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#1 2007-04-26 14:39:33

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Hi everybody.

I just wanted to take the time to type and share a dissertation about the story of Fuke (Puhua) that I have found in one of my books on Rinzai. Anyhow here is the information on the book.

Title: Critical Sermons of the Zen Tradition (Hisamatsu’s talks on Linji)
Edited by: Christopher Ives and Gishin Tokiwa
Published by: University of Hawaii Press
ISBN 0-8248-2383-4

Taken from Chapter 11 (Page 63 to 68)

As I discussed in my last talk, Linji asks his disciple to come forth without being dependent on anything. This is described in the section of the Record entitled “ Critical Examinations,” which refers to mutual examinations of the depth of one another’s way of being. Ordinarily a seeker of the Way engages in a mondo with a master. The master probes the student, and the student probes the master. This mutual investigation of the Way unfolds vigorously in the interaction between Linji and Puhua:

Puhua was always going around the streets ringing a little bee and calling out:

If you come as brightness, I hit the brightness;
Come as darkness, I hit the darkness;
Come from the four quarters and eight directions, I hit like a whirlwind;
Come from empty sky, I lash like a flail.

The Master told his attendant to go and, the moment he heard Puhua say these words, to grab him and ask, “If coming is not at all thus, what then?”

The attendant went off and did as he was instructed.
Puhua pushed the attendant away, saying, “There’ll be a feast tomorrow at Dabei-yuan [Great Compassion temple].”
The attendant returned and told this to the Master. The master said, “I’ve always wondered about that fellow,” (p. 42)

Puhua lived in Zhenzhou from before Linji established the Dharma there on the bank of the Hutuo River. His teacher was Panshan Baoji, an outstanding Zen master. The occasions and opportunities Panshan provided to help others awaken to the Dharma are now used as koans. He once said in a talk, “The three realms [of desire, form and formlessness] are without any characteristics, so in what place do you seek your Self?” This parallels the question the old woman asked Deshan on his pilgrimage: “If the past self is unattainable, the present self is unattainable and the future self unattainable, what self do you intend to refresh?” Zen records abound with such questions.

Now this Panshan was a disciple and Dharma-heir of Mazu Daoyi, which make Puhua a grand-disciple of Mazu. Historical data on Puhua is lacking, so it is not known where or when he was born. From all indications he was quite eccentric. And yet he wasn’t a nobody, or a mere offbeat monk. Rather, he was a highly capable master, whose conduct happened to be out of the ordinary.

This does not pertain directly to the subject at hand, but, as you might know, in Japan those who play the bamboo flute as a form of Zen practice are referred to as the Fuke School. This school is named after Puhua (J. Fuke), and the monks regard him as their founding teacher. They have an organization called Meian Kyokai, the Association for the teaching of Brightness-darkness, whose members itinerant Fuke priests- carry dark begging bags with the white characters mei-an (brightness-darkness).

Near where Linji lived, Puhua went around the streets ringing a bell. As he walked, he announced, “If you come as brightness, I hit the brightness.” “Brightness” refers to discriminations, things which are clear and totally manifested. As a thousand differences and then thousand distinctions, countless things are presenting themselves in brightness. In terms of Dongshan’s system of the five ranks, this is the rank of leaning, of a part or a distinct entity, and it is represented by a white circle. Whenever this brightness comes, Puhua hits it; when the part shows up, he deals it a blow.

Puhua says more: “Come as darkness, I hit the darkness.” In opposition to brightness, “darkness” refers to that which is without discrimination.  In total darkness, we can’t see anything; so distinct objects can’t even begin to appear. In terms of the Five Ranks, this is the straight, the place of non-discrimination and equality. It is depicted by a totally blackened circle. The condition of knowing nothing while in total darkness isn’t ignorance in the usual sense, for in Dongshan’s view, the straight and the leaning, or equality and discrimination, are an inseparable pair like brightness and darkness; they are “the straight with the leaning inside, and the leaning with the straight inside.”

As I said in my talk, the true Buddha is without form, and the true Dharma without shape. This formless, shapeless Original Face is expressed by the black circle. It is totally
Different from ordinary ignorance, for ignorance (Skt. Avidya) has been broken through and has become true knowledge (Skt. Vidya or Prajna). The black circle thus stands for the unique, formless true Self of equality and non-discrimination. To regard it as ignorance is to confuse heaven and earth. In Buddhist terminology, darkness refers to nirvana, nirvana as Emptiness or Nothingness, and hence it is anything but discriminations in the ordinary sense.

