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    TSO-CH'AN
     
    [ 作者: 圣严法师   来自:期刊原文   已阅:13054   时间:2007-1-17   录入:ningguannan


    ·期刊原文

    TSO-CH'AN

    By Master Sheng-Yen(圣严法师)
    中华佛学研究所所长、东吴大学哲学系教授
    中华佛学学报第二期(1988.10月出版)
    页361-386


            页361
           
            Origins of the Term Tso-ch'an
           
                The Chinese term tso-ch'an 坐禅( zazen ) was in
            use among  Buddhist  practitioners   even  before  the
            appearance of the Ch'an (Zen) School. Embedded in the
            term  is the word  ch'an, a derivative  of the Indian
            dhyana, which  is the  yogic   practice  of  attaining
            samadhi  in  meditation.   Literally  translated, tso-
            ch'an means "sitting  ch'an"   and has a comprehensive
            and a specific  meaning.  The   comprehensive  meaning
            refers  to any type of meditation   practice  based on
            taking  the  sitting  posture.   The specific  meaning
            refers to the methods  of practice   that characterize
            Ch'an Buddhism.
                The earliest Chinese   translations  of  Buddhist
            sutras that describe methods of samadhi appear around
            the end of the second century A.D. The most famous
            of these was the Tso-ch'an ching 坐禅经, The Sutra of
            Sitting Ch'an, translated  by K'ang Seng-hui  康僧会.
            In  the  beginning   of   the  fifth   century   A.D.,
            Kumarajiva  鸠摩罗什  translated   a large  number  of
            sutras on the practice  of samadhi.   One of these was
            the Tso-ch'an san-mei ching 坐禅三昧经.   The Sutra on
            Tso-ch'an  and Samadhi.  So we see that the term tso-
            ch'an was used in China as early as the second   cent-
            ury, and there  are at least two sutras   that use the
            term in their titles.  We know that many monks during
            this time practiced  tso-ch'an  to achieve samadhi in
            the Indian tradition.  This is especially revealed in
            the chapter  Hsi-ch'an  p'ien   习禅篇, On Cultivating
            Ch'an, in the Kao-seng  chuan 高僧传, The Biographies
            of Eminent Monks.  This was compiled in the Liang Dy-
            nasty 梁朝 (502-557).
                During the Sui Dynasty 隋朝 (589-617) the T'ien-
            t'ai 天台 master Chin-I 智顗wrote the   Hsiao  chin-
            kuan 小止观. The Minor
           
            页362
           
            Treatise on Samatha-Vipasyana.  In   it  he describes
            tso-ch'an in terms of three aspects: how to regulate
            one's body, one's breath, and one's mind. In the
            section on regulating the body, the posture of sitting
            meditation is the most important factor. In a later
            work called Ta chih-kuan 摩诃止观, The Major Treatise
             on Samatha-Vipasyana, he described   four  methods
            to attain samadhi. The first method is called samadhi
             Through Constant  Sitting 常坐三昧,  the  second,
            Samadhi Through Constant Walking 常行三昧. The third
            is Samadhi Through Half Walking, Half Sitting 半行半
            坐三昧. The fourth is The  Samadhi   Neither  Through
            walking Nor Sitting 非行非坐三昧.
           
            Tso-ch'an and Samadhi
           
                The references above show that several centuries
            before the coming of the  Ch'an   schools,  tso-ch'an
            already  reached  a  high   state of  development  in
            China, both as a practice and  a   scriptural  topic.
            These references also show the close association
            between  tso-ch'an  and samadhi   in Chinese  Buddhist
            practice prior to Ch'an.
                What is samadhi? Indian tradition  defines  nine
            levels of samadhi, each with its identifying
            characterisitcs.  For our  purposes, however, we need
            only to provide a general definition of samadhi.  If,
            through  practice, especially   tso-ch'an, one can get
            one's  mind  to a unified   state, this  state  can be
            called  samadhi.  To say  that   the  mind  is unified
            doesn't  mean that the person  has a sense or idea of
            being coextensive with the universe. Rather, it means
            that  the  mind  is simply   not moving.  There  is no
            distinction  between  inside   and  outside, self  and
            environment.
             There is no sense of time and   space.  There  is
            only the sense of existence. So this state of united
            mind is called samadhi. This is not a state   of
            nothought, or no-mind, since  there   is at least  the
            awareness of self experiencing samadhi. It is a state
            of  one-thought, or one-mind, and  is not  considered
            enlightenment in Ch'an.
           
            页363
           
            Roots of Tso-ch'an in India
           
                In most spiritual traditions of India, the yogis
            practice  dhyana  to attain   samadhi  at its  various
            levels.  After years of austere   practice  as a yogi,
            the self-exiled  Indian prince Siddhartha   recognized
            that his realization was incomplete. He sat under the
            bodhitree  vowing  not to rise until   he had resolved
            the question  of death and rebirth.   Only when he
            became enlightened one evening, after seeing a bright
            star, did  he rise.  He had   become  the  Buddha, the
            primal transmitter of Buddhism in our epoch. The
            Buddha's experience  became the paradigm of tso-ch'an
            practice.
           
                 With the rise of Buddhism, two forms of practice
            developed.  One is called samadhi liberation  and the
            other is called wisdom  liberation.   The practice  of
            wisdom  liberation  does  not cultivate  the nine
            levels  of  samadhi.   but   goes  directly  into  the
            enlightened  state.  Ch'an follows the path of wisdom
            liberation.
           
