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Distinguishing Soto and Rinzai Zen: Manas and the Mental Mechanics of Meditation

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Abstract

Scholars have underestimated and misunderstood the distinction between Soto and Rinzai, the two major branches of Zen Buddhism, because they have either parroted the sectarian polemics of the schools themselves or, as in the case of prominent scholars Carl Bielefeldt and T. P. Kasulis, dismissed these polemics as deriving from institutional politics rather than substantive doctrinal or practical differences. Here it is attempted for the first time to understand the polemics of these two schools as reflecting a real disparity in concept and practice. The psychological concept of manas of the Yogacara or "mind-only" school, a Buddhist philosophical tradition that is foundational to Mahayana Buddhist meditation practice and to Zen, is investigated. This concept is used to explicate the mental mechanics of meditation in order to appreciate the criticisms of classical Zen Masters directed against each other and thereby to understand important conceptual and practical differences between the two schools.
DISTINGUISHING SO
Å
TO
Å
AND RINZAI ZEN: MANAS AND
THE MENTAL MECHANICS OF MEDITATION
Rui Zhu
Philosophy Department, Lake Forest College
Modern scholars have never successfully distinguished So
Å
to
Å
ù (Chin. Cao-dong)
from Rinzai
èß (Chin. Lin-ji), the two major schools of Zen Buddhism, because
they have tended to fall into one of two camps: either they accept the traditional
polemics of the two schools as representing the facts of the matter, or, following
Carl Bielefeldt and T. P. Kasulis, dismissed these polemics as not reflecting any sub-
stantive difference. By means of proposing a new point of departure in addressing
this issue, this essay seeks for the first time to explain the polemics between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai as reflecting real disparity, while refusing to join the two adversaries in
their polemical stances.
Since the crux of the issue is located in the question of whether or not the form
of seated meditation (zazen) practiced by the two Zen schools involves a distinct
``non-thinking'' technique, the attention of scholars has correctly been devoted to
deciphering the two enigmatic phrases for ``non-thinking'' in Japanese: fu shiryo
Å
Ï
(Chin. bu-si-liang) and hi shiryo
Å
^Ï (Chin. fei-si-liang). While shiryo
Å
Ï
(Chin. si-liang) means thinking, fu (Chin. bu) and hi ^ (Chin. fei) are negative
prefixes, the meanings of which are generally interchangeable. Because Zen masters
use both these phrasesÐfu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
Ðto describe the state of mind in
meditation, sometimes privileging one phrase over the other, the following seems
to us a workable hypothesis: if any significant distinction can be found between fu
shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
, we may have located clues to important theoretical and practi-
cal distinctions between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai Zen.
Both Kasulis and Bielefeldt have worked under this hypothesis. They endeavor
to find a solution to the question of how the two negativesÐfu and hiÐmight negate
thinking differently. By comparing the connotations of the two negatives in associa-
tion with the stem word shiryo
Å
(thinking), they have declared either that the differ-
ences have resulted from distinctions in the two negative prefixes (Kasulis), or that
their lack of substantive difference (Bielefeldt) lends little support to the claim
that So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai are at variance with each other with regard to non-thinking.
Through this means, what seemed to be doctrinal and practical disputes are reduced
to the status of institutional politics.
The thesis of this essay is that Kasulis and Bielefeldt have failed to notice subtle
differences in the earlier technical meaning of ``thinking'' and therefore are not in a
position to see the doctrinal differences at stake in this dispute. Shiryo
Å
is a Japanese
rendering of the Chinese phrase si-liang, which is a standard translation for the San-
skrit word manas. While all these terms can generally be paraphrased by the term
``thinking,'' their technical specificity is obscured by the familiarity we feel toward
426 Philosophy East & West Volume 55, Number 3 July 2005 426±446
> 2005 by University of Hawai`i Press
the English word ``thinking.'' An adequate explanation of seated meditation must
take into account not only the differences between the two negative prefixesÐfu
and hiÐbut also the cognitive theory inherited by Zen from the ancient Indian
``mind-only'' philosophical/meditation tradition. The mystery of manas hidden be-
hind the innocent word ``thinking'' holds the key to one significant question in the
history of Zen: are So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai really different?
The situation, therefore, comes to this: while Zen sectarianism inflates the truth
about the distinct character of each sect, disinterested scholars have unduly down-
played the genuine disagreements between the founding figures in these two classi-
cal forms of Zen. If passion and historical conservatism are to blame for partisan
polemics, the failure of modern scholars such as Bielefeldt and Kasulis is attributable
to the deceptive, unproblematic nature of the concept ``thinking'' as we experience it
in our own language. Focusing on differences in the negative prefixes rather than on
the root word for ``thinking'' (shiryo
Å
), they have not appreciated subtle differences in
the root word ``thinking.'' If we keep in mind that ``thinking'' in Zen is traceable to the
Sanskrit word manas, we are more likely to notice that this technical term included
two distinct cognitive functions: intentionality and discrimination (vikalpa; Chin. fen-
bie
%; Jpn. bunbetsu/fenbetsu). Rather than being used to negate a singular mean-
ing of ``thinking,'' the Japanese negative prefixes fu and hi are used to negate one or
the other of these two distinct mental functions. Once this is understood, we are not
far away from the goal of sorting out the disagreements between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai
without falling victim to sectarianism or dismissing the difference altogether.
In our progress toward the goal, we will first examine the sectarian dispute with-
in its historical context and suggest a moderate position between partisanship and
total disregard. We will also substantiate further the criticisms of Kasulis and Biele-
feldt by making clear the distinction between fu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
. A significant
part of the first half of this essay will be devoted to the elucidation of the concept
of manas in the context of the cognitive theories of the ``mind-only'' tradition. There
we construe fu shiryo
Å
as rectifying or negating the intentional, and hi shiryo
Å
as
negating or rectifying the discriminative aspect of the mind in meditation. In the clos-
ing three sections it will be argued that meditation in Rinzai Zen is a series of self-
contained processes beginning with hi shiryo
Å
and ending with fu shiryo
Å
, whereas in
the So
Å
to
Å
tradition of Zen, hi shiryo
Å
displaces and absorbs fu shiryo
Å
in higher levels of
meditation. These subtle differences in understanding mental states of So
Å
to
Å
and Rin-
zai practitioners will be sufficient to justify and interpret the disagreements between
the classical Zen masters in these two schools, while setting their institutional sectari-
anism aside.
1. Sectarian Feud
More and more scholars today have come to believe that the feud between So
Å
to
Å
and
Rinzai is more sectarian than indicative of fundamental disagreements, especially
when the matter comes to the practice of zazen. Practitioners from both sects might
have reproached each other for failing to follow the right path of cultivation, but
Rui Zhu 427
their theoretical dispute could hardly make any difference to the practice of seated
meditation. This is the prevailing belief of today.
There is strong evidence to support this sober view in the midst of the sectarian
sound and fury. Traditionally, Rinzai Zen is branded by its opponents as kanna
q
(Chin. kan-hua), ``looking at a saying,'' whereas So
Å
to
Å
Zen is labeled as mokusho
Å
Ø
g
, ``silent illumination.'' Both terms are somewhat derogatory and misleading. Fol-
lowers of So
Å
to
Å
Zen use the label of kanna to accuse Rinzai of practicing the demonic
cult of words. According to them, kanna represents a degeneration that betrays the
characteristic rejection of words by patriarchal Zen. In contrast, Rinzai blames So
Å
to
Å
for its single-minded attachment to dead sitting and for its failure to appreciate the
dynamics of zazen. In the history of Zen, these criticisms have played certain roles
in combating Zen dilettantism. But the significance of these criticisms is often exag-
gerated and used to obscure the fact that both kanna and sitting were adopted by the
ancient masters of the two sects. Hakuin, the illustrious master of Rinzai of the late
seventeenth century, did not hesitate to urge a sick monk to exploit the opportunity
of being unburdened from daily activities due to his illness and focus on seated
meditation, although Hakuin's criticism of silent illumination was by then already
well known. He writes to the monk, in ``Orategama II'': ``For effective meditation
nothing is better than practice when one is ill'' (Hakuin 1971, p. 75). Do
Å
gen uses
the ko
Å
an frequently and describes seated meditation as the ``realization of the
ko
Å
an'' (ko
Å
an genjo
Å
). Despite his harsh criticism of Rinzai masters such as Ta-hui,
Do
Å
gen never regards himself as the founder of So
Å
to
Å
in Japan. His disinterest in parti-
san polemics speaks best against the sectarian opposition of the later generations.
