Elder Zen Master Han-Shan Te-Ch'ing (1546-1623) was one of the three "dragon-elephants," or most illustrious monks, during the final years of the Ming dynasty -- "an age of corruption, internal oppression and external weakness" (Sung-peng Hsu).
Originally trained in the Scriptural Studies school as well as in Zen, he came to excel in other traditions as well, achieving great renown as a teacher and exponent of the Avatamsaka Sutra. He is particularly credited with reviving the Zen school in China.
Born to a humble family, he came to mingle with the greatest political figures of China through his acquaintance with the Empress Dowager. This master/disciple relationship led to his imprisonment, banishment and laicization. Only toward the end of his life was he rehabilitated.
In the following excerpts from his sermons and writings, Master Han-Shan recommended the dual practice of Pure Land and Zen, emphasizing self-cultivation and personal effort. Readers unfamiliar with the Pure Land school are referred to Appendix I for an overview of Pure Land teachings.
------All teachings in the Tripitaka (Buddhist Canon) are tools to induce sentient beings to sever attachment. To those attached to Emptiness, Buddha Sakyamuni taught Existence to break that grasp. To those attached to Existence, He taught Emptiness so as to loosen that grasp. To those grasping at both Emptiness and Existence, He taught "neither Emptiness nor Existence" to break that grasp. Lastly, to those grasping at "neither Emptiness nor Existence," He taught both Emptiness and Existence to break that attachment. (1)
In short, the purpose is to draw all sentient beings away from attachments. That is the Buddhist teaching of salvation. There is no other way to return to the source [the Mind], though there are many different expedient methods. We Buddhist students and practitioners should not become attached to these methods. When thoughts arise in our mind discriminating between what method is right and what method is wrong, that is against the purpose of the Buddhas and is a deviation from the Buddhist path.
For example, when Buddha Sakyamuni taught the Dharma of Emptiness, His message was not that it was the opposite of Existence, but rather that it was Truth and Reality. What are Truth and Reality? Let me quote the T'ien T'ai Patriarch Chih I:
When one dharma is empty, then all dharmas are empty; there is no separate Non-Emptiness. Without Non-Emptiness to contrast with Emptiness, Emptiness itself is unattainable [i.e., does not exist].
Similarly, when Buddha Sakyamuni taught Existence, this was not the opposite of Emptiness, but was rather to say:
When one dharma exists, then all dharmas exist; there is no separate Non-Existence. Without Non-Existence to contrast with Existence, Existence itself is unattainable.
We should understand the true meaning of Emptiness and Existence. Nothing we say about Emptiness or Existence is attainable (i.e., truly valid). And since this is so, why are we still attached to them?
The Great Master Han-Shan thoroughly understood the goal of the Buddhas. In tune with the minds of the Patriarchs, he spread the Dharma (teaching), grasping at neither Emptiness nor Existence, neither Non-Emptiness nor Non-Existence -- thereby manifesting the Middle Way. Thus, he promoted the cultivation of both Zen and Pure Land, pointing to the non-duality of Emptiness and Existence. That teaching is "Wonderful Enlightenment" (see Glossary).
When practicing Zen, at the beginning of cultivation the expedient of Emptiness is used. But Zen does not mean Emptiness, nor does it mean Existence. Pure Land uses the expedient of Existence at the start of practice, but Pure Land does not mean Existence nor does it mean Emptiness. When Sakyamuni Buddha spoke of Emptiness and Existence, it was to reach human beings of different capacities. The Dharma itself transcends Emptiness and Existence. All methods taught by Buddha Sakyamuni are like prescriptions; since people suffer from different diseases, they need many kinds of prescriptions. It does not matter whether the medicine is expensive or cheap. As long as it is effective, it is a good medicine .
Those who practice Zen or Pure Land should all understand this truth: "all Dharma methods are equal and none is superior or inferior." No one who really understands the deep meaning of the Dharma can have the kind of obstinate prejudice that sees inferiority and superiority between the various Buddhist methods. No one with that kind of obstinate prejudice can gain any real benefit from the Dharma.
For example, the Zen school teaches meditation on a "hua-t'ou" (wato). Hua-t'ou means "before words," before a single thought rises up in one's mind. (2) What is there before a single thought rises up? It is No Thought. No thought is one's own Pure Mind, one's own Buddha Nature, one's own Original Face. Meditating on a hua-t'ou does not mean repeating it, because the repetition of a hua-t'ou is also a great false thought. Rather, to recognize one's own Original Face is the purpose of a hua-t'ou.