            Tso-ch'an of the Patriarchs
             
                When pre-Ch'an masters practiced,   they  mostly
            used the methods given in  the   translated  Hinayana
            sutras. For them, tso-ch'an referred to   methods  of
            sitting to attain samadhi. But among the later
            masters  of Ch'an, the term was reserved   for methods
            of attaining  enlightenment  without   samadhi  as  an
            intermediate or final stage.
                The First Patriarch of Ch'an,  the  Indian  monk
            Bodhidharma 菩提达摩, arrived in China around 520 A.
            D., and established himself in the  Shao   Lin Temple
            少林寺. There he wrote the treatise, Erh ju ssu hsing
            二入四行. The Two Entries and the Four Practices. One
            of the entries was the Entry Through Principle   理入.
            This  was  in  fact  direct   penetration  to the
            experience  of Buddha-nature.   According  to  legend,
            Bodhidharma  sat facing  the wall   in the temple  for
            nine years. The posture he used was the same as those
            used by previous  masters  to attain samadhi.  He sat
            with
           
            页364
           
            crossed legs and  concentrated  mind.   However,  the
            goal was different it was to develop wisdom   without
            going through samadhi. He did not use  the   Hinayana
            methods such as visualizing the parts of one's body.
            Bodhidharma's approach was based on  the Lankavatara
            Sutra which advised "taking no  door as  the  Dharma
            door" and "not using any language, words or  symbols
            as the foundation."
                While the historical facts of Bodhidharma's life
            are scant, there is no doubt that he practiced
            tso-ch'an. There is also little doubt that he was
            enlightened  before going to China.   Even so, when he
            settled   in  the    Shao-Lin   Temple,  he  continued
            tso-ch'an practice.  His great contribution  to Ch'an
            was   his   insistence    on   directly   experiencing
            Buddha-nature through Tso-ch'an.
                  The Fourth Patriarch Tao-hsin 道信(580-651 )
            wrote Ju-tao anhsin yao fang-pien men 入道安心要方便
            门. The Methods for Entering the  Path   and  Calming
            the Mind. In it, he quoted from the Lankavatara Sutra
            and the Wen-shu  shuo po-jo ching   文殊说般若经.  The
            Prajna  Sutra  Spoken  by Manjusri.  He stresses  the
            importance  of tso-ch'an for the beginner, with
            emphasis on the right posture. The neophyte must then
            contemplate the five skandhas the material skandha of
            form (the elements), and the four mental   skandhas  :
            feeling,  perception, phenomena,  and   consciousness.
            The Manjusri  Sutra says, "He should contemplate  the
            five skandhas as originally  empty and quiescent,
            non-arising,      non-perishing,     equal,     without
            differentiation.  Constantly  thus practicing, day or
            night, whether  sitting, walking, standing   or  lying
            down, finally  one  reaches  an   inconceivable  state
            without any obstruction or form.  This is the Samadhi
            of One Act (I-hsing sanmei) 一行三昧."
                In a sense, the Fourth Patriarch  is  describing
            the two meanings of tso-ch'an in Ch'an. In the
            beginning  the  practitioner   starts  by  taking  the
            sitting posture. He will use simple and basic methods
            of  regulation  the  body   and  mind.  At an advanced
            stage,
           
            页365
           
            he will not be limited to sitting, but in any posture,
             his mind will be in accord with the   Samadhi  of
            One Act.
                His disciple, the Fifth Patriarch Hung-jen (602-
            675), wrote an essay, Hsiu-hsing Yao Lun,   修行要论,
            The Essentials of Cultivation, which emphasizes
            sitting. He quoted from the I-chiao ching 遗教经, The
            Sutra of the Buddha's  Last Bequest, which says "When
            the  mind  is placed  at one point, there  is nothing
            that cannot be attained." The one-pointedness of mind
             to which he referred was not samadhi,   but  one's
            original or true mind. He also said that correct posture
            is critical. Beginners  should,  for   example,
            follow the Kuan wu-liang shou fo ching 观无量寿佛经,
            Sutra of Contemplation on the  Buddha   of  Unlimited
            Life, which says that one should  sit   upright  with
            correct thoughts, closing one's eyes and mouth,   and
            sit day and night. From many sources we can see that
            the Fifth Patriarch did sit a lot.  The   Biographies
            of Eminent Monks 高僧传 describe the Fifth Patriarch
            foregoing  sleep to sit all night. In the same book,
            Shen-hsiu 神秀(active 671-706), a disciple of Hung
            -jen 弘忍 and founder of the Northern Branch   of the
            Ch'an School, is  described  as   taking tso-ch'an as
            his main job.
                Hui-neng 惠能(638-713), who succeeded Hung-jen
            as the Sixth Patriarch, was not an advocate as
            sitting  as the path  to enlightenment.  With him, we
            have a distinction  between   tso-ch'an  which attains
            enlightenment  through  sitting, and tso-ch'an  which
            attain enlightenment without sitting.   Hui-neng had a
            different interpretation of what tso-ch'an means.  He
            said that when there is no mind, or no thoughts
            arising, that is called "sitting" (tso). When you see
            internally  that the self-nature  is not moving, that
            is Ch'an.
                This was different from the sitting tso-ch'an of
            Bodhidharma. The Sixth patriarch took his inspiration
             from the Samadhi of One Act, described in the
            Manjusri Sutra mentioned above.  The method is to put
            your mind steadfastly on the One Dharma Realm
           
            页366
           
            一法界, in which there is  no   differentiation  into
            forms. Quoting from the Vimalakirti Sutra   维摩诘经,
            he also said, "The straight-forward mind is the Path
            ." Its meaning is that all forms are   equivalent  to
            one  form.  Any  time,  any   place, whether  walking,
            standing,  sitting   or   lying  down,  there   is  no
            situation  that  is  not   an opportunity  to practice
            tso-ch'an.  In this  view   sitting  was not only  not
            necessary, but could be a hindrance.
           
            Fundamentals of Tso-ch'an
           
                As we saw above, tso-ch'an was practiced in China 
            long before the appearance of Ch'an. The   earlier
            masters practiced according to methods in the
            Hinayana  sutras,  which   emphasized  the  techniques
            collectively  known  as samatha-vipasyana.  Generally
            speaking, these  were methods  for achieving  samadhi
            through   three   aspects:   regulating   one's  body,
            regulating  one's  breathing,   and  regulating  one's
            mind.
           
