Tugas Gunadarma Gunadarma Tutorial VB.NET Download OST Anime Soundtrack Anime Opening Anime Ending Anime OST Anime Japan Download Lagu Anime Jepang

Results 1 to 33 of 33

Thread: Shikantaza too advanced?

  1. #1
    Member Liang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    In the Blueridge Mountains, USA
    Posts
    43

    Shikantaza too advanced?

    A Chan teacher described Shikantaza as being too advanced for beginner students of Buddhism and compared it to lucid dreaming or other advanced tantric practices within Tibetan Buddhism. He said for beginner students there was a risk of falling apart in their practice and they needed to have a better foundation in the basics of Buddhism and more experience in meditation beforehand.

    I am not sure if I agree with him in general, but I think in my case this was true. I know that Shikantaza is a practice beyond difficult or easy, beginner or advanced. In my case I joined TreeLeaf within weeks of starting my Buddhist practice and found it very transformative and helpful. Over time though I noticed that I became overly content and no longer felt a push or drive to sit in zazen. I became an armchair Buddhist in that I embraced the philosophy of nothing to attain yet no longer practiced meditation. I fooled myself into thinking that because I still practiced mindfulness and still had moments of kensho that I didnt really need to sit and it was there if I ever needed it. Like the plunger that stays in the basement till needed. It didnt take long for my whole practice to fall apart and I realized that aside from my new philosophy pretty much everything else in my life was as if I didnt have a practice.

    So what the teacher said was true, for my own practice at least. I needed to step back and return to what first drew me to Buddhism, a more Rinzai/koan approach and the basics of the four noble truths, the precepts, and three refuges. Yet I was reflecting how before TreeLeaf I had been erring too far on the other side of becoming obsessive and even anxious about my practice. Im not mixing practices but I think Shikantaza has given a vital perspective that will hopefully keep me grounded. Also I dont plan to pack my bags and go, there is a wonderful sangha community here and I am sure there is plenty more to learn.

    So what do you think about Shikantaza and beginning Buddhists? Should you have an established practice already or is it beyond prerequisites or being advanced or a novice?

    And again I mean no offense or contention.

    Gassho,
    -Liang/Fred

  2. #2
    Hi Liang

    In my experience shikantaza is fine for both beginners and advanced practitioners. Of course, their experience of the practice and ability to sit for long periods may differ markedly. Vipassana is not so terribly different (note: yes the practice is different but in essence you are just sitting with experience) and newbies often start with a 10 day intensive course.

    Milarepa experienced a similar predicament to you when he started practicing Mahamudra and thought he could just do whatever he wanted and be practicing because he already had buddha nature. His teacher Marpa soon set him straight on that.

    Practice falling apart is part of the path. How long do you think you have to practice before that stops happening? Also, practice usually has a large effect early on then settles into something of a plateau or even regresses as it gets harder and enthusiasm wanes. The antidote is just to keep sitting without attachment to results. The same thing can happen with koan practice, vipassana, mantra recitation and guru yoga. It is probably true that certain practices suit certain people better than others but the ups and down, changes in attitude and bottom falling out of your life are, in my humble opinion, more the result of human nature than the practice itself.

    Gassho
    Andy

  3. #3
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    North Georgia
    Posts
    812
    Hi Liang/Fred

    I am new to Zen Buddhism. I haven't even undergone Jukai yet, but I have been practicing Shikantaza for about 9 months now, and studying fairly consistently. I haven't noticed any "problem" with regular zazen practice. What I have noticed is the saying that the precepts support zazen, and zazen supports the precepts is absolutely true, for me at least. I think it is wonderful to have a firm grasp of buddhist basics, but it is a bit like reading a manual on riding a bike, and yet not riding a bike yourself.

    So your Chan friend may have their reasons for why they told you this, but I think either the advice or your understanding'explanation may be a bit oversimplified. In Zen Buddhism the main practice is Zazen. I am given to explanations and I still have many questions, but I sit daily nonetheless. the sitting has helped my understanding of the philosophy, but at the end of the day I think true understanding is "beyond words and letters".

    Gassho
    Clark

    PS even Buddha continued to sit.
    Last edited by Clark; 04-07-2014 at 02:05 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    919
    Well, not to indulge in wrong speech, but if someone says it's similar to lucid dreaming, they don't know what they're talking about.