2. Forms of Zazen
Since we have acknowledged the fact that the feud between the two schools of Zen
is mostly a mere sectarian gesture, shall we endorse the belief that there is no differ-
ence in the meditation practice between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai? But, then, isn't it odd to
say that while masters such as Ta-hui (Rinzai), Do
Å
gen, and Hakuin are involved in
the dispute, all the wringing of arms amounts to nothing? After all, there is little Zen
outside zazen. If their dispute were in no way indicative of the underlying diver-
gence in their respective practices, it would look as if the recurrent warnings in
Do
Å
gen's and Hakuin's writings against the perceived heretical paths of Zen medita-
tion were much ado about nothing. Perhaps this is exactly the message that many of
today's scholars are itching to spread. Bielefeldt once concluded that ``[Do
Å
gen's]
vaunted shikan taza [
ê¡SP; Chin. zhi-guan-da-zuo, just sitting], when stripped
of its theoretical trappings, is a rather unremarkable concentration exercise'' (Biele-
feldt 1988, p. 150).
Neutralizing the partisan polemics to either a purely theoretical level (Bielefeldt)
or a matter of perspectives (Kasulis) is troubling for two reasons. First, one of the fun-
damental stances of Zen is that no theorization is necessary if it does not have any
practical ramification. If the two scholars' views were right, the ancient Zen masters
must have committed the sin of excessive theorization. But there is little incentive for
428 Philosophy East & West
them to do have done so, for they are clearly not as sectarian as some of their fol-
lowers.
1
Second, how could the perceived mechanical identity of zazen in So
Å
to
Å
and
Rinzai be compatible with the fact that while Rinzai prioritizes active meditation,
So
Å
to
Å
prefers quiet and silent meditation? It is hardly disputable that one's mental con-
dition during seated meditation differs from that during walking or working medita-
tion.
2
The fact that sitting and working are both employed by Do
Å
gen and Hakuin as
meditative measures does not dissolve the puzzle of why Do
Å
gen prefers sitting and
Hakuin working. The magnitude of the difference between the preferences of the
two masters cannot be neutralized to a matter of personal taste or whimsical hubris
on either side. The mechanical details of zazen must offer clues to the difference of
prioritization in So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai, despite the danger of sectarianism.
Our task is twofold. On the one hand, we need to cool the zeal of partisans on
both sides and give prominence to the fact that masters of both So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai share
almost all the meditative techniques, kanna and sitting, active and ``passive.'' On the
other, we shall study the mechanical details of zazen in order to justify the initial
choices of the preference of masters such as Hong-zhi (So
Å
to
Å
) and Ta-hui, Do
Å
gen,
and Hakuin.
3. Fu shiryo
Å
, Hi shiryo
Å
, and Manas
The mechanical details of zazen are encoded in the two intriguing but elusive
phrases fu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
. Fu shiryo
Å
is the Japanese rendering of the Chinese
bu si-liang, while hi shiryo
Å
is the Japanese for fei si-liang. Both Kasulis and Bielefeldt
use ``not-thinking'' to translate fu shiryo
Å
, but Kasulis uses ``without-thinking,'' and
Bielefeldt uses ``non-thinking'' for hi shiryo
Å
. The best way for us to examine the two
phrases is to start by reviewing Do
Å
gen's two manuals of zazenÐthe focus of a bril-
liant book by Bielefeldt.
Do
Å
gen modified his first version of Fukan zazen gi (the Tenpuku version) and
replaced it with the second, so-called Vulgate version:
[Tenpuku] Whenever a thought occurs, be aware of it; as soon as you are aware of it, it
will vanish. If you remain for a long period forgetful of objects, you will naturally become
unified. This is the essential art of zazen.
[Vulgate] Sitting fixedly, think of fu shiryo
Å
. How do you think of fu shiryo
Å
? Hi shiryo
Å
. This
is the essential art of zazen. (Bielefeldt 1988, p. 181)
While Tenpuku obviously represents the traditional technique of no-thought (Chin.
wu-nian
!õ; Jpn. munen), the individual character of the supposedly new tech-
nique, suggested by the use of the fresh phrase hi shiryo
Å
(fu shiryo
Å
is hardly different
from munen as they are used in Classical Chinese), defies our understanding. The
phrase hi shiryo
Å
by itself does not say much, for the negative prefixes fu and hi are,
more often than not, interchangeable.
Out of the reason that there is practically ``little to choose between the tech-
niques of no-thought (in Tenpuku) and hi shiryo
Å
(in Vulgate)'' (Bielefeldt 1988,
Rui Zhu 429
p. 150), Do
Å
gen's modification looks to Bielefeldt as nothing but recapitulating ``the
old move from practical prescription to higher description and renders opaque what
had once seemed fairly clear'' (ibid., pp. 148±149). According to Bielefeldt, the
mental mechanics of zazen remains virtually the same, but the mental mystery of
zazen is augmented by the more poetic description in the Vulgate version.
Bielefeldt's diagnosis is significant, if correct. On the one hand, it virtually iden-
tifies hi shiryo
Å
with fu shiryo
Å
. On the other, since fu shiryo
Å
arguably represents the
traditional no-thought technique adopted by Rinzai, there is no difference in zazen
between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai. It is this conclusion that leads Bielefeldt to observe, as
already mentioned, that there is nothing remarkable about Do
Å
gen's vaunted shikan
taza.
In contrast to Bielefeldt's approach, Kasulis' laudable exploitation of phenomen-
ology has led to some surprising discoveries. Kasulis believes that the differences be-
tween fu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
can be captured by disclosing their noetic attitudes and
noematic contents. According to Kasulis, fu shiryo
Å
is negative thinking, ``the negation
or denial of shiryo
Å
'' (Kasulis 1981, p. 72), but hi shiryo
Å
goes beyond shiryo
Å
and fu
shiryo
Å
, accepts ``the presence of ideation without either affirmation or denial''
(p. 72), and assumes ``no intentional attitude whatsoever'' (p. 75). Apparently, Kasu-
lis chooses to interpret hi shiryo
Å
along the line of the traditional no-thought (munen),
and fu shiryo
Å
rather as something leading up to hi shiryo
Å
.
Like Bielefeldt, Kasulis is also committed to the view that there is little difference
in the matter of zazen between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai. According to Kasulis, the difference
between Do
Å
gen and Hakuin is a matter of perspectives. Do
Å
gen stresses the unifica-
tion between cultivation and authentication because he speaks ``from the enlight-
ened viewpoint of the Zen Master''Ðwhereas Hakuin centers his discussion on real-
ization, for he chooses to speak ``from the unenlightened viewpoint of his students''
(Kasulis 1981, p. 104).
It is not difficult to see the weaknesses in Bielefeldt's and Kasulis' exegeses. First
of all, they cannot both be right because they contradict each other on the matter of
fu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
. While Bielefeldt admits that it is hard to separate the meaning
of the two phrases, Kasulis' interpretation has a few apparent difficulties. His rendi-
tion of hi shiryo
Å
as the terminal state of zazen (cf. Kasulis 1981, p. 105) contradicts
the Vulgate text. For the Vulgate clearly states that hi shiryo
Å
is the means to fu shiryo
Å
,
not the other way around. In addition, his fu shiryo
Å
is ambiguous. It might mean the
state of the absence of shiryo
Å
, or the process of eliminating it.
