No idea how long this will last, but for the moment I am intrigued by getting up some historical background into the zen masters who inhabit my koans.
Lingi. Lets start with Lingi, because, well, because John seems to like to talk about him. Then we can move from there.
Lingi was born in the Tang Dynasty, in China. That means very little to me. It doesn't look like anyone knows when he was born, but he died in 866. Linji was trained by the Chan master Huángbò Xīyùn , who, from what I understand, was a tall cat who seemed to like to encourage students into awakening by hitting them or shouting. This seems a bit childish, but its important to realize that this was before the internet and entertainment was pretty limited in rural China. There is no record on how many students this worked with, but it kind of worked on Lingi, who, according to legend, was struck by Huangbo in response to what sounded like a pretty reasonable question to me, and, taking it for a signal of his failure, left the monastery to take up with a reclusive monk, Dayu. According to the Record of Linji, Lingi then was enlightened while discussing Huángbò's teaching during a conversation with Dàyú, who called Lingi an ingrate for not recognizing how kind and caring Huangbo had been in striking him. Linji then returned to Huángbò to continue his training after awakening. In 851, Linji moved to the Linji temple in Hebei, where he took his name, which also became the name for the lineage of his form of Chán Buddhism.
Lingi is credited with the instruction that if you should meet a Buddha, "Kill him". The full quote is:
Followers of the Way, if you want to get the kind of understanding that accords with the dharma, never be misled by others. Whether you're facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it! If you meet a buddha kill the buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat [whatever that is]. If you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk. Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go.
So, that's pretty much it. Comments?
“A Course on Koans” is the delusion-riddled work of Chris Kufu (“Wind in the Void”) Wilson, who began practicing Zen in 1967. He regards Taizan Maezumi, Robert Aitken, and David Weinstein as his root teachers. Each of them pecked at his shell until he “completed” the never-ending koan curriculum of the Harada-Yasutani lineage.
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