddenly I saw something on the ground.
    (Eyes looking. And consciousness is aware of the object).
    It was long, slender and curved. It was a snake! (Perception identifies and gives it a name.)
     
    I was so scared (Unpleasant feeling) that I was going to run as quickly as I could. (Volition. In fact, it is my habitual response because I was bitten by a snake before and I almost died.)
  • 20. An example of how the five aggregates work:
    Then someone picked it up. It was just a piece of rope. (Oops! I’ve mistaken a rope for a snake. Wrong perception.)
    These processes apply to all the senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking.
    We can see how our perception may deceive us. Instead of looking things directly, we use our mind or mental
    aggregates to judge and discriminate them. That’s why we can’t see things as they really are.
  • 21. The five aggregates are not self
    For one to be a self, he has to have these two characteristics:
    1. He is permanent. He does not change.
    2. He is independent. He can control himself.
    When we look at ourselves, we find that the 5 aggregates that make up our bodies and minds are changing all the time. That means we are not permanent.
    At the same time, we cannot control these changes. That means we are not independent. So, definitely we are not “selves”.
  • 22. The five aggregates are not self
    We are just successions of mental and bodily aggregates. Life is a flow of physical and mental processes arising and passing away constantly, just like a river flowing to the sea.
    The saying “We can never step into the same river twice.” is very true.
  • 23. The answers to the questions:
    1. I am an ever-changing flux of processes called the five aggregates – the aggregate of form, the aggregate of
    feeling, the aggregate of perception, the aggregate of volition and the aggregate of consciousness.
     
    2. I cannot see things as they are because instead of seeing things directly, I use my mind to name, to remember,
    to judge and to discriminate them.
    3. I am not a self because I am impermanent and not independent. Although the 5 aggregates that I am made up
    of are changing all the time, I have no control over them.
  • 24.
  • 25. The Story of Awakening 悟道因缘
    The Fifth Chán​ Patriarch DàmǎnHóngrěn (601-674, 五祖大满弘忍大師)
  • 26. The Fifth Chán​ Patriarch DàmǎnHóngrěn
    An unmarried young woman, the fourth daughter in the Zhou family, was pregnant - which brought great shame to the family in those days. She was banished from the family and became a street beggar. After a few months, she gave birth to a baby boy. Feeling so shameful for what she had done, she abandoned the baby on the side of a ditch, yearning to forget it had happened. The next morning, however, she saw the baby still there, alive and well. With a change of heart, she saw the lovely child with tender eyes and decided to carry him about no matter how challenging it would be. She then begged with the baby for seven years and everyone teased the baby as “The Kid without a surname”. One day, the young boy met the Fourth Patriarch Dàoxìn on the road.
  • 27. The Patriarch saw the form of the boy as remarkable, speaking to
    himself “If he leaves home and cultivates, he will achieve great Buddhist work, carry on the Prajna teaching, and become the refuge of the
    masses.”
    So he asked the boy: “What is your sheng (姓, surname)?
    The boy replied: “I have a sheng, but not an ordinary one.” Patriarch: “So what is it?”
    The boy: “Buddha sheng (性, nature)”
    Patriarch; “You really don’t have a sheng (surname)?”
    The boy: “Sheng (nature) is empty (skt. sunyata), therefore there is no sheng (surname).”
    The Patriarch was quite surprised by the boy’s response, though he did not show it. He knew the boy was be a Dharma treasure and told his attendant to ask the mother’s permission to let the boy to leave home. The mother understood all the strange events were karmic and agreed to let the boy go. The Patriarch named him Hóng (Propagate the Dharma) Rěn (Forbearance) .
  • 28. Hóngrěn served Dàoxìn in Mount Shuāngfēng (双峰山). Hóngrěn was an introvert with very few words, gentle in action and
    manner. He took it easy and ignored bullying classmates.
    According to the Records of the Teachers and Disciples of the Lankavatara Sutra (楞伽师资记), he was measured and forbearing, simple and pure in his practice, silent on any gossip, mindful of sunyata, diligent in menial labour, contented with being with the Dharma, mindful with everything, very deep in vapasyana. He took all walking, standing, siting and lying down as the Way-place for practice; the karmas of speech, action, thinking as Buddhist Services; both tranquillity and chaos as non-dual; speechless as the true one. According to the Annals of the Transmission of the Dharma-treasure (传法宝记), he laboured with others in day time, and sat in meditation throughout the night. He was very diligent in his practice for years and never loosen up.
  • 29. His character, diligence and comprehension (悟性), gradually became a model for his colleagues. People from all over came to learn from him, even during Dàoxìn’s life-time. Sometimes, there were a thousand people in a month. This made Dàoxìn very pleased. Dàoxìn instructed and tested him with the principal of sudden enlightenment whenever opportunities arose. His cultivation perfected very fast and one day, Dàoxìn transmitted the Bowl and Robe to him with the verse:
    华种有生性,因地华生生。
    With the nature of growth of flower seed
    and the condition of the earth
    flower grows.
    大缘与性合,当生生不生。
    Condition and nature together
    show the nature of born and unborn.
  • 30. After the transmission, he moved to the Féngmào Mountain in Huangmei (黄梅冯茂山), also called Dongshan, East Mountain (又称东山), about 20 kilometers east of Mount Shuangfeng (双峰山). The teaching of Hóngrěn became known as the “East Mountain Teaching” (which sometimes refer to both his and Dàoxìn’s). He taught all levels and all types of students, greatly expanded the influence of the Chán school. Like his teacher, he also turned down the Imperial Orders to meet EmperiorGaozong. He was so famous at his time that “eight or nine of every ten aspirants in the country had studied under him.” He made Chán so popular that there were thousands of students. However, only a dozen of his students was capable of teaching. His two most eminent students are Shénxiù (神秀) and Huìnéng (慧能). Later Shénxiù became the Imperial Teacher of three Emperors in the Twin Capitals in northern China and emphasized the gradual cultivation aspect of the Hóngrěn’s teaching. Huìnéng promoted the sudden awakening aspect in southern China and later developed into the dominant school in China.
    In 661, Hóngrěn transmitted the Bowl and Robe to the Sixth Patriarch Huìnéng and passed away on October 23rd (Lunar Calendar) 674 at the age of 74. He was posthumously honored with the title Chán Master Dàmǎn (Great Perfect, 大满)
  • 31. It would be useful to understand the social context of the rise of Chán. After the Han Dynasty (漢朝), China had a fairly long period of civil unrest between 220 and 589CE, and was split into many small, ever changing kingdoms, which were roughly divided into north and south regions. It was one of the few occasions that China is split like this. The formal split amplified their differences and polarized the northern and southern cultures on one hand. However, the juxtaposition of the cultures also grew into an integrated, synergistic environment. This was the China that Bodhidharma came to.
     
