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03 05 2012 THURSDAY LESSON 598 FREE
ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice
UNIVERSITY And THE BUDDHISTONLINE GOOD NEWS LETTER by ABHIDHAMMA RAKKHITA through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org
IT IS THE WISH OF THE PEOPLE
ALL OVER THE WORLD THAT USA CELEBRATE 2556TH BUDDHA JAYANTI AT WHITE
HOUSE, AS IT WAS MAGNANIMOUS TO CELEBRATE DEEPAVALI.
Dhammapada: Verses and
155 Regrets In Old Age
Regrets In Old Age
have not led the holy life
nor riches won while young,
they linger on as aged cranes
around a fished-out pond.
Level I: Introduction to
To do no evil;
To cultivate good;
To purify one’s mind:
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.
Impermanent are all created things;
The Four Noble
The Eightfold Path
The Kalama Sutta
The Brahma Vihara
The Sigalovada Sutta
The Ten Duties of a King
The Metta Sutta
The Ananda Sutta
Living in Tune
An Angry Person
Lesson for Rahula
The Monk with Dysentry
1998, 1999, 2000 by C. George Boeree.
pages of this web site were written for the students of my class on Buddhist
Psychology. Although the religious aspects of Buddhism are discussed, I
am far more interested in presenting Buddhism’s philosophical and psychological
side. It is not necessary to believe in heavens or hells, in gods,
demons, or ghosts, or even in rebirth or reincarnation in order to benefit from
the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. I myself believe in none of these
things, and yet have learned a great deal from the sutras — far more than from
any other source. I encourage all of you to become familiar with
Buddhism, and I humbly suggest that these pages are a good place to begin!
In gladness and in safety,
all beings be at ease.
The Metta Sutta
This short essay is intended to give a brief introduction to
Buddhism. It will discuss the way Buddhists perceive the world, the four main teachings
of the Buddha, the Buddhist view of the self, the relationship between this
self and the various ways in which it responds to the world, the Buddhist path
and the final goal. - Mike Butler
The Three Marks of
Buddhism has been described as a very pragmatic religion. It does
not indulge in metaphysical speculation about first causes; there is no
theology, no worship of a deity or deification of the Buddha. Buddhism takes a
very straightforward look at our human condition; nothing is based on wishful
thinking, at all. Everything that the Buddha taught was based on his own
observation of the way things are. Everything that he taught can be verified by
our own observation of the way things are.
If we look at our life, very simply, in a straightforward way, we
see that it is marked with frustration and pain. This is because we attempt to
secure our relationship with the “world out there”, by solidifying
our experiences in some concrete way. For example, we might have dinner with
someone we admire very much, everything goes just right, and when we get home
later we begin to fantasise about all the things we can do with our new-found
friend, places we can go etc. We are going through the process of trying to
cement our relationship. Perhaps, the next time we see our friend, she/he has a
headache and is curt with us; we feel snubbed, hurt, all our plans go out the
window. The problem is that the “world out there” is constantly
changing, everything is impermanent and it is impossible to make a permanent
relationship with anything, at all.
If we examine the notion of impermanence closely and honestly, we
see that it is all-pervading, everything is marked by impermanence. We might
posit an eternal consciousness principle, or higher self, but if we examine our
consciousness closely we see that it is made up of temporary mental processes
and events. We see that our “higher self” is speculative at best and
imaginary to begin with. We have invented the idea to secure ourselves, to
cement our relationship, once again. Because of this we feel uneasy and
anxious, even at the best of times. It is only when we completely abandon
clinging that we feel any relief from our queasiness.
These three things: pain, impermanence and egolessness are known
as the three marks of existence.
The Four Noble Truths
The first sermon that the Buddha preached after his enlightenment
was about the four noble truths. The first noble truth is that life is
frustrating and painful. In fact, if we are honest with ourselves, there are
times when it is downright miserable. Things may be fine with us, at the
moment, but, if we look around, we see other people in the most appalling
condition, children starving, terrorism, hatred, wars, intolerance, people
being tortured and we get a sort of queasy feeling whenever we think about the
world situation in even the most casual way. We, ourselves, will some day grow
old, get sick and eventually die. No matter how we try to avoid it, some day we
are going to die. Even though we try to avoid thinking about it, there are
constant reminders that it is true.
