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Dhammapada: Verses and Stories

 Dhammapada Verse 142 Costumes
Do Not Mar Virtue


142. Costumes Do Not Mar Virtue

Even though adorned, if living in peace
calm, tamed, established in the holy life,
for beings all laying force aside:
one pure, one peaceful, a bhikkhu is he.

Explanation: Although a person may be attractively dressed, he
behave in a harmonious manner. He is tranquil, restrained: assured of
liberation. He leads the religious life. He is not violent towards beings. Such
a person is truly a priest (brahmana) and a mendicant monk (bhikkhu).













Chan may refer to:

Chinese Chán
is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism notable for its emphasis on
Dharma practice and meditation, and is a precursor to Zen Buddhism.


East Asian

Computing and



the third century B.C., Emperor Ashoka sent missionaries to the northwest of
India that is, present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. The mission achieved great
success, as the region soon became a centre of Buddhist learning with many
distinguished monks and scholars. When the merchants of Central Asia came into
this region for trade, they learnt about Buddhism and accepted it as their
religion. With the support of these merchants, many cave monasteries were
established along the trade routes across Central Asia. By the second century
B.C., some Central Asian cities like Khotan, had already become important
centres for Buddhism. The Chinese people had their first contact with Buddhism
through the Central Asians who were already Buddhists.

Spread of Buddhism
Among the Chinese

the Han Dynasty of China extended its power to Central Asia in the first
century B.C., trade and cultural ties between China and Central Asia also
increased. In this way, the Chinese people learnt about Buddhism so that by the
middle of the first century C.E., a community of Chinese Buddhists was already
in existence.

Kumarajiva, the translator.

interest in Buddhism grew, there was a great demand for Buddhist texts to be
translated from Indian languages into Chinese. This led to the arrival of
translators from Central Asia and India. The first notable one was Anshigao
from Central Asia who came to China in the middle of the second century. With a
growing collection of Chinese translations of Buddhist texts, Buddhism became
more widely known and a Chinese monastic order was also formed. The first known
Chinese monk was said to be Anshigao’s disciple.

earliest translators had some difficulty in finding the exact words to explain
Buddhist concepts in Chinese, so they made use of Taoist terms in their
translations. As a result, people began to relate Buddhism with the existing
Taoist tradition. It was only later on that the Chinese came to understand
fully the teachings of the Buddha.

the fall of the Han Dynasty in the early part of the third century, China faced
a period of political disunity. Despite the war and unrest, the translation of Buddhist
texts continued. During this time, Buddhism gained popularity with the Chinese
people. Both foreign and Chinese monks were actively involved in establishing
monasteries and lecturing on the Buddhist teachings.

the Chinese monks, Dao-an who lived in the fourth century was the most
outstanding. Though he had to move from place to place because of political
strife, he not only wrote and lectured extensively, but also collected copies
of the translated scriptures and prepared the first catalogue of them. He
invited the famous translator, Kumarajiva, from Kucha. With the help of
Dao-an’s disciples, Kumarajiva translated a large number of important texts and
revised the earlier Chinese translations. His fine translations were popular
and helped to spread Buddhism in China. Many of his translations are still in
use to this day. Because of political unrest, Kumarajiva’s disciples were later
dispersed and this helped to spread Buddhism to other parts of China.

The Establishment of
Buddhism in China
From the
beginning of the fifth century to around the end of the sixth century, northern
and southern China came under separate rulers. The south remained under native
dynasties while non-Chinese rulers controlled the north.

Buddhists in southern China continued to translate Buddhist texts and to
lecture and write commentaries on the major texts. Their rulers were devoted
Buddhists who saw to the construction of numerous temples, participated in
Buddhist ceremonies and organised public talks on Buddhism. One of the rulers
expanded on the earlier catalogue of Buddhist texts.

northern China, except for two short periods of persecution, Buddhism
flourished under the lavish royal patronage of rulers who favoured the
religion. By the latter half of the sixth century, monks were even employed in
government posts. During this period, Buddhist arts flourished, especially in
the caves at Dun-huang, Yun-gang and Long-men. In the thousand caves at
Dun-huang, Buddhist paintings covered the walls and there were thousands of
Buddha statues in these caves. At Yungang and Long-men, many Buddha images of
varying sizes were carved out of the rocks. All these activities were a sign of
the firm establishment of Buddhism in China by the end of this period.

