Killing the Buddha!

Killing the Buddha

If you meet the Buddha, kill him. (逢佛殺佛,逢祖殺祖)

Thinking about the Buddha as an entity or deity is delusion, not awakening. One must destroy the preconception of the Buddha as separate and external before one can become internally as their own Buddha. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki wrote in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind during an introduction to Zazen,

Kill the Buddha if the Buddha exists somewhere else. Kill the Buddha, because you should resume your own Buddha nature.

One is only able to see a Buddha as he exists in separation from Buddha, the mind of the practitioner is thus still holding onto apparent duality.

http://heartflow2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/living-as-buddha/

 

 

NAME OF AMIDA BUDDHA

When, earlier in his ministry as a famous Zen roshi, Takuan was asked by a monk whether he ever performed the sacred Nembutsu recitation of the holy Name of Amida Buddha, he replied, “No, never.” “Why not?” “Because I don’t want my mouth polluted!” Yet it’s funny: Takuan had spent years in his youth involved in chanting Amida’s name as a member of the Pure Land devotional Buddhist sect!

 

Later, in his little text Reiroshu, Takuan told the following story:

When Ippen Shonin (13th cent.; later a father of Pure Land Buddhism) met Zen master Hotto Kokushi, the founder of the Kokokuji Temple in Yura village, he said, “I have composed a poem.” Master Kokushi said, “Let’s hear it.” Ippen recited:
When I chant,
Both Buddha and self
Cease to exist,
There is only the voice that says,
Namu Amida Butsu.

Kokushi said, “Something’s wrong with the last couple of lines, don’t you agree?” Ippen then confined himself in Kumano and meditated for twenty-one days. When he passed by Yura again, he said to the Master, “This is how I’ve written it”:
When I chant,
Both Buddha and self
Cease to exist.
Namu Amida Butsu,
Namu Amida Butsu.

Kokushi nodded his enthusiastic approval, “That’s it!”

 

Only chant: Namu Amida Butsu         Until no chant: Namu Amida Butsu         Only: Namu Amida Butsu

♥☼♥

 

THE KANSHIKETSU

Rev. Shundo Aoyama relates (in her book Zen Seeds): “The Zen term kanshiketsu literally means ‘shit-stick.’ In China, a monk calling on Zen Master Yun-men asked, ‘What is a buddha?’ Yun-men replied, ‘A dried shit-stick.’ When the abbot or any of the teachers is away from a temple for a week or so, the novices think nothing of it. But if there were no toilet paper, they would quickly feel its absence! Shit-sticks, which were used in former days for the same purpose, could be washed and re-used any number of times. Shit-sticks become dirty to clean us. If these are not buddhas, what is? Out of gratitude for them, I recognize the shit-stick as a buddha.”

THE MASTER’S DHARMA TALK

Chan master Lin-ch’i (Linji, d.867) displayed a famously fiery approach with students—involving iconoclasm, paradoxical dialogue, explosive shouting (the famous kwatz!) and even slapping/striking. He inspired the influential Lin-ch’i Chan school in China (later Rinzai Zen in Japan). Among the transcribed talks we have from Lin-ch’i, here are excerpts on how he chided students (and certain fellow teachers!) for their obtuseness in not awakening to the Buddha-nature “right before/behind your eyes” as he called it:

“O you, followers of Truth… do not be deceived by others. Inwardly or outwardly, if you encounter any obstacles, lay them low right away. If you encounter the Buddha [as merely a mind object], slay him; if you encounter the Patriarch, slay him; if you encounter the parent or the relative, slay them all without hesitation, for this is the only way to deliverance. Do not get yourself entangled with any object, but stand above, pass on, and be free. As I see those so-called followers of Truth all over the country, there are none who come to me free and independent of objects. In dealing with them, I strike them down any way they come…. There are indeed so far none who have presented themselves before me all alone, all free, all unique. They are inevitably found caught by the idle tricks of the old masters! … They are all ghostly existences, ignominious gnomes haunting the woods, elf-spirits of the wilderness. They are madly biting into all heaps of filth. O you, why are you wasting all the pious donations of the devout [who give to the monastery]! Do you think you deserve the name of ‘monk’ when you are still entertaining mistaken ideas of Zen? You are putting another head over your own! What do you lack in yourselves? O you, followers of Truth, what you are making use of at this very moment is none other than what makes a Patriarch or a Buddha. But you do not believe me, and stupidly seek it outwardly…. There are no realities outside, nor is there anything [any “thing”] inside you may lay your hands on!”