            Regulating the Body by Sitting
           
                To regulate the body by sitting, one should ob-
            serve the Vairocana Seven-Points of Sitting   毘卢遮那
            七支坐法. This refers to the seven rules of   correct
            sitting posture. Each of these criteria has been used
             unchanged since ancient days.
           
            Point One: The Legs
           
                Sit on the floor with legs crossed either in the
            Full Lotus or Half Lotus position. To make the   Full
            Lotus, put the right foot on the  left   thigh,  then
            put the left foot crossed over the  right   leg  onto
            the right thigh. To reverse  the   direction  of  the
            feet is also acceptable.
                To take the Half Lotus   position  requires  that
            one foot be crossed over onto the thigh of the   other.
            The other foot will be placed  underneath   the raised
            leg.
                The Full or Half Lotus are the correct tso-ch'an
            postures
           
            页367
           
            according to the seven-point  method.   However,  we
            will  describe some alternative postures since  for
            various reasons, people may not always be   able  to
            sit in the Full or Half Lotus.
                A position, called the Burmese position, is
            similar  to the Half Lotus, except   that  one foot is
            crossed over onto the calf, rather than the thigh, of
            the other leg.  Another position consists in kneeling
            . In this position, kneel with the legs together. The
            upper  part  of the body can be erect   from  knee  to
            head, or the buttocks can be resting on the heels.
                If physical problems prevent sitting in  any  of
            the above positions, then sitting on a chair is
            possible, but as a last resort to the above postures.
                The positions above are given in  the  preferred
            order, the Full Lotus being the most stable, and most
            conductive to good results. Sitting   cross-legged
            is most conducive to sitting long periods with
            effective  concentration.  The position  one can take
            depends  on  factors  such   as  physical   condition,
            health, and age. However, one should use the position
            in which prolonged  sitting  (at least twenty minutes
            or  more)  is feasible  and   reasonably  comfortable.
            however, do not use a position that requires   little,
            or  the  least  effort, because   without  significant
            effort, no good results can be attained.
                If sitting on the floor, sit on a Japanese-style
            zafu (round meditation cushion)   or   an  improvised
            cushion, several inches thick. This  is   partly  for
            comfort, but also because it is easier  to   maintain
            an erect spine if the buttocks are   slightly  raised.
            Place a larger, square  pad, such as a Japanese
            zabuton,  underneath   the   cushion.   Sit  with  the
            buttocks  towards  the front half of the cushion, the
            knees resting on the pad.
           
            Point Two: The Spine
           
                The spine must be upright. This does not mean to
            thrust your chest forward, but rather to   make  sure
            that your lower back is
           
            页368
           
            erect, not just slumped. The chin must be tucked  in
            a little bit. Both of these  points   together  cause
            you to naturally maintain a very upright spine.    An
            upright spine also means a vertical spine,    leaning
            neither forward or backward, right or left.
           
            Point Three: The Hands
           
                The hands form a so-called Dharma Realm  Samadhi
            Mudra 法界定印. The open right palm is   underneath,
            and the open left palm rests in the right palm.   The
            thumbs lightly touch  to  form   a  closed  circle or 
            oval. The hands are placed in  front of the  abdomen,
            and rest on the legs.
           
            Point Four: The Shoulders
           
                Let the shoulders be relaxed, the  arms  hanging
            loosely. There should be no sense of your shoulders,
            arms or hands. If you have any  sensation   of  these
            parts, there is probably tension in those areas.
           
            Point Five: The Tongue
           
                  The tip of the tongue should be lightly
            touching  the roof of the mouth just behind the front
            teeth. If you have too much saliva, you can let go of
            this  connection.  If you have no saliva  at all, you
            can  apply  greater  pressure   with  the  tip  of the
            tongue.
           
            Point Six: The Mouth
           
                The mouth must always be closed. At all  times,
            breath through the nose, not through the mouth.
           
            Point Seven: The Eyes
           
                The eyes should be slightly open and gazing
            downward at a forty-five degree angle.   Rest the eyes
            in that direction, trying  not to stare   at anything.
            closing  the  eyes  may   cause  drowsiness, or visual
            illusions.  However, if your eyes feel very tired you
            can
           
            页369
           
            close them for a short while.
           
            Regulating the Body by Walking
           
                Regulating the body by walking consists of  slow
            walking and fast walking. Walking meditation is
            especially  useful  for a change of pace when engaged
            in prolonged  sitting, such  as on personal  or group
            retreats Periods of walking can be taken between
            sittings.
                In slow walking, the upper body should be in the
            same posture as in sitting, the difference   being in
            the position of the hands. The left palm should lightly
            enclose the right hand, which is a loosely formed fist.
            The hands should be held in front of,  but not touching,
            the abdomen.  The forearms should be parallel  to the
            ground. The attention should be on bottom of the feet
            as you walk very slowly, the steps being short, about
            the length of one's foot.  If walking   in an enclosed
            space, walk in a clockwise direction.
                Fast walking in done by walking rapidly  without
            actually running. The  main   difference  in  posture
            from slow walking is that the arms are   now  dropped
            to the sides, swinging forwards and backwards, as in
            natural walking. Take short fast steps, keeping   the
            attention on the feet.
           
            Supplementary Exercise
           
                Sitting and walking are the two basic methods of
            regulating your body. There is a supplementary aspect
            which is to exercise for a short period after sitting,
            even if you only do one sitting per day.   The form of
            exercise  is a matter  of individual   choice, but  it
            should be moderate, such as T'ai Chi 太极 or Yoga.
           
            Regulation the Breath
           
                Regulation the breath is very simple. It's  just
            your natural breathing. Do no try  to   control  your
            breathing. The breath is
           
            页370
           
            used as a way to focus, to concentrate the minds. In
            other words, we bring the two things   regulating  the
            breathing and regulating the mind - together.
           