3
The first meaning (the
state of the absence of intentional thinking) ought to seem proper, but it contradicts
Kasulis' characterization of fu shiryo
Å
as intentional (positional). He seems more
inclined toward the second interpretation, although it receives little support either
from language or the general literature of Zen.
There is a common weakness in Bielefeldt and Kasulis, too. They both find little
to say about shiryo
Å
. This is unusual, for shiryo
Å
occupies the important position of
being the stem word for the two phrases. Neither of them is apparently aware of a
sophisticated doctrine of shiryo
Å
in the Buddhist tradition that Zen follows: that is,
the doctrine of manas. Manas is the seventh consciousness in the mental spectrum
430 Philosophy East & West
of the ``mind-only'' tradition.
4
In order to understand fairly the phrases fu shiryo
Å
and
hi shiryo
Å
, we must investigate the meaning of manas. We hope that the difference
between fu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
can be captured based on evidence from within
the Buddhist tradition. Their semantic difference should offer clues, we hope, for an
eventual explanation of the Zen polemics.
In the next four sections we will investigate the cognitive functions of thinking
(shiryo
Å
) per se before we return to the differences between fu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
and between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai. Lack of research on manas in the West will inevitably
hamper our exegetical study of zazen, despite the tremendous progress made in the
last couple of decades in the study of Yoga
Å
ca
Å
ra (the most important school of the
``mind-only'' tradition).
5
Because of this drawback we have to take a slight detour
in introducing the concept of manas. Our point will eventually come down to this:
there are two most significant mental features of manas: intentionality and discrimi-
nation. While hi shiryo
Å
transcends the discriminatory operations of the mind, fu
shiryo
Å
represents a non-intentional stance toward mental objects.
4. Manas and the Eight Consciousnesses
The cognitive theory of the ``mind-only'' tradition divides the mind into three levels
of eight vijn
Ä
a
Å
nasÐthe Buddhist term for consciousnessÐof which manas is the
seventh. The first six vijn
Ä
a
Å
nasÐeye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body- and co-arising
(mano)Ðare made possible by their corresponding six organs.
6
The ``mind-only''
doctrine believes that the organs are the bases (shadayatana) for these vijn
Ä
a
Å
nasbut
not themselves conscious.
These organ-based vijn
Ä
a
Å
nas are apparently directly stimulated by things in the
world and constitute the first level of consciousness.
7
Manas forms the second level,
the base of which is identical to the vijn
Ä
a
Å
na itself. This non-separation of base and
consciousness is significant for manas, for it means that manas is not conditioned by
a material base in the same way as is the first group of vijn
Ä
a
Å
nas. As we will see in
section 7, manas is able to turn itself away from its normal objects, an act called
``revulsion'' (pravartate; Chin. zhuan
I; Jpn. ten), for no other reason than that it
achieves its relative freedom from a foreign base.
Since the objects of manas are the outputs of the vijn
Ä
a
Å
nas at the first level, manas
is apparently insulated from direct contact with external things. The last, also the
third, level of consciousness, a
Å
laya-vijn
Ä
a
Å
na (Chin. a-li-ye-shi
?¨6X; Jpn. ariya-
shiki) (the eighth consciousness), is the origin of all mental phenomena and func-
tions primarily as an ontological concept in the ``mind-only'' theory.
5. Manas: The Discriminative Mind
In order to appreciate the cognitive significance of manas, one needs to grasp its role
as the necessary condition for our knowledge of the external world. This puts the
``mind-only'' doctrine squarely in opposition to the once popular theory of direct
perception (championed by the Sautra
Å
ntika school). The latter represents a position
Rui Zhu 431
to the effect that perception starts with and is completed by the sensory experiences.
The ``mind-only'' doctrine insists that the outputs of our sensory experiences are
unorganized, chaotic, and hardly deserving of the name ``knowledge.'' The editorial
and organizational work that is necessary for the formation of knowledge out of the
chaotic informational flow has to be completed by manas. It is manas that per-
forms the discriminatory function of classification and categorization, which is all-
important for knowledge to be possible.
That our sensory experiences are nondiscriminatory (avikalpaka) is reflected in
their passive nature, their being placed at the receiving end of the flow of informa-
tion. They are fed information by external stimulants and do not reprocess whatever
they receive. ``The operations of the five consciousnesses are crude and unstable. . . .
[T]he five consciousnesses are incapable of intellectual operation; they only function
externally'' (Dharmapala 1973, p. 479).
Constructing a coherent image of an object requires collaboration among the
sensory experiencesÐan image of an apple is an amalgam of various representa-
tions of its shape, smell, taste, and other features. But the content of visual percep-
tion does not of itself align with the auditory output. ``Since the various conscious-
nesses are simultaneous, why are they not `associated' (samprayukta)? Because they
do not have the same object; even if they have the same object, they are different as
to the nature and the number of their supporting bases (asraya)'' (Dharmapala 1973,
p. 497).
8
Not only are particular properties not cognitively discriminated; universals
(samanyalakshana) are not abstracted from particulars (svalakshana), either. An eye
detects a particular shade of a color but does not see the color itself. Unable to draw
the universal from the particular, the sensory perception leaves behind the tremen-
dous arrays of veridical information as raw data. The informational flow is piecemeal
and scattered. This inability on the part of perception to generalize over individual
experiences also explains the momentariness of the sensual impressions. Recurrent
identical particulars are never recognized as such. Memory is practically impossible,
for it relies on conceptualization. Impressions come and go. Once an earlier impres-
sion vanishes, a new impression rushes in. This distinctive flow of information is
described in the ``mind-only'' doctrine by the technical term ``equal and no-gap de-
pendence'' (samanantara-pratyaya).
Peripheral perception does not involve thinking or reasoning. It lacks intelli-
gence or understanding of its own cognitive activities. Although a sense can register
the form and feature of an external object, it is never able to present a coherent
picture of any object without the help of a higher cognitive faculty. The cognitive
processes at the sensory level are intermittent and discontinuous, leaving their out-
puts always incoherent.
The significance of manas is easy to grasp once one understands the cognitive
inadequacy of the senses, for manas accomplishes what the senses fail to do. Corre-
sponding to the threefold inadequacy of sensory perceptions (no particularization,
no conceptualization, and no articulated flow of information), manas as the discrim-
inative mind achieves a threefold engineering feat. First, it reorganizes the chaotic
432 Philosophy East & West
sensory output and composes out of it an articulated image of an external object.
Second, manas is able to abstract the universals from the particulars and draw logi-
cal inferences that are essential for identifying, recollecting, and grouping the exter-
nal impressions. Third, through cutting and pasting, manas channels and breaks the
originally seamless informational flow and creates lines and boundaries that form
distinct networks of informational categorizations.
D. T. Suzuki depicts a vivid picture of manas at work in the introduction to his
translation of the Lan
Ç
ka
Å
vata
Å
ra Su
Å
tra (Chin. Leng-jia-jing
^; Jpn. Shokikyo):
``What [the six vijn
Ä
a
Å
nas] experience is reported to the headquarters with no com-
ment or interpretation. Manas sits at the headquarters and like a great general gathers
up all the information coming from the six vijn
Ä
a
Å
nas. For it is he who shifts and
arranges the reports and gives orders again to the reporters according to his own
will and intelligence. The orders are then faithfully executed'' (Suzuki 1932, p. xxiv).
6. Manas: The Intentional Mind
The fundamental difference between the theory of direct perception and ``mind-
only'' cognitive psychology lies in the fact that while the theory of direct perception
takes the perceptual objects as given, ``mind-only'' theory attributes the existence
of these objects to the creative genius of manas. Objects seen in any meaningful
fashion at the sensory level are nothing but feedback from manas after it has been
fed the chaotic sensory outputs. The so-called given objects are actually the results
of the editing work of manas. One sees an object as if it were ready at hand, whereas
the truth is that the labor of manas has created this illusion. Manas objectifiesÐthis
reveals its second major characteristic: manas is a mind that carries cognitive inten-
tionality.