  • 32. At the time, religion, especially Buddhism, met the needs of desperate, war torn people. The northerners were influenced by nomadic habits and social mores, whereas the southerners were influenced by the farming sphere. Confucian order, personal discipline, and vigorous sitting meditation, were popular in the north. In the south, however, Daoism, free-spirited naturalism, and Sutra study had the edge. The relatively peaceful and economically advantaged situation in the south provided fertile ground for merit accumulation practice while the ascetic practices in the north produced breath-taking artistic achievements like the Dunhuang grotto.
     
    There was large scale migration of nobles, artisans and refugees due to endless wars and famines. Many ethic groups were intermixed as well as international exchanges were fairly common. Bodhidharma and other Indian monks were welcome as well as Koreans were seeking Chán teachers. Buddhism, being very tolerant and powerful, addressed and rehabbed people’s plights and sufferings. It thrived both in the north and south for its encompassing teaching.
  • 33. Hóngrěn was born after such turmoil when the Sui and Tang Dynasties reintegrated China into one Empire. All the early Patriarchs worked tirelessly to adapt and integrate the teaching one way or the other. The rise of Shenxui in the north and Huineng in the south can be viewed in similar context, as well as later, the unification of Chán by the school of Huineng. These reflect the long and complex development and integration of Chán from an Indian tradition to a Chinese tradition. Chán is a harmonised integration of the unfathomable wisdom of Buddhism with two highly developed civilizations. Buddhism is very encompassing and tolerant, and flourishes despite such challenging and complex environment.
     Hóngrěn’s teaching, compared with his earlier generations for a selected few, he taught in a much larger and more diverse group. With such a following, the sustainability and organisation of the Chánmonastry, now called the Fifth Patriarch Temple (五祖寺), was already a very significant achievement.
  • 34. Hóngrěn’s teaching was compiled as the Treatise on the Essentials of Cultivating the Mind, (修心要論) by his followers. It follows similar Chán traditional teaching based on Lankavatara Sutra. As with his teacher Dàoxìn, he increased the elements of Prajna and recommended the Diamond Sutra as well as many other Sutras also.
     
    The main theme of his teaching is first and foremost to guard the true mind which is the root of nirvana, the gate to the Way, the principle of the Tripitaka, the Master of all Buddhas. The practice is to guard the single mode, the true mind, the pure mind. He emphasized the traditional insight into the mind, but also taught the expedient means of insight into purity for integrating the Pureland trend. He emphasized guarding the true mind first, then practise Bodhisattva path; practise ascetically like wearing worn cloth, eating rough and pretending dumb. Otherwise, it is very unwise.
  • 35. Presentation Topics and Schedule
    April 23  – Five Aggregates (skandhas) presented by Grace Lau
    April 30 – Four Persuasions presented by Wai Fun Lai
    May 7 - Four Elements presented by Doris Lau
    May 14 - Five Iniquities of Mundane World presented by Elena Morelli
    May 21 - Eightfold path presented by Shirley Lew
    May 28 - Ten realms presented by Winnie Tsang
    June 4 - Ten Virtuous Actions by Brandilee Maxwell
  • 36. Questions and Comments 討論
    www.ChamShanTemple.org
    www.shengguangshi.blogspot.com
    ShengguangShi@hotmail.com
    Shengguang Shi 釋聖光
    Tom Cheung 張相棠
    Kam Cheung 張仁勤
    Dennis Yap 葉普智