A Tune Beyond the Clouds: Zen Teachings from Old China by J. C. Cleary

By J. C. Cleary

This ebook makes a speciality of the lessons of 13th-century chinese language Zen grasp Shiqui Xinyue. The koans, tales, and poems of the Zen grasp followed via explanatory notes from the editor contain the majority of the textual content, that's preceded via an inadequately short ancient review of chinese language Buddhism. these looking extra complete details could be prompt towards Arthur F. Wright's Buddhism in chinese language background (Stanford Univ. Pr., 1971). additionally, the editor doesn't identify the categorical resource rfile for his translation, easily calling it a "collection of Zen teachings." even if, the 141 anecdotal teachings are in transparent, concise English and the explanatory notes aid with the paradoxical statements and allusions.

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Before the sun has washed, it takes the world of true elixir and captures its totality with 44 A Tune Beyond the Clouds one cast of the net. All the people ancient and modern who have awakened to the source are unable to pass through this net— it’s not just the greatest adepts like Deshan and Baizhang. People in these later days who put their bodies in the Zen community are the stupidest in the whole world. They may not know [the Buddha Dharma] exists. If they do know, they do not practice it. If they do practice, eight or nine out of ten do not get anywhere.

For those who ultimately succeeded in becoming detached from worldly desires, the strict discipline and asceticism had served the purpose and might be put aside. Some Zen people remained in lay life, but this was considered a much more difficult path. H ere people would be exposed to all the entanglements of the ordinary world, and old habits of mind would be harder to break. To achieve detachment and clear wisdom and unsen­ timental compassion while surrounded by people freely indulging in worldly motivations was considered a magnificent achievement, and the enlightened laypeople recorded in the annals of the Zen school were particularly venerated.

By suspending the operation of the sixth consciousness, and moving outside the confines of its routine judgments, the person’s mind is opened up to te possibility of other forms of more direct, more comprehensive awareness. Many forms of meditation were used in the Zen school. After all, the word "Zen” (in Chinese, chan \ in Vietnamese, thien \ in Korean son) is based on the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means "meditation”. One method was to allow the internal dialogue of the sixth con­ sciousness to die down by simply dropping thoughts as soon as they arose, not trying to stop them, but not following along with them either.

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