The Story of Chinese Zen
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usual method of transmission of Buddhism; it does not refer to a special extraordinary teaching outside of the principles of the Buddhist teachings. Shen-kuang, for example, was a learned and talented young man before he became a monk; after he was ordained, he added to this a mastery of the principles of the teachings of Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. As far as intellectual knowledge is concerned, clearly he was extraordinary in the depth, breadth, and fullness of his learning; yet he did not
either. If you say it is not a thing, what can you do about the bowl? Here is a verse by Master Hsiu-shan on the sixth patriarch's case of the wind and the pennant: When the wind blows, the mind moves the trees; When clouds arise, essence rouses dust. If you understand today's affair, You obscure the original human being. The Sharp Point of Potential The sharp point of potential in Zen is a favorite topic among those who talk about and lecture on Zen studies. In reality, the cause of
studies we find that the so-called study of the Three Arcana was only literary and philosophical. This study of mystical arcana turned into the fashion of Pure Conversation, and Pure Conversation produced the idea of the "use of uselessness," relegating all affairs of state to the status of mere scenery of the passing seasons. This was an inevitable result of the trend of events. As for Buddhist learning and thought at this same time, during the Eastern and Western Chin dynasties and the
Zen, it can be generally understood that Zen is the mental reality of Buddhism, and that the main teaching of Buddhism lays emphasis on practical cultivation to seek realization, not on philosophical issues that are matters of purely theoretical discussion. There is no question that the original Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism, as well as the various individual schools of Buddhism founded in China, all had cultivation of meditation concentration as the backbone of their search for realization.
the Sung and Yuan dynasties, the teaching eventually became degenerate, gradually becoming tangled and confused, so that many people confused the subtle mind of true suchness with the function of ideational consciousness and thought patterns. They looked on this mind of psychological patterns and ideational consciousness as the way of the mind ground taught in Zen. Among the degeneracies, the greatest changes developed along two main pathways. The first of these was the formulation of the