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splitting hairs?

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  • richard horvitz
    Buddha seemed to teach using ordinary language for the most part as opposed to later teachers who have preferred to speak in riddles, where words are put
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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      Buddha seemed to teach using ordinary language for the most part as opposed to later teachers who have preferred
      to speak in riddles, where words are put together more as performance art than as ordinary language.  Historically, when did this change take place?  Were students at the time so into splitting linguistic hairs that the teachers just couldn't take it any more?
      Is performance art a more effective method of teaching than ordinary language?  I would appreciate answers of either form!
    • LouAnne Jaeger
      Performance art? Do you mean koan demonstrations?
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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        Performance art?  Do you mean koan demonstrations?
      • Lee
        Richard, Unlike many religions, especially revealed ones, Buddhism is dynamic and expedient ways have been developed as time passed and Buddhism entered
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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          Richard,

                Unlike many religions, especially revealed ones, Buddhism is dynamic and expedient ways have been developed as time passed and Buddhism entered different countries.

              At the Buddha's time, mostly the most capable were taught.  But as the "big boat" developed and Vajrayana, ways to share the Dharma were developed for people of all intellects and abilities.

                         Call it evolution.

          Maitri,

          --
          Lee Love in Minneapolis
          http://mingeisota.blogspot.com/

          "Ta tIr na n-óg ar chul an tI—tIr dlainn trina chéile"—that is, "The land of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent within itself." -- John O'Donohue
        • richard horvitz
          I suppose that is what I mean. The pieces in The Gateless Gate are koans? Are these supposed to be actual dialogues that occurred? When the monk asks
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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            I suppose that is what I mean.  The pieces in "The Gateless Gate" are koans?  Are these supposed to be actual dialogues that occurred?  When the monk asks "What is Buddha?" what was his expectation?  Did he know he was playing the role of the "straight man"?

            On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 11:26 AM, LouAnne Jaeger <louannejaeger@...> wrote:
             

            Performance art?  Do you mean koan demonstrations?



          • LouAnne Jaeger
            Yes, the pieces in the Mumonkan are koans. They are supposed to be records of actual encounters between people, but it doesn t really matter if they are or
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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              Yes, the pieces in the Mumonkan are koans.

              They are supposed to be records of actual encounters between people, but it doesn't really matter if they are or not.

              Don't assume that the monk asking "What is Buddha" is being the straight man.  One of the jobs of the student working on the koan is to discern what the mindset of the ask-er is.  Is the monk a newbie, and is asking a genuine question?  Or is the monk someone more experienced who is engaging in Dharma combat with Joshu, or whoever? 

              Sometimes the answers to koans can be given just with words, and sometimes a physical demonstration is needed.  Either way, the teacher has to see that the student has "absorbed" the koan into his or her body, making the understanding more complete.  Answers to koans could be "learned", but a good teacher knows whether or not the koan has been fully understood.

              Finally, koan books can be gone through many times; the student can get deeper into the koan each time.  There's a lot of value in that!

              Lou Anne



              On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:36 PM, richard horvitz <richard.horvitz@...> wrote:
               

              I suppose that is what I mean.  The pieces in "The Gateless Gate" are koans?  Are these supposed to be actual dialogues that occurred?  When the monk asks "What is Buddha?" what was his expectation?  Did he know he was playing the role of the "straight man"?



              On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 11:26 AM, LouAnne Jaeger <louannejaeger@...> wrote:
               

              Performance art?  Do you mean koan demonstrations?




            • Lee
              ... They were public records , not originally meant for meditation, but for study. Intention is always difficult to know from the outside. The intention s
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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                On 6/18/10, richard horvitz <richard.horvitz@...> wrote:


                I suppose that is what I mean.  The pieces in "The Gateless Gate" are koans?  Are these supposed to be actual dialogues that occurred?  When the monk asks "What is Buddha?" what was his expectation?  Did he know he was playing the role of the "straight man"?

                   They were "public records", not originally meant for meditation, but for study.
                 
                             Intention is always difficult to know from the outside.   The intention's of the monks vary from record to record, often varying according to their understanding (you have masters, adepts and novices.)  If you read them, you get that sense.

                --
                Lee Love in Minneapolis
                http://mingeisota.blogspot.com/

                "Ta tIr na n-óg ar chul an tI—tIr dlainn trina chéile"—that is, "The land of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent within itself." -- John O'Donohue
              • richard horvitz
                I understand (in general) the notion of koan and dharma combat but was puzzled by the discontinuity in the teaching with Buddha s time. Do when the koan was
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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                  I understand (in general) the notion of koan and dharma combat but was puzzled by the discontinuity in the teaching with Buddha's time.  Do when the koan was invented, and by whom?  If Baso took a time machine back to Buddha's time and tried to engage old Sid in dharma combat, what would he make of it?