    Shikantaza is similar to what the Tibetans call Dzogchen, which is one of those meditative practices you sort of have to be initiated to learn.

    As for your practice waxing and waning, that's the case with all sorts of meditation. I wouldn't blame it on shikantaza; that might just be a way of not blaming yourself. (All due respect...)

    Gassho,

    Kirk

  5. #5
    Hello,

    alhtough the following is a gross generalisation, the practise of Shikantaza is the union of Shamatha and Vipashyana practise, a combination of calm abiding and insight. In practise however, most individuals will spend most of their first couple of years trying to consolidate their capacity to just let go and to be with whatever arises. The Vipashyana/insight aspect will gradually become more apparent as practise deepens. Since we are all buddha nature since beginningless time however, it is absolutely possible even for a beginner to "slip" into the recognition of the vast non-dual openness which we express through just sitting.

    Most teachers saying that Shikantaza is too advanced are trying to underline the fact that one needs a certain capacity of aware presence first, before being able to recognize that the bottom of the bucket has fallen out.



    Please note that no practise CAUSES awakening

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen


    P.S.

    The Trekcho part of Dzogchen practise is indeed very similar to our Shikantaza approach, but there is another key Dzogchen approach which is very different in the way it is expressed.
    Last edited by Hans; 04-07-2014 at 03:21 PM.
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    It is probably true that certain practices suit certain people better than others but the ups and down, changes in attitude and bottom falling out of your life are, in my humble opinion, more the result of human nature than the practice itself.
    I feel this is a wonderful point, thank you Kokuu. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    919
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    the ups and down, changes in attitude and bottom falling out of your life are, in my humble opinion, more the result of human nature than the practice itself.
    As we say in my line of work, they're the result of user error. :-)

    Gassho,

    Kirk

  8. #8
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Northwest New Jersey
    Posts
    541
    I don't think it's unfair to say that "it aint for everyone". Whether one is capable of taking a horizontal or vertical approach to zazen may very well be up to the individual practitioner. Some people may not have the body awareness required for some of the more pointed or "vertical" practices often associated with Rinzai Zen or other forms of Buddhist meditation. For them, shikantaza may be much "easier?" or at least more practical....For others, there might need to be more of a focus in sitting, some body point, the breath, a koan....and for some, perhaps both are too difficult. Maybe these people would find there time better spent chanting Amida Butsu or making 108 prostrations at the crack of dawn.

    Maybe there is no "right" and no "wrong". We might just have to find the path that is best for us and then try to commit to it. So I would say, continue to "just sit" for awhile. And understand that most Chan monks are going to tell you their practice is the best.

  9. #9
    Member Liang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    In the Blueridge Mountains, USA
    Posts
    43
    I am grateful for all the excellent responses that addressed many things I hadn't considered. (Perhaps that is where a good foundational practice and experience are most helpful)

    -Kokuu thank you very much for sharing that we all have points along the way where our practice collapses. This isn't often addressed in dharma talks or sutras. It is helpful to not be expecting that altering my practice is any guarantee against future implosions. I also feel less of a failure/Shikantanza isn't for me now.

    -of course, and I was hoping it went without saying, that I don't see anything wrong with Shikantanza nor did the chan teacher. The lucid dreaming parallel was in context of not being for beginners and besides he was a bit grumpy that day anyways! I think the main place his motivation was in helping me identify what wasn't working. He never said anything negative to me about the practice in the past. And I agree besides he is no expert as he hasn't actually practiced it. So again no offense intended.

    -Daijo, exactly I think the reason I want to return to a koan-approach is it provides something to focus on and will motivate me to sit zazen. Ultimately the problem was that I had stopped sitting.

    Your comments were very helpful. I should have turned for help earlier, but all is not lost. One thing I have learned is that is more important to meditate regardless the method than spin my wheels over who to follow. It all falls away anyways.

    Thank you for your teaching.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sydney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Mississippi, USA
    Posts
    102
    I suspect that I might have taken to shikantaza more readily if it had been the first such practice to which I was introduced. I practiced what I thought of as "silent prayer" for a period in my teens that I have since come to think of as not entirely unlike shikantaza.