This, then, is the darkness that is none other than brightness, and the brightness that is none other than darkness. Neither is affected alone, for it is only when they are one that they can be, respectively, brightness and darkness. First Puhua talks about brightness: when brightness comes along, he hits it. Next he tells us that when darkness shows up, he strikes that, too. Neither brightness nor darkness is acceptable, so Puhua announces that he hits them both.

This is not the first place in the history of Zen where we encounter “brightness and darkness.” They appear before Puhua’s time both as individual terms and in such expressions as “brightness and darkness as an inseparable pair.” It is Puhua, however, who first darts about the streets, ringing a bell and telling everyone that “If you come as brightness, I hit the brightness; come as darkness, I hit the darkness.” The activity that takes up brightness and darkness, that very way of being, is widely known as Puhua’s unique Zen functioning. So, whenever we hear the words, “come as brightness, I hit the brightness,” we are immediately reminded of him. In fact, the expression is so unique to him that it seems to be tied up with his very being.

Since Puhua walks the streets talking about how he hits brightness and darkness, other pedestrians see him as deranged, and winder what he’s talking about. He wanders around ringing a bell, and indeed, to perform a Buddhist mass while playing a tune of brightness and darkness is a fine model for itinerant monks: “Come as brightness, I hit the brightness: come as darkness, I hit the darkness. I strike them both down.”

“Come from the four quarters and the eight directions, I hit like a whirlwind.” Puhua lets everyone know that when people come from any of the many possible directions with no gaps between them, considering or calling themselves “something,” he whirls about and strikes them down. Many things show up from the four quarters and eight directions: sometimes enemies and at other times Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Even if all of them were to show up together from every direction, Puhua would knock them all down.

When you “come from empty sky, I lash like a flail.” In more common parlance, “empty sky” is space. Space has no form, so even if you come without form, Puhua will “lash like a flail.” The flail spoken of here is a tool for threshing rice, millet and other grains. Nowadays there are advanced machines for doing such work, but in the past grains where threshed by an assortment of tools. Some were T-shaped instruments, and others were staffs. The flail of which Puhua speaks is a pole with short rods fastened to the end, so with a single movement the tool strikes the grain in several places at once. In any case, should empty sky appear, Puhua will lash at it again and again without a moment’s delay. No matter what comes, regardless of the directions, be it brightness or darkness, and even if it should be “without form,” Puhua will strike it down. This she lets everyone know, as he walks down the streets ringing a bell.
Seen from an ordinary perspective, Puhua takes negation to an extreme. He sweeps everything away. He says he negates each and everything away. He says he negates each and every thing that comes along. This is that total negation expressed by the words, “meeting a Buddha, slay the Buddha: meeting a founding teacher, slay the founding teacher.” It spares nothing. Were but a single grain of millet to remain, his action would fall short true negation, the original face of not-a-single thing. He must strike being and non-being, “is” and “is not.” His awakening is so penetrating that he accepts nothing. If he didn’t take negation to this extreme, it would fall short of true negation, and would never result in the way of being of not a single thing. He is the one who comes forth completely independent. In a sense, he walks around challenging people to “come forth without being dependent on anything.”

Given their shared way of being in the mode of “not-a-single-thing,” we must regard Puhua and Linji as intimate friends. Although he was a disciple of Panshan, Puhua helped Linji in his teaching in Zhenzhou. He is highly praised by Linji himself, and hence occupies an important position in the Record. In the episode in question, Linji hears that Puhua is hanging around the streets. Eager to investigate him, he devises a scheme to find out how Puhua handles things and where he stands (Ch. Jiaoxia, J. Kyakka) in his awakening. He tells his attendant to go to Puhua, and the moment he hears him utter his unique words, to grab him and say, “If coming is not-at-all-thus, what then?” Linji thus sends an attendant to check Puhua out.

The attendant is said to be Luopu. Although he is not mentioned by name in the Record or in any of the commentaries on the text, apparently he was staying at Linji’s place, serving the master as an assistant. Since Luopu, too, is a man of ability, Linji chooses him to test Puhua. He tells him that if he sees Puhua walking around ringing a bell grab him and ask, “If coming is not-at-all thus, what then?” “Thus” here means “in such a manner,” and the negative is best expressed directly as “not like that,” “not in such a manner,” or “not-at-all-thus.”