The Development of Chinese
Schools of Buddhism

the rise of the Tang Dynasty at the beginning of the seventh century, Buddhism
reached out to more and more people. It soon became an important part of
Chinese culture and had great influence on Chinese Art, Literature, Sculpture,
Architecture and Philosophy of that time.

then, the number of Chinese translations of Buddhist texts had increased
tremendously, The Buddhists were now faced with the problem of how to study
this large number of Buddhist texts and how to put their teachings in to
practice. As a result, a number of schools of Buddhism arose, with each school
concentrating on certain texts for their study and practice. The Tian-tai
School, for instance, developed a system of teaching and practice based on the
Lotus Sutra. It also arranged all the Buddhist texts into graded categories to
suit the varying aptitudes of the followers.

schools arose which focused on different areas of the Buddhist teachings and
practice. The two most prominent schools were the Chan and the Pure Land
schools. The Chan School emphasised the practice of meditation as the direct
way of gaining insight and experiencing Enlightenment in this very life. The
Chan school of Buddhism is said to have been introduced to China by Bodhidharma
who came from India at the beginning of the sixth century. He was, like many
early missionaries, not only well versed in the Buddhist teachings, but also
proficient in meditation. However, during his lifetime, he was not very well
known as he secluded himself in a mountain temple. Later, through the efforts
of his successors, this school became one of the most important of the Chinese
schools of Buddhist practice.

Pure Land School centres its practice on the recitation of the name of Amitabha
Buddha. The practice is based on the sermon, which teaches that people could be
reborn in the Western Paradise (Pure Land) of Amitabha Buddha if they recite
his name and have sincere faith in him. Once in Pure Land, the Buddhists are
said to be able to achieve Enlightenment more easily. Because of the simplicity
of its practice, this school became popular especially among the masses
throughout China.

Xuan-zang’s Pilgrimage
to India

the sixth and seventh centuries, when the various Chinese schools of Buddhism
were being developed, there were more monks than before making pilgrimages to
India to study the Buddhist scriptures there. Among the most famous of these
pilgrims was Xuan-zang, who travelled overland to India. His journey was
extremely difficult, as he had to cross high mountains and deserts and was also
confronted by bandits. He studied at the well-known monastic university at
Nalanda and later travelled widely throughout India. On his return to China, he
brought back a large collection of Buddhist texts, which he translated during
the remaining years of his life.

of his profound understanding of Buddhism and his excellent skill in languages,
his translations marked a new period in Buddhist literature. His travel record
gives detailed descriptions of Central Asia and India and provides an
eyewitness account of these regions during his time.

Further Development of
Buddhism in China

the middle of the ninth century, Buddhism faced persecution by a Taoist
emperor. He decreed the demolition of monasteries, confiscation of temple land,
return of monks and nuns to secular life and the melting of metal Buddha
images. Although the persecution lasted only for a short time, it marked the
end of an era for Buddhism in China. Following the demolition of monasteries
and the dispersal of scholarly monks, a number of Chinese schools of Buddhism,
including the Tian-tai School, ceased to exist as separate movements. They were
absorbed into the Chan and Pure Land schools, which survived. The eventual
result was the emergence of a new form of Chinese Buddhist practice in the
monastery. Besides practising Chan meditation, Buddhists also recited the name
of Amitabha Buddha and studied Buddhist texts. It is this form of Buddhism,
which has survived to the present time.

as all the Buddhist teachings and practices were combined under one roof in the
monasteries, Buddhist lay followers also began to practise Buddhism, Taoism and
Confucianism simultaneously. Gradually, however, Confucian teachings became
dominant in the court, and among the officials who were not in favour of

Buddhism, generally, continued to be a major influence in Chinese religious
life. In the earlier part of the twentieth century, there was an attempt to
modernise and reform the tradition in order to attract wider support. One of
the most well-known reformists was Tai-xu, a monk noted for his Buddhist
scholarship. Besides introducing many reforms in the monastic community, he
also introduced Western-style education, which included the study of secular
subjects and foreign languages for Buddhists.

the nineteen-sixties, under the People’s Republic, Buddhism was suppressed. Many
monasteries were closed and monks and nuns returned to lay life. In recent
years, a more liberal policy regarding religion has led to a growth of interest
in the practice of Buddhism.