The second noble truth is that suffering has a cause. We suffer
because we are constantly struggling to survive. We are constantly trying to
prove our existence. We may be extremely humble and self-deprecating, but even
that is an attempt to define ourselves. We are defined by our humility. The
harder we struggle to establish ourselves and our relationships, the more
painful our experience becomes.
The third noble truth is that the cause of suffering can be ended.
Our struggle to survive, our effort to prove ourselves and solidify our
relationships is unnecessary. We, and the world, can get along quite
comfortably without all our unnecessary posturing. We could just be a simple,
direct and straight-forward person. We could form a simple relationship with
our world, our coffee, spouse and friend. We do this by abandoning our
expectations about how we think things should be.
This is the fourth noble truth: the way, or path to end the cause
of suffering. The central theme of this way is meditation. Meditation, here,
means the practice of mindfulness/awareness, shamata/vipashyana in
Sanskrit. We practice being mindful of all the things that we use to torture
ourselves with. We become mindful by abandoning our expectations about the way
we think things should be and, out of our mindfulness, we begin to develop
awareness about the way things really are. We begin to develop the insight that
things are really quite simple, that we can handle ourselves, and our
relationships, very well as soon as we stop being so manipulative and complex.
The Five Skandhas
The Buddhist doctrine of egolessness seems to be a bit confusing
to westerners. I think this is because there is some confusion as to what is
meant by ego. Ego, in the Buddhist sense, is quite different from the Freudian
ego. The Buddhist ego is a collection of mental events classified into five
categories, called skandhas, loosely translated as bundles, or heaps.
If we were to borrow a western expression, we could say that
“in the beginning” things were going along quite well. At some point,
however, there was a loss of confidence in the way things were going. There was
a kind of primordial panic which produced confusion about what was happening.
Rather than acknowledging this loss of confidence, there was an identification
with the panic and confusion. Ego began to form. This is known as the first
skandha, the skandha of form.
After the identification with confusion, ego begins to explore how
it feels about the formation of this experience. If we like the experience, we
try to draw it in. If we dislike it, we try to push it away, or destroy it. If
we feel neutral about it, we just ignore it. The way we feel about the
experience is called the skandha of form; what we try to do about it is known
as the skandha of impulse/perception.
The next stage is to try to identify, or label the experience. If
we can put it into a category, we can manipulate it better. Then we would have
a whole bag of tricks to use on it. This is the skandha of concept.
The final step in the birth of ego, is called the skandha of
consciousness. Ego begins to churn thoughts and emotions around and around.
This makes ego feel solid and real. The churning around and around is called
samsara — literally, to whirl about. The way ego feels about its situation
(skandha of feeling) determines which of the six realms of existence it creates
The Six Realms
If ego decides it likes the situation, it begins to churn up all
sorts of ways to possess it. A craving to consume the situation arises and we
long to satisfy that craving. Once we do, a ghost of that craving carries over
and we look around for something else to consume. We get into the habitual
pattern of becoming consumer oriented. Perhaps we order a piece of software for
our computer. We play with it for awhile, until the novelty wears out, and then
we look around for the next piece of software that has the magic glow of not
being possessed yet. Soon we haven’t even got the shrink wrap off the current
package when we start looking for the next one. Owning the software and using
it doesn’t seem to be as important as wanting it, looking forward to its
arrival. This is known as the hungry ghost realm where we have made an
occupation out of craving. We can never find satisfaction, it is like drinking
salt water to quench our thirst.
Another realm is the animal realm, or having the mind like that of
an animal. Here we find security by making certain that everything is totally
predictable. We only buy blue chip stock, never take a chance and never look at
new possibilities. The thought of new possibilities frightens us and we look
with scorn at anyone who suggests anything innovative. This realm is
characterised by ignorance. We put on blinders and only look straight ahead,
never to the right or left.
