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念佛四十八法 35) 即禅即佛持名 Zen is Buddha Recitation
 
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35) 即禅即佛持名

Zen is Buddha Recitation

Meditation based on a koan(18) is ca led koan meditation. Meditation in which the practitioner sits and stops the thought process is referred to as sitting meditation. Koan and sitting meditation are both Zen. Zen and Buddha are both Mind. Zen is the Zen of Buddha. Buddha is the Buddha in Zen. Buddha Recitation does not conflict with koan or sitting meditation. Moreover, the meditator can use the words “Amitabha Buddha” as a koan, reciting forward, reciting backward, reciting in one direction, reciting in another, upside down, turning around, without leaving his current thought. Even if it is not ca led Zen, Zen is still part of it.

The Zen practitioner, to succeed in his cultivation, must practice to the stage of “one thought in resonance with the M ind” (samadhi), and enter suddenly into the realm of Emptiness.

To recite the Buddha’s name to the level of one-pointedness of m ind – if this is not resonance (samadhi) what else can it be? To recite to the point where the m ind is empty, is it not perpetual samadhi?

In alert, focused Buddha recitation there is samatha, vipassana, samadhi, wisdom – each recitation is perfect. Where else can Zen be found if not here?

或看一话头者,谓之参禅,或坐或息念者,谓之坐禅,参也坐也,总是禅也。禅也佛 也,总是心也,禅即佛之禅,佛即禅之佛,念佛法门,何碍于参禅坐禅乎?且参禅 者,能将此阿弥陀佛四字,当做一句话头,念来念去,反复不舍,不言参禅,禅在其 中矣!坐禅者,要到一念相应,豁然如托空方为得手,念佛念到一心不乱时,非相应 乎?念到心空时,非永远相应乎?于念佛时,不昏不散,止观定慧念念圆成,若欲别 求禅,那禅当更在何处?

Commentary

Zen is Pure Land because both Zen and Pure Land aim at reaching one-pointedness of mind. Although two expedients are involved, the result is the same. However, Zen is ten times as difficult! The well-known commentary Returning Directly to the Source contains the fo lowing similes: “those who practice methods other than Pure Land are no different from ants climbing a high mountain or worms crawling up to the tip of a bamboo stalk. The Pure Land method of Buddha Recitation is a shortcut relying on the Buddha’s power. It is lik e a boat sailing downstream with the wind in its sails or a worm digging its way out sideways [horizontal escape(19)]. There is no faster way.”


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