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    Having first undergone strict and severe hardship and ascetic practices as a Sramana (wandering ascetic) the Buddha realised that religious ascetic practices weren't going to help him in his quest to find the answers to his questions.

    He decided to sit in meditation and concentrate upon these questions with the goal of finding an answer.

    To feed himself during his period of meditation Guatama had collected enough food to last him for two months.

    Having first practised samatha and gaining a clear and unperturbed mind, Guatama prepared himself for the deep practice of vipasyana with the aim of gaining insight into the reality of things. After four weeks of practising deeply in vipasyana to gain insight he came to this perfect insight in four stages.

    In the first stage he called upon reason and investigation. In the second he called upon deep concentration. In the third stage he brought to his aid equanimity and mindfulness. In the fourth stage he added purity to equanimity and equanimity to mindfulness.

    With the mind concentrated, purified, spotless, with defilement gone, Guatama concentrated himself on the questions which had troubled him.

    He realised that there were two problems, dukkha and samudaya.

    To think that the Buddha just simply "sat" under the bodhi tree, with no intention of questioning, and concentrating upon his questions with the goal of seeing into reality - to finding an answer, goes against all of the teachings of ancient Buddhism. The Buddha clearly set out to find the answers to his questions with the goal of finding them.

    He set out a clear and concise list of steps which he followed in attaining his awakening.

    gassho

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    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Good point Jun. Thanks for posting that. Siddhartha did have those questions with no answers. That's what lead him to sit under that tree.

    Not to disregard any of the ancient teachings (I don't read them). That was my understanding which it seems may be off. Could you please give me a reference for what you posted?


    Gassho Will
    That's easy Will,

    1. The early Pali sutras,
    2. The Agama sutras,
    3. "The Buddha and his Dhamma" by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is a good source,
    4. "Origin and Nature of Ancient Indian Buddhism" by K. T. S. Sarao professor of Pali and ancient Indian Buddhism in Taiwan.
    5. A good source for references - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... ml#nibbana

    Any of the earlier suttas in Pali all of which have been translated into English.

    Gassho

  6. #6
    Jun wrote:


    He set out a clear and concise list of steps which he followed in attaining his awakening.

    gassho
    Precisely what Shakyamuni did or did not do is purely a matter of speculation, now lost to the annals of time. The earliest accounts were not written down until hundreds of years after his time, although said to have been passed down orally. However, almost immediately upon the Buddha's death, his disciples set to debating and interpreting exactly what the Buddha's central message had been, a discussion that has continued until the present day with countless answers. It is not much different from finding the "One True Jesus" amid all interpretations of his life, except perhaps that we have even less reliable information about the Buddha (most of the "Sutra" recounting his life are much later works written by writers each with their own philosophical perspective, and a good deal of fiction to boot).

    Does any of that matter to our Practice? I think not.

    Sitting Zazen in this present moment is the Buddha and all the Buddhist Ancestors in this present moment. What is experienced here and now is the Buddha and Ancestors here and now.

    What the Buddha experienced, for me, is not much more relevant than how Henry Ford designed the original Model T automobile. I would even present to you the radical idea that, over 2500 years, improvements were made (I would rather drive a Prius than a Model T).

    In any event, the description of "stages" that Jun presented both fits and does not fit to Zen Practice (at least within my realm of experience). There are elements that are right on, but not in the mechanical way presented. I don't want to get into a technical discussion of what is different or not different, except to say that we would not describe Zazen that way.

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Jun

    He set out a clear and concise list of steps which he followed in attaining his awakening.

    gassho
    Precisely what Shakyamuni did or did not do is purely a matter of speculation, now lost to the annals of time. The earliest accounts were not written down until hundreds of years after his time, although said to have been passed down orally. However, almost immediately upon the Buddha's death, his disciples set to debating and interpreting exactly what the Buddha's central message had been, a discussion that has continued until the present day with countless answers. It is not much different from finding the "One True Jesus" amid all interpretations of his life, except perhaps that we have even less reliable information about the Buddha (most of the "Sutra" recounting his life are much later works written by writers each with their own philosophical perspective, and a good deal of fiction to boot).

