This old teacher is one of my new inspirations! Muso Soseki, or Muso Kokushi (an honorific title) died in 1351 and left behind a legacy of Rinzai Zen, political influence, calligraphy, and gardens.
In one of his collections of writing, he lists common misconceptions:
There are a number of common misconceptions about Buddhism and what it teaches. Summarized as follows they may generally be found wherever word of Buddhism has been heard:
1. The pure land and the defiled land, or paradise and the mundane world are separate; delusion and enlightenment, ordinary people and sages are not the same.
2. There is no difference between sages and ordinary people, no distinction between the pure and defiled.
3. In Buddhist teaching there are distinctions such as greater and lesser, temporary and true, exoteric and esoteric, meditation and doctrinal study.
4. Buddhist teachings are completely equal, non better than another in any way.
5. All activity and perception is itself Buddhism.
6. Buddhism exists apart from all activities.
7. All things really exist.
8.All things are impermanent.
9. All things are either eternal or pass away entirely.
10. All things illusory and empty, or they are in between existence and non existence.
11. There is no truth outside doctrine.
12. There is a truth outside doctrine that is better than doctrine.
All of these represent statements that are to be found in Buddhist views. All of them are partial views that are used for temporary purposes. When are held as fixed views or sacred dogma, therefore, they turn into misconceptions. In order to understand the Zen frame of the mind, it is necessary to suspend fixation on such views or vacillation between them.
Ancient Dharma Beast!