Within the Chan and Zen traditions, says Guo Gu, enlightenment isn’t one thing we create or obtain. It’s who we already are.
All sentient beings are replete with buddhanature. It is just because of their vexations that they have no idea or understand it. Thus, you could diligently domesticate expediencies to eradicate vexations.
In early Indian Buddhist scriptures, enlightenment referred to Sakyamuni’s good realization—his achievement of buddhahood and liberation from samsara after numerous lifetimes of practising the perfections. Later, Mahayana scriptures emerged to expound on the bodhisattva path, which made buddhahood obtainable to all who can arouse a compassionate resolve to attain enlightenment so as to save all beings.
In its most totally developed kind in China, the bodhisattva path entailed some fifty-two totally different levels of non secular growth over the span of three unimaginable, incalculable eons of time. Buddhahood, perfection, or enlightenment had been without delay extraordinarily alluring however far faraway from the on a regular basis lifetime of practitioners.
It was on this context that Chan Buddhism emerged as a response to the convoluted theories of Buddhist scholasticism. Aiming to return to the unique intent of the Buddha, Chan introduced buddhahood and enlightenment down from the clouds of abstraction and taught it in a approach that was accessible on this life.
In Chan Buddhism, and by extension Japanese Zen and Korean Seon, buddhahood is synonymous with realizing the true nature of thoughts, which is intrinsically free from greed, hatred, and ignorance. Although these vexations delude us, they don’t outline our true potential. Briefly, thoughts is buddha and awakening is our nature. We’re already free.
In Japanese Soto Zen, the embodiment of this apply is known as “simply sitting,” or shikantaza, through which apply is perceived as equivalent to awakening. Correctly carried out, the act of sitting, or some other act in life, is a solution to manifest one’s already woke up nature, the buddhanature that’s innate in all beings. Apply, from this angle, isn’t a lot a path of liberation from samsara or of transformation from imperfection to perfection, however a path of recognition of what’s already full.
This isn’t to say that deluded pondering and vexations are confused with awakening. Removed from it. It’s simply that diligent apply can’t and shouldn’t be dirty by our behavior tendencies of gaining or shedding, having or missing, searching for or rejecting, that are the very core of self-referentiality. Chan grasp Hongzhi Zhengjue referred to as this apply of embodied awakening “silent illumination,” the simultaneous cultivation of stillness and exercise, vacancy and responsiveness, selfless knowledge and compassion.
From the angle of Chan, Zen, and Seon, with out this conviction that we’re already free, all types of apply—be it simply sitting, silent illumination, breath consciousness, or koan apply—inevitably turn into sure up with reinforcing the delusions that conceal our woke up nature. However with thoughts as buddha and awakening as our nature, the profound truths of vacancy and impermanence might be lived, skilled, and embodied as connections and potentialities.