Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Bodhidharma Documents and Brief Selections

There are two books that deal exclusively with ‘Bodhidharma’ texts: The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma translated by Red Pine & The Bodhidharma Anthology translated by Jeffrey L. Broughton. There is another book which contains two ‘Bodhidharma’ texts also included in the Red Pine volume: Zen Dawn, translated by J. C. Cleary. For all intents and purposes, this is the Bodhidharma canon in English.

Before going any further, it might be useful to say who Bodhidharma is. Scholars can get intense about the details and chant the word ‘hagiographical’ or ‘epistemology” as some learned mantra. I prefer Red Pine’s simple summary:
Unknown to all but a few disciples during his lifetime, Bodhidharma is the patriarch of millions of Zen Buddhists…. He is the subject of many legends as well… As often happens with legends, it’s become impossible to separate fact from fiction. His dates are uncertain; in fact, I know at least one Buddhist scholar who doubts that Bodhidharma ever existed.

If the man never existed, the texts do, relatively speaking. They are bright expositions of early Chan (in Japanese, Zen). And it is my intent to list all of them here along with some information about each, including, most importantly, a brief but substantial selected quote. I find the texts to be refreshingly spare as well as skillful pointers to nondual truth.

The Red Pine is a small volume of what may, for the most part, be apocryphal works, but also mostly quick and insightful. In the end notes, he describes his sources:
The Chinese text used for this translation is a Ch’ing dynasty woodblock edition that incorporates corrections of obvious copyist errors in the standard edition of the continuation to the Ming dynasty Tripitaka. I’ve added several corrections of my own, based mostly on textual variants found in Tunhuang versions, for which see D.T. Suzuki’s Shoshitsu isho oyobi kaisetsu (Lost Works of Bodhidharma).

The Broughton may be more academic, but the translations are luminous and the commentary, brilliant. He describes their importance:
Of the ten texts we now have attributed to Bodhidharma or claiming to present his teaching, the one generally held to contain material that is authentic in some sense is the Bodhidharma Anthology, which itself is composed of seven texts…The Bodhidharma Anthology as a continuum was discovered only in the early part of this century, and it is fair to describe it as one of the most important finds among the Tun-huang manuscripts, a small portion of which constitute the “Dead Sea Scrolls” of Zen…[D.T.] Suzuki was able to find and reproduce a number of Zen texts, including an anthology that came to be called the Long Scroll of the Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practices (Ninyu shigydron chokansu); he subsequently published the reproductions in Japan. The Long Scroll is the work I have dubbed the Bodhidharma Anthology…For decades discussion of the Long Scroll or Bodhidharma Anthology, both Japanese and Western, has concentrated on the second section, the Two Entrances, and has come to the consensus that only this text can be attributed to Bodhidharma…A purpose of this book is to give the Records, particularly Record II and Record III, their due as the real beginnings of Zen literature, the true ancestors of the Zen genre known as recorded sayings…

The Cleary is as the Clearys are: clean and thorough.

1.         Two Entrances and Four Practices

-Red Pine: Outline of Practice

-Broughton: Two Entrances (section 2 of Bodhidharma Anthology)
Bodhidharma Anthology is called by D. T. Suzuki: The Long Scroll of the Treatise on The Two Entrances and Four Practices, and includes a Biography, 2 letters, and 3 records (in Suzuki, 2) [see 5-9 below] in addition to the Two Entrances

-J. C. Cleary: Section Two of Records of Teachers and the Students of the Lanka: Tripitaka Dharma Teacher Bodhidharma

compiled by Tanlin (per Broughton)

Now, in entering the path there are many roads. To summarize them, they reduce to two types. The first is entrance by principle and the second entrance by practice. Entering by principle means that one awakens to the thesis by means of the teachings, and one deeply believes that all living beings, common and sagely, are identical to the True Nature; that it is merely because of the unreal covering of adventitious dust that the True Nature is not revealed. If one rejects the false and reverts to the real and in a coagulated state abides in wall-examining, then self and other, common man and sage, are identical; firmly abiding without shifting, in no way following after the written teachings-this is mysteriously tallying with principle. It is nondiscriminative, quiescent, and inactive; we call it entrance by principle.

