Levering - I 136 Paula Richman 36 For VediIcga‘crifiCe...

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Unformatted text preview: I 136 Paula Richman 36. For VediIcga‘crifiCe oIIfIcows, see Wendy Donlger O’Flaherty, “15;“? ' A .. Cows and Pro "II’I'IIh‘lares in Indian Mythology,” history of lielrgrons . 1 (August 1979):"1 , Ind Romila Tha‘par, Ancient lndum Socml first “i: interpretationssiNew I ': Orient Longman, 1972),: p. 54. _ f m A A H ‘I '.‘\I, . .I . 64 q" . . ' U 37I ShuIIIIIIIIII The KIWI II“ OMII P I h s dCows n-Chl ‘(Rinzal) Ch’an and Gender: I II’ " ' I ‘ , t”in" acre . . II 38I CIIOMFIaheflysggwm II'IIOII The Rhetoric of Equality and ‘ and Profane ares," p. . I («my the Rhetoric of Heroism 39. A fonnu aic way 0 6 ,‘ \. , . abondleads Miriam L. Levering I I ’ ' I tron, 1n .‘ to obsession, acco g to Cattanar s portrayal. Bovine main in a: “I9 contrast, is incl sive in nature; nurturance is availab e o ‘ ' I 5 ' I' ’ _ ' Chinese Ch’an Buddhism (the tradition that the Japanese inherited and , a ' called Zen) has been characterized at least from the time of the disciples of Ma-tsu Taoéi (709488) by a rhetoric of equality. Whether one is rich ‘1. A . I ‘ ' or poor, noble or base, old or young is irrelevant to the question of -, ‘ _ I whether one can attain enlightenment. This egalitarian rhetoric is based ' "' I on the strong belief, emphasized in the Perfection of Wisdom (ijfiflpdmmitfl) tradition, that distinguishing characteristics or ”marks” ‘1‘ - (in Sanskrit, laksana; in Chinese, hsiang) belong only to the relative, ‘ temporal realm and are empty of any substantial existence.I Ch’an «III: teachers such as Huang-p’o HIsi-yun (.7—849)2 insisted that focusing on I them leads only to attachment to distinctions, which in itself prevents I. leaving behind the student’s deluded habits of mind. The egalitarian . rhetoric is also based on the equally strong Chinese Ch'an conviction that all persons have an ”originally enlightened mind”; one has to ' . do nothing to attain or perfect it, as it is already given.3 ‘ ‘ ' - ln extant texts dating from before 1005 CE, rhetorical passages whose theme is equality only rarely mention the irrelevance of distinctions of gender to the project of attaining enlightenment.‘ We V, . ‘ find in extant sources frequent mention of the irrelevancy of gender . I distinctions to enlightenment only when we come to the records of ; ‘ two prominent Sung dynasty Ch’an teachers, both of whom are t ’ -, , ' I' . deservedly well remembered in the traditionf'Ta—hui ‘Tsung-k’ao 4 j . , V; f r . . (1089—1163)‘a_tid. Hung—chi]: _Cheng-chueh (1091—1157): Ta-hui was 'a 'r; ‘ . . . A ‘ '_ ' . dharma heir of Yuan-Wu K'd-ch'ih (1063-1135) of the Lin-chi lineage, ‘ ,1 ~ ,— - - q a «H - famous for his final layer of commentary in the Blue CliffRecord (Pi—yen lu).5 Ta-hui himself was most famous for his forceful advocacy of the I‘ I I 'I , 137 . I", 138 Miriam L Levering Lin-Chi (Rinzai) Ch'an and Gender ‘ 139 huavt’ou or "critical phrase” method for attaining enlightenment that came to characterize the Lin-chi school;.Hung-chih was Ta-hui s rival . and friend from the Tsfao-tung lineage, famous for'his teaching: of the f , "V‘ practice of ”silent illumination” (mo-chm)“. .. 2 . 1. To.the Yung-ning Commandery Mistress‘0 Ta-hui says: ”This matter [that is, enlightenment] doesnot depend on being a man or a woman}? monk or nun or a lay persOn. If on hearing one word from This sudden appearance of the topic with some frequency in'the ‘ records ofjthese men, after centuries of (silence or extremely scattered . referen’ce'Eriiin extant‘so‘ui‘ces, may be misleading," an artifact of the ‘1‘ sources. Gr it may indicate that," whereas. it is likely that nuns were 1, never excluded from thé'earlier Ch’an- teaching lineages and commune ities, the nui‘nbers of nuns and laywomen drawn to Ch’an may have increased in the late northern and early sOuthern Sung, and their significance to the maintenance! of the community may also have