Introduction of
Buddhism to Korea

The earliest historical
records state that there were three kingdoms in Korea, namely Koguryo in the
north, Packche in the southwest and Silla in the southeast. According to
tradition, a Chinese monk in the second half of the fourth century C.E first
introduced Buddhism to the northern kingdom of Koguryo. A Central Asian monk is
said to have brought Buddhism to Packche sometime later.

Silla kingdom was the most isolated region and was at first not ready to accept
Buddhism. The people held firmly to their traditional religious beliefs. There
was such strong opposition to Buddhism that a monk who went there to spread the
Buddha’s teachings is said to have been killed. Eventually, by the middle of
the sixth century, even the Silla people accepted Buddhism.

Spread of Buddhism in

the sixth and seventh centuries, many Korean monks went to China to study and
brought back with them the teachings of the various Chinese schools of
Buddhism. Towards the end of the seventh century, the three kingdoms were
unified under the powerful Silla rulers. From then onwards, Buddhism flourished
under their royal patronage. Great works of art were created and magnificent
monasteries built. Buddhism exerted great influence on the life of the Korean
people. In the tenth century, Silla rule ended with the founding of the Koryo
Dynasty. Under this new rule, Buddhism reached the height of its importance.
With royal support, more monasteries were built and more works of art produced.
The whole of the Tripitaka in Chinese translation was also carved on to wooden
printing blocks. Thousands of these blocks were made in the thirteenth century
and have been carefully preserved to the present day as part of Korea’s
national treasures.

Period of Suppression
of Buddhism in Korea

the new rule of the Yi Dynasty from the end of the fourteenth century to the
early twentieth century, Buddhism lost the support of the court when
Confucianism became the sole official religion of the state. Measures were
taken to suppress the activities of the Buddhist community. Buddhist monks were
forbidden to enter the capital, their lands were confiscated, monasteries
closed and Buddhist ceremonies abolished. Despite all the troubles of this
difficult period, there were occasionally some great monks who continued to
inspire their followers and kept Buddhism alive.

Revival of Buddhism in

the collapse of the Yi Dynasty, Korea came under Japanese control. The Japanese
who came to Korea introduced their own forms of Buddhism, which included the
tradition of the married clergy. As a result, some monks in Korea broke away
from their tradition of celibacy.

this period onwards, there was a revival of Buddhism in Korea. Many Buddhists
in Korea have since been actively involved in promoting education and
missionary activities. They have founded universities, set up schools in many
parts of Korea and established youth groups and lay organisations. Buddhist
texts, originally in Chinese translation, are now being retranslated into
modern Korean. New monasteries are being built and old ones repaired. Today,
Buddhism is again playing an important role in the life of the people.

Introduction of Buddhism to Japan

In the sixth century, the
king of Packche, anxious to establish peaceful relations with Japan, sent gifts
of images of the Buddha and copies of Buddhist texts to the Japanese imperial
court. Buddhism was recommended as a means of bringing great benefit to the
country. The Japanese people soon accommodated Buddhism along with their
indigenous Shinto beliefs. Being a religion of universal appeal, Buddhism
helped to foster harmony within the country.

the very beginning, the establishment of Buddhism depended on the protection
and support of the Japanese rulers. Among these, Prince Shotoku deserves
special mention for his great contribution to the early growth and expansion of
Buddhism in Japan during the early part of the seventh century. Tradition says
that Prince Shotoku wrote the first “constitution” of Japan, which
promoted moral and social values as taught in Buddhism. His devotion and royal
patronage of Buddhism helped to make it widely known. Many Buddhist temples
were built and works of art created. Monks were also sent to China to study.
Besides encouraging Japanese monks to read the scriptures, Prince Shotoku lectured
and later wrote commentaries on some of these scriptures. His commentaries are
said to be the first ever written in Japan and are now kept as national

The Nara Period

eighth century in Japan is known as the Nara Period. During this period,
Buddhism continued to spread as more new temples were built in all the
provinces, the most famous being the Todaiji Temple at Nara. Buddhist
scriptures were copied and distributed throughout the country. It was also
during this time that Chinese monks started to arrive and many Chinese schools
of Buddhism were introduced to Japan.

