Budaya-Tionghoa.Net | Ada cuplikan tulisan menarik yang aku ambil dari buku “The Practice of Chinese Buddhism: 1900-1950” oleh Holmes Welch yang cukup tebal . Isinya sangat lengkap tentang praktik Chinese Buddhism. Selama ini, bagian yang selalu disorot dari `Chinese Buddhism’ adalah praktik2 `Chinese Buddhism’ yang sangat dekat dengan `pembodohan’.
Sangat jarang aku temukan orang2 yang punya niat menggali sisi2 lain dari Chinese Buddhism, terutama semangat asli yang berakar dari kehidupan monastik praktisi Chan Buddhism. Bahkan DT Suzuki, seorang scholar dan praktisi Zen Buddhism yang
semestinya ‘reliable’ pernah membuat komentar kontroversial yang mengatakan bahwa “Chan/Zen while has survived in Japan, it died out long ago in China, choked by superstition and decay”.
Aku pribadi tidak menyalahkan beliau, in fact, aku lebih percaya beliau telah membuat `honest / sincere mistake’ karena pengamatannya yang terbatas. Mudah-mudahan cuplikan tulisan ini menyadarkan kembali niat para praktisi Chinese Buddhism untuk kembali merevive semangat `berlatih’ yang dicontohkan oleh para praktisi Chan monastik ketimbang cuma terlibat dalam `cung-cung cep’ atau tahayul2.
Cuplikan ini hanya sebagian kecil detil keseharian dari pagi sampai malam yang mampu aku tulis. Keseluruhannya (bagian yang menjelaskan dengan detil sekali tata cara keseharian para monastik di sebuah Chinese Monastery) aku rencanakan untuk aku dokumentasikan dalam bentuk digital. Bagi yang pernah mengikuti retreat2 ala ‘Chinese’ akan dapat menemukan kemiripan detil prosedur. Ini menandakan tradisi ini telah diteruskan turun menurun. Mudah-mudahan bermanfaat.
Chapter II : Meditation Hall
“Now we shall turn to the meditation hall, in particular Chin San’s, which was the most illustrious in China. Any chinese monk who had serious interest in meditation would hope that someday he might enroll there. Many succeeded, and so it has not been difficult to collect material on how its hall was operated. I have gotten independent accounts from eight monks who enrolled between 1905 and 1944. The second of these eight was still at Chin Shan (as abbot) in 1949, at which time he said, the system was unchanged from what it had been when he first entered the hall thirty-two years earlier. All these informants spoke from memory, not diaries or after consulting a code of rules. HENCE IT IS IMPRESSIVE THAT THEIR ACCOUNTS WERE IN SUBSTANTIAL AGREEMENT. Some readers may be skeptical about the austerities that will be described below. I remember being told by a Japanese Buddhist Scholar that “ten hours of meditation a day is simply impossible: perhaps the people you talked to were
exaggerating”. But then how would theirs exaggerations turn out to coincide? Most of my informants had no contact with one another: they lived in different temples, some in Hong King and some in Taiwan. I find it simpler to accept their accounts as the truth.
The Day’s Work
Let us imagine that we are spending a day in the meditation hall early in the winter term, that is in September. It is 3:00 O clock in the morning.. We hear the sound of footsteps crossing the courtyard. It is the night patrol, come to awaken the monks with four strokes of small portbale board. He has already awaked some of the kitchen staff with three strokes half an hour earlier. Four Strokes is the signal for everyone in the monastery to be up. The residents of the meditation hall rise from the sleeping platform, put away their bedding, go to the latrine, wash their faces at two large water basins out in the courtyard and finally drink a mug of hot water, to which THEY ADD A PINCH OF SALT. THEY HAVE ONLY SLEPT FIVE HOURS AND THE SUN WILL NOT RISE FOR TWO HOURS MORE. It is dark and cold. They put on their full sleeved gown and over this their robes. In the great shrine hall all the monks of monastery execpt the kitchen staff have gathered to recite morning devotions (Chao Ge).
At about 5:15 morning devotions are over and everyone returns to his own quarters. In The meditation hall the monks take up their positions cross legged on the narrow bench for a period of quiet sitting. They do not meditate, however, and whereas later in the day they would be struck for dozing, now they are expected to doze. They may snore since now is the time “to get built up” for the long day ahead them. Some monks speak of this rest period with peculiar enthusiasm. It did more good, they say, than hours of ordinary sleep.
At about six o’clock, as the monastery resounds to the banging of the wooden fish image, they get ready to file over to the refectory and rejoin the rest of the monks for the day’s first meal, which is termed `early congee’ since it consists of congee and vegetables, particularly salted vegetables. Nothing is served to drink, though some of the dishes are semi liquid. The monks have to wait the abbot’s arrival and to rise in his honor. But they can not begin to eat the food that the waiters have been ladling out into their bowls.
They have to watch it cool while they recite a short grace, after which an acolyte takes the seven grains of rice from a bowl before the Buddha image and places them in a low pillar in the courtyard. He snaps his finger to notify the ghosts thet they have not been forgotten. Ghosts are among the sentient beings whom the most orthodox follower of Chan tries to assist- by feeding them, preaching to them and transferring to their account the merit that is created by his religious exercises.Only after the ghosts have been fed may the waiting monks start their breakfast. They eat quickly and carefully under the watchful eye of the proctor, who stands by the main door. The proctor also sees to it that all the rules are strictly kept, particularly the rule of silence. While they eat, the monks are not merely silent, but supposed to be focusing their minds on the five reflections, that is on the debt they owe to thos who provided the food, which they should eat as medicine not with enjoyment.
This time there is no rest period for the residents of the meditation hall. They take off their robes and full sleeved gowns, change into gown with ordinaru sleeves and into comfortable sandals, then repair the porch outside the hall to clean their teeth. Next comes a visit to the latrines. The manner of excretion is EXACTLY PRESCRIBED.
Now the monks are ready to begin the day’s work. As they return one by one from the latrines, they join in the casual circumambulation
that is already underway. They begin to walk rapidly. In chinese this is termed (running meditation).
The evening period consists of the usual cycle of running and sitting. The sitting is the longest of the day, lasting about an hour and a half. When ends at 8:00 pm, the monks do not stir.
At 10:00 pm, work ends as the drum in the great shrine ball begins to boom. Then the night patrol makes a circuit of the whole monastery striking his board twice. That is the sign for lights out.
IN ALL THE RESIDENTS OF THE MEDITATION HALL HAVE DONE SEVEN PERIODS OF RUNNING AND SEVEN PERIODS OF SITTING, A TOTAL OF ABOUT NINE HOURS WORK. IF WE CONSIDER THE FOUR MEALS, THREE TEAS, TWO NAPS AND THE ALTERATION OF SITTING AND RUNNING, This may not seem to be an unbearable program. But we have yet to hear about the period in autums when the work reaches its peak.
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