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Thread: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

  1. #1

    Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    i love chanting. i have an affinity for it i guess. more like mantra chanting rather than long sutras ect. i've chanted with two nichiren groups now. they chant the lotus sutra. last night i went to a nichiren shu service. we did chanting, sitting meditation, and walking meditation. it was great. just wanted to share. any thoughts on chanting and zen? thoughts on nichiren buddhism?

    peace
    craig

  2. #2

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig
    i love chanting. i have an affinity for it i guess. more like mantra chanting rather than long sutras ect. i've chanted with two nichiren groups now. they chant the lotus sutra. last night i went to a nichiren shu service. we did chanting, sitting meditation, and walking meditation. it was great. just wanted to share. any thoughts on chanting and zen? thoughts on nichiren buddhism?

    peace
    craig
    Hi Craig,

    My wife's family are all Nichiren shu, and my father-in-law (when alive) used to chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo (Hail to the Wondrous Lotus Sutra) 108 times before the family ancestral altar each night.

    I will give you some perspectives on this. I caution, of course, that I speak from a Zen Buddhist perspective. Ultimately, you have to decide the practice that fits for you, and what the practice means to you. The teachings of Nichiren and the teachings of Dogen are different in some important ways. Both are beautiful to different people, however..

    First, Dogen taught that the one essential practice is goalless, effortless "Just Sitting" Zazen. Now, funny thing is that "Just Sitting" is rather a self-fulfilling prophesy (or, because this is Buddhism, a "no self-fullfilling prophesy"). To wit: If you just sit, and drop all thought that there is anything else to do, any place else to be, drop all judgments and separations imposed by yourself on the world, and learn to see Zazen as a perfect act in that instant ... THEN VOILA ... there is nothing else to do, no place else to be (or where you can be), all the world is just as it is, perfectly what is in that moment (and same for you as just perfectly you), all while no "you" no "world" ...

    Dogen was referring to the action of sitting each day cross legged staring at a wall. That is Zazen. HOWEVER, Dogen was ALSO saying that all actions in life are Zazen when seen as such (each "perfectly what they are", a perfect instant of the universe acting) ... and that includes, cooking a meal, bowing,, changing a tire, lighting incense, putting on your glasses ... or chanting. There was quite a bit of chanting around Dogen's temple too, besides Zazen. Each is a "perfectly in that moment, just what it is, the whole universe doing just that" act. But chanting, by itself, is no more important than cooking or putting on your glasses (all are sacred).

    So, chanting for Dogen was a bit different from the way and philosophy of chanting in Nichiren's teachings. How?

    Nichiren was something of the Martin Luther of Japan. Very powerful, very controversial figure. He was a "my way or the highway" kind of guy (although so was Dogen!). Nichiren taught, basically, that if you chant the name of the Lotus Sutra you will be enlightened at death via the mystical powers inherent in that particular Sutra, merely by reciting its name (I may be mistating this greatly, please check with the Nichiren folks for their interpretation). In fact, no other practice will do or can be substituted. It is not easy or even near impossible to be enlightened within this life (according to Nichiren), but the mystical power of faith in the Lotus Sutra will make you a Buddha in the next one. The central point is the power of the Sutra and of the Chant hailing the Sutra's name. Various groups that have spun off from Nichiren Buddhism (such as Soka Gakkai) also have tended to emphasize the powers of the chant and Sutra to bring health, material wealth and such in this life (a kind of "prosperity gospel").

    There are many many groups that have sprung from Nichiren shu, with Soka Gakkai (SGI in the West) being only one. All tend to see the chant as sufficient and the only practice to do, almost none meditate (so it is unusual to hear that your group also meditates, although I understand that the original "Nichiren shu" does a bit of meditation). The other large sect of "Nichiren shu in Japan is "Nichiren Shoshu", followed by Soka Gakkai and some others. When they say that the chant is sufficient, they mean that the power of the chant will save you at death ... not (like Dogen's persepctive) that the chant (or ANY action) itself is a perfect act of Enlightenment here and now.

    BOTTOM LINE: Nichiren spoke of enlightenment in the next life by the magical powers of the Lotus Sutra (which also has some mystical powers to bring nice things in this world ... like cure illness, prevent calamities and such). Faith in the Sutra has many parallels to faith in the Savior Jesus. Dogen spoke of Just Sitting in this very moment, nothing else to obtain, as Enlightenment itself here and now. It is a bit hard to mix the two philosophies. You may find a way.