For a perception to occur, all of the following three factors are necessary,
according to ``mind-only'' psychology: the five sense organs (indriyas), the sense
data (vis
Ç
aya; Chin. jing
), and the intentionality (manaskara; Chin. zuo yi \).
9
Intentionality is the foremost condition among the three, for it directs the mind to a
particular mental image formed through manas' discriminatory operations. It imputes
the object image to the senses, isolating an object against its background and
externalizing an internally selected group of sense data. According to ``mind-only''
theory, it is only after the commencement of the operation of manaskara that a per-
ception in the true sense of the word begins to proceed.
Parama
Å
rtha, the ancient Indian Yoga
Å
ca
Å
rin who traveled to China and became
one of the most important Samgraha (Chin. She-lun
Ö) masters, comments on
the intentional aspect of mind:
[With] intending (manaskara) as the immediate cause, and external sense data as the sec-
ondary condition, consciousness occurs. If one's intending, at first, desires to apprehend
the two sense data of color and sound, then vision and hearing occur simultaneously and
there will be two types of sense data [imputed onto an ``external'' object]. If one's intend-
ing is directed toward a certain locus to see colors, hear sounds, and smell odors, then
these three [vision, hearing, and smell] occur simultaneously and there will be three types
Rui Zhu 433
of sense data [imputed onto an ``external'' object] and so on; all the five consciousnesses
may occur simultaneously or sequentially in a similar fashion. (Parama
Å
rtha 1975a,
62b10±14, at p. 1587)
10
Intentionality as objectification also means the maturation of ego-awareness.
Since knowledge consists of not just mental faculties (grahaka) and objects (grahya)
but also a distinctive subject, the formation of an ``I'' concept constitutes the kernel
of manas' activities. As a result, two cognitive missions are accomplished through
intentional objectification: an object image is projected and the ego formation
comes into fruition. The externalized sense data are loaded with the imprints of an
inner self as if they were the mirror image of the latter. What you see is what you are.
Parama
Å
rtha speaks of the rich metaphysical implications of a plain act of cognition:
``Discriminating refers to attachment to an ego (a
Å
tma), to sentient beings and to one
who has sensations relating to the aggregate of form'' (Parama
Å
rtha 1975b, 870c3±6,
at p. 1617; cf. Paul 1984, p. 87).
In a word, manas, the intentional mind, is a creative and meticulous, albeit
unconscious, laborer. It fashions an object image out of the sense data and draws
attention to it. Epitomizing a person's ego, manas becomes metaphysically signifi-
cant because it reveals the centerpiece of that person's worldview.
7. A
Å
laya and Revulsion
Before I use the mechanical details of thinking to explain hi shiryo
Å
and fu shiryo
Å
,
I must confront the over-delayed issue of the historical relevance of manas to the
zazen practice of the Sudden School. There is no need for me to go on at length
here. My pleading of relevancy will be brief and sketchy, but hopefully sufficient
for its purpose.
(1) Initially, no other work than the Lan
Ç
ka
Å
vata
Å
ra Su
Å
tra (where the theory about
manas was first expounded) was used as the main text by patriarchal Zen. Its status
as the su
Å
tra for Zen remained unchallenged until Hui-neng
àý sanctified the Dia-
mond Su
Å
tra. But even afterwards, the influence of the mind-only tradition was still
visible throughout Zen's evolution.
For instance, Hui-neng uses a
Å
laya, the eighth consciousness, to explain the
original mind. His description of a
Å
laya remains consistent with the earlier psycholog-
ical literature. A
Å
laya is, according to him, calm and tranquil, and functions as the
storehouse of everything there is. ``Since the essence of mind is the embodiment of
all dharmas, it is called the a
Å
laya-vijn
Ä
a
Å
na'' (Hui-neng 1990, p. 143).
(2) The Sudden School's sudden enlightenment (Chin. wu
; Jpn. satori) is obvi-
ously indebted to the concept of revulsion associated with manas. Since a
Å
laya is the
only ultimate true reality, all cognitive creations of manas amount to nothing but the
``waves of multiplicity'' in the a
Å
laya ocean.
11
In the normal circumstance, manas is
deluded by its own cognitive outputs. Once it realizes the suchness (tatha
Å
gata; Chin.
ru-lai
; Jpn. nyorai) of a
Å
laya and returns to a
Å
laya's absolute tranquil reality, the
worldly entanglement derived from cognitive judgments will be cast off in a single
434 Philosophy East & West
swoop. The ``mind-only'' doctrine calls this fundamental change of attitude originat-
ing in manas ``revulsion'' (paravrtti).
It is not difficult to see that the concept of revulsion foreshadows satori. Revul-
sion is drastic, radical, nonintellectual, and, most importantly, sudden. Before revul-
sion, manas thinks of its objects as real and mutually independent. After revulsion,
things are laid bare in their original face (Chin. ben-lai-mian-mu
,bî; Jpn.
honrai no memmoku), shorn of their descriptive and normative extraneous superim-
positions. Objects are seen by an awakened mind not as independent existents but
rather as mere waves of the same water. This radical change in worldview is effected
through a rude turnaround of a person's whole existence. This radical turnaround
can occur only in manas, for it is manas that is truly responsible for ego-vision and
ego-manifestation, and manas is the only faculty that is able to ``turn around'' be-
cause of its relative freedom from a foreign, conditioning base (see section 4). In
this sense, both the worldly entanglement and the hope of emancipation hinge on
manas. If manas is deluded, we are deluded; if manas turns around, we are deliv-
ered. The Soteric significance of revulsion is evidenced by this famous gatha by
Hui-neng: ``When our mind is under delusion, Saddharmapundarika-sutra turns us
around. With an enlightened mind we turn round the sutra instead'' (Hui-neng
1990, p. 114).
Revulsion is also dubbed in Zen the ``return to the source'' (fan-yuan). For its
elaboration, one can refer to sayings by masters such as Hong-zhi Zheng-jue
*z
cº
(Jpn. Wanshi Shogaku) and Ma-zu Dao-yi ¬VS ( Jpn. Baso Do
Å
itsu).
12
In general, although the concept of manas and its cognitive features are only
occasionally mentioned in the literature due to Zen's characteristic aversion to ex-
cessive theorization, we can confidently say that much of manas' mechanical pro-
cess is tacitly assumed rather than rejected. Prior to the popularization of Zen, there
is a long-standing tradition in the Chinese Buddhist literature to use si-liang (shiryo
Å
)
to translate manas. Unless there exists evidence to show that there is a special usage
of si-liang (shiryo
Å
) in the Zen tradition, we have no reason to refuse explicating by
way of manas such concepts as shiryo
Å
, fu shiryo
Å
, and hi shiryo
Å
in zazen.
8. Fu shiryo or No-thought
In the ensuing exegesis, I will employ some necessary pedagogical means, even if
this may lead to a slight distortion of the original picture. I will explain fu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
separately, despite the fact that the two modes of thinking interpene-
trate each other in an actual process of zazen. A hair's breadth is the difference
between Heaven and Earth, as the Zen saying goes. A narrow difference such as
that between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai commands a hair-splitting, somewhat contrived anal-
ysis for features of which the distinctiveness is otherwise undetectable.
My working hypothesis takes hi shiryo
Å
as a rectification of the discriminative
aspect and fu shiryo
Å
as a rectification of the intentional aspect of manas. My reason
for this lies in a combination of factors including textual analysis, philosophical
understanding, linguistic study, and, last but not least, intuition.