When someone comes not-at-all-thus, what then? Linji in effect says to Luopu, “Go ask Puhua about when someone comes not as brightness or darkness, nor from the four quarters and eight directions, nor from empty sky.” Come forth not-at-all-thus. Certainly this is a complete negation, just as with Puhua’s functioning before. With it, Linji tests whether Puhua’s negation is total or not, whether it knocks down brightness and darkness, the four quarters and eight directions, the empty sky and everything else.

To come forth not-at-all-thus, and to come forth without being dependant on anything – as problems posed to Puhua, these are the same. Such is the approach in our practice: if coming is not-at-all-thus, then what? In this episode, we can see the keenness of the mondo between Linji Puhua, the sharpness of their awakened functioning. How will Puhua receive the way of being that is thrust at him by Linji, the way of being in which one is not-a-single-thing? The way he “receives” Linji is truly a marvel. How does he receive Linji’s awakened functioning? Linji is quite ill natured, but Puhua is no ordinary man.
Luopu goes to Puhua and asks him, “If coming is not-at-all-thus, what then?” Puhua pushes him away, saying, “There’ll be a feast tomorrow at the Dabei-yuan.” The brilliance of Puhua’s living strategies to awaken others is quite evident in the shove. He receives Linji’s awakened Zen functioning by saying that a feast will be offered to beggars the following day at Dabei-yuan. What is he really saying here? Is he giving an evasive answer? Far from it.

In his response Puhua exhibits his activity, which is “not-at-all-thus.” He hits brightness when people come as brightness, and hits darkness when people come as darkness. And when someone comes not-at-all-thus, he hits “not-at-all-thus.” This “not-at-all-thus” evident in his response has nothing to do with thinking this or that, utilizing forms or patterns, or probing in various ways. Such approaches don’t even come close.

Puhua tells Luopu that a feast will be offered at Dabei-yuan the following day. This Dabei-yuan corresponds to the so-called Hiden-in that existed in Japan around the time of Kobo Daishi (774-835), which was a place for the free dispensation of medicine and food to the poor. Puhua was essentially living like a beggar. He would approach people who crossed his path, draw up close, and ring his bell in their ears. As the person turned away, Puhua would reach out his hand and say, “Give ma a coin.” It was not an easy life. He taught by walking around as a beggar, sticking out his hand and asking for money. Like Hanshan and Shide, his behavior is quite bizarre, and it distinguishes him as one of the many eccentrics in the history of Chinese Zen. On the surface his statement about the feast might strike you as merely eccentric, but if that were all there is to it, he wouldn’t have truly received Linji’s awakened functioning. What is he really saying? This is the central point of their mutual examination.

Hearing Puhua’s response, Luopu goes back to Linji and tells him what happened. Linji exclaims, “I’ve always wondered about that fellow.” He always thought Puhua might be special, but now he is sure. His statement that he “always wondered” about Puhua does not express doubt, but, on the contrary, praise. At one level Linji is saying that he wondered what Puhua was all about and that he now knows how crazy he is: and at another level, he is praising Puhua and his marvelous response. That is why one commentator attached the words:

Deep in the night,
They watch together:
On a thousand rocks, snow.

In this episode, centering around the question, “If coming is not at all thus, what then?” both men express their functioning in full accordance with the other. This is truly an encounter between two people who come forth without being dependent on anything. It is an outstanding mutual examination of the depth of one another’s awakening, and reveals a main aspect of Zen mondo. Interacting as they do, they are like an arrow and a dagger holding each opther up.

The essence of what transpires between them lies in coming forth without being dependent on anything, in the non-dependent practitioner of the way. Two more days are left in this retreat. When Linji tells you to come forth independent of all things, how will you come forth? I want all of you to apply yourselves to this question without being dependent on anything.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#2 2007-07-22 03:04:38

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Was thinking to bump this one back up since I was thinking that it was very unusual that only 130 views were reported on this topic since this is a very important topic that is direclty linked with shakuahchi History and Zen and is the only full explanantion in English so far. Makes me wonder sometimes of how serious ppl are when trying to study Zen and Shakuhachi.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#3 2007-07-22 12:55:36

Kerry
Member
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 183

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

For the sake of caloric conservation, from dailyzen.com. I've donated most of my books to the library book sale.

