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Thread: SPECIAL READING - ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN (Part 1)

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  1. #1

    SPECIAL READING - ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN (Part 1)

    Hi All,

    I thought to post some special reading topics. The theme is "readings that will help in understanding Zen readings". 8)

    For years and years, after first starting Zen practice, I would read many "Zen Books" but not quite understand why so many seemed to be saying rather different things (or the same things, but seemingly with very different emphasis). In other words, it too me a long time to realize that "Zen Books" (not to mention "Buddhist Books" in general) come in several flavors, often by different teachers within even the same school. Buddhism has evolved over the centuries, and various teachers do emphasize teachings in ways employing particular perspectives. My attempts to "harmonize" in my mind all these differences, and resolve how everyone was really "saying the same thing somehow" often worked, but sometimes also left me quite confused. It was only when I had some historical background, and understood better where these various approaches were coming (and coming not coming) from, did I see that not all "Zen Books" were of one kind ... not one, not two.

    (it is early in the morning ... I hope the above makes sense too!)


    My point is, not at all, to say which approach is better than any other (although, of course, I have my own approach and way of presenting the practice too). My intent is merely to help people understand the context of all these different teachings, teachers and teachers' books. All are just slightly varied paths up the same mountain (and, anyway, ultimately "what mountain"?).

    Our first reading is from a book (that, unfortunately, goes in and out of print) called "Once Born Twice Born Zen" ... about the two most common "different flavors" of Zen one will most likely encounter in the West today: the "Just Sitting" Shikantaza flavor most usually associated with Soto Sangha such as Treeleaf, and the "Kanhua" Zazen flavor most often associated with Rinzai (or mixed Soto-Rinzai) lineages (PDF).

    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-17-2012 at 02:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi All,

    I thought to post some special reading topics. The theme is "readings that will help in understanding Zen readings". 8)

    For years and years, after first starting Zen practice, I would read many "Zen Books" but not quite understand why so many seemed to be saying rather different things (or the same things, but seemingly with very different emphasis). In other words, it too me a long time to realize that "Zen Books" (not to mention "Buddhist Books" in general) come in several flavors, often by different teachers within even the same school. Buddhism has evolved over the centuries, and various teachers do emphasize teachings in ways employing particular perspectives. My attempts to "harmonize" in my mind all these differences, and resolve how everyone was really "saying the same thing somehow" often worked, but sometimes also left me quite confused. It was only when I had some historical background, and understood better where these various approaches were coming (and coming not coming) from, did I see that not all "Zen Books" were of one kind ... not one, not two.

    (it is early in the morning ... I hope the above makes sense too!)


    My point is, not at all, to say which approach is better than any other (although, of course, I have my own approach and way of presenting the practice too). My intent is merely to help people understand the context of all these different teachings, teachers and teachers' books. All are just slightly varied paths up the same mountain (and, anyway, ultimately "what mountain"?).

    Our first reading is from a book (that, unfortunately, goes in and out of print) called "Once Born Twice Born Zen" ... about the two most common "different flavors" of Zen one will most likely encounter in the West today: the "Just Sitting" Shikantaza flavor most usually associated with Soto Sangha such as Treeleaf, and the "Kanhua" Zazen flavor most often associated with Rinzai (or mixed Soto-Rinzai) lineages (PDF).

    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1

    Gassho, Jundo

    Thank you for this down load, Jundo. Much of this I had understood from the 3PZ, and for me, it was not selling brand so to speak, but history, much like this down load, but that was after one reading of it. You seem to feel it sways towards Rinzai, and maybe so, but i did not get that take from it. It was just very interesting and was very glad i have read it and may again.
    Nothing Special

  3. #3
    Old thread, but I found this to be a good illustration of the differences/similarities (ok, not 2) between Soto & Rinzai, and it will definitely help to put things in context when studying different Zen writings. Not so sure about his characterization of the different types of folks who come to each practice; seems a little oversimplified, but no matter. Thank you for making this available!


    Chocolate’s great but I’ll take vanilla usually

    Gassho
    Lisa
    Last edited by raindrop; 06-15-2014 at 06:50 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this, and everyone's comments. I found this to be a useful article in understanding both Soto and Rinzai,Zen in general and also some good historical context in how Zen has been developed in the West. I really don't understand why the author feels the need to delineate along the thoughts of William James, and I think assumes too much that the reader should understand the reference as significant. Perhaps Western writers on Zen feel some kind of need to present Eastern thought as packaged for the Westerner.
    Gassho
    C

  5. #5
    Hi,

    Let me underline again that the author does paint with a broad brush, that some of the flavor of Rinzai Practice may be of one particular flavor (the "hard push to Kensho" style of that book, Three Pillars of Zen). It depends on the Teacher and Community, and many ways to delicious cook the soup in both the Soto and Rinzai (and hybrid Soto-Rinzai) worlds.

    However, generally, the broad brush does help explain why students will pick up "Zen Books" by different Teachers that sometimes seem to be describing rather different approaches to "Zen".

    There is a second chapter posted:

    Special reading - (more) once born twice born zen
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...twice-born-zen

    Here is some other reading I posted in the same way to help newer students understand all the various flavors of "Buddhist Books" that seem to be describing very different things. Different medicine for different patients.

    Special reading - eight types of enlightenment
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-enlightenment

    As I like to same: Often very very different, yet precisely the same. Just the same, yet quite different.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Thanks Jundo.

    Being a newbie among newbies in the zen world I found its definitions very clear to have an initial understanding of the difference between flavors of zen soup.
    I have been reading many books from different teachers (Deshimaru, Kapleau, Suzuki x2, Watts, Aitken) and the soup was my brain.
    Now I can focus on the Soto branch at least until I gain some more understanding and my practice grows, which could take a few kalpas.

    Gassho

    Walter
    Last edited by walter; 07-16-2014 at 05:50 PM. Reason: grammar error

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