    Again, I am completely an outsider on the Nichiren view (thus surely rather biased and probably speaking out of my jurisdiction), so please ask them the same question and let me know what they say. I do not want to mischaracterize someone else's beliefs.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Side note: Dogen was also a Lotus Sutra fan, but not for any magic powers, for example, in just reciting its name. Dogen's view happens to have been that the Lotus Sutra is realized here and now, this world IS the living Lotus Sutra ... but that is a side philosophical point

  3. #3

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    *EDIT - oh hehe it took so long to type this up Jundo had responded with a much more concise reply! heh you can skip this one if ya want ;D

    Hi!
    My thoughts are "Cool", I know very little but when your chanting... Chant! when your sitting... (lol yeah you guessed it) Sit!

    Quote Originally Posted by inacura-pedia -aka Wikipedia
    Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment and the chanting of "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" as the essential practice of the teaching.
    long quote here with regards to the above:

    Quote Originally Posted by "Bendowa -from Master [url=http://www.numatacenter.com/digital/dBET_T2582_Shobogenzo1_2007.pdf
    Dogen's Shobogenzo(Nishijima/Cross translation[/url]":1dmhlchh]
    [27] [Someone] asks, “That which relies upon receiving the authentic
    transmission of the subtle method of the Tath?gata, or upon following the
    traces of the ancestral masters, is surely beyond the intellect of the common
    person. Reading sutras and reciting the names of buddhas, however, may
    naturally become the causes and conditions of enlightenment. But as for just
    idly sitting without doing anything, how can that be the means of getting
    enlightenment?”

    I say: If you now think that the sam?dhi of the buddhas, the supreme
    and great Dharma, is idle sitting without doing anything, you are a person
    who insults the Great Vehicle.45 [Such] delusion is so deep that it is like being
    in the ocean and saying there is no water. [In zazen] we are already seated,
    stably and thankfully, in the buddhas’ sam?dhi of receiving and using the
    self. Is this not the accomplishment of vast and great virtue? It is pitiful that
    your eyes are not yet open and your mind remains in a drunken stupor. In
    general, the state of the buddhas is unthinkable: intelligence cannot reach it.
    How much less could disbelief or inferior wisdom know the state? Only people
    of great makings and right belief can enter into it. For people of disbelief,
    even if taught, it is difficult to receive the teaching—even on Vulture
    Peak there were people [about whom the Buddha said,] “That they withdraw
    also is fine.” As a general rule, when right belief emerges in our mind, we
    should do training and learn in practice. Otherwise, we should rest for a while.
    Regret the fact if you will, but from ancient times the Dharma has been dry.
    Further, do you know for yourself any virtue that is gained from practices
    such as reading sutras and reciting names of buddhas? It is very unreliable to
    think that only to wag the tongue and to raise the voice has the virtue of the
    Buddha’s work.When we compare [such practices] with the Buddha-Dharma,
    they fade further and further into the distance. Moreover, we open sutras to
    clarify the criteria that the Buddha taught of instantaneous and gradual practice,
    and those who practice according to the teaching are invariably caused
    to attain the state of real experience. This is completely different from aspiring
    to the virtue of attainment of bodhi by vainly exhausting the intellect.

    Trying to arrive at the buddha’s state of truth [only] through action of the
    mouth, stupidly chanting thousands or tens of thousands of times, is like
    hoping to reach [the south country of] Etsu by pointing a carriage toward
    the north. Or it is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole.
    Reading
    sentences while remaining ignorant of how to practice [is like] a student of
    medicine forgetting how to compound medications.What use is that? Those
    who chant endlessly are like frogs in a spring paddy field, croaking day and
    night. In the end it is all useless. It is still more difficult for people who are
    deeply disturbed by fame and gain to abandon these things. The mind that
    craves gain is very deep, and so it must have been present in the ancient past.
    How could it not be present in the world today? It is most pitiful. Just remember,
    when a practitioner directly follows a master who has attained the truth
    and clarified the mind, and when the practitioner matches that mind and experiences
    and understands it, and thus receives the authentic transmission of the
    subtle Dharma of the Seven Buddhas,48 then the exact teaching appears clearly
    and is received and maintained. This is beyond the comprehension of Dharma
    teachers who study words. So stop this doubting and delusion and, following
    the teaching of a true master, attain in experience the buddhas’ sam?dhi
    of receiving and using the self, by sitting in zazen and pursuing the truth.
    The embolden bit I did in the above is what got me thinking this quote. Seems Dogen was bit harsh on Chanting alone as a means to Enlightenment, But chanting and Siting Eh No problem. Also Dogen was