And elsewhere Lin-ch’i said: “Students nowadays do not know the Dharma. They are like goats, nuzzling and nibbling at everything they come across. They cannot distinguish the servant from the master, nor the guest from the host.”

Other sayings from Lin-ch’i: “What is the frantic hurry to deck yourselves in a lion’s skin when all the while you are yapping like wild foxes? A real man has no need to give himself the airs of a real man!”

“Monks,… I spent twenty years with my late master, Huang-po. Three times I asked him on the essence of Buddhism, and three times he beat me. It was as if he had caressed me with a branch of fragrant sage. Now I feel like tasting a sound beating again; who can give it to me?” A monk stepped forward and said, “I can.” The master took up his stick and handed it to him. The monk hesitated to take hold of it. So the master hit him.

“A student wearing chains presents himself before the [mediocre or false] teacher. The teacher then puts another set of chains on him. The student is overjoyed. Neither the one nor the other are capable of discernment…. Followers of the Way, the true sentiment is very difficult, the Buddha-Dharma is a profound mystery. But if you understand, you smile. … Even if there is no form, the brightness shines of itself. But students have not enough faith. So they cling to names and phrases and try to find the meaning of these names. For fifty years and more they run about carrying their corpses, their staffs and bundles.”

 

More about the venerable Master Lin-ji :

http://heartflow2013.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/put-on-your-robe-as-a-free-person/#more-4433

About Self-Nature

A woman once asked Zen Master Seung Sahn, “Do you believe in God?”

“Of course!”

She became perplexed. “You are a Buddhist monk, and a Zen master, at that. How can you possibly believe in God?”

“I can believe my hands. I believe in my eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Why not believe in God? If you believe in your true self completely, then you can believe that the sky is blue, the tree is green, the dog is barking ‘Woof! Woof!’ It’s very simple, yah?”
The woman was silent for a moment.

Zen Master Seung Sahn continued, “Buddhism teaches, ‘One by one, each thing is complete.’ That means that your mind is complete. How is your mind complete? (Hits the floor with his Zen stick.) Just this point. Did you hear that? (Hits the floor.) That point is already complete. If you’re thinking, it’s not complete. But in this moment (hits the floor), just hear that sound. At that moment, this sound and you (hits the floor) already become one, which means you and the universe already become one. This means there’s no subject, no object; no inside, no outside. Inside and outside already become one. The name for that is absolute, or truth.

“So if you keep this mind (hits the floor), your mind is already complete. The sun, the moon, the stars, and everything are already complete. Your sound and my sound are the same. This sound (hits the floor) is your substance: this sound’s substance and your substance already become one; my substance and this sound’s substance already become one. It’s the same substance as the sun, the moon, and the stars—any substance is the same substance. So Buddhism teaches, ‘Each thing has it. It and dust interpenetrate.’ This means that sound’s substance, and name and form, already become one. Let us consider ice, water, and steam. The names and forms are different, but fundamentally it is all still H2O. Water is H2O. Ice is H2O. Steam is also H2O. Name and form are different, and constantly change according to conditions, but the substance is the same.”

“But this seems so difficult, and not related at all to the question of God,” the woman said.

“Put it all down, OK? If you’re thinking, this seems very difficult. If you’re not thinking, it’s no problem. If you’re thinking, you make ‘I’,’my,’ and ‘me.’ Descartes said, ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Thinking makes I; thinking makes everything. But if you are not thinking, then what? When you are thinking, you make this whole universe, you make everything. And then ‘I’ and ‘God’ and ‘Buddha’ and everything are separate. But if you keep this point (hits the floor)—this moment—then you and God are never separate. It’s very easy, yah?”

Additional metaphor:  “cover the world with leather…”