How long has it been since
The teaching of the pure
Essence was swept away?
Students are caught up
With the written word
And Buddhist priests are
Stubbornly obsessed with doctrine.
It's a shame that for
A thousand years
No one has spoken
Seriously of this essence.
Better to follow the children
And bounce a ball on these spring days.

-Ryokan (1758-1831)

Or blow on a piece (or two piece) of bamboo, simply mindful and focusing on the breath and tone. -kerry


The temple bell stops, but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers. -Basho

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#4 2007-07-22 13:24:02

Harazda
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Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Gishin - These are difficult times.  Rare, today, is the serious student of Dharma with that outgoing desire to talk Dharma talk and untangle the knot.  In these post-Modern times, it's much easier to believe in nothing and express an equal measure of nothing, hanging back in quiet, frustrated confusion, all alone, waiting for any kind of entertaining diversion.

Thank you for your activity; it is right and good.

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#5 2007-07-22 14:43:09

Kerry
Member
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 183

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Ryokan was a revered zen priest and poet. His expression is a 'walk the walk' as opposed to reliance on words only.... You're right, in that, "it's much easier to believe"- (than to think), but, "to believe in nothing", is just a little too oxymoronic, don't ya think?....Just throwing something different into the mix. Sorry, if I've offended any zen priests or serious dharma students....smile....As for zen and shakuhachi, I still stand by that bamboo-breath-tone thingy!smile


The temple bell stops, but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers. -Basho

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#6 2007-07-22 16:20:18

Harazda
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Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Hi Kerry - Well, I said it exactly as I see it.  Thinking definitely gets in the way of serious progress, and the prevalence of spiritual apathy based in the inability to believe anything anyone says (in this case, particularly the various Lineage Masters, including the Buddha) is like a worldwide rampant disease.  I really don't want to get on a soapbox here.  I probably shouldn't have said anything.  Let's just all accept that interest in Reality is at an all-time low and consider that normal.

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#7 2007-07-22 21:00:50

TutuBanjo
Member
Registered: 2007-07-17
Posts: 4

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Harazda wrote:

I really don't want to get on a soapbox here.  I probably shouldn't have said anything.

Good call.  Those of us who are not pompous demagogues should step back and let the master do his thing.


Tutu Banjo
Redneck Tranny Danseur
=+=+=+=+=
Little Rock has a Greyhound depot, too, y'all.

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#8 2007-07-22 22:56:20

waryr
Member
From: Leesburg Florida
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 70

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Tairaku closed the thread on Zen and Music.

Thank you Brian Sir!!!!!  Life has enough endless confusing threads to master without this type dialogue.

Well done!!!!!


If you understand, things are just as they are, if you don't understand, things are just as they are.

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#9 2007-07-22 23:02:22

Kerry
Member
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 183

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Peace and calm to all.
Good night.
smile


The temple bell stops, but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers. -Basho

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#10 2007-07-23 07:47:23

Harazda
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Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

TutuBanjo, are you implying that I am a pompous demagogue?

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#11 2007-07-23 08:14:41

Harry
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From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

I hope I'm not too serious on my death bed.

"Post Modern Zazen" is not unlike "Post Post Modern Zazen", but it seems to lack a little of the humour and artistic merit of "Post Post Post Modern Zazen" and some of the seriousness and focused intent of "Goal Post Post Modern Zazen" which is preferable to the aggressive and invasive attitude promoted by "Post Washington Post Zazen"... I'm starting to see increasing merit in "Deaf as a Post Zazen"...

Regards,

Harry... end of Post.


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#12 2007-07-23 09:18:59

Harazda
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Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Y'see?  That's what I mean.

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#13 2007-07-23 09:24:25

Harry
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From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Remind me of just how you'd like the world to behave again?

Being quite mad (as we all are) is perfectly normal; expecting other people to accept that your own, personal brand of madness is better that theirs...? Well, that's just silly!

If it makes you feel any better: I AM NOT A BUDDHIST... there you go, that's the weight of one less adult male to carry.

Regards,

Harry.  (Look what Maggie said >>>>)


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#14 2007-07-23 09:25:03

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

TutuBanjo wrote:

Harazda wrote:

I really don't want to get on a soapbox here.  I probably shouldn't have said anything.