  4. #4

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Jundo, Dirk-

    thanks for the response. i liked reading the dogen quote. he actually sounds a lot like Nichiren in his writing of course, i'm no scholar. i was introduced to chanting years ago by 2 local monks who chant and do peace walks. they were just a fixture on the local activist scene, especially heading up to the iraq war. at that time i was not considering buddhism seriously.

    later i came across sgi and shoshu through podcasts. i steered clear of anything remotely related to them. totally fundamentalist types. sgi even has the flavorings of a cult. it was kind of a blow to my seeking in buddhism. i just didn't want to think that there was that element in buddhism.

    so began my journey to Tibetan techniques, shambala, and various meditation groups. the book i was reading at the time was Tibetan and said i needed a teacher. went to all these places above and could not find a teacher to work with in groups and individually. not to mention, i couldn't find the right mix of buddhism and just plain meditation for me. i like buddhist teaching, but much of it can be so RELIGIOUS! then the plain mindfulness groups miss out on lots of good stuff by not being buddhist...!

    so my quest led me to the local soto zen center. i was expecting some miraculous event, but all i got was a sore back i really felt like i could get on board with zazen though. simple practice etc. so i went for a while. i got a little turned off by some of the dharma talks that the teacher gave where he made quips about bad karma and rebirth. all bullshit to me and just doctrines that get in the way of practice. i have no interest in believing ANYTHING. however, i was excited to find out about dokuson where i could meet with the teacher each week and discuss my practice. that seemed to be a very important piece of the puzzle for me.

    so i kept going for a while until i went to one sitting where the teacher brought out the stick! i couldn't believe it. i just thought that was some old japanese custom that american zen had done away with. nope! here i was sitting in zazen with my usual worries about 'doing it right' and this guy who i wanted to be my teacher was going around HITTING people. even some who didn't ask for it, because they were 'advanced students'.
    well, we had a little QandA after that session as the center was hosting some folks from the local UUA church. i, along with many others, voiced a very strong reaction to the stick. it took me years to finally come to a conclusion that i am radically nonviolent and that the world's problems will probably, ultimately, come to some end through radical nonviolence. not to mention the STICK seemed to be totally at odds with buddhism. it comes from an old custom of keeping kids from moving around during zazen in the middle ages, doesn't it?

    well, i never went back to the zen center after that. the stick was too much and not something i could explain away. i just kept thinking about someone who had been an abuse survivor going to the center to learn meditation only to be re-tramatized. i just kind of gave up sitting for a month or two. then i heard about treeleaf on another podcast and joined up. i justed wanted to chat about zen with some level headed folks and in a moderated setting. i found out about shikantaza and loved having a real teacher read and comment on my posts. then i got frustrated with sitting. i just got damn tired of my legs hurting etc. so i took another break.

    Then i remembered chanting and did some more research on that. i found out about nichiren shu which is the 'mainline' version of nichiren buddhism. through a yahoo group i found many sincere/level headed folks whose practice is both meditation and chanting. then i started coming back to treeleaf and thinking about going to the local zen center again. i've just been going back and forth with it all and it's making me crazy. by chance, i got to go to a local person's house who is a priest at the zen center i had been to and practices chanting. i really enjoyed it and that's what led me to post on the forum here. we basically did zazen and chanting and kinhin. all with a focus on the lotus sutra.

    so, that's my story. sorry it's long. i am just at a point where i think i just need to practice something and let go of figuring it all out. i have heard this guidance from zen and nichiren folks, so we'll see.

    peace
    craig

  5. #5

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Jundo, some thoughts from my limited study of nichiren buddhism-

    Jundo:
    My wife's family are all Nichiren shu, and my father-in-law (when alive) used to chant Namu Myoho Renge Kyo (Hail to the Wondrous Lotus Sutra) 108 times before the family ancestral altar each night.

