Monday, September 10, 2012

Two Vinaya Mahayana masters talk - A facebook Q&A

Ven Huei Guang’s photo album of his retreat and preparation just before receiving dharma transmission from Ven. Ben Huan in China.

於2008年,蒙深圳弘法寺 本換老和尚慈悲親自傳授,禪門正法眼藏,臨濟正宗法脈。此禪門法脈源流源自於釋迦牟尼佛,祖祖印心相傳,直到近代虛雲老和尚→本煥老和尚→慧光 (第45代臨濟正宗傳人)。

2008, I received the transmission of the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye in the Noble Linji Ch'an Dharma Lineage with the compassion of my Master, Ch'an Master Ben Huan, from Shenzhen Hongfa Temple in China. This lineage of Dharma transmission trace all the way back to Sakyamuni Buddha. The ancient Masters have transmitted one after another until recent era to Ch'an Master Hsu Yun. Then the Dharma transmission is from: Venerable Master Hsu Yun→ Venerable Master Ben Huan→ Hueiguang (45th generation lineage holder of the Linji Ch'an).


此體系在習慣上,稱為剃度恩師,得戒本師,傳法尊師。中國佛教傳統上,出家是一回事,受戒是一回事,傳法又是一回事,並非一定都由同一位師父主持。又禪宗重在傳法,得法的人, 即稱為法子。當然在家也可得法,但畢竟是少數。出家得法的,多是已在別的師父那裡剃度及受戒。

In Chinese Buddhist tradition, there are 3 systems of transmission:
1. Tonsure system: a person become tonsured as a novice monastic under the Master's school. He/she is given a Dharma name 法號 at the time of tonsure based on the Master's lineage. This name is also called "the outer name 外號" because it is use by all people to address you. This name is used for life. At the same time, the Master will give the novice sramanera (or sramanerika) ten precepts.
2. Ordination system: a novice will become fully ordained as a Bhikṣu monk/ Bhikṣuni nun with the Triple Platform Ordination (Observing the Śrāmanera, Bhikṣu and Bodhisattva precepts) . This ordination must be presided by 10 monks with at least 10 years of seniority with a pure practice in upholding the monastic precepts. In this ceremony, the 10 Masters represent the Triple Gem accepting the novice into the Sangha. At this time, another Dharma name 法名 is given. This name is also called "precept name 戒名 or inner name 內號" because it is use only by one's Master. This name represents your precept lineage transmission.
3. Dharma transmission system: This system upholds the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye through the generations of transmission. This is the Mind to Mind seal of the Dharma that is beyond the scriptures. At this time, another Dharma name 法名 is given. This is also called "the inner name 內號" and use only by one's Master. This name represents your Dharma lineage transmission. After receiving this name, one will use this name instead of the name received during precept ordination to write one's Dharma name (Inner Name)(Outer Name). For example, my Dharma name is "Chang An Huei Guang 常安慧光", where "Huei Guang" is my name given at tonsure and "Chang An" is given at Dharma transmission.Therefore, these systems of transmission should not be ended.

It is customary to refer to one's own tonsure Master as "Gracious Master", precept Master as "Root Master" and Dharma transmission Master as "Venerable Master." In Chinese Buddhism, these 3 systems are separate and are not performed by the same Masters. Moreover, due to the strong emphasis on the Dharma, when a person receives the Dharma transmission, he/she is recognized as that Ch'an Master's Dharma son/daughter. Of course lay Buddhists may also receive this Dharma transmission, but there are very few incidences. Most of the monk/nun who received the transmission has already been tonsured and ordained by other Masters.
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You, Fasheng Shi, Benny Heng and 30 others like this.