increased. Hung-chih and Ta-hui both taught female disciples, as had ' Yiian-wu; Ta-hui and Yfian-wu both [had female dharma heirs. In Ta-hui’s case, the one I have studied most closely, twenty-four women students are mentioned by. name in his records, and five nuns and one laywoman are' among a list of fifty-four dharma heirs; indeed, Ta-hui s first dharma heieras a woman who becaméia successfuligac‘h'er, the nun Ting-kuang. The mohastic institutions and teaching actiVities of both Yiian-wu and Ta-hui were supported financially by Women donors, including lay and clerical students. Ta-hui on many occasions gave his hearers details about his student-teacher relationships with a number of women disciples.7 The extension of the rhetoric of equality to gender that we find more often than before in .the .records of Ta-hui and Hung-chih clearly must be understood in the context of the eXIstence of an audience, the women students themselves, who elicited from these masters an affirmation of their equal potential for enlightenment. Let us take a closer look at some samples of this emerging rhetoric of gender equality taken from the records of Ta-hui and Hung-chili. Even though he had womenstudents and donors, Yuan-wu did not leave any record of explicit extensions of the rhetoric of equality to gender.“ . The Rhetoric of Equality The records of Ta—hui have quite a number of passages in which gender equality in relation to enlightenment is stated explicitly, Not only that, they contain extended sermons in which gender equality tn the pursuit of enlightenment is the theme, something we do not find in the records . of Yiian-wu and Hung-chih.v(Nor, as far as I know, elsewhere in the records of Sung Chiany‘ Let us first; examine the rhetonc; of his statements about gender equality: ' ' » 5 , - ~,-..' ‘ a teacherfigt‘egsuddenly breaks off [the chain of deluded thought], that is completefrnealization.”“ . "I .- ‘ 2. . poriother woman student Ta-hui says: ”In this matter one does not need: to. consider [whether onefisl a man or a woman, noble or of lowhdegreeh’adult or child. It is equal and the same for all. How do we know? Because the World-HOnored One (that is, Sakyamuni Buddhai in the Lotus assembly only ferried one person, a girl, to the achievement of Buddhahood; in the Nirvana assembly he only ferried one person, ‘the butcher Kuang-ku, to the achievement of Buddhahood.‘2 You should understand that these two when they achieved Buddhahood had not made any other kind of effort, they simply trusted enough and had no other thought. . .Although you area woman, your determination is no less than that of the girl who became a Bu.ddha.”'.3 , ‘ j . 3. 'Another passage} concerning a'woman student conveys the same message: ”Can you say that she isa Woman, and that women have no share [in enlightenment]? You must believe that this Matter has nothing to do with one’s being male or'female, old or young. Ours is an egalitarian Dharma gate that has only one flavor.”” 4. Finally, in another example Ta-hui makes the point with a vivid image: ”For mastering the truth, it does notmatter whether one is male or female, noble or base. One moment of insight and one is shoulder to shoulder with the Buddha.”15 Ta-hui’s Ts’ao-tung lineage contemporary, Hung-chih, also brings up the point explicitly. Talking about the continuing cycle of birth and death, with its births in heavens and hells, that awaits those who have not had a moment of enlightenment, Hung—chih says: if you have not arrived at such a moment, then you will enter the . [samsaric cycle of life and death, the hells and the heavens: when does it ever rest?.This is only because you have never become a Buddha or a patriarch. If you {had ever once been a Buddha or a patriarch, [samsém] would not be'able to turn you around and around. . ,In both the male and the female body there is the "mark” (lisiaiig) of becoming 3 Buddha and a patriarch.