    Craig:
    -My understanding is that there are many translations to the chant. One uses the words, Lotus Teaching, which basically points to all having the capacity to wake up.


    Jundo:
    First, Dogen taught that the one essential practice is goalless, effortless "Just Sitting" Zazen. Now, funny thing is that "Just Sitting" is rather a self-fulfilling prophesy (or, because this is Buddhism, a "no self-fullfilling prophesy"). To wit: If you just sit, and drop all thought that there is anything else to do, any place else to be, drop all judgments and separations imposed by yourself on the world, and learn to see Zazen as a perfect act in that instant ... THEN VOILA ... there is nothing else to do, no place else to be (or where you can be), all the world is just as it is, perfectly what is in that moment (and same for you as just perfectly you), all while no "you" no "world" ...

    Craig:
    What you say above is what i love about zen. just going with the flow of life. Again, from my understanding, Nichiren Shu would say that in chanting one is enlightened in that moment. in a sense, the chanting is the focus of meditation rather than breath etc. also, my understanding is that the Lotus Teaching i mentioned earlier points directly to this notion of 'a perfect act in that instant...'


    Jundo:
    Nichiren was something of the Martin Luther of Japan. Very powerful, very controversial figure. He was a "my way or the highway" kind of guy (although so was Dogen!). Nichiren taught, basically, that if you chant the name of the Lotus Sutra you will be enlightened at death via the mystical powers inherent in that particular Sutra, merely by reciting its name (I may be mistating this greatly, please check with the Nichiren folks for their interpretation). In fact, no other practice will do or can be substituted. It is not easy or even near impossible to be enlightened within this life (according to Nichiren), but the mystical power of faith in the Lotus Sutra will make you a Buddha in the next one. The central point is the power of the Sutra and of the Chant hailing the Sutra's name. Various groups that have spun off from Nichiren Buddhism (such as Soka Gakkai) also have tended to emphasize the powers of the chant and Sutra to bring health, material wealth and such in this life (a kind of "prosperity gospel").

    Craig:
    the mystical power aspect does seem to be the focus of SGI. N. Shu seems to just use the lotus sutra as it's sutra of choice, so to speak. much like zen and the heart sutra, if i understand correctly. chanting at death and all that stuff, i have not come across. yes, nichiren did seem like a strong personality. that's a problem i have, but in a sense, so was dogen, as you said.

    Jundo:
    BOTTOM LINE: [/b]Nichiren spoke of enlightenment in the next life by the magical powers of the Lotus Sutra (which also has some mystical powers to bring nice things in this world ... like cure illness, prevent calamities and such). Faith in the Sutra has many parallels to faith in the Savior Jesus. Dogen spoke of Just Sitting in this very moment, nothing else to obtain, as Enlightenment itself here and now. It is a bit hard to mix the two philosophies. You may find a way.

    Craig:
    yes, there are definitely differences. zen, on the surface, seems very practical and down to earth. however, it is highly ritualistic, down to the way we hold our eyelids. in addition, we have to have 'faith' that zazen will 'work'. of course that's a loaded statement, but doing anything requires some kind of faith at the outset. this is the kind of faith they are talking about in n.shu. unlike zen, it is more of a devotional tradition, but aren't we devoted to zazen? at the same time, my discussions with some N. Shu folks are all focused on here and now and using the practice to wake up to that fact. karma, rebirth, etc. all seem to ancillary issue. not with the other groups though

    just some thoughts, Jundo. i am just trying to get some of this stuff figured out. it's also just fascinating the diversity in buddhism. i heard a teacher say that one must find a practice that one can return to even in insanity and that all the teachings only point to the end of suffering, while practice brings this about. how this works, i am still up in the air about. zazen seems to be the most straight forward, yet the most vigorous. i am just looking for that practice. thanks again for any thoughts.

    peace
    craig

    Again, I am completely an outsider on the Nichiren view (thus surely rather biased and probably speaking out of my jurisdiction), so please ask them the same question and let me know what they say. I do not want to mischaracterize someone else's beliefs.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Side note: Dogen was also a Lotus Sutra fan, but not for any magic powers, for example, in just reciting its name. Dogen's view happens to have been that the Lotus Sutra is realized here and now, this world IS the living Lotus Sutra ... but that is a side philosophical point[/quote]

  6. #6

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    I really know very little about the various Nichiren groups. My understanding is that while some groups imply a bit of magic is involved, this isn't required or recognized by others. The way I heard the chanting defended is that chanting is a practice of faith in the basic teaching of the Lotus Sutra regarding the enlightenment that is available to all. No magic involved . . . chanting as both an expression of faith and as a builder of faith, such that one comes to believe and know the truth of that sutra.