            Regulating the Mind by Counting the Breath
           
                The basic method of regulating the  mind  is  to
            count one's breath  in  a   repeating  cycle  of  ten
            breaths. The basic idea is that by concentration  on
            the simple technique of counting,  this   leaves  the
            mind with less opportunity for  wandering   thoughts.
            Starting with one, mentally (not vocally) count each
            exhalation until you reach ten, keeping the attention
            on the counting. After reaching ten, start the cycle
            over again, starting with one. Do not   count  during
            the inhalation, but just keep the mind on the intake
            of air through the nose. If wandering thoughts   occur
            while counting, just ignore them and continue
            counting.  If wandering  thoughts   cause  you to lose
            count, or go beyond  ten, as soon as you become aware
            of it, start all over again at one.
                If you have so many wandering thoughts that keep
            ing count is difficult or impossible, you can   vary
            the method, such as counting backwards from   ten  to
            one, or counting by twos from two to twenty. By giving
            yourself best  employed  when
            your  breathing  has  naturally    descended   to  the
            abdomen.  The technique  consists   simply in mentally
            follwing  the  movements  of   the  tan-t'ien  as  the
            abdomen moves in and out as a natural consequence  of
            breathing.  This  method  is more energetic  than the
            methods  of breath counting  or following, and should
            be used only after gaining some proficiency   in those
            methods.  In  any  case, the   method  should  not  be
            forced.
           
            General Instructions
           
                Although the methods of   tso-ch'an  given  above
            are simple and straightforward, it is best to
            practice  them  under  the   guidance  of  a  teacher.
            Without  a teacher, a meditator  will not be able  to
            correct  beginner's  mistakes, which   if uncorrected,
            could lead to problems or lack of useful results.
                In practicing tso-ch'an, it  is  important  that
            body and mind be relaxed. If one  is   physically  or
            mentally tense, trying to do tso-ch'an can be
            counter-productive.  Sometimes   certain  feelings  or
            phenomena arise while meditating. If you are relaxed,
            whatever  symptoms arise are usually good.   It can be
            pain, soreness, itchiness, warmth  or coolness, these
            can all be beneficial.  But in the context of
            tenseness,   these   same    symptoms   may   indicate
            obstacles.
                For example, despite being  relaxed  when  doing
            tso-ch'an,
           
            页372
           
            you  may  sense  pain  in   some  parts  of the  body.
            Frequently, this may mean that tensions   you were not
            aware of are benefiting from the circulation of blood
            and   energy   induced    by  meditation.   A  problem
            originally  existing may be alleviated.   On the other
            hand, if you are very tense while doing tso-ch'an and
            feel  pain, the reason  may be that   the  tension  is
            causing  the pain.  So the same symptom  of pain  can
            indicate  two different  causes: an original  problem
            getting better, or a new problem being created.
                A safe and recommended approach is to  initially
            limit sitting to half an hour, or two half-hour
            segments, in as relaxed  a manner  as possible.  This
            refers  not only to your  inner, but also your  outer
            environment.  For beginners, if the mind   is burdened
            with  outside  concerns, it may be better  to relieve
            some of these burdens  before sitting.   For this
            reason, it  is best  to sit   early  in  the  morning,
            before dealing with the problems of the day.   Sitting
            times  may be increased  with experience.  But people
            who do tso-ch'an  for extended   periods may become so
            engrossed in their effort that they may not recognize
            their tensions.  This frequently exists because their
            minds  are preoccupied  getting   results.  So to work
            hard on tso-ah'an  means  to just   put your  mind  on
            tso-ch'an  itself.  If you can just do that, these is
            no need for tension to arise. On the contrary, deeper
            relaxation, and calming  of the body and mind  should
            uld result.
           
            The Tso-ch'an of "outer Paths" 外道禅
           
                In his Liusu t'an ching 六祖坛经,  The  Platform 
            Sutra, Hui-neng 惠能 says that if one were   to  stay
            free  from  attachment  to   any  mental  or  physical
            realms, and to think  of neither   good nor evil, that
            is, refrain from discriminating, neither   thought nor
            mind will arise. This would be the true "sitting" of
            will arise. This would be the true   "sitting"  of
            Ch'an. Here, "sitting", not limited to mere physical
            sitting, refers to a practice where the mind is   not
            influenced, disturbed, or  distracted,   by  anything
            coming up, whether internally or in the   environment.
            If you were
           
            页373
           
            to experience your self-nature, this would be called
            "Ch'an" (Kensho in Zen). To see   self-nature  is  to
            see one's  own unmoving   Buddha-nature, and is the mo
            st fundamental  level of enlightenment.   Without
            tso-ch'an  in this  sense, one cannot   attain  Ch'an.
            Hence  tso-ch'an  is the   method, Ch'an  the  result.
            Since Ch' an is sudden enlightenment, when it occurs,
            it is simultaneous with tso-ch'an.
                Hui-neng was critical of  certain  attitudes  in
            practice which did not conform to  his   criteria  of
            the true tso-ch'an which leads to Ch'an. These
            practices  are referred  to as "outer path" tso-ch'an
            because they are also found in other disciplines, for
            example, Taoism.  A couple of anecdotes will illustrate
            some of these not-Ch'an attitudes in tso-ch'an.
                The first anecdote involves a disciple  of
            Hui-neng's Nan-Yueh Huai-jang 南岳怀怀让 (677-744).
            Huai-jang observed a monk named Ma-tsu 马祖 (709-788)
            who  had a habit  of doing   tso-ch'an  all  day long.
            Realizing  this was no ordinary monk, Huai-jang asked
            Ma-tsu, "why are you cd" is mind which is involved in
            the  ordinary  world, and moves   as usual, but is not
            attached  to anything.  Another   sense comes from the
            root meanings  of the words p'ing   平 and ch' ang 常,
            and can be construed  to mean a mind which is "level"
            and  "constant", that  is, in  a  state  of  constant
            equanimity.  In  either  sense, there  is  no
            attachment.  So the point  is, the kind  of tso-ch'an
            that Ma-tsu  did before  he met Huai-jang  emphasized
            physi-  cal aspects  at the expense of being grounded
            in mind.
                The second "outer path" anecdote  also  involves
            disciples of Hui-neng. When Shih-t'ou Hsi-ch'ien  石
            头希迁 (700-790) was a young monk, he approached the
            dying Hui-neng and asked, "Master,   after  you  pass
            away, what should I do?" Hui-neng said, "You  should 
            go to Hsing-szu". Shih-tou   understood  him  to  say
            hsun-szu 寻思, which means "seek thoughts". This was
            actually a term for the method of meditating by
            watching one's thoughts.  Shih- t'ou was unaware that
            there was another disciple of the Sixth Patriarch  by
            the name of Ch'ing-yuan  Hsing-szu   青原行思 (?-740),
            so he just assumed  that the master told him to prac-
            tice  watching  his thoughts.   After  Hui-neng  died,
            Shih-tou  constantly  sought out very isolated, quiet
            places  and spent  his time  in tso-ch'an, neglecting
            all  else, An elder  in the   assembly  saw  this  and
            asked,
           
