Great doubt, great enlightenment...

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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby chownah » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:05 pm

I think it should read, "Great doubt, great wisdom...Little doubt little wisdom". We are steeped in delusion and it all should be doubted...but most of us only doubt a small portion of it....the more of it we doubt the more of the delusion we may dispel.
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby MrsCogan » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:37 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

There is a saying in the Ch'an Buddhist tradition...

Great doubt, great enlightenment; small doubt, small enlightenment


Do you think this applies to Theravada (or your tradition, if you happen to be of another tradition)?

What does this mean to you?

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)


If you stop doubting and just start believing, then your journey has stopped. Now, having said that, I would like to say that believing is ok in terms of confidence. I'm confident that the chair I'm sitting in isn't going to collapse underneath me. I'm confident that Buddhist practice will lead me to happiness. I believe both those things because I have evidence to support them. When you stop doubting, you don't need evidence any more and that's when the music stops.

Jechbi wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:
Great doubt, great enlightenment; small doubt, small enlightenment

What does this mean to you?


To me it means size doesn't matter.


It's not the size of your enlightenment that matters, it's what you do with it.

(ok, sorry, I couldn't resist!)
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby puthujjana » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:53 pm

retrofuturist wrote:There is a saying in the Ch'an Buddhist tradition...
Great doubt, great enlightenment; small doubt, small enlightenment

Do you think this applies to Theravada (or your tradition, if you happen to be of another tradition)?


Hej Retro,

the saying reminds me somehow of a section in Sayadaw U Pandita's book "In this very life":

Sayadaw U Pandita wrote:
The More You Lose Your Way, the More Rice You Will Get

In Burma there is a saying to encourage these people. “The more the anagārika loses his way, the more rice he or she gets.” An anagārika is a kind of renunciate that exists in Buddhist countries. Such a person takes eight or ten precepts, puts on a white coat and shaves his or her head. Having renounced the world, anagārikas live in monasteries, maintaining the compound and aiding the monks in various ways. One of their duties is to go into town every few days and ask for donations. In Burma, donations often come in the form of uncooked rice. The anagārika goes through streets shouldering a bamboo pole that has a basket hanging from each end.

Perhaps he or she is unfamiliar with the village byways and, when it is time to go home, cannot find the way back to the monastery. The poor renunciate bumps into this dead end, turns around in an alley, gets stuck in that back lane. And all the while people think this is part of the rounds and keep making donations. By the time the anagārika finds the way home, he or she has a big pile of loot.

Those of you who get lost and sidetracked now and then can reflect that you will end up with a really big bag of Dhamma.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... ariot.html


with metta
:namaste:
"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby Individual » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

There is a saying in the Ch'an Buddhist tradition...

Great doubt, great enlightenment; small doubt, small enlightenment


Do you think this applies to Theravada (or your tradition, if you happen to be of another tradition)?

What does this mean to you?

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)

It is the doubt that leads to investigation, not "skeptical doubt".
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby DontKnow » Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:35 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

There is a saying in the Ch'an Buddhist tradition...

Great doubt, great enlightenment; small doubt, small enlightenment


Do you think this applies to Theravada (or your tradition, if you happen to be of another tradition)?

What does this mean to you?

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Hi retrofuturist

Zen mind Beginner's mind

To me it means doubting everything even the statement whether one has to doubt everything; endless questions with endless answers and again endless questions to this endless answers. Do not stop questioning. Once I stop questioning I have an idea; if I have an idea, then the world is seen according to my ideas; If I see the world according to certain idea then why is my "ideal" world any better then somebody else's "ideal" world? Why should I stop somewhere? Why is "here" better then "there"? doubt, doubt the doubt, doubt the doubt of the doubt ... doubt that I am, doubt that I am not, doubt that I am and I am not, doubt that I neither am or I am not ...

Metta
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:11 am

So what Dontknow would be the response to the statement in the Samyatta-Nikaya when the Buddha approves of the following statement, that indicates that Dhamma is a result of " Saddha" , faith ? ( faith not is the sense of a belief, but a willingness to trust until we know first hand ) What is actually cited as being necessary for the furthering of Dhamma is " Faith in the Tathagata ( another title for the Buddha ) unshakeable and well established ".
Or to his proclamation in one of his very first teachings.
"Wide open is the door of the immortals to those who have ears to hear and who then send their faith ( Saddha ) to meet it." ?
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby pegembara » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:06 am

Chan meditation consists of continuously contemplating "Who is mindful of the Buddha?"

I believe the idea is to realise there is no self. At first there is a little doubt that there is an
actual self but on further examination the doubt increases until finally one realises that there
is no self to be found anywhere hence greater enlightenment.

If one reads the Mahayanist Shurangama Sutta, there is a teaching by the Buddha who asked Ananda "Is the mind
inside the body or outside or in between?" The Buddha skillfully led Ananda to realise that the mind cannot be
found anywhere.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:21 am

Greetings Individual,

Individual wrote:It is the doubt that leads to investigation, not "skeptical doubt".