13
Rui Zhu 435
Fu shiryo
Å
, or munen (no-thought), as a technique described in Tenpuku, repre-
sents the orthodox Zen approach to zazen. Hui-neng explains no-thought as unceas-
ing thought (Chin. nian-nian-bu-xi
õõo) that flows smoothly without sticking to
objects. This reminds us of the pre-manas sensory sequence that is technically la-
beled ``equal and no-gap dependence'' (see section 5). Hui-neng states: ``No-thought
is to see and to know all dharmas with a mind free from attachment. When in use it
pervades everywhere, and yet sticks no where'' (Hui-neng 1990, p. 85).
If a mode of thinking were attached to its object, it would retard the fluidity of
the sensory flow. As shown in sections 5 and 6, the attachment is derived from the
objectifying effect of ego, or ``the error of reification,'' in Louis Nordstrom's terms
(1981, pp. 89±95). A rectification or negation of ``reification'' aims at a state where
intentional thoughts are eliminated and objects are ``forgotten'' or de-objectified, and
then one ``will naturally become unified'' (Tenpuku, in section 3).
This mysterious transition from one's forgetting objects to one's unifying the
mind is no longer impenetrable, thanks to our knowledge of manas, the culprit of
attachment. According to the ``mind-only'' doctrine, cognitive objects do not come
into contact with us through direct perception but rather are externalized from with-
in manas. Forgetting objects is therefore de-objectifying, which depends on the
debunking of intentionality. For it is intentionality that creates an object image by
projecting and externalizing the internally selected sense data. Debunking intention-
ality and the forgetting of objects are possible only after a fundamental change in
one's worldview such that one's cognitions will be purified of all entangling ele-
ments, the foremost of which is ego-awareness. After a revulsion or turnaround,
manas dissolves the entangling effect of ego and its self-externalization and returns
to a
Å
laya, the original storehouse of all things. Because of this, we can identify
the process of mental unification achieved through de-objectificationÐwhich is
described as the terminal state of no-thought in TenpukuÐwith the process of
manas' returning to a
Å
laya and seeing everything in its ``original face.''
There is no reason to believe that debunking intentionality would throw the cog-
nitive mind back to the pre-manas state of chaos and nondiscrimination. Zen clearly
believes in the possibility of severing the intentional from the discriminative aspect
of the mind. Although it may be impossible to discriminate without intentionality at
the initial stage (for all initial discriminations arguably always carry the imprints of
ego preferences), zazen is designed to enable the mind to withdraw its intentionality
from discriminatory cognition after it is fulfilled. There is no perversion in this doc-
trine from the Zen perspective, for there is, after all, nothing wrong with discrimina-
tion itself as long as manas sees each thing in its suchness. What goes wrong with a
deluded mind is not cognition per se, but a deluded worldview behind the cogni-
tion. Intentional debunking represents a metaphysical turnaround in the worldview,
leaving cognitive discriminations purely descriptive, freed of all their emotional and
normative elements. Hui-neng describes the non-intentional no-thought in the fol-
lowing manner, illustrating the state of the six consciousnesses when they are freed
from intentional interferences: ``[the six vijn
Ä
a
Å
nas,] in passing through the six organs,
will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six objects'' (Hui-neng 1990, p. 114).
436 Philosophy East & West
Emphasizing the contiguity of cognitive activities before and after revulsion,
Hui-neng says, ``These so-called transformations of consciousnesses are only
changes of appellations and not a change of substance'' (Hui-neng 1990, p. 117).
Before the revulsion of manas, a mountain is seen as a mountain and a river as a
river. After the revulsion, a mountain is still seen as a mountain and a river as a river.
The only difference between the mountain-river cognitions before and after the re-
vulsion lies in the debunking of intentionality that happens during the revulsion.
The Zen mystery of an awakened mind lies not so much in the fact that it sees a dif-
ferent world as in the fact that it sees the same world differently.
Corresponding to the delusions of the intentional mind, as revealed in section
6, the mechanical blueprint of fu shiryo
Å
shall contain three aspects. First is de-
objectification, which does not mean that objects are literally wiped out of the
mind, but rather are viewed without emotional or normative attachment. Second is
deflation of ego or intentional striving. Do
Å
gen says, ``To study the self is to forget the
self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things'' (Do
Å
gen 1985, p. 70). He
also warns his students against personal craving for Buddhahood: ``Do not desire
to become a Buddha; letting sitting or lying down drop away'' (ibid., p. 29). Third is
unification with thoughts in their original suchness, or, as quoted above from Do
Å
gen,
``to be actualized by myriad things.''
The non-intentional nature of no-thought is epitomized in Zen by the state of
everydayness. When hungry, eat; when thirsty, drink. Any striving based on personal
ambition, including seeking Buddhahood, is derided as demonically heretical. As
seen by a discriminatory but non-intentional mind, things leap out by themselves
and display true multiplicity without defilement. Perhaps no one says this better
than Do
Å
gen: ``To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion.
That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening'' (Do
Å
gen
1985, p. 69).
9. Hi shiryo
Å
Unlike fu shiryo
Å
or no-thought, hi shiryo
Å
is not a widely used term. Its importance
for Do
Å
gen is obvious unless one denies its distinctive status in relation to fu shiryo
Å
,
as happens in the case of Bielefeldt. The word ``hi'' in hi shiryo
Å
does not suggest an
absence of thinking but rather a continuous act of going beyond thinking. At an-
other place in Do
Å
gen's writing, hi is used in the same sense as going beyond.
14
How
much value one should place on this linguistic analogy in construing hi shiryo
Å
is
largely a philosophical decision. Whatever one's choice is, it is difficult to find any
substantive evidence to support that choice. I have no intention to overplay this
coincidence.
While fu shiryo
Å
is a rectification of intentionality that preserves discrimination,
hi shiryo
Å
is a rectification of discrimination that preserves certain aspects of in-
tentionality. In hi shiryo
Å
, the maintained intentional stance does not represent ego-
attachment but only reflects the effort one makes for one's cultivation. As a rectifying
process, hi shiryo
Å
does not annihilate but transcends discrimination. If a mind of no-
Rui Zhu 437
thought (fu shiryo
Å
) sees a mountain as a mountain and a river as a river, a mind of hi
shiryo
Å
would refuse to see them as a mere mountain or river. It sees them from a
much larger perspective. According to Do
Å
gen, seeing from a larger perspective is
the true meaning of transcending.
Do
Å
gen illustrates the act of transcending (i.e., transcending cognitive discrimina-
tion) by giving physical movement a phenomenological reinterpretation:
When you study someone's movement, the movement is not merely starting or stopping.
The movement that starts or stops is not that person's. Do not take up starting or stopping
and regard it as the person's movement. The cloud's flying, the moon's traveling, the
boat's going, and the shore's moving are all like this. Do not foolishly be limited by a
narrow view. (Do
Å
gen 1985, p. 132)
From a larger perspective, the ordinary distinctions between boat and shore,
moon and water, body and mind, and moving and stopping drop away. A blade of
grass is a sixteen-foot golden body.
15
Do
Å
gen's fondness of this theme is evidenced
by much of his deconstructionist hermeneutic play of words. In ``Twining Vines,''
he takes up Bodhidharma's comments on the achievements of his students. In the
comments, Bodhidharma compares the first student's understanding to the attain-
ment of his skin, the second student's to that of his flesh, and the third student's to
that of his bones, and, when Hui-ke finishes his speech by not speaking at all, Bodhi-
dharma compares Hui-ke's understanding to the attainment of his marrow. Do
Å
gen
claims that only the vulgar would think that Bodhidharma implies that Hui-ke
is better or more advanced than the first three students. According to Do
Å
gen, there
is in fact no difference between ``skin, flesh, bones and marrow'' (Do
Å
gen 1985,
pp. 169±171). We will return to this theme in section 11.
Although we try to go beyond the ordinary appearances of things and think of
them from a larger perspective, their individual characters are retained in the mind.
