By James Green
Those clever and humorous tales were an idea to religious perform for greater than twelve centuries, really for all those that stick with the Buddhist course as laypeople. Layman P’ang (740–808) used to be a service provider and kinfolk guy who sooner or later placed all his cash and possessions in a ship and sunk it in a river, in order that he may well commit his existence to the learn of the dharma. His spouse, son, and daughter joined him enthusiastically on his new direction, taking over a joyfully itinerant lifestyles jointly as they traveled from temple to monastery throughout southern China. This selection of anecdotes and verses in regards to the enlightened layman and his family members has develop into a permanent Zen vintage.
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Additional info for The Sayings of Layman P'ang: A Zen Classic of China
The rest of the text is devoted to a depiction of the Bodhisatta’s progress toward attaining “bodhi-knowledge”83 or enlightenment. While the poem presents Siddhattha as one who never wavers from his goal of “seeking out the fruit of his own path, a Noble Way / to the peace of nibbãμa, which is happiness,”84 the jealous god Mãrã attempts to deter him with threats, force, and reminders of the wordly pleasures, emotions, and powers he will have to renounce. Once it becomes clear that the Bodhisatta will soon become enlightened, a crowd of “large and small gods” gather to observe him.
You should take up what is good and do that. 103 While kings in Buddhist literature are often depicted as possessors of almost unlimited power, righteous kings such as the future Sa°kha and King Nemi of the Nemi-jãtak recognize the intrinsic limitations of worldly power and the superiority of the path of world renunciation. Righteous kings, in this idealized conception, always defer to buddhas. It is this moral contrast between kings and buddhas that the poet of the Rýa° Paðhamasambodhi wants to convey; kings are powerful because they are meritorious, but ultimately, what makes them just is their recognition that there is a greater power that gives meaning and coherence to the world.
That is, the Buddha was not simply an exemplary moral ¤gure; his cosmic biography also demonstrated and made sense of how reality worked. The moral development of individuals was determined by action or kamma, and the bene¤t or harm it created. The physical formation and temporal framework of the world itself, in this conception, was linked to the moral progress and decline of individuals living in the world and to the rise and gradual puri¤cation of the subsequent buddhas who taught the Dhamma or Truth in different eras.
The Sayings of Layman P'ang: A Zen Classic of China by James Green