Ven Hong Yang Shi 

Dear Ven. Hueiguang

Would u mind explaining how one gets to hold a lineage? Are there 45th generations of monks and nuns along with you? or just yourself?
forgive my curiousity, I just only have some idea of history from acadmeic studies done way back in 90s.
January 8, 2011 at 10:43pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi And the story of the Ven. Master Hui Neng who I read about in the prelude to the Platform Sutra.
January 8, 2011 at 10:45pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi There are many people who received this title: 45th generation lineage holder. When a Ch'an Master see that his/her disciple has right understanding and practice of the Dharma, he/her will transmit this title to him/her which recognizes this monk/nun/or lay practitioner as a Ch'an Master who is able to teach the correct understandings and practice of Ch'an.
January 8, 2011 at 10:49pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi you know it's very intersting because isn't this different in Japanese tradition? And most academic work I used to read had most of the stories around one lineage holder picking only one other suitible monk. So I suspected it was only partly true.
January 8, 2011 at 10:51pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi As i met more monks and nuns over the years seemed to be disproving the academic myths too. Many had so many rich experiences learning from this or that master while living their monastic lives. But my tonsure master never said about the details of what is actually done in many other places or even idea of how other temples do their things or specialize...etc.
January 8, 2011 at 10:53pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi However, it is not so easy to receive this recognition or transmission. Because the Master will be very careful to give someone this transmission of the Dharma. This carefulness will guarantees that the Dharma taught in the future will not be corrupted and degenerates.
January 8, 2011 at 10:53pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi It's a view I very strongly agree about. I really see that it is important. What I wonder is there very many westerners holding the lineage transmission?
January 8, 2011 at 11:01pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi To become a lineage holder, you must learn under a Ch'an Master and become his/her disciple and allow him/her to guide you in the understanding and practice of Ch'an. You must be a diligent and ardent cultivator. With right understand and practice. The Master will give you this transmission.
January 8, 2011 at 11:04pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi Oh, I see. My tonsure temple was only Pure Land, no meditation and no time for it. I was shocked when arriving there to find nothing I knew from my temporary stay at Hsi Lai Temple. But I stayed as I wanted to learn the liturgy so I would know what the Chinese laity liked and how they benefitted. So one day I can help english speakers to benefit the same way.
January 8, 2011 at 11:07pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi I liked what little I saw of Chan by some Chan masters there. And what I studied on my own.
January 8, 2011 at 11:09pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi Becoming tonsure as a monk/nun and receiving the Dharma transmissions are two different process. One may become a monk/nun and never receive this transmission. This Dharma transmission is the seal of the right Dharma, when a practitioner is recognized as a Master of Ch'an. Otherwise, we do not know if the teaching of a particular Ch'an practitioner who teaches Ch'an (or Zen) is authentic and in accordance with the Buddha's Enlightenment and teachings.
January 8, 2011 at 11:16pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi I do undestand that. I learned only a little about it from Buddhist history class but it wasn't detailed enough. I think it's important for western people to understand this difference and learn to recognize who they learn Chan from
January 8, 2011 at 11:19pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi Its very important to have this Transmission before teaching any one Ch'an. Otherwise, it is like the blind leading the blind. As of now, there is only Japanese transmission of the Zen to the west. Some westerners who are good practitioners have received the authentic transmission. But many just study under some Masters for a while or never even study under any Masters and never received this transmission. However, they still give teaching to people on Ch'an Dharma as if they had received this transmission and are Ch'an Masters. It is very misleading and confusing. Therefore, it become harder a student to find a good teacher who possesses cultivated inner virtue and wisdom and practice under him/her as a disciple.
January 8, 2011 at 11:31pm • Like • 2

Ven Hong Yang Shi I absolute believe the same thing. It's easy to see this living here in the states. The chan masters who are real aren't authentic enough for those americans faddist who just show up once in a while or a month and then are gone
January 8, 2011 at 11:35pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi hahaha.......
January 8, 2011 at 11:38pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi spiritual materialism.......practicing the Dharma or Ch'an becomes a fashion.....hahaha
January 8, 2011 at 11:41pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi It's really shameful to see that behavior after I had such fortunate luck to have early meditation training from my first teacher (a proper trained shaolin layman who learned from a chan master who lived in the mountains. But now even years back he said I could teach students but I didn't because I was ready to leave home and become a nun.
January 8, 2011 at 11:41pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi Sadhu! Sadhu!
January 8, 2011 at 11:44pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi It wasn't much better these past years people here commented that my robes should be pink...why I asked? It was because they wanted monks and nuns to support breast cancer awareness...then I asked what does the red robe mean to you? Proudly they said heart disease. Yellow? lost or missing people. These were not kids but university professors and construction bosses.
January 8, 2011 at 11:44pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi They do not know what the robe represents. That is why they have their own ideas.
January 8, 2011 at 11:49pm • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi One wanted to buy a sky blue haiqing...cuz it was better color than black. I didn't try after that cuz I got the distinct idea that they were going to wear for fashion or streetwear.
January 8, 2011 at 11:56pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi hahaha.....
January 8, 2011 at 11:57pm • Like

Shaoke Zhang congratulations, Chang'An Shi.:-)
January 31, 2011 at 4:26pm • Like

駱觀靜 我可以使用師父的法照在msn上嗎
June 15, 2011 at 9:58am • Like

Hueiguang Shi 可以!
June 15, 2011 at 10:05am • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi what is the 字號? My tonsure master picked my 法名 and it's the top one in my ordination book, he uses that one and I use it too but he also wrote the 字號 and that's another name which for now I don't use. He gave no instruction on this. Any ideas?
June 15, 2011 at 1:45pm • Like

Hueiguang Shi 法名 is our Dharma name or 內號 inner name that our ordination Master has given us. This name is called by our master and it tells us which school of transmission that you belong to. 字號 or literal name, I think is the 外號 outer name that a monk or nun is usually refer to by others in the community.
June 21, 2011 at 2:36am • Like

Ven Hong Yang Shi Thank you, my tonsure master chose the names but uses the 法名 rather than the 字號. In his small temple everyone uses it too. From what you say is the outer name to be used by everyone else. I think that's better.
June 21, 2011 at 11:38am • Like

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