In fact, hi shiryo
Å
gives thoroughly individualized treatment to each blade of grass,
each piece of skin and flesh, and each drop of morning dew. In hi shiryo
Å
, all relative
relations drop away. Each individual at each moment and place is complete by itself.
This state of Zen momentariness Do
Å
gen calls zenki
h_, (Chin. quan-ji), ``undivided
activity.'' Hi shiryo
Å
strives to study each individual existence, positing an intentional
abidance that is remarkably different from the everydayness of no-thought. In his
``Instructions for the Tenzo
x§ [Chin. Dian-zuo],'' Do
Å
gen uses the story of a monk's
meticulous washing of rice to illustrate this point: ``Watch closely with clear eyes; do
not waste any one grain. Wash it in the proper way, put it in a pot, make a fire, and
boil it. An ancient master said, ``When you boil rice, know that the water is your
own life'' (Do
Å
gen 1985, p. 55).
As a rectifying process, hi shiryo
Å
manifests a strenuous effort to transcend the
usual conceptual categorizations. Corresponding to the functions of a discriminative
mind, as seen in section 5, the mechanical blueprint of hi shiryo
Å
shall also contain
three aspects, paralleling the structure of no-thought: (1) Go beyond the particular-
ization of things. Refuse to see a mountain as a mountain or a river as a river. (2) Go
beyond the conceptualization of individual things. See things in their momentari-
438 Philosophy East & West
ness. ``The moon you see tonight is not last night's moon. You should thoroughly
study that tonight's moon, from beginning to end, is tonight's moon'' (Do
Å
gen 1985,
p. 130). (3) Maintain intentional abidance. Focus on and be attached to the current
mental or physical phenomenon, however insignificant it is. Identify your whole life
with it and live in the moment. When you read a ko
Å
an, you realize the ko
Å
an. When
washing a grain of rice, you become the grain.
10. Do
Å
gen's Tripartite Progress
Do
Å
gen's tripartite illustration of actualizing a ko
Å
an concords with our theory of fu
shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
:
[1] As all things are Buddha-dharma, there is delusion and realization, and birth and
death, and there are Buddhas and sentient beings.
[2] As the myriad things are without an abiding self, there is no delusion, no realization,
no Buddha, no sentient beings, no birth and death.
[3] The Buddha way is basically leaping clear of the many and the one; thus there are
birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and Buddhas. (Do
Å
gen 1985,
p. 69)
In [1], things are discriminated according to their phenomenal properties. There is a
difference between Buddhas and sentient beings, and the difference lays the founda-
tion for the need of enlightenment. In [2], enlightening represents a transcending
effort going beyond ordinary discriminations, and things are seen from a larger per-
spective. The difference between Buddhas and sentient beings is transcended and
there is no realization or Buddhahood to be reached. In [3], when the distinction
between the many and the one is transcended, things are perceived in their true mul-
tiplicity again. Cognitive discriminations are cleared of the entangling intentionality,
and the phenomenal properties of things are given the utmost justification for their
completeness.
In other words, [1] represents manas or thinking, [2] represents hi shiryo
Å
, and [3]
represents fu shiryo
Å
.
11. Sloughing off, Figuring, and Riding
Having revealed the difference between hi shiryo
Å
and fu shiryo
Å
, we are still one step
away from our final goal: to show that there is a genuine theoretical and practical
disparity between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai. Both schools practice hi shiryo
Å
and fu shiryo
Å
,
even if the two processes are separable, as this essay has been arguing. In addition,
this essay does not deny Bielefeldt's thesis that hi shiryo
Å
and fu shiryo
Å
, due to a
typical ambivalence on the part of Zen (cf. Bielefeldt 1988, p. 150), are not sepa-
rated in actual zazen practice. It is this ambivalence that has prompted Bielefeldt to
conclude that the theoretical discordance between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai is not reflected
in the mental mechanics of zazen.
Rui Zhu 439
However, it is well known that Do
Å
gen stresses the cultivating aspect of sitting in
meditation (Chin. zuo-chan
Pª; Jpn. zazen) more than one's attaining and main-
taining an enlightened state of mind, whereas Ta-hui is inclined to the contrary. It
is also well known that, at least in theory, So
Å
to
Å
generally tends to collapse ends
into means, whereas Rinzai takes the attainment of ends as the sole justification of
means. If hi shiryo
Å
primarily as means is separable from fu shiryo
Å
primarily as goal,
it would be very surprising that the methodological difference in combining the two
makes no difference to zazen.
In combining hi shiryo
Å
and fu shiryo
Å
, if the latter is absorbed into the former, the
zazen of hi shiryo
Å
would represent, based on our hypothesis, one's continuous striv-
ing for going beyond particularization and conceptualization while maintaining
one's intentional abidance with an occurrent momentary phenomenon (section 9).
It is to our satisfaction to confirm that this intentional effort of constant transcending
fits well with Do
Å
gen's shikan taza.
Shikan taza represents such a radical effort in transcending the discriminatory
cognition that every possible dichotomy falls away, including that between practice
(Chin. xiu
î; Jpn. shu) and verification (Chin. zheng I; Jpn. sho
Å
), body and mind,
Buddhas and sentient beings, word and meaning, beginner and advanced, in motion
and still, ``skin, flesh, bones and marrow,'' et cetera. The act of transcending itself
ceases to be a mere means for the realization of an extraneous goal. Instead, the
act of seeking enlightenment is enlightenment, and sitting in meditation meditates
on nothing but sitting itself. The completeness of sitting or transcending, which
needs no extraneous justification, is approved by Do
Å
gen in his famous saying, ``the
practice of an embodied Buddha does not make a Buddha [Chin. zuo-fo
P[; Jpn.
sabutsu],'' nor does a ``seated Buddha'' (Chin. zuo-fo
P[; Jpn. zabutsu) interfere
with making a Buddha (Do
Å
gen 1985, pp. 145, 149).
Do
Å
gen's advocating means over ends, or cultivation over verification, makes it
possible for us to offer a comparison between him and today's postmodernism, espe-
cially in the aspect concerning philosophy of language.
16
Words become curious
``toys'' in Do
Å
gen's hands. When Do
Å
gen reads a ko
Å
an, words are the activities, games,
and lives of those masters who issued them, a far cry from the static imagery of a
finger pointing at the moon. ``Words are bits and pieces of leaping out'' (Do
Å
gen
1985, p. 171). It is clear that he identifies actualizing the Buddha with actualizing a
ko
Å
an, through whose words a sitter inherits the lives of the past masters, and the lives
of the masters and disciples become entangled like ``twining vines.''
In contrast with Rinzai's mental vacuity (Chin. xiong-zhong-wu-shi
ø-!;
Jpn. kyo
Å
kin buji), which is a state of calm and peace (cf. Bielefeldt, p. 136), Do
Å
gen's
shikan taza takes on a strong intentional feature in being a ``single-minded exertion''
(Chin. zhuan-yi-gong-fu
å+; Jpn. sen'ichi kufu
Å
) in pursuing the way (cf. ibid.,
p. 146). The master Nan-yu
È
eh once asked Ma-zu, who always sat in meditation,
``Worthy one, what are you figuring to do, sitting there in meditation?'' Do
Å
gen fo-
cuses his attention on the word ``figuring'' (Chin. tu
): ``Does it mean that there
must be some figuring above and beyond seated meditation? Is there no path to be
figured outside of seated meditation? Should there be no figuring at all? Or does it
440 Philosophy East & West
ask what kind of figuring occurs at the very time we are practicing seated medita-
tion?'' (Do
Å
gen 1985, p. 191).
Figuring is the intentional effort to make a Buddha. But the meaning of the act of
figuring to make a Buddha lies not in making a Buddha but in the figuring itself. A
figuring to make a Buddha is the act of ``sloughing off'' and going beyond the duality
of mind and body, Buddha and sentient beings. According to Do
Å
gen, the entire tra-
dition of transmitting mind-seal (ishin denshin) is entangled in this figuring (Do
Å
gen
1985, p. 192).