Japanese monks not only studied and practised the Buddhist teachings, but also
became involved in administrative roles. Some of them served as scribes and
clerks in the court, while others helped in the carrying out of public works. A
few were assigned to explore and draw maps of distant parts of the country.
Though the monastic order grew in size, it remained firmly under the control of
the court as the ordination of monks was only permitted at a few centres
approved by the court.

The Heian Period

Heian Period began towards the end of the eighth century, when the capital was
established at Heian (present day Kyoto). During this period, two Japanese
monks named Saicho and Kukai brought two schools of Buddhism to Japan from

had a temple on Mount Hiei, which was near the new capital. Soon the ruler
began to patronise the temple and also sent Saicho to study in China. On his
return to Japan, Saicho introduced the Tian-tai school of Buddhism from China.
However, he later combined several schools of Buddhism into one comprehensive
system. At his temple on Mount Hiei, monks had to undergo a twelve-year course
of study and meditation. Some of those who completed their training stayed on
the mountain, while others left to serve the state in various administrative
posts. The Tian-tai school of Buddhism soon flourished and at the height of its
development, there were three thousand buildings on Mount Hiei and thirty thousand
monks. Its influence on the development of Buddhism in Japan continued to be
felt even a few centuries later.

about the same time the other monk, Kukai returned from China and introduced
Vajrayana Buddhism to Japan. This school of Buddhism became very popular with
the Japanese court and its influence was even greater than that of the Tian-tai
school of Buddhism. Kukai himself was a learned monk and wrote a great deal on
the teachings of this school.

The Kamakura Period

the end of the twelfth century, political power shifted to a group of warriors
(Samurai) who had their headquarters at Kamakura. During this period, a number
of distinctly Japanese Buddhist sects arose. They became popular because of
their simplicity and directness of approach. Among these sects were the Jodo
Shinshu, Nichiren and Zen.

The Jodo Shinshu

Jodo Shinshu was founded by Shinran who studied at Mount Hiei. His master,
Honen, taught that the practice of reciting the name of Amitabha would be
sufficient for its followers to be reborn in the Western Paradise. However, the
other monks on Mount Hiei objected to his teaching. As a result, Honen and his
disciples were forced into exile. Shinran was one of the disciples who
accompanied Honen into exile.

teaching was a modification of his master’s. He taught that one need only to
have faith in Amitabha to be reborn in the Western Paradise. According to
Shinran, it was not even necessary to recite Amitabha’s name.

later got married and, in this way, started the tradition of the married clergy
in Japan. Those who follow this tradition continued to live in temples and
conduct religious services, while leading a family life.

The Nichiren Sect

Nichiren sect was founded by Nichiren who studied at Mount Hici but was not
satisfied with the traditional Buddhist practices taught there. He later left
Mount Hiei and travelled widely before returning to his native district.

felt that the truth of Buddhism was to be found in the Lotus Sutra. He taught
that reciting the formula, “Homage to the Lotus Sutra” is the only
means of attaining Enlightenment. As he was intolerant of other Buddhist sects
and vigorously denounced them, he was later sent into exile. In his later years,
he was pardoned and allowed to return. After his death, his followers spread
his teaching throughout the country and it soon gained popularity.

The Zen Sect

Zen sect is actually a Japanese version of the Chan school of Buddhism. It
gained popularity among the warriors because of its emphasis on strict
discipline of the mind and body. Zen teaching also influenced the development
of the tea-ceremony, black-ink paintings, the art of flower arrangement and the
Noh drama, which consists of dances, and recitation of poems that conveyed
Buddhist ideas.

Buddhism from the
Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century

the sixteenth century, Buddhism lost favour with the military rulers who feared
the rising power and influence of Buddhist religious groups in Japan. Some important
Buddhist centres were even destroyed by these rulers. In the next three
centuries, Buddhism came under the close supervision of the military
dictatorship, which had strict control over all areas of life. The traditions
of the various sects were, however, maintained. The temples also continued to
play an active role in the fields of education and social service.

the middle of the nineteenth century, the Japanese emperor took control of the
government. He did not support Buddhism. In fact, many Buddhist temples were
demolished and valuable Buddha images and scriptures burned. The Buddhists in
Japan responded by modernising their organisations. Schools and universities
were established and Buddhist monks were given a modern education.