                  On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:54 PM, LouAnne Jaeger <louannejaeger@...> wrote:
                   

                  Yes, the pieces in the Mumonkan are koans.

                  They are supposed to be records of actual encounters between people, but it doesn't really matter if they are or not.

                  Don't assume that the monk asking "What is Buddha" is being the straight man.  One of the jobs of the student working on the koan is to discern what the mindset of the ask-er is.  Is the monk a newbie, and is asking a genuine question?  Or is the monk someone more experienced who is engaging in Dharma combat with Joshu, or whoever? 

                  Sometimes the answers to koans can be given just with words, and sometimes a physical demonstration is needed.  Either way, the teacher has to see that the student has "absorbed" the koan into his or her body, making the understanding more complete.  Answers to koans could be "learned", but a good teacher knows whether or not the koan has been fully understood.

                  Finally, koan books can be gone through many times; the student can get deeper into the koan each time.  There's a lot of value in that!

                  Lou Anne





                  On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:36 PM, richard horvitz <richard.horvitz@...> wrote:
                   

                  I suppose that is what I mean.  The pieces in "The Gateless Gate" are koans?  Are these supposed to be actual dialogues that occurred?  When the monk asks "What is Buddha?" what was his expectation?  Did he know he was playing the role of the "straight man"?



                  On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 11:26 AM, LouAnne Jaeger <louannejaeger@...> wrote:
                   

                  Performance art?  Do you mean koan demonstrations?





                • LouAnne Jaeger
                  There are probably a lot of people in the group who could answer this better than I, but I do know the Mumonkan was first published in the early 13th century.
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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                    There are probably a lot of people in the group who could answer this better than I, but I do know the Mumonkan was first published in the early 13th century.  One would assume that they had been in use before that.

                    I would like to think that the Buddha would have laughed heartily if posed with a koan question, but who knows?  The koans reflect Chinese culture, just as the sutras reflect Indian culture. 


                    On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 2:25 PM, richard horvitz <richard.horvitz@...> wrote:
                     

                    I understand (in general) the notion of koan and dharma combat but was puzzled by the discontinuity in the teaching with Buddha's time.  Do when the koan was invented, and by whom?  If Baso took a time machine back to Buddha's time and tried to engage old Sid in dharma combat, what would he make of it?



                    On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:54 PM, LouAnne Jaeger <louannejaeger@...> wrote:
                     

                    Yes, the pieces in the Mumonkan are koans.

                    They are supposed to be records of actual encounters between people, but it doesn't really matter if they are or not.

                    Don't assume that the monk asking "What is Buddha" is being the straight man.  One of the jobs of the student working on the koan is to discern what the mindset of the ask-er is.  Is the monk a newbie, and is asking a genuine question?  Or is the monk someone more experienced who is engaging in Dharma combat with Joshu, or whoever? 

                    Sometimes the answers to koans can be given just with words, and sometimes a physical demonstration is needed.  Either way, the teacher has to see that the student has "absorbed" the koan into his or her body, making the understanding more complete.  Answers to koans could be "learned", but a good teacher knows whether or not the koan has been fully understood.

                    Finally, koan books can be gone through many times; the student can get deeper into the koan each time.  There's a lot of value in that!

                    Lou Anne





                    On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:36 PM, richard horvitz <richard.horvitz@...> wrote:
                     

                    I suppose that is what I mean.  The pieces in "The Gateless Gate" are koans?  Are these supposed to be actual dialogues that occurred?  When the monk asks "What is Buddha?" what was his expectation?  Did he know he was playing the role of the "straight man"?



                    On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 11:26 AM, LouAnne Jaeger <louannejaeger@...> wrote:
                     

                    Performance art?  Do you mean koan demonstrations?






                  • Lee
                    ... Just look in the sutras. Brhamans, Vedantists Jains, athiests, nihilists, Greeks, all sorts of people debated with the Buddha. Zen folks would be right
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 18, 2010
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                      On 6/18/10, richard horvitz <richard.horvitz@...> wrote:


                      I understand (in general) the notion of koan and dharma combat but was puzzled by the discontinuity in the teaching with Buddha's time.  Do when the koan was invented, and by whom?  If Baso took a time machine back to Buddha's time and tried to engage old Sid in dharma combat, what would he make of it?

                      Just look in the sutras.  Brhamans, Vedantists  Jains, athiests, nihilists, Greeks, all sorts of people debated with the Buddha. Zen folks would be right in place.

                      --
                      Lee Love in Minneapolis
                      http://mingeisota.blogspot.com/

                      "Ta tIr na n-óg ar chul an tI—tIr dlainn trina chéile"—that is, "The land of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent within itself." -- John O'Donohue
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