The situation of your making a Buddha is like your riding a boat. According to
Do
Å
gen, ``The boat gives you a ride and without the boat no one could ride. But you
ride in the boat and your riding makes the boat what it is'' (Do
Å
gen 1985, p. 85).
Shikan taza is the act of singled-minded riding. Its riding is not aimed at reaching
a destination but rather at making the boat what it is. The rider does not plan to
reach ``the other shore'' but simply rides out the meaning of the boat by continuously
rowing with the oar.
12. So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai
Rinzai's zazen definitely contains hi shiryo
Å
, tooÐthat is, an intentional effort at tran-
scending discriminatory cognition. For example, disciples of Ta-hui are constantly
urged to make a great effort in studying a ko
Å
an, removing ``the paths of birth-and-
death,'' eliminating ``the paths of the profane and the sacred,'' stopping ``discrimina-
tive thinking,'' and transcending ``gain and loss, right and wrong'' (Ta-hui 1996,
p. 191). Since both Do
Å
gen and Ta-hui embrace the kanna practice, Bielefeldt argues
that there is no reason to believe that their philosophical difference affects the
mental mechanics of their respective approaches to zazen. This essay claims that
the methodological difference in engineering the combination of hi shiryo
Å
and fu
shiryo
Å
does make a difference to the mechanics of zazen, as long as there are some
discernible differences between hi shiryo
Å
and fu shiryo
Å
.
The fact that hi shiryo
Å
remains primarily a means to fu shiryo
Å
in Rinzai shows the
uniqueness of its response to this common Zen question: if everyone is already
Buddha, why do we need to be concerned with a goal that is already ``attained''?
In contrast to So
Å
to
Å
's radical rejection of the dichotomy between means and ends,
Rinzai's resolute focus on the obtaining of the goal (Buddhahood) necessarily limits
the play of its means (cultivation).
A Rinzai disciple is urged to use a wato
q- (Chin. hua-tou), or ``saying,'' to seek
a breakthrough. Looking at a wato is primarily a process of hi shiryo
Å
or transcending
discriminative thinking. But different from Do
Å
gen's ``just keep looking'' (Chin. kan-
lai-kan-qu
»; Jpn. kan rai kan kyo), which is a continuous, prolonged process
of attentive meditation on the words themselves, a Rinzai disciple looks instead for a
breakthrough.
17
In a Rinzai training session, once a breakthrough is reached, this
particular process of hi shiryo
Å
ends. It often happens that a breakthrough takes a
long time to be reached or even may never be reached, but that means no more
than the elongation of an intentional struggle before the state of calm and peace is
Rui Zhu 441
reached or, in the second scenario, simply an utter failure. No matter how long the
intentional struggle continues, the ultimate goal of zazen in Rinzai is not maintaining
this struggle but getting over it and attaining peace. As Hakuin describes in his auto-
biography, he suffered so severe a mental crisis (trying to break the Mu ko
Å
an) that he
``stretched in the mud as though dead, scarcely breathing and almost unconscious''
(Hakuin 1971, p. 119).
18
The reason a Rinzai session could be so intense lies in the
fact that hi shiryo
Å
remains a means to fu shiryo
Å
and a non-attainment of fu shiryo
Å
threatens to undermine the meaning of hi shiryo
Å
. None of this sort of intense struggle
happens in shikan taza, during which process a person seeks no extraneous goal,
and only looks back and forth at the words when he or she takes up a ko
Å
an. The
setup of zazen in Rinzai assumes a separation of ends and means and the disparity
between the beginner and the advanced. The practice of hi shiryo
Å
is a maturation
process, a process of intermittent training. But the means becomes, or displaces,
the end in So
Å
to
Å
, and the difference between beginner and advanced is dissolved
by the act of sitting itself. The practice of hi shiryo
Å
in So
Å
to
Å
is not so much a training
session or a maturation process as the ongoing communication between the past
masters and living students.
The mechanical difference between Rinzai and So
Å
to
Å
can therefore be recapitu-
lated as follows. Zazen in Rinzai is a series of self-contained training processes, in
which each individual process starts with an intentional effort of hi shiryo
Å
and ends
with a non-intentional fu shiryo
Å
. When an old wato is broken through, a new wato
restarts the whole process. But in So
Å
to
Å
, hi shiryo
Å
is fu shiryo
Å
. Zazen is a single pro-
cess of sitting and looking, starting with the ancient masters and being carried on by
each individual practitioner. There is never a breakthrough, nor a progress.
It should now become clear how the details of zazen practice can explain the
Zen polemics, without excusing sectarianism. Rinzai seeks multileveled break-
throughs in zazen,
19
whereas So
Å
to
Å
seeks the perpetuation of zazen itself. A break-
through can happen at any time or place. Secular activities do not interfere with
enlightenment, but facilitate it. Since breakthroughs cannot be planned or antici-
pated, an act with a mind of no-thought (fu shiryo
Å
) can prepare an unprepared
mind for a breakthrough to alight. In contrast, So
Å
to
Å
sees zazen as enlightenment it-
self. Seeking enlightenment is seeking zazen. What could possibly serve the purpose
of seeking better than zazen itself? There is no need to be distracted by mundane
activities beyond what is absolutely necessary.
13. Concluding Remarks: The Intentionality of Sitting
Without a clear appreciation of the mechanical differences between So
Å
to
Å
and Rin-
zai, a person can easily be confused by the intentional features of each sect's zazen
practice. On the one hand, since hi shiryo
Å
is itself an intentional effort at transcend-
ing discriminations, So
Å
to
Å
meditation is naturally tinged with intentionality. On the
other hand, while Rinzai meditation displays an even more dynamic intentional
struggle in its seeking a breakthrough, So
Å
to
Å
meditation appears to be placid and
uneventful and apparently lacks intentionality. Because of this phenomenon, a Rin-
442 Philosophy East & West
zai master could criticize So
Å
to
Å
practitioners for putting too much intentional effort at
``making a Buddha,'' while simultaneously blaming them for making no effort and
behaving like a piece of dead wood.
In fact, Bielefeldt notices this quirky phenomenon, but his denial of the mechan-
ical disparity between So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai has rendered him powerless to explain away
the paradox. In one place he comments:
Unlike the famous Ch'an teachings that emphasize the spontaneous, unintentional char-
acter of the practice and tend to reduce itÐat least in theoryÐto a sudden return to, or
recognition of, the original nature of the mind, Do
Å
gen prefers to stress what might almost
be called the intentionality of enlightenment and to interpret Buddhahood as the ongoing
commitment to make a Buddha. (Bielefeldt 1988, p. 145)
In another place, Bielefeldt acknowledges the traditional sectarian view on this
matter:
[The tradition of modern Zen polemics] understands the two terms shikan taza and kanna
as referring to mutually incompatible techniques of mental trainingÐone [shikan taza]
that abandons all fixed objects of concentration and all conscious striving for satori and
simply abides in the undefiled awareness of the Buddha nature, the other that focuses the
mind on the wato and intentionally strives to break through the ``great doubt'' (daigi) in a
sudden experience of awakening. (Bielefeldt 1988, p. 152)
Being unable to offer a good explanation of the apparent paradox, Bielefeldt
chooses to dismiss in toto the latter view and attributes it to sectarian spite and exag-
geration. Bielefeldt's conviction in the identification of hi shiryo
Å
and fu shiryo
Å
deprives him of the chance to offer an adequate explanation of the feud between
So
Å
to
Å
and Rinzai.