The hell realm is characterised by acute aggression. We build a
wall of anger between ourselves and our experience. Everything irritates us, even
the most innocuous, and innocent statement drives us mad with anger. The heat
of our anger is reflected back on us and sends us into a frenzy to escape from
our torture, which in turn causes us to fight even harder and get even angrier.
The whole thing builds on itself until we don’t even know if we’re fighting
with someone else or ourselves. We are so busy fighting that we can’t find an
alternative to fighting; the possibility of alternative never even occurs to
These are the three lower realms. One of the three higher realms
is called the jealous god realm. This pattern of existence is characterised by
acute paranoia. We are always concerned with “making it”. Everything
is seen from a competitive point of view. We are always trying to score points,
and trying to prevent others from scoring on us. If someone achieves something
special we become determined to out do them. We never trust anyone; we
“know” they’re trying to slip one past us. If someone tries to help
us, we try to figure out their angle. If someone doesn’t try to help us, they
are being uncooperative, and we make a note to ourselves that we will get even
later. “Don’t get mad, get even,” that’s our motto.
At some point we might hear about spirituality. We might hear
about the possibility of meditation techniques, imported from some eastern
religion, or mystical western one, that will make our minds peaceful and absorb
us into a universal harmony. We begin to meditate and perform certain rituals
and we find ourselves absorbed into infinite space and blissful states of
existence. Everything sparkles with love and light; we become godlike beings.
We become proud of our godlike powers of meditative absorption. We might even
dwell in the realm of infinite space where thoughts seldom arise to bother us.
We ignore everything that doesn’t confirm our godhood. We have manufactured the
god realm, the highest of the six realms of existence. The problem is, that we
have manufactured it. We begin to relax and no longer feel the need to maintain
our exalted state. Eventually a small sliver of doubt occurs. Have we really
made it? At first we are able to smooth over the question, but eventually the
doubt begins to occur more and more frequently and soon we begin to struggle to
regain our supreme confidence. As soon as we begin to struggle, we fall back
into the lower realms and begin the whole process over and over; from god realm
to jealous god realm to animal realm to hungry ghost realm to hell realm. At
some point we begin to wonder if there isn’t some sort of alternative to our
habitual way of dealing with the world. This is the human realm.
The human realm is the only one in which liberation from the six
states of existence is possible. The human realm is characterised by doubt and
inquisitiveness and the longing for something better. We are not as absorbed by
the all consuming preoccupations of the other states of being. We begin to
wonder whether it is possible to relate to the world as simple, dignified human
The Eightfold Path
The path to liberation from these miserable states of being, as
taught by the Buddha, has eight points and is known as the eightfold path. The
first point is called right view — the right way to view the world. Wrong view
occurs when we impose our expectations onto things; expectations about how we
hope things will be, or about how we are afraid things might be. Right view
occurs when we see things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating
attitude. We abandon hope and fear and take joy in a simple straight-forward
approach to life.
The second point of the path is called right intention. It
proceeds from right view. If we are able to abandon our expectations, our hopes
and fears, we no longer need to be manipulative. We don’t have to try to con
situations into our preconceived notions of how they should be. We work with
what is. Our intentions are pure.
The third aspect of the path is right speech. Once our intentions
are pure, we no longer have to be embarrassed about our speech. Since we aren’t
trying to manipulate people, we don’t have to be hesitant about what we say,
nor do we need to try bluff our way through a conversation with any sort of
phoney confidence. We say what needs to be said, very simply in a genuine way.
The fourth point on the path, right discipline, involves a kind of
renunciation. We need to give up our tendency to complicate issues. We practice
simplicity. We have a simple straight-forward relationship with our dinner, our
job, our house and our family. We give up all the unnecessary and frivolous
complications that we usually try to cloud our relationships with.
Right livelihood is the fifth step on the path. It is only natural
and right that we should earn our living. Often, many of us don’t particularly
enjoy our jobs. We can’t wait to get home from work and begrudge the amount of
time that our job takes away from our enjoyment of the good life. Perhaps, we
might wish we had a more glamorous job. We don’t feel that our job in a factory
or office is in keeping with the image we want to project. The truth is, that
we should be glad of our job, whatever it is. We should form a simple
relationship with it. We need to perform it properly, with attention to detail.