Developments in the
Present Century

the Second World War, Japan has seen the rise of many religious groups which
are modifications of the older established sects. Nichiren Shoshu, for example,
grew out of the Nichiren sect of the Kamakura Period. The lay members of these
newer religious groups play a prominent role in promoting Buddhist culture and
education. At the same time, the older sects continue to exist and still
attract support both inside and outside Japan.


Buddhist Schools of Thought

theoretically, there are no gods in Buddhism, deities abound in that religion
because of people’s need for them.  First, Buddhas abound: those who
have achieved complete enlightenment but not yet reached nirvana: the
complete spiritual realm which they will arrive at when they die.  Those
set on the path of Buddhahood but will not achieve supreme enlightenment hence
nirvana until all are saved are called Bodhisattva.  Statues of Buddhas
abound in China and are worshipped in the same fashion the Chinese worship
their ancestors, except that their ancestors do not have statues but only a
stone tablet bearing their names.  As Buddhism takes root in China,
indigenous Buddhist denominations began to develop, and Chinese modifications
of Buddhism started.  These included denominations such as Pure Land and
Meditation (Chan) Buddhism, and the transformation of the Bodhisattva into a
fixed female deity, Guanying.

1. Pure Land Buddhism:

denomination developed during the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period
(420-589), when China was again divided into several kingdoms, with the
northern ones (the North Dynasty) controlled in the hands of invaders (the
China north of the Yangtze River was often invaded in history by nomadic
tribes outside of China), and the southern ones underwent a rapid succession
of (Chinese) rulers.  

Fearing the teachings of Siddartha Guatama, or Sakyamuni (meaning
the sage of the Sakyas, since he was born the son of a king of the Sakya clan
of the Kshatriya, or warrior, caste) might not last, and considering the
confusing and degenerating states of Buddhist doctrines and monasteries, many
thought hope for salvation lay with faith in the saving powers of the
Buddhas, especially one called Amita, who was known for the efficacy for his
vows (de Bary, 482).  Any one who called out his name: ami-tuo-fo, in
good faith would be reborn in his Buddha-world of Pure Land.  

(meaning: Immeasurable Radiance) resides in the “Happy Land” or
“Pure Land” to the Chinese, in the Paradise of the West.  (de
Bary, 420)  This may sound very confusing to people who believe in a
Buddhism that does not have deities, nor heaven in the Christian sense. 
But we have to remember that Buddhism grew out of Hinduism that has many
deities.  The influence of Hinduism is strong enough so that Siddartha
Guatama himself is sometimes interpreted as part of a trinity: the Body of
Essence, the Body of Bliss, and the Body of Transformation.  It was in
the form of the last that Guatama lived on earth, an emanation of the Body of
Bliss that dwelled in the heavens as a sort of supreme god; the Body of Bliss
is an emanation of the Body of Essence that pervades and underlies the whole
universe. (de Bary, 420)  

This “trinity” of Siddartha Guatama’s identity came
from a trinity of the primeval gods in Hinduism, where, some historian argue,
lay the basis of the “holy trinity” in Christianity.  But this
interpretation obviously made Guatama a deity.  Together with Amita and
some other Buddhas, they made Buddhism a polytheistic religion to some

to Tanluan (476-542), a patriarch of the Pure Land School, this pure land was
created because of the merit accumulated by Amita in his lifetime (before he
became a god).  
This land is pure because according to Buddhism, the impermanence of this
world is because nothing in this world is pure–all is made up of composites,
therefore subject to decay and disintegration.  (de Bary, 416) 
Thus only pure things would achieve permanence.  This pure land is
achievable through single-minded prayers (c.f. the Christian emphasis on
faith), which, along with the merit of Amita Buddha, is sufficient in
guaranteeing entry into it  through rebirth.  (de Bary,
483-484)  On the other hand, because to attain one’s entry into the Pure
Land is selfish, one needs to distribute one’s own merit among all to help
others to enter it as well.  And after cultivation within the Pure Land,
one should prepare to come back to this world to help more people attain
it.  (de Bary, 484)