    Once again, that is my LIMITED understanding.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    love your screen name-don't know.

    i read something by a korean zen teacher that said zen is about staying in don't know mind. i like that. all the big questsion, i don't know.

    what you say about nichiren buddhism is true. i have major hang ups on the idea of faith and increasing faith. too much like christianity. however, faith is involved in zen, not belief per se.

    craig

  8. #8
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Religious forms are over-rated. Chanting, zazen, saying Holy Marys, whatever, are all just empty forms. Actions, on the other hand, are all too often under-rated. Whatever form a person's religious practice takes matters less than his/her actions out in the world, and if the form helps a person act in good ways towards their fellow human beings, then that's a good thing. So if chanting and/or sitting zazen leads a person to act according to the precepts, then cool. If going to church regularly leads you to do what Jesus would do, then cool. If baying at the moon the third Wednesday of months that have an R in them helps a person live a good life that serves other people, then cool.

    We tend to get overly attached to forms and not attached enough to what we do when not engaged in those forms.

    IMHO

  9. #9

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Religious forms are over-rated. Chanting, zazen, saying Holy Marys, whatever, are all just empty forms. Actions, on the other hand, are all too often under-rated. Whatever form a person's religious practice takes matters less than his/her actions out in the world, and if the form helps a person act in good ways towards their fellow human beings, then that's a good thing. So if chanting and/or sitting zazen leads a person to act according to the precepts, then cool. If going to church regularly leads you to do what Jesus would do, then cool. If baying at the moon the third Wednesday of months that have an R in them helps a person live a good life that serves other people, then cool.

    We tend to get overly attached to forms and not attached enough to what we do when not engaged in those forms.

    IMHO
    Well said!

    Deep Gassho, Dirk

  10. #10

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Alan-
    you're my hero! i just love what you had to say. if we (i) could not be so attached to any practice and at least quit getting caught up in what others are doing, i think the end result would be compassion. like you said. thanks for the post.
    craig

  11. #11

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Religious forms are over-rated. Chanting, zazen, saying Holy Marys, whatever, are all just empty forms. Actions, on the other hand, are all too often under-rated. Whatever form a person's religious practice takes matters less than his/her actions out in the world, and if the form helps a person act in good ways towards their fellow human beings, then that's a good thing. So if chanting and/or sitting zazen leads a person to act according to the precepts, then cool. If going to church regularly leads you to do what Jesus would do, then cool. If baying at the moon the third Wednesday of months that have an R in them helps a person live a good life that serves other people, then cool.

    We tend to get overly attached to forms and not attached enough to what we do when not engaged in those forms.

    IMHO
    Hi Alan,

    I want to second this. My inelegant writing may not have made this clear. I believe that folks can practice Zazen and many other religions simultaneously, Christianity, Judaism... why not Nichiren-shu?? If the practitioner can find harmony among those various paths, then no problem!

    My only request is that folks sit "Just Sitting" Shikantaza each day ... and be kind to each other.

    Also, the philosophy of "non-attaining" that is at the heart of Shikantaza must not be neglected.

    For that reason, I sometimes have more difficulty with encouraging the combining of "Just Sitting" with other schools of Buddhist meditation (for example, many Tibetan or Theravada practices) more focused on attaining special states of consciousness or "achieving enlightenment". I even have hesitancy to encourage combining "Just Sitting" with many Zen schools of Zazen focused on attaining some explosive "Kensho" that will solve all your problems in life in one single blow (although Shikantaza --will-- solve all your problems in life in one single blow, it is not in the way most folks think!!)! If the Nichiren-shu chanting was too goal oriented in a similar way (or a form of "Prosperity Gospel", as sometimes happens with some related groups in Japan and the West), I offer cautions.

    So, please understand that I find myself sometimes in the role of a pharmacist. It is not that different faiths and practices cannot be combined, but simply that one must do so with caution in mixing prescriptions.

