A different definition of buddha, dharma and sangha

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  ajay00 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #40355

    steve mareno
    Participant

    My copy of The Compass of Zen by Seung Sahn arrived today and I can’t seem to put it down. By and large, books on Zen are not so good, and they are after all only books. Zen points directly to experiencing reality w/ no reliance on words, but sometimes a great book can hit the mark in places.

    Seung Sahn wrote: “The original Buddha, Dharma and Sangha have all disappeared. And the forms of the original Buddha, Dharma and Sangha that we see today are all very different, from place to place, from country to country, and from temple to temple. Then what is true Buddha? What is true Dharma? What is true Sangha?…….Your pure mind is Buddha. When your pure mind light shines clearly from moment to moment, that is Dharma. And when your mind functions with no hindrance in any situation, that is Sangha”.

    I really like this original take on the Three Jewels. Often I have thought that the Three Jewels were simply clever ways to perpetuate established temples and traditions. Keeping the hierarchy intact seems the be their intent. It’s a way to always have a temple, always keep the teacher employed, and always have students that will be taught by the “master”. Seung Sahn destroys this w/ just a few sentences.

    This really hit home for me recently. I had finally given up on my Shambhala sangha because their Tibetan/Trungpa beliefs were just causing too much trouble w/ my Zen-no-beliefs. Every conversation w/ them seemed to revolve around one Hindu type of deity or another, and they had a plethora of beliefs that I do not subscribe to. It was difficult to make the break because I had recently moved to this new city, my relationship of 13 years had suddenly gone “poof” in the space of a few hours!, and I had been going to Shambhala mostly for some social contacts, as well as a place to meditate w/ others.

    So I was biking through some nice neighborhoods on the way home last night, looking at the Christmas decorations and seeing the families through the windows, and thought to myself “How the hell did this happen? I’m all alone in a new city, the wife is gone, I have no real friends here (but a few hopeful friends), my constant companion of eight years Sissy the cat is recently dead from a long bout w/ cancer. What has happened to me?” So I went home, set my clock to meditate for 25 minutes, and mistakenly set it for 45 minutes. It sure seemed like a long time, but you know how that goes. Sometimes 5 minutes can seem like 30 minutes, sometimes it flies by. When it finally went off I was pretty deep into the meditation, and as I went to turn off the alarm I had this insight….we are NEVER alone. Yes, this physical body is currently alone at home, but we are all connected, always, and the connection is to everyone and everything w/o end. To the sky, the trees, etc. Even Sissy who is now dead, we are still connected even though her body is gone. I am not this body, that’s a very small view, a wrong view. My consciousness is actually all consciousness. My relationship, Sissy’s body, my body, this feeling of aloneness earlier, these are all impermanent. So Seung Saun’s message resonated when I read that today.

  • #40356

    Mark Knickelbine
    Keymaster

    Steve, I’m sorry you’re having to go through so much now. Thanks for sharing this insight. I like the idea of sangha defined as a situational response, presumably one that involves other beings. If sangha is the community of those practicing for awakening, then every gesture we make from awakened mind actualizes that project and facilitates the awakening of everybody.

  • #40360
    Michael Finley
    Michael Finley
    Participant

    I’ve always thought that taking refuge in the sangha meant finding some support in the fact that there are other like-minded people, but I really do think you you’re on the something, Steve — taking refuge in the humanity* of others, in shared experience (at least when the ego shields are down). I guess we’re all products of our experience with others. Do we really have any existence apart from the shared web of connections? Anyway, I’m quite sure we are not just atoms that merely bump into each other in the night.

    One of Stephen Batchelor’s first books had the title “Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism.” It been quite a while since I read it, and so I’m not sure how directly relevent it is here, but the title is suggestive.

    *in which I include dogs & cats I have known well.

  • #40361
    Jennifer Hawkins
    Jennifer Hawkins
    Keymaster

    Thank you for sharing this. It gives me something to think about. Also I am glad you had a breakthrough to help with your sufferings. I hope you find a group that is better for you, and if things start to really pile on emotionally for you, please seek out ways and resources to help yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that; many of us here at SBA have been in that exact spot. I think I have in particular. We love you

  • #40445

    ajay00
    Participant

    Seung Sahn wrote: “The original Buddha, Dharma and Sangha have all disappeared. And the forms of the original Buddha, Dharma and Sangha that we see today are all very different, from place to place, from country to country, and from temple to temple. Then what is true Buddha? What is true Dharma? What is true Sangha?…….Your pure mind is Buddha. When your pure mind light shines clearly from moment to moment, that is Dharma. And when your mind functions with no hindrance in any situation, that is Sangha”.

    Yes, this saying of Seung Sahn is very insightful. The true Buddha is but the pure mind and nothing else. Buddhism may vary from place to place according to the customs and practices of the saints that have come up in that place in time. But the goal of Buddhist practice in all places is meant to be the attainment of this ‘pure mind’. The pure mind, purged of its unconsciousness or Sankharas, sees the reality or truth as it is, without any prejudices or conditioning colouring the perception.

    This saying of Seung Sahn applies not just to the different sects of Buddhism, but also with respect to the different religions of the world as well.

    This saying brought to my mind a corresponding saying of Jesus Christ, whom I see as an enlightened master or Buddha Himself.

    ” Blessed are the pure at heart for they shall see God.”

    It is the pure mind that reflects the Buddha nature, which was referred to as God by Jesus, so that the common people in those times could comprehend it as per their religious understanding.

    Mindfulness ( constant awareness ) is the true virtue. - Buddha

    Self-awareness is yoga. -- Nisargadatta Maharaj

    Evil is an extreme manifestation of human unconsciousness. -- Eckhart Tolle

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