Practicing nonsense

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Practicing nonsense

Post by Jechbi » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:42 pm

Okay this is defitely NOT from a Theravada source, but I thought it would be interesting to post here to see what folks think.

Over at the Zen forum, Jundo Cohen posted this:
Jundo Cohen wrote:A very old perspective in Zen and Chan Buddhism is that, once one realizes the silence of mind (or one's Buddha Nature), one realizes that there is no Karma created. It is the unenlightened who do not realize their true nature who live in a world of cause, effect, suffering. A typical passage is this, from the Bloodstream Sutra, often attributed to Bodhidharma. It is a favorite passage of mine (as a "non-attaining" Shikantaza "Just Sitter"). Notice that it says, when we taste that we are Buddha, all concerns for Karma are seen as having vanished. HOWEVER, notice too the sentence at the end which states that we can still make hells for ourselves (whether in this world or some next world) if we take that as a nihilistic excuse to do evil and make no effort:
To attain enlightenment you have to see your nature. Unless you see your nature, all this talk about cause and effect is nonsense. Buddhas don’t practice nonsense. A Buddha is free of karma free of cause and effect. To say he attains anything at all is to slander a Buddha. What could he possibly attain? Even focusing on a mind, a power, an understanding, or a view is impossible for a Buddha. A Buddha isn’t one sided. The nature of his mind is basically empty, neither pure nor impure. He’s free of practice and realization. He’s free of cause and effect.

A Buddha doesn’t observe precepts. A Buddha doesn’t do good or evil. A Buddha isn’t energetic or lazy. A Buddha is someone who does nothing, someone who can’t even focus his mind on a Buddha. A Buddha isn’t a Buddha. Don’t think about Buddhas. If you dont see what I’m talking about, you’ll ever know your own mind. People who don’t see their nature and imagine they can practice thoughtlessness all the time are lairs and fools. They fall into endless space. They’re like drunks. They can’t tell good from evil. If you intend to cultivate such a practice, you have to see your nature before you can put an end to rational thought. To attain enlightenment without seeing your nature is impossible. Still others commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesn’t exist. They erroneously maintain that since everything is empty committing evil isn’t wrong. Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with no hope of release. Those who are wise hold no such conception.
My reaction is that, setting aside differences in vocabulary and the whole endless disagreement about what "Buddha nature" might or might not be, this passage aligns with a Theravada perspective. Now I don't want to play down the differences among traditions or pretend that they're all the same. But a lot of what I read here resonates with my understanding of Theravada teaching as well.

So I figure I'm probably wrong about this. Would someone care to show me the error of my thinking? I'm listening.

Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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