Good call.  Those of us who are not pompous demagogues should step back and let the master do his thing.

OK no name calling on this forum! sad


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#15 2007-07-23 09:26:42

Harry
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From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

"The artist formally known by another name" wrote:

"OK no name calling on this forum!"


Yes, I only like being called 'master' in bed.

Thank you,

Harry.

Last edited by Harry (2007-07-23 09:28:39)


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#16 2007-07-23 09:37:51

Tairaku 太楽
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From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3222
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Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Anyway back to the topic. That was an interesting commentary and thanks for posting it.

The general consensus is that the Komuso as a piece of revisionist history attributed their founding to Fuke and claimed a direct link although the historical facts don't support that. Nevertheless the Komuso could have chosen to associate themselves with any of the ancestors, so it's significant regarding their self image that they chose Fuke. Wonder why? What was it about his weird behaviour they thought correlated to shakuhachi and suizen?

In modern terms Fuke seems to behave in a dadaist fashion. There's very little of that attitude in most shakuhachi players and performances. In fact it's usually overly serious. Watazumi had some however!


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#17 2007-07-23 09:59:28

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Harazda wrote:

Gishin - These are difficult times.  Rare, today, is the serious student of Dharma with that outgoing desire to talk Dharma talk and untangle the knot.  In these post-Modern times, it's much easier to believe in nothing and express an equal measure of nothing, hanging back in quiet, frustrated confusion, all alone, waiting for any kind of entertaining diversion.

Thank you for your activity; it is right and good.

Yep I have to agree with you on this one for sure. Only thing is that I feel everybody wants to learn but do not want to really spend the time needed to study and will most of the time take the easy road. The same goes with martial arts, Shakuhachi etc.... and when some guy like me comes around and shakes things up a bit people tend to not like it. But hey as my teacher once said if you become my enemy and hate me after I have shown you all I know but this rage gave you the spark to learn study hard and do better than me because you think I am thrash then my job is done wink

I might sound like a hard ass but this is the only way I know since I was taught this way in Japan and China. They were usually very hard on me and as far as I know In Japan and China for Buddhism, Martial and traditional music and all other specialized fields the golden rules is. When being a beginner you shut up and don’t talk about what you know or think you know, When you don’t know a subject or just know a bit you still shut up, when a teacher speaks you shut up and take it like a man don’t argue if you don’t like it you just leave. In North America it is quite different and although I am not Asian I cannot quite adapt to the know it all attitude many of us have when we have just studied a little or for just a little time here in North-America especially in Buddhism when we figure that it took around 500 years for the Chinese to start making a Chinese package out of the stuff they got from India and about 600 for the Japanese to start making their own schools of Buddhism.

I find it very amusing that we as North-Americans can easily start to just play with Sutras, Shomyo and various other ceremonies only with some English translations that date back for the most part from 100 to 50 years ago and that most north American monks/priests of non Asian ethnicity do not speak or read Japanese or Chinese and assume a position of some form of knowledge in which the ones in the Zen faction will excuse their lack of education in the fact that Zen does not rely on scriptures. This is to me just arranging the truth to one’s liking and cause. This also applies to lay people who assume the position of Buddhist teachers or writers. Since the introduction of Buddhism in North America has been done mostly by independent individuals or groups that have only some form of remote link with Japan or China this situation is bound to happen. Unlike when Buddhism came to China and Japan and was controlled by the state this insured in the beginning a form of standard that would lay the ground for some strong knowledge and practice that will generate a real localized lineage down the pipe. If you start with a Hodge Podge you will end up with a Hodge Podge and this is what I feel Buddhism is so far and will be in North America. So this is why I chose to only exist and provide services to part of the Japanese and Chinese community and not promote myself to the general population. Of course if some people hear about what I do and ask me to go and help or do a ceremony lecture etc.. I will never refuse but will not entertain a promotion of Zen and especially not Mikkyo.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#18 2007-07-23 10:04:48

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Tairaku wrote:

Anyway back to the topic. That was an interesting commentary and thanks for posting it.

The general consensus is that the Komuso as a piece of revisionist history attributed their founding to Fuke and claimed a direct link although the historical facts don't support that. Nevertheless the Komuso could have chosen to associate themselves with any of the ancestors, so it's significant regarding their self image that they chose Fuke. Wonder why? What was it about his weird behaviour they thought correlated to shakuhachi and suizen?

