Monday, July 28, 2014

Conversation With A Zen Master (禅公案)

Zen Buddhism (禅宗) is a branch of Buddhism spread by Bodhidharma in China during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). This branch of Buddhist practice advocates the method of ‘pointing to one’s heart and hence realising one’s Buddha nature” (直指人心,见性成佛).

The Chinese scholars also praised Zen school as the other teaching of Buddha:


"One that cannot be recorded, it is transmitted outside of Buddhist doctrine."

Now days, Zen is very popular in China, Japan, Korea and in other part of the world. Zen is sometimes being practiced together with the Pure Land School (净土宗). Some scholars like to relate the practice of Zen with Dzongchen (大圆满) but I think both of them are quite different.

While I was meditating in a Zen monastery, a Zen master came to me and our conversation thus begun:

(He took a bow at me.)

Master: “Prostration to Lord Buddha!”

Me: “Which Buddha do you mean?”

Master: “There is only one Buddha shouldn’t you think so?”

Me: “You are a Buddha. All enlightened beings are Buddhas.”

Master: “Why then so many sentient beings are still suffering in the cycle of reincarnations?”

Me: “They failed to see the true Buddha nature inside them (执迷不悟).”

Master: "Am I a Buddha?"

(I took a bow and kept on meditating without answering.)

(The master smiled, retreated and walked away...)

To me, Buddha is only a title similar to 'Guru'. There are certainly many enlightened beings. The Buddha nature is inside everyone, i.e. in you and me. These enlightened beings are certainly do not limit to Buddhism alone.

However, if a talk is only a gibberish talk, then we call it ‘tongue in cheek’ (口头禅).

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