    Bottom Line: The effectiveness of Shikantaza can be washed out if its goalless approach is lost.

    I hope that made things a little clearer.

    Gassho, Jundo

  12. #12

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Jundo-

    good points, as always. mixing traditions is kind of touch and go. for me, i could never mix buddhism with my former christianity. christianity had lots of goals, although they were quite nebulous and unattainable. much like some forms of buddhism my growing edge at this point is to find a tradition that i can sink my teeth into. maybe, a practice i can sink my teeth into that can help me end suffering. all the doctrine etc. is just pointing toward what we are doing in the practice. now, will that practice be chanting or zazen. i don't know. what i do know is that, on the surface my life looks pretty good, inside, i'm a fucking mess of anxiety, depression, etc. in a nutshell, suffering. nothing clinical, but good old dukha! so i need to practice!

    now, a question...i've read that awakening is basically cultivating attention in order to SEE how we react to the world in conditioned patterns. then we use attention to break those patterns. chanting may help in cultivating attention, but does zazen. i find it quite difficult to pay attention to anything during zazen as all the Shit i mentioned above just overflows. at the same time, how in can we just DROP it all? that seems totally impossible to me thoughts?
    craig

  13. #13

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Hey Folks!

    The theme of mixing traditions is one of my favourites...so if you ever want to see me waffle on about one single subject for hours and hours without end (and strangely enough with no one else in the room... :shock: ) just tell me "Hans how do you feel about mixing Zen practice with Christianity?" and enjoy the boring ride. That's why I shut up about this most of the time...let me just briefly say that I think that many configurations of religous/practice are of course possible on a personal level, they do exist anyway...however, one does not have to be a puritan dogmatist to see that certain key themes and also certain goals are vastly different and mutually exclusive when it comes down to mixing stuff (watch me use some of them fancy words: ontology, soteriology!!).

    Here comes my personal slice of dogma-cake: The three jewels are the ultimate refuge for a buddhist, to accept Jesus as a refuge of equal importance is contrary to nearly 95% of all buddhist schools that ever existed on this planet. To accept the three jewels as a refuge of equal importance to Jesus as your personal saviour makes you a non Chrisitan according to 95% of all major Christian traditions.

    One can be a "cultural" anything and still practice Zazen, no problem. If your personal belief system includes clinging to and serving (a term that appears time and again in all Chritianity) any kind of personal God (other than a respectful nod here and then) , then you're not lettin it all "drop". If you drop everything in Zazen , even Buddhism, you are not doing anything wrong. If you dare to drop God (or some mantra that's supposedly all important), you're really off the rails in mainstream Christian terms. I really like the wisdom of people like Willigis-Jäger and some of the other modern monk-mystics, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that what they represent is in fact representative of Christianity as a whole.

    Those were jsut some thoughts and I am happy to discuss and even embrace other points of view, I could be dead wrong after all. Whatever works for you is my bottom line...just don't anyone tell me that the exception is the rule

    Gassho,

    Hans

  14. #14

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Here comes my personal slice of dogma-cake: The three jewels are the ultimate refuge for a buddhist, to accept Jesus as a refuge of equal importance is contrary to nearly 95% of all buddhist schools that ever existed on this planet.
    Hi Hans,

    Well, count me in the 5% who think that it is all fine. And whether what we find when we drop all goals, drop all searching, drop all divisions, drop all resistance ... whether that is "God" or "Buddha" or "Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers" ... or simply "Nothing at All" ...

    ... I leave that to each person to figure for themselves in their own hearts. In the end, 'tis all the same sameness.

    (I guess that most important point for me is that "dropping all" than what one calls what's found in the dropping)

    Now, I have to go sit Zazen. Fred and Ginger are calling.

    Gassho, J


  15. #15

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Just want to share.... I my self also jumped from one tradition to another tradition when I'm in junior high school, till I found treeleaf.
    Then I ask my self.... why the first time I saw a tradition, it seems to be so fit for me, but in the next time, it seems to be not fit, and another tradition in more fit to me. And one day I'll back to the previous tradition that seems to be fit again for me and etc..

    so, my "fit" always changes

    Well, and then I read the Master Dogen Quote "Drop body and mind"
    And then I think, who is the one feeling "fit" or "not fit"?
    is that "me" who is feeling "fit" or "not fit"?
    then who am I?
    Am I really exist?
    is the feeling "fit" or "not feet" permanence? (the fact is, it's not permanence at all, and always changes)

    Master Dogen said, forget the "self"....

    drop "fit" or "not fit".....

    why?

    because it's just like an illusion....