            页375
           
            "The master is dead; what are  you   doing  here  in
            empty sitting?" Shih-t'ou replied, "I am only
            following  the master's   instructions.  He told me to
            watch  my  thoughts."  The   elder  said, "you  should
            realize  you have an elder Dharma brother   whose name
            is Hsing-szu.  Why don't  you   hurry  and go to study
            with him?"
                Indeed, the tso-ch'an which consists in  sitting
            in a quiet place, immersed in tranquillity, is widely
            practiced. This kind of tso-ch'an,  which   Shih- t'ou
            practiced until he learned of his error,    was  also
            criticized by Hui-neng in the Ching-te ch'uan teng lu
            景德传灯录, The Transmission of the Lamp.  In it, he
            said, "if you hold the mind and contemplate silently,
            this is a disease and not Ch'an.   Constantly sitting,
            restraining   your  body,   how  does  this  help  the
            principle  (of attaining   enlightenment)?" Using this
            kind of tso-ch'an, one can enhance  health and mental
            calmness,  even  attain   samadhi.   But  for  a
            practitioner who has become attached to such peaceful
            meditation, the habit can become an obstacle.
                Both of these anecdotes are critical of  certain
            kinds of attitudes in practicing tso-ch'an.   Insofar
            as they are similar to "outer path"   methods,   they
            are not correct Ch'an. The masters were not critical
            of tso-ch'an itself, which is a  necessary   practice
            to make progress in Ch'an, especially for beginners.
            The great masters practiced tso-ch'an, even if   they  
            were sometimes critical  of   practitioners  who  had
            "Ch'an sickness." And most continued practicing even
            after becoming enlightened, sometimes very intensively.
                 In the Biography of Eminent Monks 高僧传, it  is
            said that that Master Pai-chang Huai-hai 百丈怀海
            (720-814)  established  the   design  for  the  living
            quarters  of his  monastery.  In the meditation  hall
            there were long, connected  sleeping   platforms.  Its
            purpose was for people who had been meditation   for a
            long  time to take a break  and lie down.  From  this
            description  we can infer  that   the  intent  was for
            monks to spend most of their time in tso-ch'an, and
           
            页376
           
            only minimal time in sleeping. This in spite of   the
            fact that Pai-chang was a disciple of Ma-tsu, who as
            a master, advocated non-sitting methods.   This  same
            design was used in many future monasteries.
           
            The Tso-ch'an of Ch'an
           
                At the beginning of the article we said that the
            term tso-ch'an had both a comprehensive and a
            specific meaning. The comprehensive meaning refers to
            any type  of meditation  based   on sitting, including
            the  fundamental   methods    and  the  "outer   path"
            approaches  described  above.   The  specific  meaning
            refers to the specific methods developed   and used by
            the  Ch'an  masters  to attain   the  state  of seeing
            Buddha-nature.  This  is also   referred  to as seeing
            self-nature, wu 无, or in Japanese, kensho.   The  two
            major methods of Ch'an which have come down to us are
            the method of Silent Illumination 默照 and the method
            of the kung-an 公案. Each of these methods ultimately
            led  to  the  founding  of a major  branch  of  Ch'an
            Buddhism, respectively the Ts'ao-tung 曹洞 (Soto) and
            the Lin-chi 临济 (Rinzai) schools.
           
            Silent Illumination Ch'an
           
                The term Mo-chao Ch'an 默照禅, Silent Illumination
            Ch'an  is associated  with  the Sung  Dynasty  master
            Hung-chih Cheng-chueh 宏智正觉 (1091-1157).   However,
            the practice  itself  may be traced   back at least as
            far as Bodhidharma.  In his treatise   The Two Entries
            and the Four  Practices, the Entry   by Principle  was
            described as "leaving behind the false, return to the
            true: make no discrimination  of self and others.  In
            contemplation, one  is stable  and   unmoving, like  a
            wall."
                In his verse Hsin hsin ming  信心铭,   Affirming
            Faith in Mind, the Third Patriarch, Seng-Ts'an, 僧灿
            (?-?) Says:

                The ultimate path has nothing difficult.  Simply
            avoid discrimination  and selection...The   mind
            endures out thought for ten
           