In this essay, my effort at separating hi shiryo
Å
and fu shiryo
Å
should not be taken
out of context and interpreted as evidence for my commitment to sectarianism. Both
fu shiryo
Å
and hi shiryo
Å
figure in each sect's zazen scheme. The two sects share al-
most all the known techniques of zazen training. However, their technical affinity
does not void the significance of the Zen polemics. After all, there are minute but
significant differences in the mechanical details. This essay has tried to achieve a
delicate balance between sectarianism and a total disregard for it. In this essay we
introduced the concept of manas and, with its help, explained fu shiryo
Å
and hi
shiryo
Å
. As far as I can see, this endeavor by itself, although sketchy, should constitute
an initial call for the attention of many better-equipped scholars in the field to study
the largely neglected topic concerning the legacy of the mind-only tradition inher-
ited by Zen.
Notes
1 ± Although Bielefeldt's above-mentioned comment is directed against Do
Å
gen
only, he might as well have said something similar against Hakuin.
Rui Zhu 443
2 ± For instance, in seated meditation, a person can register no discrimination of an
individual object against others. A grain can be seen as a speck of dust. But in a
working meditation, a grain needs to be seen as a grain, not as a speck of dust.
The phenomenal boundaries of individual objects have to be cognized in
working meditation in order to steer one's way among a myriad things.
3 ± Kasulis also talks of blanking out one's mind as fu shiryo
Å
(cf. Kasulis 1981,
p. 74).
4 ± I use the mind-only tradition to refer to both the school of Yoga
Å
ca
Å
ra and the
views associated with the Lan
Ç
ka
Å
vata
Å
ra Su
Å
tra. The Lan
Ç
ka
Å
vata
Å
ra Su
Å
tra is generally
accepted as an earlier text than Yoga
Å
ca
Å
ra. Both hold the mind-only theory, al-
though ``mind-only'' in the former is often cittamatra in Sanskrit (Chin. wei-shi
/X; Jpn. yuishiki) while it is vijn
Ä
aptimatra in the latter. There are subtle differ-
ences between citta and vijn
Ä
apti. But they are marginal to the issue of manas.
Views on manas on both sides are very much consistent with each other.
5 ± Scholars such as Diana Paul, Thomas Wood, Alex Wayman, and Thomas
McEvilley, among others, have published books and articles on the study of
this field.
6 ± As it appears, the name of the sixth consciousness (manovijn
Ä
a
Å
na; Chin. yi-shi
X; Jpn. ishiki) is the same as manas, the seventh. But there is no reason
here for us to be confused by this license of naming. I recommend a reader to
rename the sixth as the co-arising (or accompanying) consciousness, for ``co-
arising'' is its chief function. Furthermore, since the significance of the sixth
consciousness and its comparison to manas are irrelevant to the mechanical
details of the thinking process, we will skip over the sixth consciousness in
the rest of this essay. Whenever we talk about the sensory experiences in the
ensuing sections, we refer only to the first five vijn
Ä
a
Å
nas.
7 ± Here I describe the cognitive phenomena based on their apparent operations.
But, as the next two sections will show, these appearances belie a much more
active role in the objectification of manas.
8 ± This is equivalent to saying that the five senses are, in today's terms, domain-
specific and information-encapsulated. See Fodor 1989.
9 ± Intentionality is the mark of the mental and the core function of manas. See Da
Zang Jing 1975, vol. 31, p. 851, or Dharmapala 1973, p. 479.
10 ± This translation is based on Diana Paul's rendition (1984, pp. 76±77).
11 ± See The Lankavatara Sutra (Suzuki 1932, p. 42).
12 ± Zhen-jue: ``When the six senses return to their source, they are thoroughly ef-
fective and clear'' (Cleary 1997, p. 85). Ma-Zu stresses that in fan-yuan
Ô
(return to source) there lies the thread-thin difference between the ignorant
and the enlightened: ``All the ignorant from the past eons have never wandered
off the samadhi of the dharma nature, clad in clothes and fed on food, talking
444 Philosophy East & West
to others and using their six sensesÐall their actions are dharma nature. Only
because they do not know how to return to the source, they pursue fame and
go after objectivity. . . . [I]f they just return to the original illumination in virtue
of a single idea, all would be the sacred mind'' (Dong-qun 1997, p. 147).
13 ± I have decided not to be too concerned with defending my hypothesis before
we proceed to investigate whether or not it is working. For people who are
concerned with the exegetical validity of my approachÐa legitimate concern
by all meansÐI urge them to examine the evidence I will present when I flesh
out the details of my hypothesis.
14 ± Do
Å
gen quotes in his ``Going Beyond Buddha'' a conversation between Dong-
shan Wu-ben and a monk. Wu-ben told an assembly: ``You should know some-
thing going beyond Buddha.'' A monk asked, ``Who is someone going beyond
Buddha?'' The master said, ``hi (Chin. fei)-Buddha'' (Do
Å
gen 1985, p. 205).
15 ± A famous ko
Å
an and cited in Yuan-wu-ke-qin (1992, case 4).
16 ± We are not going to pursue this theme in this essay. Readers are urged to read
Foshay (1994, pp. 543±558) and Appelbaum (1983, pp. 469±477).
17 ± Hakuin urges students to read the verses of Fu Ta-shih if they want to test their
seeing into their own nature. Understanding Fu's enigmatic verses, such as
``empty-handed, but holding a hoe,'' or, ``it is the bridges that flow and the
water that stands still,'' demands a mental crisis before breakthrough is
reached. See ``Orategama I'' (Hakuin 1971, pp. 59±60).
18 ± Suzuki also relates that a Rinzai disciple in the process of looking at a wato
often suffers terrible despair and even the prospect of death in his failure to
reach a breakthrough (Suzuki 1965, p. xxi).
19 ± Hakuin speaks of the view that a person needs no breakthrough as ``trashy
understanding.'' According to Hakuin, many-layered, great or small, and count-
less breakthroughs constitute the dynamics of a master's zazen experiences.
See ``Orategama I'' (Hakuin 1971, pp. 64±69).
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446 Philosophy East & West
... A rapidly growing body of neurological research shows that meditation benefits psychophysiological well-being by cultivating the art of concentration that causes the brain to experience gradual development in cognitive sensitivity (Austin, 1999). Nevertheless, while meditation provides an effective technique for disciplining mind and body so that one can better respond to changes in life circumstances (Austin, 2006), some researchers speculate that various meditation styles may lead to different mental health outcomes (Zhu, 2005;Austin, 1999;Gethin, 1997;Griffiths, 1981;Gregory, 1986;Lu, 1964). A better understanding of the salutary effects of different types of meditation on mastery should be a priority for future research. ...
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On Turning a Zen Ear): 469±477. Bielefeldt, Carl. 1988. Do Å gen's Manuals of Zen Meditation
  • D Appelbaum
Appelbaum, D. 1983. On Turning a Zen Ear.'' Philosophy East and West 33 (2): 469±477. Bielefeldt, Carl. 1988. Do Å gen's Manuals of Zen Meditation. Berkeley: University of California Press.
The Five Houses of Zen Boston: Shambhala Publications. Da Zang Jing Dazheng yuan ban, Xiu ding ban 1 ban. Taibei: Xin Wen Feng Chuban Gongsi. Rui Zhu 445 Dharmapala. 1973. Vijnaptimatrasiddhi [Ch'eng Wei-shih Lun
  • Cleary
  • Thomas
Cleary, Thomas, trans. and ed. 1997. The Five Houses of Zen. Boston: Shambhala Publications. Da Zang Jing. 1975. Dazheng yuan ban, Xiu ding ban 1 ban. Taibei: Xin Wen Feng Chuban Gongsi. Rui Zhu 445 Dharmapala. 1973. Vijnaptimatrasiddhi [Ch'eng Wei-shih Lun]. Translated by Wei-tat. Hong Kong: Ch'eng Wei Shih Lun Publication Committee. Do Å gen. 1985. Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Do Å gen. Edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi. New York: North Point Press. Dong-qun, ed. 1997. Zheng Fa Yen Zang. Taibei: Fo Guan Publisher.