The Pure Land school teaches Buddha Recitation -- the repetition of Amitabha Buddha's name. However, it does not teach merely to recite by mouth, like a parrot mindlessly squawking out words. Buddha Recitation centered on the mind is real Buddha Recitation. This is because Mind is Buddha, Buddha is Mind. As the sutras state: "The Mind, Buddhas and Sentient Beings are undifferentiated and equal." Outside of Mind, there is no Buddha, outside of Buddha, there is no Mind. Buddha is Mind, Mind is Buddha. If a practitioner recites the Buddha's name in this manner, he will gradually arrive at the stage where there is neither Mind as subject nor Buddha as object. And there is neither a subject reciting nor an object of recitation. This is the stage before the arising of a single thought. This is the hua-t'ou and this is one's own Original Face. If the practitioner can really understand the Dharma as transcending subject and object, what difference is there between Zen and Pure Land?
Ever since Sakyamuni Buddha held up a flower and the Elder Mahakasyapa smiled, the method of Mind-to-Mind transmission, "without a word and outside the Teachings [of the Buddhist Canon]," has been the traditional way to pass the succession from patriarch to patriarch in the Zen school. (3) Since Bodhidharma came from the West (i.e., India), there has been continuous transmission, up to and including the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-Neng. In later generations, each Zen patriarch relied on his own techniques to train his students and followers. There are many methods, such as using Mind to seal Mind, meditating on a hua-t'ou, exploring one's Original Face, pondering "who is the one reciting the Buddha's name," or meditating on the single word "Wu" ("no") or on any of the other 1700 kung-ans (koans). However, the only purpose of all these teachings is to allow the practitioner to let go of everything, from body to mind, remove all false thought and rid himself of grasping and attachment. A practitioner who simply repeats a hua-t'ou or meditates on a kung-an without understanding its real purpose would be wasting his time and energy.
The Dharma of Pure Land, taught by Sakyamuni Buddha without being requested, (4) expresses His great compassion. The magnificent realm and adornments of the Western Pure Land are described in detail in the Amitabha Sutra. The Pure Land Dharma is extolled by all Buddhas in the Ten Directions and cultivated by Bodhisattvas and Patriarchs. For example, the great Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara (Kuan-Yin), Mahasthamaprapta (Ta Shih Chih), Manjusri, and Samantabhadra all advocated and followed Pure Land. In ancient India, the Patriarchs Asvaghosa, Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu, among others, all promoted Pure Land teachings. After the Dharma was transmitted to China, many Zen masters and great patriarchs promoted Pure Land. How perfect and lofty is the wonderful Dharma of Pure Land, taught by Sakyamuni Buddha and extolled by all Buddhas throughout the Ten Directions! We, on the other hand, are merely ordinary beings who have not yet broken away from ignorance and defilement. Yet, surprisingly, there are arrogant individuals who look down on this Pure Land Dharma.
The Avatamsaka Sutra includes a well-known episode concerning the youth Sudhana who journeyed to visit fifty-three Virtuous Teachers. The first one he met, the monk Cloud of Virtue, introduced him to the very important teaching of Pure Land. From there, Sudhana continued his visits until he had covered all fifty-three Teachers, the last of whom was the great Bodhisattva Samantabhadra. The latter also taught him the wonderful Pure Land Dharma method. Thus, we should understand that Pure Land is crucial in this Dharma-Ending Age. As disciples of the Buddhas, we should begin practicing this Dharma as early as possible.
In summary, Pure Land is Zen, Zen is Pure Land. In the past, all Buddhas throughout the Ten Directions relied on these two methods to practice and attain Buddhahood. All Buddhas in the present are likewise dependent on them to practice and attain Buddhahood. The same is true for all Buddhas in the future. These two Dharma methods are specially set forth in the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and the Surangama Sutra, along with many other sutras that exhort people to study and practice.
Master Lok To
New York: May 1993
Pure Land of the Patriarchs is a translation of selected passages from the sermons and writings of Zen Master Han-shan Te-ch'ing, one of the three "dragon-elephants" of Ming Buddhism.These passages originally appeared in the Han-Shan Ta-Shih Meng-Yu Chi (Collection of Master Han-Shan's Dream Roamings).