Thus, in Pure Land Buddhism, the focus is single-minded prayers
to achieve salvation.  There is no mention of the reading of Buddhist

2. Meditation (Chan) Buddhism.

Meditation, or
Chan, Buddhism is perhaps the most Sinicized (rendered Chinese) of all
Buddhist denominations.  Because of the initial difficulty and obscurity
of Buddhist sutras to the Chinese audience, many of whom were Daoists, the
Chinese emphasized an intuitive understanding with or without the reading of
the sutras, which is the original meaning of Chan, or
meditation.  The development of Chan Buddhism reached its height in the
Tang Dynasty (618-906), which was, after the Han Dynasty, the greatest
Chinese dynasty in history and the most prosperous, when Chinese cultural
exchanges with the outside world reached its height.  Chinese monks went
to seek Buddhist sutras in India, and Indian monks such as Bodhidharma came
to preach in China (520- ) in the Sui Dynasty, a short lived dynasty before
the Tang Dynasty.  The Silk Road linking China to India and to central
Asia allowed many cultural exchanges between China and western/southern Asia,
and the many Korean and Japanese students studying in China spread Buddhism
to Korea and Japan.

The Chan school of Buddhism emphasized long meditation followed
by “sudden” awakening to the Truth.  Of all the Buddhist
denominations in China, Chan and Pure Land give the least emphasis on
doctrine, but they also differ.  While Pure Land emphasizes prayers to
Amita, Chan calls for meditation, and the transmission of the message from
master to disciple without words and phrases.  Thus in a Chan meditation
session, master and disciples may be doing nothing but meditating in total
silence for hours.  This emphasis on silent transmission is also
reflected in Zen Buddhism in Japan.  When you see art influenced by Zen,
such as bonsai (small manicured plants or trees in a pot), or a Zen style
garden, you may notice the emphasis on peace and tranquility, which are
conducive to meditation.

Because their emphasis is on intuitive understanding, Chan
Buddhism is not big on explaining things, but often uses parables to
illustrate things, such as the parables given by the Buddhist teacher Yunmen,
in the form of the highly esoteric statements “the old buddhas commune
with the pillars,” “Clouds on the southern mountains…(even a
knife cannot cut through),” If clouds gather on the southern mountains,
rain falls on the northern mountains,” and “Rain on the northern
mountains (not a single drop of rain can fall…).”  (de Bary,
515-516)  All three impossible situations. 

The  reason why Yunmen gives these examples is to suggest
that the very reason why we think these are impossible scenarios is because
we have used  our intellectual abilities and consciousness: we have
reasoned that old monks could not possibly have had sexual intercourse, and
it is not possible to have rain but not a single drop of it falling, and so
on.  Also, our separation of things in this world (e.g. into the
northern and southern mountains, into rain and air, into soft clouds and hard
objects ) makes it impossible for us to understand why clouds on the southern
mountains leads to rain in the northern mountains, and why there is rain but
it is not falling, and why there is cloud but it cannot be cut 
through.  All this has violated the Chan teachings on cutting off
consciousness, conceptual thinking, and phenomenal existence.

Yet, Yunmen is not asking his disciples to completely demolish
consciousness.  According to Buddhism, human reasoning is ultimately
controlled by our deepest consciousness, the alaya consciousness
(besides the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and mind), which
is the seed or, to use our modern day language, the “mastermind”
and “memory chip” of all other senses because it contains the seeds
and traces of past actions.  The alaya consciousness, in its
original and pure form, was good, but because it could not work alone, and
had to be projected through the six senses, which were
“contaminated,” so to speak, its reflection of the true world
became successively degenerated over the generations.  In order to
restore the alaya’s power to reflect the truth, one needs to
completely rid of all existent reasoning, conceptions, and separation of the
world into many things, in other words, problems associated with the other
six senses.  True knowledge is achieved through intuiting that the world
is an integral whole, hence, the 28 Indian Patriarchs and the Six Chinese
Patriarchs [who were considered founders of the Chan School] see each other
and see the same truth. (516) Hence although humans err in their views of the
world and suffer,  there is the potential to change this and achieve
happiness.  The relationship between suffering and happiness is the
difference between what is manifest and what is potential.  The world is
full of  things that are happening and that are potentially to happen,
such as the Koreans going to the Buddhist temples (who are more to the east,
hence morning comes earlier to them than to the Chinese), and the Chinese
just about to do so.  But if one does not use one’s intuition and just
goes about the motions, one will not get the  truth.  (de Bary,