    Chanting ... good....
    Sitting... good...
    reading... good....
    sleeping.. good also...

    Everything is good....

    Then I rest in peace....

    Just as it is... And just sit...

    Gassho, Mujo / Shui di

  16. #16

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Hi.

    I may be bad, but i feel good!
    - evil general in army of darkness

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  17. #17

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Hello Jundo!

    In spirit I happen to be one of the 5% as well, however (and that's a big however), the issue does not stop with personal practice but goes beyond that and ends up firmly in the political and social realities of people's lives. Most people who call themselves XYZ support not only their own practice, but whole organisations through giving money or simply through belonging to them and thus confirming the status quo. In the case of catholicism (and yes we can find dodgy examples within our own buddhist ranks as well), you can sit all the Zazen you like, as long as you're still an official member paying church tax, your "fringe definition" of catholicism-Zazen strengthens an organisation that actively keeps people in thrid world countries from using contraception etc. etc.

    Of course you know that I love to disagree with you (otherwise it'd be far too boring) sometimes and that this whole issue isn't anything that is of great importance to me. I am just adding this because conveying intentions via the internet is pretty difficult at times

    Big Gassho,

    Hans

  18. #18

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    [quote="Shui_Di"]Just want to share.... I my self also jumped from one tradition to another tradition when I'm in junior high school, till I found treeleaf.

    thanks for sharing your experience with jumping traditions. i think it's gonna be too much to mix. that wasn't my intention anyway. if anything, i see myself MAYBE going to a universalist church in addition to some buddhist practice in the future...but that is a huge MAYBE and would be for my family. buddhism is definitely my religion of choice :wink:

    for about a year i've just been so hung up on 'getting it all figured out' before i jump into a tradition. but, zen just makes total sense to me. and, even though it is a quite rigorous practice it's prolly where i'm gonna land here soon. as it turns out, the person i was chanting with is also a zen priest. so i think i might go back to the local soto zen center, despite my MAJOR issues with the STICK. so we'll see what happens.

    thanks for everyone's input on this thread. it has been so helpful to me.

    peace-
    craig

  19. #19
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Hans comments made me think of when I lived in Tucson, AZ. I was just beginning to get serious about zen at that time. There they have Zen Desert Sangha and the teacher there is Pat Hawk Roshi, who was one of Aitken's students. I went and heard a couple dharma talks by him and he was pretty good, but Jundo is funnier. Anyway, Pat Hawk is also a catholic priest, with a church, and that was his "day" job, and ZDS was moonlighting, or something like that I guess. He wasn't full-time there anyway. The Buddhists had no problem with him being a priest, but I was always very curious what the catholic church thought about him also being a Buddhist priest. And I was also curious how it was to be a priest in two different religions, although there is no inherent conflict between them, and Han's comments reminded me of all this.

  20. #20

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    i find the mixture of buddhism and christianity curious. especially zen. it seems that if one is always in zazen (goal-less, dropping thought, mind etc.) then what would even be the point of practicing anything else? what would be the interest? no need for answers to those questions. just some thoughts. i do think there is some fine thread that moves through the world religions and that is compassion.
    craig

  21. #21

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig
    i find the mixture of buddhism and christianity curious. especially zen. it seems that if one is always in zazen (goal-less, dropping thought, mind etc.) then what would even be the point of practicing anything else? what would be the interest? no need for answers to those questions. just some thoughts. i do think there is some fine thread that moves through the world religions and that is compassion.
    craig
    Hi Craig,,

    Well, many folks think about their Christianity or Judaism as you about Nichiren style chanting., and as you described your feelings about chanting in your posts!

    It is not my way, so I speak as an outsider ... But perhaps the most natural way to "blend" them all is to realize (for folks who wish to follow more than one path) that the way to "find" ... be it something you call Jehovah or Allah or the Sun Buddha or Emptyness ... is just by not searching., goallessness, just seeing. Perhaps "I am What I am" means "Is Just As It Is" ... to pray or chant with no thought of receiving or attainment.