The sixth aspect of the path is right effort. Wrong effort is
struggle. We often approach a spiritual discipline as though we need to conquer
our evil side and promote our good side. We are locked in combat with ourselves
and try to obliterate the tiniest negative tendency. Right effort doesn’t
involve struggle at all. When we see things as they are, we can work with them,
gently and without any kind of aggression whatsoever.
Right mindfulness, the seventh step, involves precision and
clarity. We are mindful of the tiniest details of our experience. We are
mindful of the way we talk, the way we perform our jobs, our posture, our
attitude toward our friends and family, every detail.
Right concentration, or absorption is the eighth point of the
path. Usually we are absorbed in absentmindedness. Our minds are completely
captivated by all sorts of entertainment and speculations. Right absorption
means that we are completely absorbed in nowness, in things as they are. This
can only happen if we have some sort of discipline, such as sitting meditation.
We might even say that without the discipline of sitting meditation, we can’t
walk the eightfold path at all. Sitting meditation cuts through our
absentmindedness. It provides a space or gap in our preoccupation with
Most people have heard of nirvana. It has become equated
with a sort of eastern version of heaven. Actually, nirvana simply means cessation.
It is the cessation of passion, aggression and ignorance; the cessation of the
struggle to prove our existence to the world, to survive. We don’t have to
struggle to survive after all. We have already survived. We survive now; the
struggle was just an extra complication that we added to our lives because we
had lost our confidence in the way things are. We no longer need to manipulate
things as they are into things as we would like them to be.
• What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word
comes from ‘budhi’, ‘to awaken’. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when
Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at
the age of 35.
Buddhism a Religion?
To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or ‘way of
life’. It is a philosophy because philosophy ‘means love of wisdom’ and the
Buddhist path can be summed up as:
to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.
Can Buddhism Help Me?
Buddhism explains a purpose to life, it explains apparent injustice and
inequality around the world, and it provides a code of practice or way of life
that leads to true happiness.
• Why is
Buddhism Becoming Popular?
Buddhism is becoming popular in western countries for a number of reasons, The
first good reason is Buddhism has answers to many of the problems in modern
materialistic societies. It also includes (for those who are interested) a deep
understanding of the human mind (and natural therapies) which prominent
psychologists around the world are now discovering to be both very advanced and
Was the Buddha?
Siddhartha Gotama was born into a royal family in Lumbini, now located in
Nepal, in 563 BC. At 29, he realised that wealth and luxury did not guarantee
happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of
the day, to find the key to human happiness. After six years of study and
meditation he finally found ‘the middle path’ and was enlightened. After
enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of
Buddhism — called the Dhamma, or Truth — until his death at the age of 80.
the Buddha a God?
He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment
from his own experience.
Buddhists Worship Idols?
Buddhists sometimes pay respect to images of the Buddha, not in worship, nor to
ask for favours. A statue of the Buddha with hands rested gently in its lap and
a compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within
ourselves. Bowing to the statue is an expression of gratitude for the teaching.
are so Many Buddhist Countries Poor?
One of the Buddhist teachings is that wealth does not guarantee happiness and
also wealth is impermanent. The people of every country suffer whether rich or
poor, but those who understand Buddhist teachings can find true happiness.
There Different Types of Buddhism?
There are many different types of Buddhism, because the emphasis changes from
country to country due to customs and culture. What does not vary is the
essence of the teaching — the Dhamma or truth.
Other Religions Wrong?
Buddhism is also a belief system which is tolerant of all other beliefs or
religions. Buddhism agrees with the moral teachings of other religions but
Buddhism goes further by providing a long term purpose within our existence,
through wisdom and true understanding. Real Buddhism is very tolerant and not
concerned with labels like ‘Christian’, ‘Moslem’, ‘Hindu’ or ‘Buddhist’; that
is why there have never been any wars fought in the name of Buddhism. That is
why Buddhists do not preach and try to convert, only explain if an explanation
Science is knowledge which can be made into a system, which depends upon seeing
and testing facts and stating general natural laws. The core of Buddhism fit
into this definition, because the Four Noble truths (see below) can be tested
and proven by anyone in fact the Buddha himself asked his followers to test the
teaching rather than accept his word as true. Buddhism depends more on
understanding than faith.
did the Buddha Teach?