3. How to restore alaya’s potential to convey truth?

The manual on
Chan meditations by Changlu Zongze in 1103 gives one an idea of how the true
perception of truth could be achieved; the posture one should assume and the
mental state to hold. (de Bary, 522-524)

 4. Another example of the indigenization of Buddhism in
China: the Transformation of  the Bodhisattvah and reinterpretation of

Besides the examples of the Pure Land and Chan Buddhist
denominations that were very much Chinese creations, by 1600, the Chinese
transformed the Bodhisattvah, meaning any one who has set on the path of
Buddhahood but has not yet become a Buddha in order to remain in this world and
save others, into a goddess called Guanyin, who protected the devout, the
innocent, the filial, and children. (de Bary, 531-535)

Chinese Buddhists also attempted to reinterpret filiality in order
to make Buddhism more acceptable in China.  They emphasized the importance
of spiritual filiality instead of doing material things for one’s parents: that
the chief act of filial piety by children is to spiritually benefit the soul of
the parents to facilitate their early achievement of Buddhahood. (529-531)




Chan School

In the Chan
School the practice of meditation is foremost. Chan is an abbreviation of
chan-na; the Chinese characters sounded slightly different in the past and were
used to represent the sound of the Sanskrit word dhyāna. The general meaning of
dhyāna is meditation. The Japanese pronounce the character for chan as ‘Zen.’

Chan School is foremost among the Five Great Schools of Buddhism [five types of
buddhist study and practice] in that it transmits the Buddha’s Mind Seal,
pointing directly to the mind so that one sees one’s nature and becomes a

the Patriarch Bodhidharma came from India, he widely propagated this method. At
that time the practitioners of Buddhism were still very enamored of the
language of prajñā, exerting their efforts in composition and phrasing, vying
to outdo one another. Even in lecturing on the sutras they argued over each
other’s strong and weak points, and in speaking Dharma they would praise
themselves and deprecate others. Different schools were set up, and doing
battle with words was the mode of the times. Some resorted to individualism,
and in an attempt to be unique, they set up theories that were distinctly
different from the mainstream, and they perfected the art of unobstructed and
clever debate. People wrote books and set up doctrines, disparaging others
while promoting themselves. In this way they forsook what was fundamental and
pursued superficialities; the theories of teaching schools flourished widely.


four main enlightened teachers in China just prior to the introduction of the
Chan lineage were the Venerable Daosheng, Vinaya Master Daoxuan, the Great
Master Zhiyi, and the Venerable Daoyuan. Each taught meditation in the context
of the teachings of his own school. When the Venerable Daosheng was slandered,
he retreated to Tiger Mountain and spoke Dharma to the rocks. From this came
the saying that even ‘insentient rocks nodded their heads in agreement.’

Master Daoxuan hid his tracks on Zhongnan Mountain, where he enjoyed the
food-offerings of the gods. The Great Master Zhizhe (“Wise One”) [Zhiyi
(Venerable)] proclaimed the Teachings, and the Master of Lu Mountain (Ven.
Daoyuan) propagated the Pure Land method. Those to whom their teachings were transmitted
held them in esteem, yet the scholars were confused by them. Everybody had a
different opinion, and people were at a loss as to which way to follow.
Standing perplexed at the crossroads, one didn’t know which way to turn. Gazing
out at the vast ocean of different teachings, one could only heave a big sigh.

light of such circumstances, the First Patriarch Bodhidharma made amends for
such biased teachings and patched up the flaws. His compassionate instructions
were apart from speech; his teachings were not imparted through words. He
taught that this mind of ours is none other than the Buddha, that the precious
pearl hidden within our robe is not something obtained from outside. One only
needs to concentrate one’s energy and refine one’s mind to a single focus,

day suddenly all connects right through, and then the myriad substances are
reached everywhere, whether external or internal, fine or coarse. The great
functioning of the entire substance of the enlightened mind is nowhere without

becomes open to the vast and ultimate enlightenment, returns to the source and
plumbs the origin. At this time one can appreciate the subtlety behind this
interchange: the World Honored One held up a flower, and Mahākāśyapa, the
Golden-Hued Ascetic, smiled: originally it was like this!