I think the difference is that this is about questioning one's existing ignorant beliefs and thoughts, rather than doubt in the Dhamma and its efficacy.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby PeterB » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:22 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

There is a saying in the Ch'an Buddhist tradition...

Great doubt, great enlightenment; small doubt, small enlightenment


Do you think this applies to Theravada (or your tradition, if you happen to be of another tradition)?

What does this mean to you?

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)

This is the OP. I think the answer is that it has no exact parallel within the Theravada. I think it might be comparing apples and oranges Retro...

:anjali:
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:01 am

In meditation, it is so easy to either get distracted by thoughts or some relatively calm and blissful state or slip into dullness. Great Doubt is a sense of inquiry that keeps meditation focused and intense.

_/|\_
_/|\_
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby PeterB » Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:55 am

Dan74 wrote:In meditation, it is so easy to either get distracted by thoughts or some relatively calm and blissful state or slip into dullness. Great Doubt is a sense of inquiry that keeps meditation focused and intense.

_/|\_

I am not sure about the advisability of "intensity" ....but a commonly encountered way of dealing with distraction and dullness in meditation as found in the Theravada is the development of viriya, or as Ajahn Sumedho puts it "putting forth energy ". I am sure sure how doubt would help that. Even if promoted to the rank of Great Doubt. Unless something quite different is meant and its a translation issue.
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby PeterB » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:13 pm

I'm afraid that I have only just read Pannasikharas excellent post on the previous page.

:anjali:
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:30 pm

Intensity is being fully alert and present, not half-asleep as it were. Great Doubt signifies an ongoing investigation of experience, something vital as yet obscure, like the huatou "What is it?" "Who is reciting the Buddha's name?" or "What is my Original Face".


_/|\_

PS There is a talk by Chi Kwang Sunim given at Bodhinyana (Ajahn Brahm's monastery) I believe on the relevant subject.



PPS Edit: After a more careful reading of Panasikkhara's post I removed a comment above. Apologies!

PPPS.
Panasikkhara wrote:It is mainly with regard to the notion of not apprehending the object in the manner that one commonly thinks that it exists, the lack of letting the mind fully take up the objects of cognition. This leads to an absence of grasping on one hand, and also of conceptual proliferation, both about the object in question. Taken to its fullest, it is probably very akin to the notion of the mind which does not take up any object (cf. AN 11:9), totally unsupported mind.


Thank you for this - I haven't seen it put this way before. If I may ask - a totally unsupported mind sounds like quite a lofty aim, doesn't it? In meditating on a huatou (word-head) the Great Doubt stops the meditator from settling on a mental object, is that what you are saying? But I guess the mind is still supported (in the sense of "abiding") by a notion of a self and all the consequent reification?
Last edited by Dan74 on Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
_/|\_
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby DontKnow » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:23 am

Sanghamitta wrote:So what Dontknow would be the response to the statement in the Samyatta-Nikaya when the Buddha approves of the following statement, that indicates that Dhamma is a result of " Saddha" , faith ? ( faith not is the sense of a belief, but a willingness to trust until we know first hand ) What is actually cited as being necessary for the furthering of Dhamma is " Faith in the Tathagata ( another title for the Buddha ) unshakeable and well established ".
Or to his proclamation in one of his very first teachings.
"Wide open is the door of the immortals to those who have ears to hear and who then send their faith ( Saddha ) to meet it." ?

Hi Sanghamitta

Are you asking that my interpretation of original statement is in contradiction to Buddha's statement? If so I have no problem with that. Whole my being is contradiction. If Buddhas of all time say that I (and everything else included) have Buddha nature but I see not such a nature that is contradiction already. If the reality is not what I see then that's contradiction. I live in contradiction. For me this is not a matter of liking or disliking it. And yes I believe 100 % faith is what I need. How do I get that faith though? By saying that I need 100 % faith? Or by adhering to some prescribed plan of action? Sometimes I have faith and sometime I do not. For me it is enough to be aware of it. Be aware all the time. "Correct" interpretation of scriptures is not my intention at all. I take from scriptures what I take.

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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:36 am

I was asking what your response to those words of the Buddha is Dontknow. Is it then just a simple rejection of the Buddhas words or do you have another interpretation ?
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:08 am

Dear Venerable
Paññāsikhara wrote:The term 疑情 (yiqing) is really not to be translated as "doubt", although...
[...]
So, from this example, we can see that the "yiqing" is not at all any sort of absence of confidence / faith (asaddha).

Thank you for bringing your knowledge, wisdom and clarity to this and other discussions here at Dhamma Wheel.
metta

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby PeterB » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:12 am

Ben wrote:Dear Venerable
Paññāsikhara wrote:The term 疑情 (yiqing) is really not to be translated as "doubt", although...
[...]
So, from this example, we can see that the "yiqing" is not at all any sort of absence of confidence / faith (asaddha).