    But when first introduced to buddhish practice, it was insight/vipassana. And all the good stuff I learned in that context seemed to make it harder for me to get the hang of "just sitting".
    Diligently attain nothing. Sort of. Best not to over-think it.
    http://gplus.to/sydneytinker

  11. #11
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    Posts
    1,744
    I was practicing mantra and chakra meditation before shikantaza, so I had trouble too. It moves along eventually. Everything takes practice, especially practice.
    迎 Geika

  12. #12
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Sk, Canada
    Posts
    1,156
    Hmmmmm, shikantaza too advanced for beginners? I would disagree with that, sounds like overthinking to me. Shikantaza is what you make of it, if you overthink in your head that it is difficult or advanced, it will be. I just sit, with a racing mind; clouds in my head, and don't have any expectations, just sit.

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  13. #13
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Canandaigua NY
    Posts
    1,401
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello,

    alhtough the following is a gross generalisation, the practise of Shikantaza is the union of Shamatha and Vipashyana practise, a combination of calm abiding and insight. In practise however, most individuals will spend most of their first couple of years trying to consolidate their capacity to just let go and to be with whatever arises. The Vipashyana/insight aspect will gradually become more apparent as practise deepens. Since we are all buddha nature since beginningless time however, it is absolutely possible even for a beginner to "slip" into the recognition of the vast non-dual openness which we express through just sitting.

    Most teachers saying that Shikantaza is too advanced are trying to underline the fact that one needs a certain capacity of aware presence first, before being able to recognize that the bottom of the bucket has fallen out.



    Please note that no practise CAUSES awakening

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen


    P.S.

    The Trekcho part of Dzogchen practise is indeed very similar to our Shikantaza approach, but there is another key Dzogchen approach which is very different in the way it is expressed.
    Nice.

    Thank you.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to praja from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  14. #14
    Hi Liang,

    The Chan teacher, with all do respect, seems very much ill informed about Shikantaza (as sat in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition anyway), and his comments are quite strange. It is not the first time that I have encountered folks from other traditions who do not really understand the practice. It is a shame. Have him get in touch with me, and I will be happy to put him straight.

    I noticed that I became overly content and no longer felt a push or drive to sit in zazen. I became an armchair Buddhist in that I embraced the philosophy of nothing to attain yet no longer practiced meditation. I fooled myself into thinking that because I still practiced mindfulness and still had moments of kensho that I didn’t really need to sit and it was there if I ever needed it.

    I noticed ... I became ... I felt .. I fooled myself ... I didn't need ... I I I .... me me me ...

    Your "I" seems to convince itself of all kinds of stuff. Hopefully, your "I" can convince itself of better ways of seeing, and perhaps even get beyond that "I" sometimes. I would not be so fast to judge based on your couple of months of Practice, apparently undertaken without a clear understanding of how to sit Shikantaza.

    Unfortunately, folks chasing after this, or chasing after that, find it very hard to learn to rest and put down the chasing. They may confuse doing so with "complacency", which is simply an inability to get their head around "stillness in action".

    As I said, I hope you find a path good for you. Good luck.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-08-2014 at 04:11 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello,

    alhtough the following is a gross generalisation, the practise of Shikantaza is the union of Shamatha and Vipashyana practise, a combination of calm abiding and insight. In practise however, most individuals will spend most of their first couple of years trying to consolidate their capacity to just let go and to be with whatever arises. The Vipashyana/insight aspect will gradually become more apparent as practise deepens. Since we are all buddha nature since beginningless time however, it is absolutely possible even for a beginner to "slip" into the recognition of the vast non-dual openness which we express through just sitting.

    Most teachers saying that Shikantaza is too advanced are trying to underline the fact that one needs a certain capacity of aware presence first, before being able to recognize that the bottom of the bucket has fallen out.



    Please note that no practise CAUSES awakening

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen


    P.S.

    The Trekcho part of Dzogchen practise is indeed very similar to our Shikantaza approach, but there is another key Dzogchen approach which is very different in the way it is expressed.
    Yes, this is right on. Thanks Hans.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  16. #16
    Member Liang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    In the Blueridge Mountains, USA
    Posts
    43
    Hmmm... How fast "I" have fallen off track and totally lost any center or stillness. Time to start over.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    La Salle County, IL
    Posts
    382
    Shikantaza humbles.