~trans Broughton

2.            Bloodstream Sermon

-Red Pine: Bloodstream Sermon

Yanagida attributes authorship to a member of Oxhead Zen School (per Red Pine, although “I see no reason why they shouldn’t be accepted as the sermons of the man to whom they’ve been attributed for more than 1,200 years.”)

Buddhas of the past and future only talk about this mind. The mind is the buddha, and the buddha is the mind. Beyond the mind there’s no buddha, and beyond the buddha there’s no mind. If you think there’s a buddha beyond the mind, where is he? There’s no buddha beyond the mind, so why envision one? You can’t know your real mind as long as you deceive yourself. As long as you’re enthralled by a lifeless form, you’re not free. If you don’t believe me, deceiving yourself won’t help. It’s not the buddha’s fault. People, though, are deluded. They’re unaware that their own mind is the buddha. Otherwise they wouldn’t look for a buddha outside the mind.

Buddhas don’t save buddhas. If you use your mind to look for a buddha, you won’t see the buddha. As long as you look for a buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the buddha. Don’t use a buddha to worship a buddha. And don’t use the mind to invoke a buddha. Buddhas don’t recite sutras. Buddhas don’t keep precepts. And buddhas don’t break precepts. Buddhas don’t keep or break anything.

Buddhas don’t do good or evil. To find a buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless.

~trans Red Pine

3.         Wake-up Sermon
-Red Pine: Wake-up Sermon

Yanagida attributes as an eight-century work of the Northern Zen School (per Red Pine)

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to look for reality is awareness. Freeing oneself from words is liberation. Remaining unblemished by the dust of sensation is guarding the Dharma. Transcending life and death is leaving home. Not suffering another existence is reaching the Way. Not creating delusions is enlightenment. Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom. No affliction is nirvana. And no appearance of the mind is the other shore.

When you’re deluded, this shore exists. When you wake up, it doesn’t exist. Mortals stay on this shore. But those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They’re able to leave both shores. Those who see the other shore as different from this shore don’t understand zen.

Delusion means mortality. And awareness means buddhahood. They’re not the same. And they’re not different. It’s just that people distinguish delusion from awareness. When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape.

~trans Red Pine

4.            Contemplation of Mind Treatise

-J.C. Cleary: Treatise on Contemplating Mind

-Red Pine: Breakthrough Sermon

This mind is the source of all virtues. And this mind is the chief of all powers. The eternal bliss of nirvana comes from the mind at rest. Rebirth in the three realms also comes from the mind. The mind is the door to every world and the mind is the ford to the other shore. Those who know where the door is don’t worry about reaching it. Those who know where the ford is don’t worry about crossing it.

The people I meet nowadays are superficial. They think of merit as something that has form. They squander their wealth and butcher creatures of land and sea. They foolishly concern themselves with erecting statues and stupas, telling people to pile up lumber and bricks, to paint this blue and that green. They strain body and mind, injure themselves and mislead others. And they don’t know enough to be ashamed. How will they ever become enlightened? They see something tangible and instantly become attached. If you talk to them about formlessness, they sit there dumb and confused. Greedy for the small mercies of this world, they remain blind to the great suffering to come. Such disciples wear themselves out in vain. Turning from the true to the false, they talk about nothing but future blessings.

If you can simply concentrate your mind’s inner light and behold its outer illumination, you’ll dispel the three poisons and drive away the six thieves once and for all. And without effort you’ll gain possession of an infinite number of virtues, perfections, and doors to the truth. Seeing through the mundane and witnessing the sublime is less than an eye-blink away. Realization is now. Why worry about gray hair? But the true door is hidden and can’t be revealed. I have only touched upon beholding the mind.