method is one in which the mind seals the mind, a transmission [dharma
transmission] outside of the teachings. One takes one’s own nature across. And
after one has made one’s way across the river (of afflictions), one leaves the
raft (of Dharma) behind. How can there be anything else but this?” (WM 70-71)

Chan of our sect does not set up (progressive) stages and is, therefore, the
unsurpassed one. (Its aim) is the direct realization leading to the perception
of the (self-)nature and attainment of Buddhahood. Therefore, it has nothing to
do with the sitting or not sitting in meditation during a Chan week. However,
on account of living beings’ dull roots and due to their numerous false
thoughts, ancient masters devised expediencies to guide them. Since the time of
Mahākāśyapa up to now, there have been sixty to seventy generations. In the
Tang and Song dynasties (619-1278), the Chan sect spread to every part of the
country, and how it prospered at the time! At present it has reached the bottom
of its decadence (and) only those monasteries like Jinshan, Gaomin and Baoguan
can still manage to present some appearance. This is why men of outstanding
ability are now so rarely found and even the holding of Chan weeks has only a
name but lacks its spirit.” (Luk, tr. “Master Hsu Yun’s Discourses and Dharma
Words,” Ch’an andZen Teachings, Series One, 49-50)

sits (in meditation) to cultivate the Dharma of Chan inquiry in order not to
have any thoughts.…That which is called the Buddha is not even a single thought
arising. But can you go without having a single thought arise? As you sit
there, you think of all sorts of things you don’t ordinarily think of, and a
lot of long-forgotten circumstances that suddenly pop up again in your mind.…Is
that not having a single thought arise? Of course not. How do you do it? There
is no way. There is no way to keep a single thought from arising—but you can
keep a single thought from being destroyed. And if you prevent its destruction,
you’ll keep it from arising.… For example, in the one thought, ‘Who is mindful
of the Buddha?’ you can keep the ‘Who?’ going nonstop. ‘Who?’ This is searching
for the ‘Who,’ not reciting ‘Who?’ As long as you keep searching, that single
thought isn’t destroyed, and therefore it won’t arise. A single thought not
arising is the Buddha. That’s the doctrine of the Chan School. If you can be
such that not a single thought is produced or destroyed, then the light of your
wisdom will appear.” (LY II 15)




The Pioneer

‘Criminals run a parallel Govt in Uttar Pradesh’

Saturday, 21 April 2012 00:03

PNS | Lucknow

that Goonda Raj has returned in Uttar Pradesh Bahujan Samaj Party said that law
and order situation in the State was out of control as the criminals were
running a parallel Government in the State.

“Criminals have started calling the shots in
SP regime. Thousands of BSP workers were beaten up because they supported
Mayawati in the Assembly Election,” said Leader of Opposition in the State
Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya on Friday.

He said that though the Akhilesh Yadav
Government was just one month old the situation had already gone bad to worst.
“Even police personnel are feeling insecured from the goons of the ruling SP.
They are being beaten up and the ruling party leaders have taken a lead in this
mis-deed,” Maurya, who is also State party president told reporters.

Maurya said the much hyped ‘Janata Darshan’ of
the Chief Minister was a ‘drama’ to connect himself with masses. There is a
bigger question why these people are coming to Lucknow with their woes. They
are here because this Government has stopped Thana and Tehsil Diwas, started by
the previous Mayawati Government, forcing the people to come to Lucknow for
their petty problems.

“SP had already ditched the people by
announcing fake assurances of providing unemployment allowances, Laptops and
tablet computers during the elections and now they have turned deaf and dumb
towards the problems of the common people,’’ he further alleged.

Commenting on the announcement of the SP
Government to construct hospitals and colleges in the open space of the parks
and memorials built in the previous regime, Maurya said that such a move would
certainly affect the law and order situation in the State.

‘’Interfering with the SC/ST/OBC memorials
and statues will lead to large scale violence in the State and the SP
Government would be responsible for it,’’ he threatened.

The BSP leader announced that the party
would not tolerate sufferings of the people and would be forced to stage
agitation inside and outside the Assembly.

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