            页377
           
            thousand years.
                "one thought" refers to the mind which is
            completely  clear  and  free   from  attachment.  "The
            thousand  years"  is simply   a very long time without
            interruption.  We can read similar passages  in later
            descriptions of Silent Illumination.
                Master Shih-shuang Ch'ing-chu 石霜庆诸 (805-888)
            lived on a mountain called Shih-shuang for 20 years.
            His disciples just sat continually, even sleeping in
            the  upright  position.    In  their  stillness,  they
            looked  like so many dead tree stumps, that they were
            named  "the  dry wood   sangha."  Shih-shuang  has two
            famous phrases of advice. One was, "To sit Ch'an, fix
            your mind on one thought for ten thousand years". The
            other was, "let yourself  be like cold ashes, or like
            dry wood."
                Hung-chih himself studied for a while with Master
            K'u-mu Fa-ch'eng 枯木法成.  He was called K'u-mu (dry
            wood) because when he sat, his body resembled a block
            of dry wood. In the hands of Hung-chih, this practice
            evolved  into what he called Silent Illumination.  He
            describes  "silent   sitting"  thus: "Your  body  sits
            silently;  your  mind, quiescent, unmoving.  This  is
            genuine  effort  in practice.   Body  and mind  are at
            complete  rest.  The mouth  so still  that moss grows
            around  it.  Grass sprouts  from the tongue.  Do this
            without cease, cleansing  the mind until it gains the
            clarity  of  an  autumn   pool,  bright  as  the  moon
            illuminating the evening sky."
                In another place, Hung-chih said, "In this silent
            sitting, whatever realms may appear, the mind   is
            very clear as to all the details, yet everything  is
            where it originally is, in its own place.   The  mind
            stays on one thought for ten thousand year, yet does
            not dwell on any forms, inside or outside."
                How is Silent Illumination different from "outer
            path" tso-ch'an? In criticizing other path practice,
            Hui-neng used the phrase chu-hsin kuan-ching   住心观
            境,  or  "fixing    the   mind   on  one   thing    and
            contemplating  that  state."   This  is  a  method  of
            samadhi that
           
            页378
           
            lacks wisdom. Or more accurately, samadhi is   not  a
            method; it is a consequence, or goal of practice. It
            has no space, no time, no sense of environment.
            Silent  Illumination  is different   in that, while it
            keeps the mind still (the silent aspect), it   is  clear
            about the inner as well as the outer states (the
            illumination  aspect).  Samadhi   is  silent  but  not
            illuminating.  In Silent   Illumination  there  is  no
            abiding (chu), that is, nothing to dwell on, no place
            to  dwell   in.   In   the   deep   level   of  Silent
            Illunination,  the  mind  is   not  influenced  by  or
            disturbed  by the  environment.   However, it  is  not
            fixed in samadhi, but is in a bright state of ming 明
            ,  or  illumination.   In   Silent  Illumination   the
            meditator works continually to maintain this ming.
                To understand Mo-chao Ch'an, it is important  to
            understand that while there are no thoughts, the mind
            also is still  very  clear, very   aware.  Both the
            silence (mo) and the illumination  (chao) must be
            there. According to Hung-chih, while there is nothing
            going on in your mind, you are not unaware   that nothing
            is happening.  If your  mind  is   unknowing, this  is
            Ch'an sickness, not Ch'an. So in this state, the mind
            is  transparent.  In a sense, it   is  not  completely
            accurate  to say there is nothing   there, because the
            transparent mind is there.  But it is accurate in the
            sense that there is nothing  there that can become an
            attachment or obstruction. At this stage, the mind is
            without form.  Its power is there, its function being
            to fill the mind  with  illuminating   power, like the
            sun, shining  everywhere.  Hence, Silent Illumination
            is the tso-ch'an in which there is nothing moving but
            the mind is bright, illuminated.
                In Zen, the form of zazen called  Shikantaza  is
            quite similar to Silent Illumination. It was introduced
            in Japan by Master Dogen (1200-1252), after his return
            from study with Ch'an masters  in China.   In the book
            Fukanzazenji, the principles  of zazen   for everyone,
            he stressed the need for a foundation in the ordinary
            methods  of  zazen.  While   he  does  not  explicitly
            discuss shikant-
           
            页379
           
            aza, he does say, "You should therefore   cease  from
            therefore  cease from practice  based on intellectual
            understanding, pursuing  words  and   following  after
            speech, and learn  the backward  step that turns your
            light inwardly to illuminate yourself.   Body and mind
            of themselves  will drop away, and your original face
            will manifest.  "For Dogen, the method  of shikantaza
            is to "just sit", with no thoughts in your mind.  So,
            in a sense, the  method  is not a method  at all, but
            more  of a prescription, or guideline.   When thoughts
            are abandoned, it becomes  possible   for the mind  to
            illuminate.  It is also  then possible  to experience
            satori.  If such a non-attached   state of mind can be
            maintained, even in daily  life, regardless  of one's
            activity, whether  moving or still, you will manifest
            the wisdom function, the true Ch'an.
           
            Kung-an Ch'an 公案禅
           
                Once, after the Buddha gave a sermon to his
            senior  disciples, he picked  up a flower and without
            saying anything, held it up before the assembly.  All
            the monks, except  one, were   mystified.  Mahakasyapa
            alone knew the Buddha's  meaning, and saying nothing,
            smiled.  Thus, the Buddha transmitted   to Mahakasyapa
            the wordless doctrine of Mind.  Although this
            incident  preceded by over a thousand   years the rise
            of Ch'  an, it is often  cited   as  an example  of an
            early kungan.
                What is a kung-an? A kung-an is a  story  of  an
            incident between a master and one or more disciples,
            which involves an understanding or experience of
            enlightened  mind.  The   incident  usually,  but  not
            always,  involves  dialogue.   When  the  incident  is
            remembered  and  recorded,  it   become  a  matter  of
            "public  record", which  is the  literal  meaning  of
            kung-an.   Often  what   makes   the  incident   worth
            recording  is that, as a result of the interchange, a
            disciple  has  had  as   awakening, an  experience  of
            enlightenment.  The disciple's  mind, if only  for an
            instant, transcends  attachment and logic, and sees a
            glimpse of wu,
           
            页380
           
            emptiness, or Buddha-nature. At this instant,   there
            is a transmission of Mind 传心  between   master  and
            disciple.
                Master Chao-chou 赵州 (778-897), was asked by  a
            monk, "does a dog have Buddha-nature? ",   to  which
            the master replied, "Wu", meaning no,   nothing.   As
            kung-ans go, this is a basic one, but   possibly  the
            most famous. In some cases, there is no record of an
            awakening, but the story is  remembered   because  it
            contains, or expresses, meanings crucial to the
            understanding  of  enlightenment.    Here  is  another
            kungan, also involving Chao-chou.