~trans Red Pine

5.         First Letter

Broughton: section 3 of Bodhidharma Anthology

written by Tanlin or Huike? (per Broughton)

I have always admired the former wise ones. I have broadly cultivated all the practices. I have always esteemed the Pure Lands of the Buddhas and looked up to the teachings that have come down to us as a thirsty man longs for water. Those who have been able to meet Sakyamuni Buddha and realize the great path are in the millions; those who have obtained the four fruits are numberless. I really thought that the heavenly mansions were another country and the hells another place, that if one were to attain the path and get the fruit, one's bodily form would change. I unrolled sutra scrolls to seek blessings; through pure practice I [tried to produce karmic] causes. In confusion I went around in circles, chaSing my mind and creating karma; thus I passed many years without the leisure to take a rest. Then for the first time I dwelled upright in dark quiescence and settled external objects in the kingdom of mind. However, I had been cultivating false thought for such a long time that my feelings led me to continue to see characteristics. I came to the point where I wanted to probe the difficulties inherent in these illusionary transformations. In the end I clearly apprehended the Dharma Nature and engaged in a coarse practice of Thusness. For the first time I realized that within the square inch of my own mind there is nothing that does not exist. The bright pearl comprehends clearly and darkly penetrates the deep tendency of things. From the Buddhas above to the wriggling insects below there is nothing that is not another name for false thought. They are the calculations of thought.

~trans Broughton

6.         Second Letter

Broughton: section 4 of Bodhidharma Anthology

written by Layman Hsiang incorporated in Hui-ko-B (Huike) of Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks by Tao-Hsuan (per Broughton)

Shadows arise from bodily forms; echoes follow upon voices. Some play with their shadows to the point of tiring their bodies, not realizing that their bodies are the shadows. Some raise their voices to stop the echoes, not realizing that the voice is the source of the echo. Searching for nirvana by eliminating the defilements is like searching for the shadow by getting rid of the body. Seeking for Buddhahood by rejecting sentient beings is like seeking for the echo by silencing the voice. Therefore, we know that delusion and awakening are one road, that stupidity and wisdom are not different. In a place of namelessness they mistakenly think of erecting names, and because of these names, is and is-not are born. In a place without principles they mistakenly think of creating principles, and because of these principles, disputations flourish therein. Illusionary transformations are not real, so who is right and who wrong? Falsity is unreal, so what exists and what does not exist? One should know that obtaining is having nothing to obtain and losing is having nothing to lose. Having not yet been able to talk with you, I have composed these lines, but how can one discuss the dark purport?

~trans Broughton

7.         Record I
Broughton: section 5 of Bodhidharma Anthology

Broughton: “Record I, the Method for Quieting Mind, consists of forty-five sections. The format is both lecture and dialogue. Some sections are fairly lengthy, some only a few lines. One characteristic separates Record I from the Two Entrances, the First Letter, and the Second Letter. The latter are in literary style, and Record I contains quite a few colloquial elements… These colloquial forms should alert us. They are the beginnings of a tendency that culminates in Sung Dynasty Ch'an literature, the most conspicuous characteristic of which is the use of colloquial language. Of course, in that literature the colloquial once again solidifies into a literary language… Record I takes the first big step toward breaking into the colloquial range of the recorded-sayings (yu-lu) genre of Ch'an literature; Record II is on the verge of breaking into that range. The vibrancy, the resonance with the spoken word, tells us more about original Ch'an than Tan-lin's elegant, balanced Two Entrances. These texts tell us of the deepening Sinification of Buddhism, in the sense of a move toward a spoken Chinese form of expression and away from the venerable, but artificial, style of the translation and commentarial traditions…”

Yen-shou calls it Bodhidharmatara’s The Method for Quieting Mind (per Broughton)