The goal of all Buddhist practice is to achieve Enlightenment and transcend the cycle of Birth and Death -- that is, to attain Buddhahood. In the Mahayana tradition, the precondition for Buddhahood is the Bodhi Mind, the aspiration to achieve Enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, oneself included. (23)
Since sentient beings are of different spiritual capacities and inclinations, many levels of teaching and numerous methods were devised in order to reach everyone. Traditionally, the sutras speak of 84,000, i.e., an infinite number of methods, depending on the circumstances, the times and the target audience. All these methods are expedients -- different medicines for different individuals with different illnesses at different times. (24) Within each method, the success or failure of an individual's cultivation depends on his depth of practice and understanding, that is, on his mind.
A) Self-power, other-power
Throughout history, the Patriarchs have elaborated various systems to categorize Dharma methods and the sutras in which they are expounded. One convenient division is into methods based on self-effort (self-power) and those that rely on the assistance of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (other-power). (25) This distinction is, of course, merely for explanatory purposes, as the Truth is, ultimately, one and indivisible: self-power is other-power, other-power is self-power. (26)
Traditionally, most Buddhist schools and methods take the self-power approach: progress along the path of Enlightenment is achieved only through intense and sustained personal effort. Because of the dedication and effort involved, schools of this self-power, self-effort tradition all have a distinct monastic bias. The laity has generally played only a supportive role, with the most spiritually advanced ideally becoming monks and nuns. Best known of these traditions are Theravada and Zen.
Parallel to this, particularly following the development of Mahayana thought and the rise of lay Buddhism, a more flexible tradition eventually arose, combining self-power with other-power -- the assistance and support provided by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to sincere seekers of the Way. Most representative of this tradition are the Esoteric and Pure Land schools. However, unlike the former (or for that matter, the Zen school), Pure Land does not stress the master-disciple relationship and de-emphasizes the role of sub-schools, roshis/gurus and rituals. Moreover, the main aim of Pure Land -- rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss through the power of Amitabha Buddha's Vows -- is a realistic goal, though to be understood at several levels. Therein lies the appeal and strength of Pure Land. (27)
B) Pure Land in a Nutshell
Pure Land is the most popular form of Buddhism in East Asia. Like all Mahayana schools, it requires first and foremost the development of the Bodhi Mind, the aspiration to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. (28)
How is Pure Land practiced?
How does Pure Land work?
i) By practicing Buddha Recitation singlemindedly, with utter sincerity and faith, the cultivator reins in his wandering mind. He puts a stop to the continuous stream of illusory thought filled with greed anger and delusion characteristic of the human mind. His mind thus becomes empty and still and he awakens. Buddha Recitation in that sense is a kung-an -- it is a Zen practice.
ii) Alternatively, during singleminded recitation, with utter sincerity and faith, the cultivator strongly identifies with Amitabha Buddha -- becomes one with Amitabha Buddha and His Vow to rescue all sentient beings. Rebirth in the Pure Land is therefore a natural occurrence. It is this aspect that particularly characterizes the Pure Land school.
In its totality, Pure Land reflects the teachings of Buddhism as expressed in the Avatamsaka Sutra: mutual identity and interpenetration of all and everything -- the simplest method contains the ultimate and the ultimate is found in the simplest. (29)
c) Transference of Merit
Central to the Pure Land tradition is the figure of Amitabha Buddha, who came to exemplify the Bodhisattva ideal and the doctrine of transfer (or dedication) of merit. This is particularly apparent in the life story of the Bodhisattva Dharmakara, (30) the future Amitabha Buddha, as related in the sutras.
The Mahayana idea of the Buddha being able to impart his power to others marks one of those epoch-making deviations which set off the Mahayana from so-called ... original Buddhism ... The Mahayanists accumulate stocks of merit not only for the material of their own enlightenment but for the general cultivation of merit which can be shared equally by their fellow-beings, animate and inanimate. This is the true meaning of Parinamana, that is, turning one's merit over to others for their spiritual interest. (D.T. Suzuki, tr., The Lankavatara Sutra, p. xix.)
The rationale for such conduct, which on the surface appears to run counter to the law of Cause and Effect, may be explained in the following passage concerning one of the three Pure Land sages, the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Kuan Yin):
Some of us may ask whether the effect of karma can be reverted by repeating the name of Kuan-Yin. This question is tied up with that of rebirth in Sukhavati [the Pure Land] and it may be answered by saying that invocation of Kuan-Yin's name forms another cause which will right away offset the previous karma. We know, for example, that if there is a dark, heavy cloud above, the chances are that it will rain. But we also know that if a strong wind should blow, the cloud will be carried away somewhere else and we will not feel the rain. Similarly, the addition of one big factor can alter the whole course of karma ...