    Does any of that matter to our Practice? I think not.

    Sitting Zazen in this present moment is the Buddha and all the Buddhist Ancestors in this present moment. What is experienced here and now is the Buddha and Ancestors here and now.

    What the Buddha experienced, for me, is not much more relevant than how Henry Ford designed the original Model T automobile. I would even present to you the radical idea that, over 2500 years, improvements were made (I would rather drive a Prius than a Model T).

    In any event, the description of "stages" that Jun presented both fit and do not fit to Zen Practice. There are elements that are right on, but not in the mechanical way presented. I don't want to get into a technical discussion of what is different or not different, except to say that we would not describe Zazen that way.

    Gassho, Jundo
    With all due respect Jundo, naturally this kind of answer is to be expected from anyone practising any particular sect.

    It is sometimes a good idea to let go of the particular teachings of particular sects and step back to have a look at the whole from an historical and behavioural perspective.

    Does any of this matter to practice? Well of course it does!

    It must also be remembered that Mahayana Buddhism feels that it is more necessary to impart the "essence" of the teachings rather than being concerned with the subtleties of it's literature. Now why would they emphasis that I wonder? Rose coloured glasses.

    During the age of ancient or primitive Buddhism there was but one Buddhism. Not long after 300 B.C.E. that age came to an end with the division of Buddhism into two distinct sects that later divided again into about twenty sects - the period of Abhidharma. This sectarian Theravada Buddhism lasted until the beginning of the first century A.D.

    From that period until around 300 A.D. early Mahayana and the Theravada sects existed side by side.

    From about 300 A.D. to about 700 A.D. intense scholastic works were produced, the various commentaries and sastras etc.

    The early Agama sutras were recorded sermons either preached by the Buddha or by his disciples with his approval. Naturally, as you stated Jundo, the sutras do not necessarily contain the Buddha's exact words because they were not recorded as he spoke. The sutras were also translated into other Indic languages of later periods with obvious unconscious (and perhaps conscious) changes.

    In spite of all this however, it is agreed amongst nearly all scholars and specialists in Buddhist scholarly research that the Agama sutras together with the early Sutta Pitaka (the oldest extant texts which predate later Mahayana texts) are a most faithful account of the Buddha's teachings.

    There can be no doubt, when reading through and comparing both the Pali and Sanskrit Mahayana texts, that Mahayana borrows a great deal from the earlier Pali teachings and expands upon them. (The Agama sutras for example correspond to the first four Nikayas of the Sutta Pitaka the oldest and most historically accurate representation of the teachings of the Buddha)

    There is an obvious evolution to the teachings. It is agreed by most that the primitive sutras (Agamas and so forth) are far more reliable than the later conscious biographies and sutras of the Mahayana when it comes to the Buddha's life and early teachings. In comparison see the Sutras of the Sarvastivadin sect of Buddhism, (of which the Agamas are a part) which shows the early adoption of Mahayana teachings and a clear evolution towards deifying the Buddha.

    In Japan at least, it is commonly held that, for a correct understanding, a thorough study of Mahayana Buddhism must include both primitive and fundamental Buddhism.

    Gassho

    Jun the smart arse.

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    Hi Jun,

    It is all very interesting from a historical point of view.

    But the Buddha I care about is the one sitting on the Zafu here and now, named Jun &Jundo.

    I often say that if my Practice is "wrong", and ol' Shakyamuni taught something 180 degrees different, I will keep my Practice nonetheless. I will keep it because of my experience of this Practice in my life.

    (Now, to be clear: because of how things have gone in my life, I suspect the Buddha meant something like that. I think that what I am Practicing is pretty much what the Buddha intended. But, even if he did not, I will keep my Practice anyway ... and Shakya-boy can take care of himself).

    Gassho, Jundo

    P.S. - I gave a talk about this several months ago ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/06 ... wrong.html

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