Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:03

Rinzai Zen - Fujaku, fugu.

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Rinzai Zen - Fujaku, fugu.

"Where should your mind be kept?  If your mind is not fixed anywhere it will pervade throughout the body... If your mind is fixed on a certain spot, it will be seized by that spot, and no activities can be performed efficiently. Not to fix your mind anywhere is essential. Not fixed anywhere, the mind is everywhere."

  • Study Zen -- one discovers the key to all forms of Buddhism.
  • Practice Zen -- one's life is brought to fulfillment in the attainment of enlightenment.

Samsara is the same as nirvana, defilement the same as purity, and delusion the same as enlightenment.  The challenge to understanding is due to one's ignorance -- the ignorance in mistaking phenomena for ultimate reality. Great is Mind. Heaven's height is immeasurable, but Mind goes beyond heaven; the earth's depth is also unfathomable, but Mind reaches below the earth.

Eisai Nyoan first practiced other forms of Buddhism. However, he was determined to further his Buddist studies outside Mount Hiei.  His journey through the Chinese Lin Ji School returned him to Japan as an enlightened Zen master in 1191. Thereafter he founded Japanese Rinzai Zen.

Eisai Nyoan first taught Zen at Kamakura with the full support of the ruling Shoguns, where Zen became popular among the samurais.  He would go on to teach at Kyoto and build the Kenninji Monastery.  His honor and far-reaching fame was extended by his influential writing.  Propagation of Zen for the Protection of the Country (Kozen Gokoku) argued that Zen was beneficial for the welfare of the people and the security of the nation.

Interestingly, in addition to Zen, Eisai Nyoan also introduced tea drinking as a way to refresh the mind and promote longevity.  As a result, tea drinking emerged as a core practice amon Zen practitioners.  Strongly influenced by Zen, the tea ceremony would later develop into an art form.

Today, most Rinzai masters look to Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769) as the father of modern Rinzai Zen.  He rejected intellectual Zen and formalized practice.  Hakuin instructed practitioners to avoid discriminating between active and quiescent practice.  Quiescent practice is sitting meditation.  While active practice would classically be defined as integrating the spirit of Zen into daily living and the arts -- and the contemplation of koans.

A kōan ( /ˈkoʊ.ɑːn/; Chinese: 公案; pinyin: gōng'àn; Korean: 공안 (kong'an); Vietnamese: công án) is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen-practice to provoke the "great doubt", and test a student's progress in Zen practice.  "Great Doubt" or challenging introspective inquiry is an essential element of kōan practice.  To illustrate the enormous concentration required in kōan meditation, Zen Master Wumen commented, "It is like swallowing a red-hot iron ball. You try to vomit it out, but you can't."

Hakuin often believed he had achieved enlightenment, only to discover otherwise following koan practice.  New practicioners are often suprised to learn that Hakuin's favorite method of Zen cultivation was through zazen, or sitting meditation.  However, this is understandable when one realizes that his meditation was, in fact, koan practice.

Read 1675 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 20:51
Rich Wermske

My pedigree and bona fides are published elsewhere. That said, I respect that a few may wish to learn more about the private person behind the writing.  While I accept I am exceptionally introverted (tending toward the misanthropic), I do enjoy socializing and sharing time with like-minded individuals. I have a zeal for integrity, ethics, and the economics of both interpersonal and organizational behavior.

The product of multi-generational paternal dysfunction, I practice healthy recovery (sobriety date December 11, 2001).  I am endogamous in my close personal relationships and belong to a variety of tribes that shape my worldview (in no particular order):

☯ I participate in and enjoy most geek culture. ☯ I am a practicing Buddhist and a legally ordained minister. I like to believe that people of other spiritual/faith systems find me approachable.  I am a member of the GLBTQA community -- I married my long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by Jeralita "Jeri" Costa of Joyful Joinings on November 18, 2013, certificated in King County, Seattle WA. We celebrate an anniversary date of February 2, 2002.  I am a service-connected, disabled, American veteran (USAF).  I am a University of Houston alumnus (BBA/MIS) and currently studying as a post baccalaureate for an additional degree in Philosophy and Law, Values, & Policy.  I am a retired Bishop in the Church of Commerce and Capitalism; the story arch of my prosecuting and proselytizing the technological proletariat is now behind me.  I am a native Houstonian (and obviously Texan).  At 50 years old, I am a "child of the sixties" and consider the 80's to be my formative years.

As I still struggle with humility, I strive to make willingness, honesty, and open mindedness cornerstones in all my affairs. Fourteen years of sobriety has taught me that none of "this" means a thing if I'm unwilling, dishonest, or close minded.  Therefore I work hard on the things I believe in --

  • I believe we can always achieve more if we collaborate and compromise.
  • I believe that liberal(ism) is a good word/concept and something to be proud to support.  The modern, systematic corruption of liberal ideas is a living human tragedy.
  • I believe in a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The pragmatism of this site and my journey is rooted in both classical and social liberalism.
  • I believe in democratic elections and institutions including a media free of commercial and governmental bias.  Liberty and equality perish when a society becomes uneducated and/or ill-informed.
  • I believe in diversity of life and ideas.  Life and ideas can only flourish when the gene pool is vast and abundantly differentiated.
  • I believe in advancing balance in civil, social, and privacy rights such that all of humanity is continuously uplifted.
  • I believe in separation of church (spirituality) and state (governance) -- with neither in supremacy nor subjugation.
  • I believe in private (real or tangible) property explicitly excluding ideas, knowledge, and methods; such non-tangibles, by natural law, being free for all humanity and emancipated at conception.

While change and the uncertainty of the future may be uncomfortable, I do not fear the unknown; therefore:

    • I believe I must be willing to make difficult choices, that those choices may not be all that I desire, and that such may result in undesirable (or unintended) consequences;
    • I believe we must be willing to make mistakes or be wrong; and I am willing to change my mind if necessary.
I undertake to abide the five precepts of Buddhism; therefore:
  1. I believe it is wrong to kill or to knowingly allow others to kill.
  2. I believe it is wrong to steal or to knowingly allow others to steal.
  3. I believe in abstention from sexual misconduct.
  4. I believe it is wrong to lie or to knowingly allow others to lie.
  5. I believe in abstention from non-medicinal intoxicants as such clouds the mind.

Suicide, major depression, borderline personality, and alcoholism are feral monsters ever howling at my doorstep. However, despite my turbulent and tragic past, rare is the day where I have to rationalize, defend, or justify the actions of that person I see looking back at me in the mirror...

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