The Buddha taught many things, but the basic concepts in Buddhism can be summed
up by the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
is the First Noble Truth?
The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting
old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like
loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is
an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than
pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism
explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.
is the Second Noble Truth?
The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will
suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want
others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words,
getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly
struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives
us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially
the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the
individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes
us to be reborn.
is the Third Noble Truth?
The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be
attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up
useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past
or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more
time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.
is the Fourth Noble Truth?
The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the
end of suffering.
is the Noble 8-Fold Path?
In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and
our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and
actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by
developing compassion for others.
are the 5 Precepts?
The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not
to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to
abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from
untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.
Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have
results. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world,
why some are born handicapped and some gifted, why some live only a short life.
Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their
past and present actions. How can we test the karmic effect of our actions? The
answer is summed up by looking at (1) the intention behind the action, (2)
effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others.
Buddhism teaches that wisdom should be developed with compassion. At one
extreme, you could be a goodhearted fool and at the other extreme, you could
attain knowledge without any emotion. Buddhism uses the middle path to develop
both. The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality, all phenomena are
incomplete, impermanent and do no constitute a fixed entity. True wisdom is not
simply believing what we are told but instead experiencing and understanding
truth and reality. Wisdom requires an open, objective, unbigoted mind. The
Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.
Compassion includes qualities of sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy,
concern, caring. In Buddhism, we can really understand others, when we can
really understand ourselves, through wisdom.
• How do
I Become a Buddhist?
Buddhist teachings can be understood and tested by anyone. Buddhism teaches
that the solutions to our problems are within ourselves not outside. The Buddha
asked all his followers not to take his word as true, but rather to test the
teachings for themselves. ln this way, each person decides for themselves and
takes responsibility for their own actions and understanding. This makes
Buddhism less of a fixed package of beliefs which is to be accepted in its
entirety, and more of a teaching which each person learns and uses in their own
02 05 2012 WEDNESDAY LESSON 597FREE
ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice
UNIVERSITY And THE BUDDHISTONLINE GOOD NEWS LETTER by ABHIDHAMMA RAKKHITA through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org
IT IS THE
WISH OF THE PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD THAT USA CELEBRATE 2556TH
BUDDHA JAYANTI AT WHITE HOUSE, AS IT WAS MAGNANIMOUS TO CELEBRATE DEEPAVALI.
154. Thy Building Material Is Broken
O builder of this house you’re seen,
you shall not build a house again,
all your beams have given away,
rafters of the ridge decayed,
mind to the unconditioned gone,
exhaustion of craving has it reached.
Explanation: Verses 153 and 154 were spoken by the Buddha
immediately after his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, and at a later time
was recited to Venerable Ananda in an answer to a question).
Level I: Introduction to Buddhism
Level II: Buddhist Studies
Level IV: Once - Returner
Level V: Non-Returner
Level VI: Arhat
i.e, PraBuddha Bharath scientific thought in
Philosophy and Comparative
International Relations and Peace
Business Management in relation to
Public Policy and Development Studies;
Languages and Literature;
An authentic lineage
in Buddhism is the
uninterrupted transmission of the Buddha’s Dharma from teacher to disciple. The transmission
itself can be for example oral, scriptural, through signs, or directly from one
mind to another. Several branches of Buddhism, including Zen and Tibetan
Buddhism maintain records of their historical teachers. These records
serve as a validation for the living exponents of the tradition.
