3

Sheng-yen was an important Taiwanese Buddhist, with I believe Rinzai and Soto tranmission.

When describing the Buddhist path, he says that the 10 faiths are reached only after extensive success with koans, and adds that this is equivalent to stream entry. All very reasonable. However, I think it shows relative humility, compared to zen, about Theravada Buddhism.

I also believe that the formless realms are essential for advance to the 10 abodes in the Tientai model of the "complete" teaching.

So I wondered:

  • when, according to Sheng-yen then, does the practitioner realize non-attachment within the formless realms?
  • and is the stage of dry wisdom - form the Surangama Sutra - the same as the 5 grades in Tientai?
0
1

when, according to Sheng-yen then, does the practitioner realize non-attachment within the formless realms?

Sheng-yen taught Chan which is a synonym for Zen meaning something like meditative mind. This is comparable to meditative absorption in Theravada.

Juxtaposing how the two traditions fragment their understanding of those states is a little tricky, because Theravada shreds the meditative absorptions into miniscule details even going as far as detailing step-by-step the precise instructions needed to attain meditative absorption. Not my forte, but the Theravadins seems to like it!

Chan on the other hand takes on a more natural and organic approach. Flexibility, suppleness and malleability come to mind. In my view, this approach is much more in-keeping with suchness. There is little to no emphasis on moving through the jhanas and the arupa ayatanas. The exertion to reach those states is generally seen as a hindrance. The aim - if we can call it an aim - is that Zen realises meditative absorption in every waking moment; it is not seen as a practice confined to a zafu cushion which is more favoured in Theravada.

I know this doesn't answer your question, but instead points out how it is difficult to level the two schools such that they meet harmoniously.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.