“ This rhetoric‘of equality of access is undergirded by these teachers? understanding of what enlightenment, as both men and women" experiencellit, reveals‘about. the nature 'fof reality. As the following” passages from the recorded "Sayings of Hun'g-chih make clear, for Sung a. -‘iv ,, r _ ,, ,2. 140 Miriam L. leven’ng Ch’an téachers, as for later teachers in the tradition, enlightenment is the realization of a total transcendence of gender distinctions, which are revealed as phenomenal appearances that are ultimately irrelevant. 1. For example, Hung-chih describes the moment when one becomes free; of all impediments, and discovers the reality, which is that The real mark is the mark of no mark, The real mind is the mind of no mind. The real attainment is the no-attaining attaining, The real activity is the no-activity activity. In that Condition, each and every existent phenomenon (dhumm) is within my power; if all marks appear in my person, all marks are t beautiful. At such a moment, one does not see that there are such distinguishing marks as rich and poor, male and female, right and wrong, gain and loss. It is only because there are marks that you accept ' and marks that you reject that you are not able to join yourself to emptiness and experience equality with the Dharma realm [of ultimate reality]." 2. In another passage Hung-chih makes the same point: ”Is it not that in this moment [of enlightenment] that a monk or nun receives the complete and sufficient activity [of the Buddha-nature]? It is where you act, and gvhere l,act, and where all the Buddhas and patriarchs are at work; {\ow could distinctions of monastic and lay, male and female, matter, then?”" ' g _ 3. Again referring to the moment when-One sees truly, Hung—chili says: ”Everyone has this complete in himself or herself. At this moment there is no male Or female or other distinction of mark (hsiang). Only a pure, single marvelous clarity, which is called the true mark, and in which all is included“.”“ Thus, beginning with the Sung, women students of Ch'an are given what seemsto be an unambiguous message that this is a path of practice and enlightenment open to them. The message is that the Ch'an tradition is. clear on the overall doctrinal question of whether maleness and femaleness are relevant to the project of becoming enlightened, and also clear On the point that in the experience of enlightenment, maleness and femaleness are completely transcended. Yet if wego beyond this doctrinal rhetoric and look at a different dimension of Ch’an rhetoric in the Sting, namely at gender-linked \ terms that refer to Qualities needed for'enlightenrnent, a more complex picture‘étnerges. It becomes necessary to ask whether a second message is not also given: that only an exceptional woman can expect to attain enlightenment. " Lin-Chi (Rinzai) Ch'an and Gender 141 Lin-chi Ch’an, Women, and the Rhetoric of Heroism If one examines the sermons and recorded sayings of these same Sung Ch’an masters for descriptions of qualities needed by the successful Ch’an student, one finds, in the records of Yiianéwu and Ta—hui, prominent representatives‘of the Lin-chi Ch’an lineage of their time, an oft repeated theme that only someone who can act like a ”great hero” (ta-chang-fu), or a brave, tough, determined, unstoppable fellow (ta-chang-fu-han), can expect to attain awakening. The following are some samples of this kind of statement. 1. A poem quoted by Ta-hui: A great hero (tu-chang-fu) of great roots and great abilities— Within the space of a single thought he finishes the "great affair” [of enlightenment) All the Buddhas of the three worlds are inferior to him20 This person is good enough to be a servant of the Buddha.21 2. An excerpt from a sermon by Ta-hui: ”Generally speaking, to take up the burden of this affair, you must be a ferocious hero (meng-lieh ta-chang-fu). For this reason the Capital Teacher Su-chen said: ’l’d rather ferry a hundred [man—eating] Raksa demons [to Buddhahood] than one. deluded heretic.’ For example, Old Sakyamuni preached the Hun-yen. Sfitra about obtaining Buddhahood in one lifetime, and only ferried , ' ‘ one youth, Sudhana; he preached the Lotus Sfitm and only ferried one dragon [king] Sagara's daughter. When he preached the Great Compendium Sl'itra22 he only ferried one demon king; when he preached the Nirvana Sfitm, he only ferried one butcher Kuang-ku. As it is said, ’One who can kill a man without blinking can instantly become a Buddha; one who becomes a Buddha can kill without blinking‘.’ ” Here Ta-hui tells the story of the Butcher Kuang-ku’s enlighten- ment. He concludes: ”You can be sure that a ferocious fellow (mengJie/r ta-chang-fu) is ferocious when he does evil and ferocious when he does good deeds; he is noble only in that his last thought corresponds exactly to this affair.” ‘ Ta-hui continues the sermon by telling an excerpt from the story ‘ of Sudhana in the Gandhavyaha.” He narrates how Sudhana, when he asks a teacher about the bodhisattva practice and the bodhisattval way, is instructed to climb a mountain of swords and throw himself into a lake of fire. He doubts and hesitates, thinking that the teacher might be a demon whose intention is to cause him to lose his hard-won human f0rm and thus obstruct his progress. Guardian-kings appear to reassure him, and he repents, and hurls himself off the mountain ,"Wu—mm—wbppm—J—MWWWW 142 Miriam L. Levering - ,z. of swords into the fire. Whereupon he attains samddhis, and finds the fire cool and delightful. Ta-hui concludes: ”Know that the five desires and the dusts and toils of this world [like Sudhana’s fire] are originally clear and cool.“ When‘ one is in the midst of the [mundane world of] dusts and toils suddenly to correspond with [enlightened mind] in a , single instant of thought—that isjthat person’s attaining of Buddhahood in one lifetime. Is this not the act of afkrocious hero (meng-lieh‘ tar-Chang} . 7st= . f") What is a ta-chang-fu or a ta-charig-fu hurt like? Taken together, the passages in which the term is used in the Recorded Sayings of Yiian-wu supply the following picture of the kind of person and the kind of activity associated with the term. First of all, a ta-chang-fu has great courage;“ if in a dangerous situation he hesitates or retreats, he IS not a ta-charig-fu." He is fearless, and regards any feat of daring anyone else can accomplish as something he should be able to do also.” He does not look up to anyone else, nor is he afraid of anyone else. He is independent, and carves out his own way.” Speaking more directly about the qualities of a ta-chang-fu as they pertain to the project of attaining enlightenment, Yuan-WU says that a ta-chang-fu is able to reach enlightenment directly, paying no attention to arguments and mutual accusations and such distractions.” He does 3; not get caught up in words, in pursuing intellectual understanding, ' in useless ‘efforts to be smart.31 Hey.”wields the Sword of wisdom, breaks into pieces all false thoughts, steps onvthe livers of demons.”31‘Firmness ' of will and detemrination are his chief characteristics- He ”has a stiong, burning will and a heroic Spirit. He is able to ignore all outward conditions and pays no attehtion to what happens insrde his mind. He doesn’t look up to the sage nor down on the ordinary person. He can break through the city of illusion, and directly attain the real inheritance [enlightenment].”33 Ta-hui, Yiian-wu’s disciple and heir within the Lin-chi teach‘ing lineage, also uses the term frequently. He says-that a tu-chang—fu is one who has great karmic preparation for enlightenment and great capacities.” He can break throughéto enlightenment at a smgle stroke.” He is unstoppable,’,undistractable, goes straight to the heart of the" matter.