In the lineage of the vinaya, the requirements for ordination as a monk or a nun include the
presence of at least five other monks, one of whom must be a fully ordained
preceptor, and another an acharya (teacher). This lineage for ordaining nuns
became extinct in many Buddhist countries. When Ani Tenzin Palmo wanted full
ordination for example, she had to travel to Hong Kong to receive it. Lineages
in the Mahasiddha tradition do not necessarily originate from the historical Gautama Buddha, but are
ultimately grounded, like all Buddhist lineages, in the primordial Dharmakaya
Wallace, et al. (Chagmé et al., 1998: p. 22) render
into English a citation of Chagmé (Wylie:
karma-chags-med, fl. 17th century) that contains an embedded quotation
attributed to Nāropā (956-1041 CE), thus:
The crucial, primary qualification of a spiritual mentor is
stated by Naropa, “The qualification of a spiritual mentor is that
[t]he[y][(s/he)] possesses the lineage.” The Single Meaning of the
Vajra Speech [Wylie: rDo rje’i gsungs dgongs pa gcig pa] states,
“There is great profundity in the connection within the lineage of the
holy Dharma.” The real lineage of the realization of this Dharma, which
transfer blessings, is the unbroken rosary of
Gyatrul (b.1924), in a purport to Chagmé (Wylie: karma-chags-med, fl. 17th century), conveys Khyentse’s ‘samaya‘ (Sanskrit),
diligence and humility in receiving ‘wang‘ (Tibetan), lineal transmission and ‘rlung‘ (Wylie) as rendered into English by Wallace (Chagmé et al., 1998: p. 21):
With respect to oral transmission, even if
the lineage is impure, it is not a problem. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche often
sought out and received any oral transmission he thought was on the verge of
disappearing. It made no difference who was giving it. He would receive it and,
in turn, pass it on to make sure that the lineage remained unbroken.
The principle teachers of the Chan and Zen traditions are
commonly known in English translations as Patriarchs, however the more precise terminology would be
“Ancestors” or “Founders” (祖, zu3) and “Ancestral Masters” or
“Founding Masters” (祖師, zu3shi1) as the commonly used Chinese terms are gender
For these traditions the first Patriarch in
the lineage after the Buddha was Mahakasyapa. Thereafter there were another 26 teachers in India
before Bodhidharma, travelled to China in the 5th century CE, becoming the first Ch’an
Five generations later in the 7th century
CE, Huineng assumed the position of the 6th Chinese Patriarch (33rd
in line from the Buddha). Although some people supported Yuquan Shenxiu. There is no generally accepted 7th Chinese Patriarch. As Chan subsequently flourished in China there were
many branches in the lineage, some of which later died out and some of which
continue unbroken to the present.
Some of these lines were transmitted to
Japan, establishing the Zen tradition. Perhaps the most famous of these
transmissions to Japan was that of Dogen who travelled to China for Chan training in the 13th century CE, and after
receiving Dharma transmission in the Caodong line he returned to Japan and established the Sōtō line. The Linji line was also transmitted to Japan where it became
known as the Rinzai line.
In Jodo Shinshu the term patriarch refers to seven Indian,
Chinese and Japanese masters before its founder Shinran. Some of the links in the Chan/Zen
transmission-chain have been challenged by historians such as Philip Yampolsky. In particular, there is little or no other evidence
linking any of the Indian teachers before Bodhidharma to the Zen sect specifically.
There are several hagiographic accounts of how chöd came to Tibet. One namthar, or spiritual biography, asserts that shortly after Kamalashila won his famous debate with Moheyan as to whether Tibet should adopt the “sudden”
route to enlightenment or his own “gradual” route, Kamalashila
enacted phowa, transferring his mindstream to animate a corpse polluted with contagion in order to
safely move the hazard it presented. As the mindstream of Kamalashila was
otherwise engaged, a Mahasiddha by the name of Padampa Sangye came across the vacant kuten or “physical
basis” of Kamalashila. Padampa Sangye was not karmically blessed with an
aesthetic corporeal form, and upon finding the very handsome and healthy empty
body of Kamalashila, which he assumed to be a newly dead fresh corpse, used
phowa to transfer his own mindstream into Kamalashila’s body. Padampa Sangye’s
mindstream in Kamalashila’s body continued the ascent to the Himalaya and
thereby transmitted the Pacification of Suffering teachings and the Indian form
of Chöd which contributed to the Mahamudra Chöd of Machig Labdrön. The mindstream of Kamalashila was unable to return to
his own kuten and so was forced to enter the vacant body of Padampa