It is only by accepting the idea of life as one whole that both Theravadins and Mahayanists can advocate the practice of transference of merit to others. With the case of Kuan-Yin then, by calling on Her name we identify ourselves with Her and as a result of this identification Her merits flow over to us. These merits which are now ours then counterbalance our bad karma and save us from calamity. The law of cause and effect still stands good. All that has happened is that a powerful and immensely good karma has overshadowed the weaker one. (Tech Eng Soon - Penang Buddhist Association, c. 1960. Pamphlet.)
This concept of transference of merit, which presupposes a receptive mind on the part of the cultivator, is emphasized in Pure Land. However, the concept also exists, albeit in embryonic form, in the Theravada tradition, as exemplified in the beautiful story of the Venerable Angulimala. (31)
D) Faith and Mind
Faith is an important component of Pure Land Buddhism. (32) However, wisdom or Mind also plays a crucial, if less visible, role. This interrelationship is clearly illustrated in the Meditation Sutra: the worst sinner, guilty of matricide and parricide, etc. may still achieve rebirth in the Pure Land if, on the verge of death, he concentrates on the Buddha's name one to ten times with utmost faith and sincerity.
This passage can be understood at two levels. At the level of everyday life, just as the worst criminal once genuinely reformed is no longer a threat to society and may be pardoned, the sinner once truly repentant may, through the vow-power of Amitabha Buddha, achieve rebirth in the Pure Land -- albeit at the lowest possible grade. Thus, Pure Land offers hope to everyone; yet at the same time, the law of Cause and Effect remains valid.
At the higher level of principle or Mind, as the Sixth Patriarch taught in the Platform Sutra:
A foolish passing thought makes one an ordinary man, while an enlightened second thought makes one a Buddha.
Therefore, once the sinner repents and concentrates on the Buddha's name with utmost sincerity and one-pointedness of mind, for that moment he becomes an awakened person silently merging into the stream of the Sages -- can Enlightenment then be far away? As the Meditation Sutra states: "the Land of Amitabha Buddha is not far from here!" (33)
This, then, is the Pure Land tradition, harmonizing everyday practice and the transcendental, self-power and other-power. This tradition is, by all accounts, one of the pillars of the great Mahayana edifice, that lofty tradition of the great Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Samantabhadra -- so much so that Pure Land has been, for centuries, one of the most enduring and widespread forms of Buddhism in Asia.
Van Hien Study Group
The Mahayana Schools
Ten Schools of Northern Buddhism (Chinese)- consists of (1) Vinaya Discipline (Nam Shan); (2) Kosa (Saravastivadin); (3) Satyasiddi Sect.; (4) Madhyamika (Emptiness Nature Sect.); (5) Lotus or Dharma Flower or Tiantai; (6) Huayan or Dharmadhatu; (7) Dharmalaksana or Mind School; (8) Ch'an (Zen - in Japan) or Mind only or Intuitive Sect. (9) Mi Chao or (Shingon) or Esoteric School- Referred by Tibetan Vajrayana as Lower Tantra School; (10) The Pure Land Sect. or Lotus Sect.
The Primary Sutra they practices are:
(1) to (3) are basically gone from China, may be Japanese still have traces of them.
(4) Madhyamika – using Four Mundane and Four Higher Doctrines- (a) common postulates on reality, consider nominal as real, ex. a pot; (b) common doctrinal postulates, ex. the five skandhas; (c) abstract postulates, ex. the Four Noble Truths; (d) temporal postulates in regard to the spiritual in the material. Then the four higher abstract (e) temporal postulates on constitution and function, ex. skandhas; (f) on cause and effect, ex: Four Noble Truths; (g) on the void, the immaterial or reality; and (h) on the pure inexpressible ultimate or absolute. (Summation of several sections in Chinese Tripatika).
(5) Lotus or Tiantai - Lotus Sutra; Mahayana Vaipulya SÅ«tra of Total Retention.
(6) Huayan - Avatamsaka or Huayan Sutra or Flower Adornment Sutra; DaÅ›abhÅ«mikasÅ«tram; Gaá¹‡á¸�avyÅ«hasÅ«tram; Tathagata's Unimaginable State Sutra.
(7) Dharmalaksana - Yogacara School Sutra series such as: Viá¹�Å›atikÄ�kÄ�rikÄ�; MadhyÄ�ntavibhÄ�gakÄ�rikÄ�.