Question: "Why does the common man fall into evil rebirths?" Answer: "Because he has an ego, is stupid, and therefore says: 'I drink wine.' The wise one says: 'When you have no wine, why don't you drink winelessness?' Even if [the stupid person] were to say 'I do drink winelessness,' the wise one would say: 'Where is your I?' The stupid person also says: 'I commit a sin.' The wise one says: 'What sort of thing is your sin?' All of this is conditioned arising, lacking an essence. When it arises, you already know there is no ego, so who commits the sin and who receives punishment? The sutra says: 'Common men insist on discriminating: "I crave; I am angry." Such ignorant people will then fall into the three evil rebirths.' The sutra says: 'Sin is intrinsically neither internal nor external, nor is it between the two.' This illustrates that sin is unlocalized. The unlocalized is the locus of quiescence. When human beings fall into a hell, from mind they calculate an ego. They remember and discriminate, saying: 'I commit evils, and I receive punishments. I do good deeds, and I receive rewards.' This is the evil karma. From the outset no such things have existed, but they arbitrarily remember and discriminate, saying that they exist. This is the evil karma."

Question: "Who can cross over the ego to nirvana?" Answer: "Dharma can cross over the ego. How can this be known? By seizing characteristics, one falls into a hell. By examining Dharma, one is liberated. If you see characteristics, remember, and discriminate, then you will suffer from a scalding cauldron, a blazing furnace, the ox-headed [guards of hell], the Hell of the Sound of Cold, and so forth. You will see manifested before you the characteristics of birth-and-death. If you see that the Dharma-Realm nature is the nirvana nature and you are without memory and discrimination, then it is the substance of the Dharma Realm."

~trans Broughton

8.         Record II

Broughton: section 6 of Bodhidharma Anthology

Broughton: “Record II truly constitutes the beginnings of the recorded­sayings genre of Ch' an literature. There is a direct line from this work to the vast literature of Ch' an recorded sayings, and neglect of Record II has led us to place the beginnings of the recorded-sayings genre much too late in the history of Ch'an literature-usually in the ninth century. Record II’s eighteen sections seem to break naturally into three parts. Sections 50-56 center on Master Yuan; sections 57-62 center on Hui-k'o; and sections 63-67 provide miscellaneous dialogues. We could dub Record II the Recorded Sayings of Yuan and Hui-k'o…”

Another question: "What is the path?" Answer: "When you desire to produce the thought of moving toward the path, crafty ingenuity will arise, and you will fall into having mind. If you desire to give rise to the path, ingenious artifice will arise. If you have devices in your mind, crafty artifice will always arise." Another question: "What is crafty artifice?" Answer: "If you use intellectual understanding to seek a name, a hundred ingenious schemes arise. If you desire to cut off crafty artifice, don't produce the thought of enlightenment and don't use knowledge of the sutras and treatises. If you can accomplish this, then for the first time you will have bodily energy. If you have spirit, do not esteem understanding, do not seek Dharma, and do not love knowledge, then you will find a little quietude." Further: "If you do not seek wonderful understanding, do not serve as a teacher for people, and also do not take Dharma as your teacher, you will walk alone spontaneously." Further: "If you do not give rise to a demon mind, I can lead you."

~trans Broughton

9.         Record III

Broughton: section 7 of Bodhidharma Anthology (most not in Suzuki’s The Long Scroll of the Treatise on The Two Entrances and Four Practices)

Broughton: “Record III is a collection of sayings, not dialogues. Eschewing the question-and-answer mold, it consists of sayings of numerous masters, many with the title Dhyana Master. Some sayings seem to be followed by commentary, often including one or more sutra quotations.”

The nun Yuan-chu says: "All dharmas are nonreacting. They are intrinsically liberated. Why? When the eye sees forms, there are none that it does not see. Even when the mind consciousness knows, there is nothing that it does not know and nothing that it knows. At the time of delusion there is no understanding; at the time of understanding there is no delusion. During a dream there is no awakening; at the time of awakening there is no dream. Therefore, the sutra says: 'The great assembly, having seen Aksobhya Buddha, no longer saw that Buddha. Ananda! No dharma associates with the eye and ear organs to create a reaction. Why? Dharmas do not see dharmas. Dharmas do not know dharmas.' Also, the sutra says: 'The nonproduction of consciousness due to forms is called not seeing forms.' "

~trans Broughton

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