Thank you for bringing your knowledge, wisdom and clarity to this and other discussions here at Dhamma Wheel.
metta

Ben

Seconded.

:anjali:
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby catmoon » Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:23 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:

So, from this example, we can see that the "yiqing" is not at all any sort of absence of confidence / faith (asaddha).


Uhhh, we can? I don't see how this follows at all.
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:54 am

Dan74 wrote:
PPPS.
Panasikkhara wrote:It is mainly with regard to the notion of not apprehending the object in the manner that one commonly thinks that it exists, the lack of letting the mind fully take up the objects of cognition. This leads to an absence of grasping on one hand, and also of conceptual proliferation, both about the object in question. Taken to its fullest, it is probably very akin to the notion of the mind which does not take up any object (cf. AN 11:9), totally unsupported mind.


Thank you for this - I haven't seen it put this way before. If I may ask - a totally unsupported mind sounds like quite a lofty aim, doesn't it? In meditating on a huatou (word-head) the Great Doubt stops the meditator from settling on a mental object, is that what you are saying? But I guess the mind is still supported (in the sense of "abiding") by a notion of a self and all the consequent reification?


Hi Dan :)

My phrasing above was mainly in the light of the fact that this is in a Theravada Forum, and it appeared that there was a fair amount of confusion, mainly about reading 疑情 yiqing as "doubt" which was mistakenly considered the opposite of 信 xin "faith / confidence". If I was just responding to a Son (Zen / Chan) practitioner such as yourself, I might have phrased it differently.

Thus, the "unsupported mind" is a term straight from the Pali Canon. In Chan, I'd rather saying "non-abiding mind" 無住心, which is mentioned by the Sixth Patriarch Huineng. Or, for a Son practitioner, (not that I know much about Son per se), I'm thinking that the now common English term "don't know" may be in order.

Anyway, like a lot of terms, we may use that term as both the practice, but also the result. (But personally I don't like to use "practice is realization" in the sense that Soto does.) Rather, like "emptiness" (even in the Pali canon), we can use this term to indicate a practice - the emptiness samadhi, the emptiness abiding, etc. - and also the result, the empty mind (empty of afflictions / conceptual proliferation). So, only part is a "lofty aim".

At first, one really needs to settle / abide the mind with some sort of samatha, calm it down. Then, pull up the object in question, and raise the word-head. eg. classic Chan would be to use recitation of Amitabha until one has some good Amitabha samadhi going on, and then ask - "Who is reciting Amitabha?" These "who" word-heads are great, because they then turn the subject ("me" / "I" and "what pertains to I") into the object of the "yiqing".

Most people would just say "I", "I recite Amitabha". But, then one begins to 參 (can) "investigate" this, deeper and deeper. For those who haven't much theoretical training in Buddhism, especially the notion of "not self", they may ask: "So, what is this I?" "Is this consciousness I?" "But this consciousness changes..." and so on. For those with the background, then the simple question "Who recites Amitabha?" Will be enough to raise the strong "yiqing". Rather than identifying as "I recite", "the name Amitabha is recited", and "this is recitation", one "empties the three aspects" and cuts off the basis of "self".

At first, this will be a kind of reified "not self". ie. rather than the usually conceptually proliferated idea of "me" and "mine", one instead overlays a different conceptual antidote of "not self". This is still concept versus concept, removing the false with the true. But, this conceptual "not self" is still merely a concept, one is still abiding in the antidote, still abiding in the word-head, so to speak, one needs to go deeper.

While it is still conceptualized, it isn't really "yiqing", but just rational thought. Only when it cuts out this inner verbalization, inner talk, does it fully develop into the yiqing. One may merely raise the word-head just enough to sustain this. For some, the raising of the word-head once, may be enough to sustain the yiqing for an hour, or hours, or even days. This takes some serious gongfu, however. For most beginners, maybe they'll have to raise it up every few minutes or so at least. haha! Just don't babble away and recite it like a mantra or something - totally, totally different kettle of fish!

Only when one removes the actual basis of "self" and "mine", will the conceptual proliferation end. It may take a lot of time. This is the first break through. Examples could be such as Master Hsu Yun, who in his six year "three steps and one prostration" pilgrimage, entered into deep samadhi while walking and on pilgrimage. He maintained the investigation and yiqing for a long, long time before he had his realization at Gaomin si in Yangzhou.
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Re: Great doubt, great enlightenment...

Postby Dan74 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:27 am

Thank you, Ven Huifeng! :smile:

A great synopsis that reminded me of Master Hsu Yun's talks in Luk's Zen and Chan Teachings.

These kinds of pithy summaries are priceless and I wish we had them for all the major practical and sutric underpinnings in ZFI. I may take on getting something like a library happening over there and if you could poke around, that would be very much appreciated.

_/|\_

PS. The little that I know of Son has been from Kusan Sunim. I don't recall him using the "don't know." In fact reading his talks to me sounds remarkably like reading Chan masters.
_/|\_
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