In modern terms Fuke seems to behave in a dadaist fashion. There's very little of that attitude in most shakuhachi players and performances. In fact it's usually overly serious. Watazumi had some however!

I suspect that the main point was his Ichi On Jobutsu thing that would have generated this since they needed something  that linked to their cause Fuke was the best thin that they could have used. Even if there is other story related to sound or music in Buddhism in general and the Sutras I feel this was the perfect and only one they could have used also the fact that he was a monk that existed could have helped them in their quest to build so form of lineage back to China.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#19 2007-07-23 10:05:31

Harry
Member
From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Tairaku wrote:

"In modern terms Fuke seems to behave in a dadaist fashion. There's very little of that attitude in most shakuhachi players and performances. In fact it's usually overly serious. Watazumi had some however!"


"Crazy yogis" have their place firmly established within Buddhsim; after all, taking off into the woods, starving yourself to near death and hanging out with other drop-out weirdos as Buddha reportedly did was hardly normal or typical behaviour.

Formalism and 'craziness' or 'inspired behaviour' need not be in conflict, every fresh performance needs a 'wild card' element... but sometimes where there is an imbalance, a little bit of nonsense, a little wildness, or a sandal over the head of the devout can represent an enlightened service. 

"A zen master's life is one continuous mistake." (Dogen Zenji)

Regards,

Harry.

Last edited by Harry (2007-07-23 10:11:11)


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#20 2007-07-23 10:21:31

Harry
Member
From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Gishin wrote:

Yep I have to agree with you on this one for sure. Only thing is that I feel everybody wants to learn but do not want to really spend the time needed to study and will most of the time take the easy road...

Hi Gishin,

I find your take on this interesting, but unconvincing.

Maybe if you outlined what you feel is a reasonable study of Zen then it might *seem* more convincing... but (disclaimer) maybe it won't and maybe I'll stick it out with my own teacher who has the terribly unreasonable belief that Zazen is simple, straight forward and accesable to anyone, anywhere, through any culture and that the only reqirement is a little instruction and a lot of sitting down and shutting one's fly trap. He considers this the zenith of practice and seems to trust a lot by comparison to yourself, by way of a comparative example.

Regards,

Harry.

Last edited by Harry (2007-07-23 10:34:51)


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#21 2007-07-23 10:34:37

Priapus Le Zen M☮nk
Historical Zen Mod
From: St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
Registered: 2006-04-25
Posts: 612
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Harry wrote:

Gishin wrote:

Yep I have to agree with you on this one for sure. Only thing is that I feel everybody wants to learn but do not want to really spend the time needed to study and will most of the time take the easy road...

Hi Gishin,

I find your take on this interesting, but unconvincing.

Maybe if you outlined what you feel is a reasonable study of Zen then it might *seem* more convincing... but (disclaimer) maybe it won't and maybe I'll stick it out with my own teacher who has the terribly unreasonable belief that Zazen is simple, straight forward and accesable to anyone, anywhere, through any culture and that the only reqirement is a little instruction and a lot of sitting down and shutting one's fly trap. He considers this the zenith of practice and seems to trust a lot by comparison to yourself, by way of an example.

Regards,

Harry.

Again I will agree with you and your teacher it is simple BUT most non Asian teachers I have seen out of Japan or China lack proper schooling. And as for the Asian ones many of them just go out of their country to make a fast $ or to just show they were out in America and show pictures to the local newspaper of how many disciples they have now in the west to boost the ranking of their temple back home. There is some good teachers but out of the lot you can count them with your fingers.


Sebastien 義真 Cyr
春風館道場 Shunpukan Dojo
St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada
http://www.myspace.com/shunpukandojo

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#22 2007-07-23 12:20:01

Harry
Member
From: Dublin, Ireland.
Registered: 2006-04-24
Posts: 221
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Gishin wrote:

Again I will agree with you and your teacher it is simple BUT most non Asian teachers I have seen out of Japan or China lack proper schooling. And as for the Asian ones many of them just go out of their country to make a fast $ or to just show they were out in America and show pictures to the local newspaper of how many disciples they have now in the west to boost the ranking of their temple back home. There is some good teachers but out of the lot you can count them with your fingers.

Dear Gishin,

What constitutes 'proper schooling' in the rather broad context of Japanese and Chinese Buddhism... has anyone studied every school of Japanese and Chinese Buddhism to the extent that they feel they can offer the various schools improved syllabi?