    Something like that. You would have to look to some of the writings of folks who are seeking to blend Judaism, Christianity and such with their Zen Practice.

    Gassho, Jundo

  22. #22
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Hans comments made me think of when I lived in Tucson, AZ. I was just beginning to get serious about zen at that time. There they have Zen Desert Sangha and the teacher there is Pat Hawk Roshi, who was one of Aitken's students. I went and heard a couple dharma talks by him and he was pretty good, but Jundo is funnier. Anyway, Pat Hawk is also a catholic priest, with a church, and that was his "day" job, and ZDS was moonlighting, or something like that I guess. He wasn't full-time there anyway. The Buddhists had no problem with him being a priest, but I was always very curious what the catholic church thought about him also being a Buddhist priest. And I was also curious how it was to be a priest in two different religions, although there is no inherent conflict between them, and Han's comments reminded me of all this.
    Now that I think about it a bit, I am not so sure Pat Hawk had a church. No one ever explicitly said that he was a priest at a church, just that he was at a place called Picture Rocks, which is just a small spot in the desert. When I google him now I see that he is described as a teacher of catholic contemplative practice (a la Thomas Merton?), so maybe he was at a monastery there. If so, that makes his zen priesthood easier to mix, I suppose.

  23. #23

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    Craig,,

    Well, many folks think about their Christianity or Judaism as you about Nichiren style chanting., and as you described you feelings about chanting in your posts!

    It is not my way, so I speak as an outsider ... But perhaps the most natural way to "blend" them all is to realize (for folks who wish to follow more than one path) that the way to "find" ... be it something you call Jehovah or Allah or the Sun Buddha or Emptyness ... is just by not searching., goallessness, just seeing. Perhaps "I am What I am" means "Is Just As It Is" ... to pray or chant with no thought of receiving or attainment.

    Something like that. You would have to look to some of the writings of folks who are seeking to blend Judaism, Christianity and such with their Zen Practice.
    thanks jundo. like i said, just some thoughts. to each his own. it's just quite refreshing and liberating for zen to be so non-evangelical. at the same time, it's nice to know that i could still go to church with my wife if she wanted to go. no goal, just going to church
    fyi-the chanting for me is just that. i think i've made some peace with my hang ups about zen and nichiren. i definitely land on the zen side and the nichiren stuff has just kind of dropped away 8) . that doesn't mean i wont chant anymore thought :wink:
    many deep bows to this kind and gracious group.
    craig

  24. #24

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    HI,

    Gee I feel uniquely qualified to this since I have done zazen and also have (in the past) done 6 years of Nichiren Shoshu practice (chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo), as well as having been a neo-pagan (wiccan) for 25 years.

    Chanting of that type is indeed a magical act. Doing it is no different than making any other action (watering the garden helps the plants grow, putting petrol in the car makes the car run, etc) assuming one accepts the premise that magical acts are possible.

    And sitting zazen is also an action, but with probably a different effect.

    But there are many DIFFERENT actions we must all make every day to take care of our lives, to keep it all going.

    People strangely feel that "religions" are mutually exclusive, while they would never think of asking "but you play piano, how can you possibly also ski?" Of course I am firmly fo the opinion that zen buddhism is not a religion (I opt for "process" but with some "philosophy") since most religions involve the belief in at least one supernatural being ("god"). But the important thing for me is to not be caught up in the delusional deffinitional boundaries that I might in my conscious or (not very) subconscious mind. I cherish my experience at a sesshin when the teacher started to quote Rumi, and I suddenly had this intense outrage because RUMI IS NOT A ZEN TEACHER!!!!!!!!!!! And so I was able to realize that I was holding this delusion that I believed that enlightened understanding was exclusively held by zennists and everybody else's understanding was inferior. It was a great moment for me. (I am sure it seems quite trivial to others). Zen Master Jeff Kitsis says that constant examination is of primary importance to Understanding. As my first drawing teacher said, "jsut keep looking closer".

    thank you for your time,
    rowan

  25. #25

    Re: Chanting-Nichiren Shu

    thanks for the remarks. interesting perspective from a former? chanter. for me, i am actually seeing that chanting is just that, chanting. i might do it sometimes, but it's not zazen. although i have my hangups about zen and the fact that zazen is quite difficult and rigorous, i think it's right for me right now. it totally makes sense by not making any sense.
    peace
    craig

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