(8) Ch'an - Prajnaparamita Sutra series, Such as Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra (known as Diamond Sutra), Aá¹£á¹asÄ�hasrikÄ� prajñÄ�pÄ�ramitÄ�; Pratyutpanna-Samadhi Sutra; Heart Sutra; The Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra; and The Five Lamps Meet At The Origin.
(9) Mi Chao or Shingon – Great Sun Sutra, Su Siddhi Sutra; Golden Light Sutra; Shurangama Sutra.
(10) Pure land - Lotus Sutra and Amitabha Sutra; The Sacred Vows from The Sutra of Infinite Life; The Sutra of Contemplation on Buddha Amitayus; The Sutra On Praise Of The Pure Land And Protection By Shakyamuni; and Amitabha Sutra Series.
Ten Major Sects in China (belonging to Emptiness or Existence) :-
1. Reality or Kosa or Abhidharma Sect (Existence School)
2. Satysiddhi or Cheng-se Sect (Emptiness School)
3. Three Sastra or San-lun Sect (Emptiness School)
4. The Lotus or T’ien-t’ai Sect (it absorbed the Nirvana Sect) (Emptiness School)
5. The Garland or Hua-yen or Avatamsaka Sect
(it absorbed the Dasabhumika and the Samparigarhasastra Sects) (Existence School)
6. Intuitive or Cha’n or Dhyana Sect (Emptiness School)
7. Discipline or Lu or Vinaya Sect (Emptiness, Existence School)
8. Esoteric or Chen-yien or Mantra Sect (Emptiness, Existence School)
9. Dharmalaksana or Ch’u-en or Fa-siang Sect (Emptiness School)
10. Pure-land or Sukhavati or Ching-t’u Sect (Existence School)
Existence Schools mostly stress on karma and DO.
Zen is æ˜Žå¿ƒè§�æ€§, Pureland is ç�†ä¸€å¿ƒä¸�ä¹±, æ•™ä¸‹is å¤§å¼€åœ†è§£. Is the same attainment, however, Pureland is from the effect of fruit directly while other doors are beginning from the cause and it needs to realize the effect of fruit before it can achieve it intended fruit. And for Pureland, it also needs not necessarily realized the fruit as the Lotus Sutra mentioned an old lady attainment during Buddha period was due to her one chant of Namo Buddha once in her many past lives. So imagine if you would to chant Namo Buddha Amitabha every now and then. Moreover, the greatest for Pureland is due to Amitabha Buddha vow and relying on his unsurpassed compassion to liberate all beings in one lifespan. The vow of other Buddhas have no such special vow, it pre-requisite not only realized but is to actualize as well. And all buddhas praise and recommended Buddha Amitabha by unrelentlessly stating that Buddha Amitabha is the king of all Buddhas. And in the Avatamsaka Sutra, the actualized beings reaching equal enlightenment are asked to migrate to Buddha Amitabha Pureland. Imagine the ultimacy of such pureland. And for some that cannot totally becoming vegetarianism, there is no such dire need to be a vegetarianism for rebirth to pureland. Rebirth to Pureland Amitabha is Faith, Vow and Practice Mindfulness of Buddha Amitabha.
å¯†å®—è®²çš„'å¤§åœ†æ»¡', Zen is æ˜Žå¿ƒè§�æ€§, Pureland is ç�†ä¸€å¿ƒä¸�ä¹±, æ•™ä¸‹is å¤§å¼€åœ†è§£. Is the same attainment.
For purelander, it not about severing the dust, but rest on Buddha Name and be kind. And resting on Buddha name will have remarkable naturally effect on severing of dust. Think not the dust or samadhi. Buddha name in itself is samadhi. Very amazing. However, as a human, you have to live like a human loving one another, and once in contact with others, just like buddha advice below.
“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”
â€• Gautama Buddha
“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”
â€• Gautama Buddha
“What we think, we become.”
â€• Gautama Buddha
Think Buddha Amitabha
Diamond sutra stated - æ³•å°šåº”èˆ�,ä½•å†µé�žæ³•. Buddhism is also a dharma that cannot be clinged. Dharma is merely to show one their peace, gentle and kindness. Being gentle and kindness is dharma and developing blessing and merits.
“What we think, we become.”
â€• Gautama Buddha
So not dun think, but Think Buddha Amitabha. THINK stands for True Helpful Inspiring Necessary Kind. Buddha Amitabha is it True, is it Helpful, Is it Inspiring, Is it necessary and Is it Kind :D