                Chao-chou had a disciple who met an old woman on
            the road and asked her, "How do I get to   T'ai  Shan
            台山 (Mount T'ai)?" She said, "Just keep going."  As
            the monk started off, he heard the old lady   remark,
            "He really went!". Afterwards, the disciple mentioned
            this  to Chao-chou  who said, "I think  I'll  go over
            there and see for myself." When he met her, Chao-chou
            asked the same question, and she said the same thing"
            Just keep going." As Chao-chou   started off, he heard
            the  old  lady  say  again, "He  really  went!"  When
            Chao-chou  returned, he said, I've seen through  that
            old lady.  "What did Chao-chou find out about the old
            lady? What is the meaning of this lengthy and obscure
            kung-an?
                Kung-ans occurred very early  in  Ch'an  history 
            and simply become records of incidents between
            masters  and disciples  in the   context  of practice.
            These  kunt-ans  were  very much   alive, spontaneous.
            Around  the Sung  Dynasty   (960-1279)  Ch'an  masters
            began using kung-ans from the records aso investigate
            the meaning of the historical kung-an. In his attempt
            to plumb the meaning of the kung-an, the student  has
            to  abandon  knowledge,   experience,  and  reasoning,
            since the answer is not suspectible to these methods.
            He must find the answer  by ts'an kung-an   参公案, by
            "investigating the king-an. " This
           
            页381
           
            requires his sweeping from his consciousness
            everything but the kung-an.  When there is nothing in
            his mind  but the kung-an, there  is a chance  for an
            experience of Ch'an, an awakening.
                Closely related, but not identical to the  kung-
            an, is the hua-t'ou 话头. A hua-t'ou, literally "
            head of a thought", is a question   that the meditator
            inwardly asks himself. For example, "What is wu?", or
            "Who  am I?".  As in the   kung-an, the answer  is not
            resolvable  through reasoning, but requires ts'an
            hua-t'ou  参话头, "investigating   the hua-t'ou."  The
            meditator  devotes his full attention   to repeatedly,
            incessantly, asking himself the hua-t'ou. His ou, but
            by then Chan-chou had already left, saying nothing.
           
            页382
           
                Another way kung-an and hua-t'ou are closely
            related  is  that  a hua-t'ou   can  give  rise  to  a
            king-an, and vice  versa.  For example, the  question
            "The 10, 000 dharmas return to One;   to what does the
            One return?" was originally a dimple hua-t'ou. Once a
            student asked Chao-chou  this same question, to which
            the  master  answered,   "The  fabric  I  bought  from
            Ch'ing-chou  青州 weighs  seven   chin 斤." A hua-t'ou
            became a kung-an because of the interaction   with the
            master, and the answer he gave to it.
                The central or key phrase in a kung-an frequently
            serves  as the source for a hua-t'ou.   The often-used
            hua-t'ou  "What is wu?", is derived  from Chao-chou's
            "Does a dog have Buddha-nature?" kung-an.
                P'ang Yun 庞蕴 (?-811) a lay disciple of  Ma-tsu
            马祖, resolved to follow the Path, threw his   wealth
            into the river, and became a  basket   weaver.  While
            plying his trade one day, he met a monk begging   for
            alms. Giving the  monk  some   money,   Layman  P'ang
            asked him, "what is the meaning of   giving  alms? "
            The monk said, "I don't know. What is the meaning of
            giving alms?" And Layman P'ang   replied,  "Very  few
            people have heard about it." The monk   answered,  "I
            don't understand." And Layman P'ang asked,   "who  is
            it that doesn't understand?" This incident became  a
            kung-an that gave birth to a whole series   of hua-t'
            ous of the "who" type. Some variations on  it  were
            "Who is reciting Buddha's name?", "Who is investigating
            Ch'an?", "Who is dragging a corpse? " ect.
                However, many hua-t'ous have no relationship
            whatever to kung-ans, but are simply questions
            concerning Buddha-nature that either arise spontaneously,
            or are assigned by the master as a method of practice.
           
                As we said, the use of the kung-an  or  hua-t'ou
            from previous records was not common until the   Sung
            dynasty 宋朝, with the  appearance of The Transmission
             of the Lamp 传灯录. This text contained many
            spontaneous kung-ans and hua-t'ous. Fen-yang
           