“ He 'is the kind of person who, if he comes across asnake while walking in a forest, seizes it and breaks it in two.37 Someone who. investigates everything carefully, looks but doesn’t leap, half doubts and half believes; islnot a ta-chang‘fifu.” ' . . Great heroes (ta-chang-fu) aref.bodhisattvas. Ta-hui wntes of a layman: "if you have-already reachedthis realm of enlightenment, then _ Lin-Chi (Rinzai) Ch'an and Gender * 143 by means of this Dharma gate you must give rise to the mind of great compassion. Whether things are going for you or against you, wade into the mire. Caring nothing for your own life, have no fear of ’mouth karma’ [incurring bad karmic effects through speech], but save all in order to repay the grace of the Buddhas. This aloneis worthy of being called the behavior of a ta-chang-fu.”33 Most important, a'ta-chang-fu brings to a rapid conclusion ”this business” of enlightenment. A ' silccessful student, one who has had a thoroughly liberating experience of the ultimate, is thus a ta-chang-fu, as the following excerpt from a verse by Ta-hui for a lay official indicates: [Layman Chuang] had cut off the root of defilements, As a fierce fire burns dry grass. The foundation of his mind was already peaceful; How could demonic illusions disturb it? ”You are often noisy and distressed, ”I am always quiet and clear. . . . " At death he manifested a real returning [home] (chen-kuei) , Just as though he were throwing off a wom-out cloth jacket. He crossed his legs and entered Ch’an samddhi Like a bright moon close to a clear pond. Passing through the barrier of life—and-death He shattered into bits the valueless jewels. . A diamond-hard, [plumbline] true-ta—chang-fu, , i; Completing this One Thing, he completed all.‘0 -’ . History of the Terms Chang-fa and Ta-chang—fu in Ch ’rm and pre-Ch’rm Discourse There is no doubt that in this Ch’an discourse, which in the Lin-chi lineage in the Sung dwells with such persuasive effect on the need for courage, strength of will, and determination for successful practice toward enlightenment, the rhetoric employed is gender linked. In particular, the metaphor of tu-chang-fu or ta-chang-fu-han is inescapabl y masculine. The term tu-chung-fu had a long history in Chinese classics and other literature, beginning with the Mencius. From the first its root meaning seems to have been ”a great and powerful man.” Confucian moralists seem to have attempted to transform its meaning from physical strength and power of will alone to moral greatness, but they also specifically underlined the term’gs meaning of ”manliness" as oppOSed to ”,womanliness.” The locus classicus in the Mencius states: 2. Ma- \ 144 L Miriam L. Levering t. i Ching ch’un said toMencius: ”Are not Kung-sun Yen and Chang i really great men (ta-chang-fu)? Let them once be angry, and all the princes are afraid. Let them live quietly, and the flames of trouble are extinguished throughout the kingdom.” Mencius said, ”How can such be great men (ta-citang-fu)? Have you not read the Ritual Usages?—’At the capping of a young man, his father admonishes him. At the marrying away of a young woman, her mother admonishes her, accompanying her to the door on her leaving, and cautioning her with these words, ”You are going to your home. You must be respectful; you must be careful. Do not disobey your husband.” ’ Thus, to look upon compliance as their correct course is the rule for women. To dwell in the wide house of the world, to stand in the correct seat of the world, and to walk in the great path of the world; when he obtains his desire for office, to practice his principles for‘the good of the people; magma that desire is disappointedflo practice them alone; and to béhMVe the power of riches and honor to make dissipated, of povestyfi and mean condition to make swerve from principle, and of power and force to make bend—thesf'characteristics to'nstitute the‘great man (mechang-fu).”" A later text, the Ha‘u Han-shu, also links the very meaning of the term to the gender distinction: ”A great man (ta-chang-fu) should be able to fly like a male, not submit like a female; he should be able to sweep the empire clean of_ disorder and unite it in peace. if he does not eat the food of a feudal lord in his...
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