Maybe some schools expect pupils to find their own way, you can only teach certain things and suggest certain views, dogma is the easy bit... isn't the element of trust between student and teacher/lineage pretty important here, and the trust in the view arising from practice? (in some schools more than others I suppose). I see dogma as a pretty dangerous substitute for common sense, and I see good practice as a generator of common sense. I'm not sure you can bestow common sense on someone, although maybe you can do things to promote it through teaching.

I think if any of us were to suggest that we know better than established, enduring schools it would be fair to expect some more of the 'sit down and shut up' treatment that your teacher was kind enough to lavish on you, be they right or wrong in the very real sense of the quality of transmission.

Here's hoping that Buddhist teachings (of all schools) keep attracting the required amount of remarkable people who can strike the balance between tradition and the state that we find our world in; it seems that there has long been questionable Buddhist teachers, and various schools arguing that they hold superior teachings. If we havn't the means of dropping all that crap when and where it is not needed then Buddhism might prove just as confusing and conflicting to people as many other dogmatic religions and philosophies.


Regards,

Harry.

Last edited by Harry (2007-07-23 12:22:28)


"As God once said, and I think rightly..." (Margaret Thatcher)

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#23 2007-07-23 14:18:26

Harazda
Member
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 126

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

I think it's important to maintain a healthy sense of Mahasangha attitude.  It seems that one way to do this is to never get too far away from the basic tenets.  Tairaku's focus on the Dhammapada, for example, is very good for not getting too far into the aspects of Mahayana that can become burdensome if not rooted in proper meditation.  That, of course, has to be the key ingredient: bhavana: meditation: shamata: vipashyana: zazen.  Then, never getting too far from understanding the Noble Truths, the realities of dukkha, anicca, and anatta, understanding the skandhas, metta, the meaning of prajña. 

Soen Sa Nim spoke of "hitting C," using a common calculator as a teaching tool, wherein you meditate (and live your life) "hitting C," which is like clearing a calculator so you can make new computations.  Meditation is "hitting C' in your daily life.

Whether you're on the Pali path, the Zen path, or the Vajra path, if you're not "hitting C," then you're just adding concept on top of concept on top of concept.

And it's great to actually attend great Mahasangha events where many monks, nuns, and laypeople from various traditions are in attendance.  That's one way of sensing that we're on a great path, regardless of what tradition we represent as individuals.  It all comes from an understanding that took place one morning beneath a ficus tree, where a decision was made - contrary to the voice of doubt and cynicism - to get up, go down, and teach the nature of the mechanism of pain and how to escape it.  That was Siddhartha's decision... and here we are today.

BTW, Harry, your signature - "As God once said, and I think rightly..." - by Maggie Thatcher, is hugely funny and instructive.  Thanks.  It always makes me chuckle.

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#24 2007-07-23 15:42:24

dstone
Member
From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2006-01-11
Posts: 552
Website

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Harazda wrote:

Whether you're on the Pali path, the Zen path, or the Vajra path, if you're not "hitting C," then you're just adding concept on top of concept on top of concept.

So true.  I think this is the idea (danger?) of "preaching a dream within a dream".  But as long as we're aware of the fact that our minds are nothing but synthetic concepts themselves, then piling stuff up within our minds isn't terribly harmful.  And maybe helpful.  But if we treat the concepts as reality we run into problems.

And the "hit C" analogy is fantastic.  Thanks for sharing that.

-Darren.


When it is rainy, I am in the rain. When it is windy, I am in the wind.  - Mitsuo Aida

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#25 2007-07-24 09:33:05

Kerry
Member
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 183

Re: Dissertation on Fuke and his bell

Harry wrote:

Here's hoping that Buddhist teachings (of all schools) keep attracting the required amount of remarkable people who can strike the balance between tradition and the state that we find our world in; it seems that there has long been questionable Buddhist teachers, and various schools arguing that they hold superior teachings. If we havn't the means of dropping all that crap when and where it is not needed then Buddhism might prove just as confusing and conflicting to people as many other dogmatic religions and philosophies.


Regards,

Harry.

Cool Harry! Real cool!
There's still hope for Bodhidharma's butcher! Even if he/she is North American or from any other continent or island mass. -kerry


The temple bell stops, but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers. -Basho

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