BudSas wrote: 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)?
What does this mean to you?
Actually, the above English translation, although popular, is not necessarily correct. In my opinion, that saying by the Zen master could be loosely translated as: "Great investigation, great insight; small investigation, small insight
". This is the saying apllies to Zen students who must work hard on the koan.
By translating that way, perhaps it could be more easily understood and accepted by a Theravadin student.
The term 疑情 (yiqing) is really not to be translated as "doubt", although in general modern Mandarin uses the character 疑 (yi) together with 懷 (huai) (懷疑) (huaiyi) to mean "doubt". But this is just the word, and to quote Gombrich, meanings are in sentences and not in words.
It applies to the context of 參禪, which is basically "investigate Chan". In particular, in the Chan practice of 看話 看話頭 參話頭 "watch / investigate the word / word-head". "Word-head" is generally known in English through the Japanese term "koan", but actually "koan" in Chinese "gong'an" means something quite different.
However, I don't think that "investigation" is quite the word, either. 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.
When we look at this phrase in context
, we find that it is not at all "doubt" as opposed to "confidence" (sraddha). For example:
近來篤志參禪者少。纔參箇話頭。便被昏散二魔纏縛。不知昏散與疑情正相對治。信心重則疑情必重。疑情重則昏散自無。」(CBETA, T48, no. 2024, p. 1099, c27-p. 1100, a1)
Chan Gate Exhortation: Master Su Angtian of Yangzhou's Teaching to the Assembly:
Recently, those who come to investigate Chan are few. Coarse investigation of the word-head will lead to being bound up by the two Mara's of dullness and scatteredness. Some do not know that the "yiqing" is the exact remedy to dullness and scattering. If one's confidence is strong, then the "yiqing" will also definitely be strong. If the "yiqing" is strong, then dullness and scattering will naturally disappear.
So, from this example, we can see that the "yiqing" is not at all any sort of absence of confidence / faith (asaddha).