            页383
           
            Shan-chao 汾阳善昭 (947-1024) compiled   a collection
            of 100 kung-ans, called Hsien-hsien ipai Chih 先贤一
            百则, One Hundred Selections from Previous Sages.
            Wu-men Hui-k'ai 无门慧开 (1183-1260) compiled a
            collection of 48 kung-ans, called Wu-men kuan 无门关
            (Mu-monkan), the Gateless Gate. These all promoted and
            encouraged the use of kung-ans.
                The records of the Ch'an  sect,   including  the
            Transmission of the Lamp,  and  the   collections  of
            kung-ans, do not frequently refer to tso-ch'an practice.
            It was understood that by the time practioners   began
            to  ts'an  Ch'an,  they   already   had  a  very  good
            foundation  in tso-ch'an.  Such a basis is needed  if
            one is to effectively  practice kung-an and hua-t'ou.
            Beginners   may  get  some   usefulness   out  of  the
            constant  repetition, but  this   will  be similar  to
            chanting  a mantra.  Because   the beginner  lacks the
            ability to bring his mind to a deep quiescent   state,
            it  would   be  difficult,   if  not   impossible   to
            experience self-nature or become enlightened.
                Throughout  Ch'an   history  we read  of advanced
            practitioners who visited masters in order   to  assess
            their own understanding of Ch'an, or   certify  their
            own attainment. These  situations   were  well-suited
            for applying the methods of kung-an and hua-t'ou. It 
            is important to remember that any interchange between
             master and disciple can be an opportunity   for  a
            live, spontaneous kung-an or hua-t'ou, and that these
            practices  should not be thought  of as being limited
            to the  sayings  and questions   from  the  historical
            record.
                Ta-hui Tsung-kao 大慧宗杲 (1089-1163) was one of
            the greatest advocates of kung-an practice. From his
            record of sayings we see that he maintained that tso
            -ch'an was very necessary to  settle   the  wandering
            mind, and bring about emergent samadhi. It   is  only
            then that the student can effectively use the   kung-
            an or hua-t'ou. Even though kung-an and hua-t'ou
            practice can be done while walking, standing, or  even
            lying down, its fundamental basis is still tso-ch'an.
           
            页384
           
                If through tso-ch'an a student's mind has become
            very peaceful and  stable,  the   application  of the 
            kung-an or hua-t'ou may cause the rising of the Great
            Doubt 大疑情. This doubt is not the ordinary doubt of
            questioning  the  truth  of an assertion.  It  is the
            doubt  that arises  out of ts'an Ch'an, investigating
            Ch'an.   It  refers  to   the  practitioner's   deeply
            questioning  state  of mind as a result  of using the
            kung-an or hua-t'ou. The resolution of the kung-an or
            hua-t'ou hinges on the nurturing  of the great doubt.
            Because  the  answer  to   his  questions   cannot  be
            resolved by logic, he must continually   return to his
            question, and  in  the  process, clear  his  mind  of
            everything else except the Great Doubt.
                Eventually, this accumulated "doubt  mass"  疑团
            can disappear in one of two ways. One way   is  that,
            due to lack of concentration or energy, the meditator
            will  not be able  to sustain   the doubt, and it will
            dissipate.  Another  way is that by persisting  until
            his doubt  is like a "hot  ball of iron stuck  in his
            throat",  the  doubt    mass  will  disappear   in  an
            expollution. If the explosion has enough energy, it is
            possible  that the student  will experience  "Ch'an",
            see Buddha-nature, become enlightened.  If not, there
            will probably  still be some attachment   in his mind.
            It  is  necessary   for   a  master  to  confirm   his
            experience, since  the student, with rare exceptions,
            cannot  do that himself.  Even as great  a master  as
            Ta-hui  did not penetrate   sufficiently  on his first
            experience.  His master  Yuan-wu   K'e-ch'in  圆悟克勤
            told him, "you have  died, but you haven't  come back
            to life." He was confirmed  on his second experience.
            So  what  is a true  experience? It  takes  an  adept
            master  to tell.  If he is not   a genuine  master, he
            won't know the difference.
           
            Tso-ch'an After Enlightenment
           
                In the Sung Dynasty, Ch'ang-lu Tsung-tse  长芦宗
            颐 wrote the Tso-ch'an i 坐禅仪,The Manual of tso-ch'an.
            In it, he said that a person who has just experienced
            Buddha-nature should con-
                  
           
            页385
           
            tinue to practice tso-ch'an. Then it is possible  to
            become like the dragon who gains the water, and   the
            tiger who enters the mountains. The   dragon  gaining
            the water returns to his ancestral home, and is free
            to dive as deep as he wishes. The tiger entering the
            mountain has no opposition; he may ascend the heights
            and roam wherever he wills. So Ch'ang-lu   is  saying
            that practicing tso-ch'an after enlightenment enhance
            and deepens one's realization.
                Yueh-shan     Wei-yen   药山惟俨   (745-828),   an
            enlightened  monk, was doing   tso-ch'an.  His master,
            Shih-t'ou  asked him, "What  are you doing  tso-ch'an
            for? " Yueh-shan answered, "Not for anything."  "That
            means  you are  sitting   idly", Shih-t'ou  continued.
            Yueh-shan  said, "If this is idle   sitting, then that
            would be for something."  The master then said, "What
            is it that  is not for anything?" The monk  answered,
            "A thousand sages won't know."
                On the one hand, we say that  persons  who  have
            had realization should do tso-ch'an to enhance their
            enlightenment;   on  the   other   hand,  we  say  the
            enlightened person sits without purpose.   What is the
            explanation? For the practitioner whose enlightenment
            is not deep, practice is necessary to deepen it;  for
            one who is deeply enlightened, practice   is just part
            of daily life.
                One day, when Ch'ao-chou was already  thoroughly
            enlightened and actively helping others, his tso-ch'
            an was interrupted by a visit from a prince. He   did
            not rise from his seat, explaining   himself  with  a
            verse:
                Ever since youth I have foregone meat. This body
            is now old. When visitors come, I have  no   strength
            to rise from the Buddha-seat.
                Later, when a messenger of the prince came, Chao
            -chou did rise from his seat to greet the man.   Chao
            chou's puzzled attendant asked him why he got up  for
            the man of lesser rank.
           
            页386
           
            Chao-chou said, "When people of the first rank call,
            I receive them at my cushion. When the   second  rank
            call, I come down from my cushion. But   when  people
            of the third rank come, I go to the temple   gate  to
            greet them."  These anecdotes convey the  idea  that 
            the enlightened ancient masters still regarded
            tso-ch'an as very important.
                However, if we wish to practice the  Samadhi  of
            One Act, as advocated by Hui-neng, we will   remember
            that in the true tso-ch'an the mind does   not  abide
            in anything, hence is not limited to finding expression
            in sitting. For one who can continuously practice
            the Samadhi of One Act, the ultimate tso-ch'an   is no
            tso-ch'an.


     

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