    Gassho, Foolish John

  18. #18
    Shikantaza is just shikantaza ... advanced or not is a human judgement and or perception. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    North Georgia
    Posts
    812
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Shikantaza is just shikantaza ... advanced or not is a human judgement and or perception. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    C

  20. #20
    I posted this on another thread today, but it fits here too ...

    ................

    The medicine for this [Suffering] is to transcend all that ... which is what is undertaken in Shikantaza.

    How? Elegantly simple really.

    Shikantaza sits, allowing bird chirps to be chirpy, the breeze to be breezy, stinky garbage to be just that, lovely flowers to flower, yesterday yesterday and tomorrow tomorrow ... placing aside all judgment and resistance, analysis and plans, dreams of "what if" and regrets for "what was". All is as it is, and a vibrant flowing wholeness is all things.

    Rising from the cushion, we can and should still clean up the stinky garbage, water the flowers and pick the weeds, learn from yesterday and plan for tomorrow (we are not complacent) ... yet the sensation of "flowing wholeness is all things" simultaneously pervades. Beyond good or bad, clean vs. dirty yet, hand-in-hand (like seeing out of two eyes at once) bad is yet bad and in need of fixing, dirty is still dirty in need of cleaning ... we should get on the clean-up job, and realization happens in our every choice and action in life ... while simultaneously all is as it is, not a thing in need of fixing.

    As to the Dukkha of good things ... one can learn to appreciate and savor them while they are present, but appreciate and savor their parting too. One is not their prisoner, does not cling. Rather, one embraces ... yet also embraces their departing. If one has assets or a bit of treasure, one learns to appreciate them for what they are, not be overly attached like a sickness, and use them for good and healthful purposes. One is at Peace of One Piece with the happy times and sad/scary times too (even as the sad times make us fearful or cry with a broken heart ... there is the Heart which Cannot Be Broken). All is as it is, flowing wholeness ever changing.

    And thus Shikantaza closes the gap on the existential Angst of the human condition, our mortality, feeling of separation from the world, basic unsatisfactoriness due to change and impermanence. The reason is that we come to now flow along (and feel ourselves as the flow) of change and impermanence, taste something timeless and whole as the mind drops human measures of "beginnings and endings, births and deaths" and "me and you, this vs. that" in the wholeness of Shikantaza.

    The frictions drop away and the gap is closed. In fact, there never was a gap all along. All flowing flowing.

    Thus the simple elegance, the power of the medicine of Shikantaza.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-09-2014 at 02:01 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    La Salle County, IL
    Posts
    382
    That's awesome.

    Gassho, Foolish John

  22. #22
    I would say that this Chan Buddhist doesn't know much about tantric buddhism. Tantric Buddhism is devotional in nature and most of the meditation practice is based on devotion.
    Because I myself am new to Tantra I will say to be a serious tantric buddhist you need a teacher to guide you and I do not have one and that is why I am moving more towards Zen now because finding a teacher in my area is very hard. Just like in Hinduism the devotion of tantric buddhism is called sadhana's and the best books on the subject I could recommend are by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. In the back of his books are usually sadhana's which I do along with my Zen practice. mandalas, butter lamps, offerings to the Buddha, these are all part of tantric buddhist meditation.

  23. #23
    Dear Monkeyfish,

    I am sure that in scholarly terms Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has been extremely well trained, but I for one would advise people to stay away from anything related to the New Kadampa tradition.

    To each his/her own, but I have my reasons for saying this, and no, I never was a member or practitioner of the New Kadampa's teachings.



    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 04-15-2014 at 01:06 PM.
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  24. #24
    I echo completely what Hans said. I lived in a New Kadampa centre for six months and have an inside view of how the organisation functions. There are many very positive people within the NKT who have very genuine motivation. However, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has a very insular approach to practice which is both rigid and incredibly literal. Teachers are instructed to parrot his words rather than finding their own wisdom. I would also advise giving them a wide berth for a variety of reasons.

    If you want to practice tantra/vajrayana within a similar tradition, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) offers more reliable books and teachers. Many sadhanas can be practiced without a teacher but you are right that Highest Yoga Tantra should be avoided unless you have a reliable mentor.

    Gassho
    Andy

  25. #25
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    919
    Back to the advanced nature of shikantaza. I recently read a book by Robert Aitken, Taking the Path of Zen. It's a good book for beginners, but he says:

    "It is a mature way of sitting, generally only for the most experienced student."

