Archive for August, 2007

Calea vidarii in buddhismul Zen si in Taoism

August 24, 2007

Zen and Taoist Way-The Koan Method of Emptying the Mind
Empty your Mind and Tune into the Cosmic Mind
Lao Tzu (Chapter 11)
11.Usefulness of Emptiness(Utilitatea golirii mintii)
Enso_intro 1

Enso In Zen a brushed-ink painting of a circle, usually depicted in a single brushstroke.

Among its many meanings, the enso represents and infinite void, the true nature of existence and enlightenment.

Zen (Dhyana in Sanskrit, Chan in Chinese) ‘Meditation’in the broadest possible sense, a meditation that is manifest in both mind and body; unity between the spiritual and the physical.

Thirty spokes are united in one hub (to make a wheel);
But the usefulness(the function) of the wheel depends on the empty space- the center hole of the hub
Clay is molded into a vessel or a bowl
But it is the empty space within that makes it useful
Doors and windows are cut out of the walls of a house,
But it is the empty(open) space inside that makes it useful(livable)
Therefore take advantage of what exists(the mind radio receiver ),
But use the emptiness(to open a way to enter in tune into the Cosmic Mind broadcast ).

Note:* The Koan(the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters kung an) is a method of paradoxical questioning (Questions Without Answers) , used in Zen Buddhism in order to stop and empty the mind.
Koans are intended to aid in the attainment of Enlightenment (satori; wu)
This method implies the rejecting of all answers based on mediated knowledge(thinking,logical,analogical,sensorial) until a state of Enlightenment is realised ( until we see and taste directly the Ultimate reality due to the transition or the openning of our subtle eyes , our inner senses).
But remember Zen master Sengai Gibon (1750-1837):
“The true method is no method”
The meaning of koans is not to be found in the words or actions used, but above the ordinary linguistic level.
The intention of the koan is to bring about a state of Enlightenment, devoid of conceptualization, beyond the realm of words and even thought. The main characteristic of each koan is the paradox, «that which is beyond » (in Greek language:«para» means:”beyond” and «dokein» means:”thinking” ),so the meaning is :”that wich transceds the logical or rational thinking.The Koan is not an enigma because is not a prob
lem that can be solved using our thinking.The answer to a koan derives from a sudden change of the level of understanding from a transition in an other state of consciousness.
Koan -A riddle-like puzzle used for teaching in Zen Buddhism. It cannot be solved by reason, but instead forces the student to solve it through a flash of insight. Its solution requires that students directly and intuitively perceive the true nature of reality
There are two types of koans, questions without answers and statements by Masters
The whole text of Lao Tzu is considered to be a Koan whose goal is to empty and stop the mind of the one who is in search of the ultimate reality:Tao.The same tactical target(nirodha:stopping emptying stilling of the mind’s fluctuations or waves is anounced by Patanjali in Yoga Sutra 1.2:
YS 1.2. Romanian: Yoga(starea unificata) înseamnă nirodha (stingerea constienta [a procesului de identificare cu) vrittis (lit.:”vartejurile; vrie”,impulsurile; fluctuatiile;valurile;oscilatiile,gandurile;emotiile) din chitta (minte);

English: Yoga is the cessation [nirodha:stopping,emptying,stilling (in the sense of continual and vigilant watchfulness)] of the indentification with the fluctuations (vritti:activities,modifications,impulses, the thought forms,workings) of the mind (chitta) /
French:Le Yoga est la nirodha(extinction,restriction,suspension) [de l’identification avec les] vritti(modifications, fluctuations, impulsions, mouvements) de (ou dans)] chitta (mental;esprit,pensee;conscience)/
Spanish:El estado unificado del "Yoga" surge cuando cesa (nirodha) la vritti 
(agitación,pensamientos,emociones y sensaciones fluctuantes) de la chitta (Mente);
 See also:


Pi-yen-lu [în pinyin:biyanlu; în jap.Hekigan-roku;lit.:«scrierile falezei bleu-gri»]este cea mai veche culegere de koan 
din textele ch’an[denumirea chineză a buddhismului zen].
Pi-yen-lu este împreună cu Wu-men-kuan [lit.:«bariera fără poartă»]cel mai important.

Tot textul lui Lao tzu este considerat un kôan.

Exemple de kôan:«Care este sunetul produs de o singură palmă?.»

Zen Buddhism places greater emphasis on personal religious experience acquired through meditation than on scripture; The goal of Zen is enlightenment or satori. Since this enlightenment involves the ability to see things “as they really are” ., without conceptualizations, the Zen Buddhist believe that the dependence upon words and conceptions should be curtailed . The koan system was developed among Zen Buddhists as a means of facilitating the attainment of satori through meditation. One should understand that the koan is not an object on which the Zen Buddhists meditates in order to reach satori; rather, it is a device. to “develop systematically in the consciousness of the Zen followers what the early masters produced in themselves spontaneously” . This consciousness is devoid of conceptualization and dichotomization, and thus the koan cannot be seen as an object of meditation. To meditate on the words of a koan is an error; rather, one should meditate in order to prepare oneself for realization of that which the koan exemplifies. Prior to the development of the koan system, this consciousness of ultimate reality (satori) was transmitted by means of questions and answers (mondo) between Masters and students

Zen Buddhism stressed that enlightenment came as a sudden, immediate flash of intuition reached by breaking the restrictions of normal behaviour and thinking.

Zen masters guided their students to enlightenment by posing seemingly nonsensical questions (koan), of which the most famous is probably ‘what is the sound of one hand clapping?’

The Zen style of painting, known as Zenga, typically uses quick, expressive brushstrokes in black ink in accordance with the Zen emphasis on the immediate and intuitive. The paintings are

displayed in the format of a hanging scroll and used to remind followers of Zen masters of the

insights available through Buddhist practice.

Zenga, literally ‘Zen pictures’, are works of Zen ink painting and calligraphy made in Japan from the Edo period (1600-1868) until the present day. Simple yet profound, spontaneous yet controlled, Zenga are intended to communicate the vision of Zen masters and to reveal the essence of Zen Buddhism.

Zen art first appeared in China. Originally, Buddhist art in China was highly structured and strictly detailed.

Zen teachings, however, inspired Chinese Zen artists to break confining rules, allowing them to portray the ‘heart of things’ dynamically with a few vital strokes,using nothing more than a brush, black ink, water and paper or silk.

Executed as a form of Zen activity, Zenga were used as a tool for meditation and spiritual teaching,and subjects range from fierce-looking Zen patriarchs to minimal landscapes, from intense calligraphy to whimsically-depicted, almost cartoon-like illustrations of Zen conundrums.

Characterised by their dynamic brushstrokes and often humorous images, these inspired works were mostly created by untrained painters whowere monks first and artists second.


The great Zen artists Fugai, Hakuin and Sengai firmly established Zenga as a medium for teaching Zen. They regarded painting and calligraphy as ‘visual sermons’(e-seppo): Zenga are far more accessible than dry texts and their impact is immediate and long lasting – even if the meaning is not at first clear.

Following the example of Hakuin and Sengai, it became de rigueur for Zen masters to do much of their teaching through the medium of brush and ink, and our presentation includes examples of works from successive generations of several different Zen traditions.

A look at works in the Hakuin monastic line shows clearly how the master’s artistic influence has affected each painting,yet how the brushwork, tonality and line quality of each artist are all quite distinct, demonstrating the point that Zenga reflects inner vision of each Zen master

Representative key themes in Zen art are:

1 Daruma, the bearded and fierce-looking founder of Zen Buddhism

2 Kanzan and Jittoku, the mountain dwelling eccentric pair

3 Calligraphy, pictograms expressing the spirit of the artist

4 Procession of monks, whimsical line of monks on their alms round

5 Dragon and tiger, powerful symbols of heaven and earth

6 Enso, the ink circle completed in one brushstroke