    This said, he's not a Soto guy; he's a Rinzai guy.

    Gassho,

    Kirk

  26. #26
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    919
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Dear Monkeyfish,

    I am sure that in scholarly terms Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has been extremely well trained, but I for one would advise people to stay away from anything related to the New Kadampa tradition.

    To each his/her own, but I have my reasons for saying this, and no, I never was a member or practitioner of the New Kadampa's teachings.

    I was close to getting involved with these people. I had read a number of Kelsang Gyatso's books, and they lay out a very structured path. But I didn't like the way they acted; it seemed a bit cultish. I later found out there was some sort of rift with other Tibetan buddhists about worshiping a specific deity that the Dalai Lama was against. Too much politics for me.

    Gassho,

    Kirk

  27. #27
    Maybe we should halt discussion in criticism of other Traditions. We are outsiders here, and even our members who had exposure to practice in these Lineages maybe cannot present all sides.

    There is plenty of information available on the internet from people on both sides of the New Kadampa matter. It is a very hot issue, I know, and there has even been alleged violence.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Canandaigua NY
    Posts
    1,401
    Hello,

    Clinging attachment can be distracting.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to praja from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  29. #29
    "Maybe we should halt discussion in criticism of other Traditions. We are outsiders here, and even our members who had exposure to practice in these Lineages maybe cannot present all sides."

    I agree with this to a certain extent but there was a similar dilemma addressed in another Buddhist discussion group I have been part of. Whereas the prevailing trend was not to bring up perceived failings in particular Buddhist traditions or teachers, it was pointed out that not doing that could be more problematic. If newcomers cannot rely on more experienced practitioners to talk about well-known problems with teachers and organisations, are we not failing them in some way?

    Jundo, is the problem here that we are being critical of a non-Zen tradition, doing it at all or doing it out in the open? Whereas we cannot indeed represent all sides of the discussion, if a member here talked about working with a teacher who had known issues, would it not be amiss not to talk about that? Could we mention there is some controversy or maybe bring it to the attention of you or Taigu and let you deal with it? Although letting them go in blind allows them to make up their own mind, surely forewarned is forearmed?

    Gassho
    Andy

  30. #30
    Hello Jundo,

    I have no issues with the Gelug school in general (and that is a WIDE and diverse school), but I will warn everyone from engaging with the New Kadampa at the moment that the name comes up.

    Everyone is free to disagree with my research, but not mentioning both my "findings" and in addition my deepest gut feeling based on my arguably limited life experience is something I will and cannot have on my conscience, especially if it is dharma beginners we are talking about. You won't ever see me spending extra time on forums to tell people what a problematic group it is, but if someone mentions them in a neutral way in this forum here, I feel it is my duty to at least add my unimportant and fallible voice to the mix.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  31. #31
    The charge of cult-like behavior is tricky. My sister was a devotee of Tomo Geshe Rinpoche (the original not the new fake one) and I got to know a New Kadampa teacher named Kelsang Tharchin. One school was not more cultish than the other,.... there is some frank Guru worshiping going in both and the conflict between them is over an initiate protector deity that was declared a demon by one school, therefore condemning the other school as demon worshipers. Tibet was no Shangrila . One of my favorite Tibetan teachers was Trunpa (never met him) who also apparently engaged in some pretty outrageous behavior. Also , I have been involved with a Zen sangha or two that could be very much a cult-like warpfield... and even, to my eyes, abusive. So, it is tricky.

    Gassho Daizan
    大山

  32. #32
    Hello,

    maybe we can all agree that it might be a good idea to do some extra research and stick to some rather non-controversial approaches/groups in the beginning, until one has enough experience and general knowledge to truly choose for oneself.

    @ Monkeyfish: I am not implying you did anything wrong by the way.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  33. #33
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    North Georgia
    Posts
    812
    Hmmm

    I can see where both sides are coming from in this interesting and I feel important "cult" debate. This is my first sangha, as as a newbie looking in I would be glad to know about potential problems within certain groups. Though my life experiences and personal wisdom keep me fairly safe, I can see how some more impressionable individuals could get into trouble. Surely there is a middle way of looking out for other's safety and not participating in non-right speech. I do feel it is a duty of experienced individuals to warn others of known issues, as long as we are discussing abuse perhaps. Just as in any other area of life.

    Gassho
    C

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •