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Thread: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

  1. #1

    Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Dear Treeleaf Sangha,

    Questions I wish to put forth are these:

    Do you feel there is any problem in a Zen practitioner recieving teachings from and practicing the diciplines of other schools & Buddhist traditions?

    Can such an undertaking in your opinion ever be beneficial or do you see it as an unnecessary extra or obstacle to Zen practice?


    I look forward to your thoughts.

    Regards,
    Dave.

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Hi Dave
    Im no expert but ill toss this out for what its worth.
    I think its interesting to glean beneficial parts from one practice while fully practicing another. (we do metta verses, such as supplemental yet key part of our practices here)That said...sitting on fence between traditions, or picking only what you like while tossing out the rest of each, a spiritual buffet if you will, gets you no where (though no wheres to go or anything to get :lol eventually you will settle on what is right for you.

    you may play football or hockey, but a ball on the ice or skates on the field is not very wise idea(though I may have came up with a new Canadian past time ).

    I know others will have much more or at least concise things to add. and this is just worth the value of the the zeros and ones its written with!

    Good question, Thank you!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  3. #3

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei
    Hi Dave
    I think its interesting to glean beneficial parts from one practice while fully practicing another. (we do metta verses, such as supplemental yet key part of our practices here)That said...sitting on fence between traditions, or picking only what you like while tossing out the rest of each, a spiritual buffet if you will, gets you no where...
    Shohei
    Thank you Shohei.

    I believe our views, as per what I have quoted from you above, are not all that different on the matter.

    Hopefully my questions will toss up some perspectives I had not yet considered!

  4. #4

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    What will a man do with three shoes?

  5. #5

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by gakuse345
    What will a man do with three shoes?
    Elaborate cartwheels?

  6. #6

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Wrong.

  7. #7

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Daibh,

    First of all, welcome! I came from another tradition when I first stumbled upon treeleaf. The Drikung Kagyu of Tibetan Buddhism specifically (Mahamudra school). I am truly grateful for what I learned there, without it I probably wouldn't have ventured into all the nitty gritty of Buddhist philosophy. BUT! It also taught me what trappings are in Buddhism, the "bells-and-smells" if you will. Not that Zen doesn't have its fair share, many *dings* and *sniffs* here too. Just less shit! Pardon :P

    I ended up with a box full of metal doo-hickies for this and that and well, all they do now and look interesting to those who stumble upon them. Is it all really necessary? But I digress... other teachings? Great! If they work for you, even greater! Just don't cut and paste too much, as Shohei pointed out, or you may end up standing on your head chanting "Om mani padme hum" thinking "AH HA! SO THIS IS SHIKANTAZA!"

    Gassho
    Taylor

    P.s. As for the three shoes? He would wear two and use the other for a flower pot. Well, I would at least.

  8. #8

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by gakuse345
    Wrong.
    Wrong?

    Doesn't that create a dualism? :lol:

    Sorry...

    I have a vast sense of humor and I don't play the "zen game"

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    ...It also taught me what trappings are in Buddhism, the "bells-and-smells" if you will. Not that Zen doesn't have its fair share, many *dings* and *sniffs* here too. Just less shit! Pardon :P
    Yeah - if I am catching your drift, it is the cultural trappings you are refering to?

    Has been a stumbling block for me in the past. Half the reason why I have asked these questions.

    Thanks for your input Taylor. Is appreciated.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    In my limited experience, sometimes studying another tradition can bring your own into focus. I'm reading the Eight Gates of Zen by Loori Roshi this week, and their practice seems starkly different than shikantaza. While taking nothing away from Mountains and Rivers' traditions, and its monumental contribution to American Zen, I see why our school works for me.
    If I can finish the book in a timely manner, maybe I'll post a brief review a la Reading Rainbow...... but don't take my word for it.

    gassho,
    Chris

  10. #10

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Cheers Chris.

    Your insight / perspective is appreciated.

  11. #11

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    My western, analytical, unenlightened perspective (although after that intro you probably don't want to read it...):

    It's all SUPPOSED to be based on the Buddha's teachings. In that respect, I think looking at the teachings from different perspectives is useful. I will admit to vast confusion about "how to practice" when I first started reading about Buddhism (since I didn't know the difference between sects at that time, so was reading a real mix of practice advice). I wouldn't recommend that for someone just starting out.

    However, I think once you get your feet on the ground, reading/hearing about what other "sects" have to say/how they practice can be very beneficial. How do you know Soto Zen is right for you if you have no idea what other Buddhism teaches? In the end, it's your practice and you have to feel the connection or it is probably all for naught.

    BTW - I went to a "Rinzai" sesshin and sat shikintaza all week. It was a great experience.

    Good luck,

    Craig

  12. #12

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    My western, analytical, unenlightened perspective (although after that intro you probably don't want to read it...):
    I agree.. whoops just kidding :mrgreen:

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    However, I think once you get your feet on the ground, reading/hearing about what other "sects" have to say/how they practice can be very beneficial. How do you know Soto Zen is right for you if you have no idea what other Buddhism teaches? In the end, it's your practice and you have to feel the connection or it is probably all for naught.
    Well said, this was true for me as well... it took me several months of wtf moments when reading until I started catching on. And I'm still having those moments all the time. lol

    The variance among different sects of Zen is astounding to me. To count or not to count.. Shikantaza, koan training, etc. I mean Joko Beck, Roshi even does labeling... in Zen! I tried it and it drove me nuts. lol

    But I agree with you Craig, you gotta try and see what works. I honestly prefer Shikantaza. I did counting for months, but once I started Shikantaza, it was just different... I really feel as if it "fit".

    But I think it's the nature of the practice that we use our teachers' guidance, but we must find our own way. Master Zuigan's practice, for instance, was to ask himself if he was awake. That worked for him. When I first realized that my practice was up to me it drove me nuts because I wanted to know the way, and I wanted it now! But it's really liberating because it forces the practitioner to really look into themself and do the legwork, and when they find what works it becomes a very, very personal practice.. IMHO (and although I'm a newbie, I'm still finding my feet, but that's my feeling) at least.

    Gassho,

    Cyril

  13. #13
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    Just don't cut and paste too much, as Shohei pointed out, or you may end up standing on your head chanting "Om mani padme hum" thinking "AH HA! SO THIS IS SHIKANTAZA!"
    You know, I was doing something very similar to this the other day, lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    P.s. As for the three shoes? He would wear two and use the other for a flower pot. Well, I would at least.
    I like this metaphor, because it describes how I feel about mixing religious material to suit one's needs. Yes, it is best to stick to the basic "meat" of the structure, i.e., wearing two shoes-- which is useful and how most people go about using shoes. However, a shoe can be used as a flowerpot, just as elements of Zen can be used in other religions and parts of life-- or elements of other religions being used to enrich or broaden one's understanding of Zen.

    Also, having studied many religions, noticing the similarities between all the different "Nirvana's" and the practices of them all has caused me to wonder if we are all "practicing" "Zen/ Christianity/ Islam/ etc." by various methods all at once and for the same "end."

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    However, I think once you get your feet on the ground, reading/hearing about what other "sects" have to say/how they practice can be very beneficial. How do you know Soto Zen is right for you if you have no idea what other Buddhism teaches? In the end, it's your practice and you have to feel the connection or it is probably all for naught.
    This makes me wonder... One could go on and on, studying other religions to find just the right fit... and go on searching forever... I wonder, how can we search for a "truth" which can't be identified if we cease to change our methods?

  14. #14

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Dear All,

    ALLOW ME TO PRESENT THE 'OFFICIAL' STANCE FROM MANAGEMENT ON THIS ISSUE. 8)

    It is really very simple.

    Our 'heart and all being' Practice here is Shikantaza Zazen which, by its very nature, must be experienced as the only and complete Practice, nothing more to do, no other place to go than on one's Zafu, not a single thing to add or take away ... the whole universe sitting as our sitting, as sitting sits sitting ...

    And what we learn about experiencing life in that "just what it is" way when 'on the cushion' can also come to be taken with us when we rise from the cushion into daily life ... which is 'Zazen' in its wider meaning. I sometimes write ....

    Every moment of Zazen is complete, sacred, a perfect action, with not one thing to add, not one thing to take away. When we sit Zazen, we are a Buddha sitting.

    And all of this life and world can be known too as sacred, a jewel, with not one thing to add, not one thing to take away. Perfectly just-what-it-is.
    THUS, by definition, Shikantaza is a practice of radical non-doing, non-need-to-changing, non-seeking for a promised land 'somewhere else'. The “effect" of Zazen greatly derives from learning to accept the moment with all the body-and-mind, being “at one” with what is as we drop demands and resistance to changing circumstances, thus going with the flow and being just the very flowing itself, finding stillness even as and through the motion of life, dropping desires and demands for how the frustrated “me/myself/I”‘ self wants things to “should be” vs. “life just as we find life”. Yes, if you are having difficulty to sit still, and to drop demands and judgments of “how things should be”… it is because the self resists.

    But sitting radically to the marrowless marrow with "nothing to attain" does not mean that nothing is attained. Far from it!

    To realize that you are never, from the outset, in need of change is a VERY BIG CHANGE! There is absolutely nothing about you and the universe (not two) to add or take away, and tasting that there is "nothing to add" is an important addition!

    And how do you realize that non-realization?

    By Just Sitting to-the-marrow, radically dropping all goals, judgments, attempts to get somewhere or to achieve some realization. That gets you somewhere, and a revolutionary realization!

    Truly understanding that everything is completely beyond need for change is a complete change, and finding that there was never a place to get to is finally getting somewhere.
    What is more that is the reason for being (and non-being) of this Sangha, and no other practices or perspectives should be taught here to the degree they take away from the above, the central message.

    HOWEVER, Zen teachers often talk out of two sides of their no-sided mouth!

    Just because there is "nothing to change about us" ... does not mean that there is "nothing to change about us". :shock:

    Perhaps a fellow sits down to Zazen for the first time who is a violent man, a thief and alcoholic. He hears that “all is Buddha just as it is“, so thinks that Zen practice means “all is a jewel just as it is, so thus maybe I can simply stay that way, just drink and beat my wife and rob strangers“. Well, no, because while a thief and wife-beater is just that … a thief and wife-beater, yet a Buddha nonetheless … still, someone filled with such anger and greed and empty holes to fill in their psyche is not really “at peace with how things are” (or he would not beat and steal and need to self-medicate). In other words, he takes and craves and acts out anger and frustration because he does not truly understand “peace with this life as it is” … because if he did, he would not need to be those violent, punishing ways.

    If the angry, violent fellow truly knew “completeness“, truly had “no hole in need of filling“, “nothing lacking” everything “complete just as it is” … well, he simply would not have need to do violence, steal and take drugs to cover his inner pain.

    You see … kind of a self-fulfilling Catch-22.

    Thus, our “goalless sitting” in Zazen is –not– merely sitting on our butts, self-satisfied, feeling that we “just have to sit here and we are Buddha“. Far from it. It is, instead, to-the-marrow dropping of all need and lack. That is very different. Someone’s “just sitting around” doing nothing, going no where, complacent or resigned, giving up, killing time, is not in any way the same as “Just Sitting” practice wherein nothing need be done, with no where that we can go or need go, for all is faced ‘head on’ and energetically as already whole and complete … even while we realize that the choices we make in life have consequences, that how we choose to walk the walk in this life, and the directions we choose to go, do make a difference!

    more here:
    http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p ... nt94847378
    Thus, to the extent some other practice might further someone in realizing the Buddhist teachings ... and speaks to them (even if not strictly "Buddhist" ... such as for our several Christian friends here) GO FOR IT! HOWEVER, DO NOT LOSE THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF SHIKANTAZA ALONG THE WAY BY STUMBLING INTO SEEKING, NEEDING, RUNNING FOR THE "GREENER GRASS OVER DISTANT HILLS" (missing the greenness of the grass where you sit).

    In this Dojo (this school and practice place ... no different from a Judo school which teaches a certain style of Judo), we teach a certain style .... "Just Sitting" Shikantaza. We may discuss some other practices, and adapt a few, but carefully. One reason is that not all practices will appeal to all people here, much as Christianity or chanting the Nembutsu will speak to some but not to others here. What is more, we do not adapt any practice which seems to conflict with Shikantaza's message of radical non-seeking.

    And as mentioned by Shohei and others ... read widely, experience widely, find the practice(s) right for you ... but do not treat practice as a cafeteria. We should not play basketball with ice skates on, nor hockey with a baseball bat. 8)

    Here, we keep our aimless aim focused like a beam on Shikantaza.

    Gassho, Jundo (and I think I speak for Brother Taigu too).

  15. #15

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Hi all,

    Yes Jundo and Shohei said it all and I also mentioned this in the last video. One practice is enough. Practice one thing and everything opens. Spiritual sight seeing, window shopping, meditation shop lifting are materialistic practices. The way is not a supermarket or a buffet. We find what suits us and then get on with it.

    gassho


    Taigu

  16. #16

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    P.s. As for the three shoes? He would wear two and use the other for a flower pot. Well, I would at least.
    I like this metaphor, because it describes how I feel about mixing religious material to suit one's needs. Yes, it is best to stick to the basic "meat" of the structure, i.e., wearing two shoes-- which is useful and how most people go about using shoes. However, a shoe can be used as a flowerpot, just as elements of Zen can be used in other religions and parts of life-- or elements of other religions being used to enrich or broaden one's understanding of Zen.

    Also, having studied many religions, noticing the similarities between all the different "Nirvana's" and the practices of them all has caused me to wonder if we are all "practicing" "Zen/ Christianity/ Islam/ etc." by various methods all at once and for the same "end."/quote]

    Many bows for the profundity of meaning you gave to my answer. Really though, just put on your shoes and do what you will with the spare. No metaphor implied, I'm afraid, just someone studying botany thinking about plants

    Gasshoooooooooo
    Taylor

  17. #17

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    A big whole-hearted thank you to everyone who has posted since I was last logged on.

    Your thoughtful replies have been of great interest to me!

    Gassho
    Dave.

  18. #18

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Hi everyone!
    Taigu and Taylor said something that made me think about Chogyam Trungpa's teachings.
    Tibetan Buddhism is no doubt among all the Buddhist schools I know the one in which the Buddhist syncretism is the strongest. Indeed, the monks often spend periods of practice in one or the other tradition without problems(even if they share much of their teachings, they expose them in a fairly different way) and I don't event speak about the preeminence of Bön.

    All this to say that he has developed in contact with the West, the principle of "spiritual materialism".
    He defines it as a state of mind.
    The mindset of those who wish to appropriate, keeping, storing the teachings and concepts available around them.
    He highlighted the fact that this is not necessarily the result of practicing in a certain school rather than another (I think he was also great friends of Shunryu Suzuki).

    But the important thing is the spirit in which we approach these other practices.

    He used the beautiful image of our mind as an empty room that we try to fill with spiritual objects. If one wants to "take", selfishly get this or that teaching, our "mental room" will be quickly filled and unworkable.

    In this perspective, I think we should keep Shikantaza Zazen at the center of our "mental room" and not try to fill this piece with other practices.
    This does not mean that we can not be in contact, or appreciate other teachings and practices (like Chogyam Trungpa's teachings ).
    Simply, we must avoid doing so with the intention of appropriation ... without "spiritual materialism" ...

    He also says that we don't need to see teachings and practices as things that we must "have" (like having a collection). This kind of vision tend to give us a very dualistic view on things (my practice and their practice, my teachings and their teachings,...)... And at the end we take the risk of losing the essential simplicity of Buddhist practice.

    Hope it helps!

    gassho everyone,
    Luis/Jinyu

  19. #19

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    An extremely useful post Luis.

    Thanks for sharing that!

    (...I admit that I had to look up 'syncretism') :roll:

  20. #20

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    The way is not a supermarket or a buffet. We find what suits us and then get on with it.

    Taigu
    IMO, "getting on with it" is the whole point here. Maybe I misunderstood the original post, but I think reading/hearing about other teachings and other practices will help me to "get on with" what we do here at Treeleaf. Much in the same way the reading about Lamarckian evolution can help a student understand Darwinian evolution, I think reading about (say) Rinzai Zen can help one understand Soto Zen. (may be a bad example, since Lamarck was "wrong" and Darwin was "right" - I don't intend to imply that about Rinzai and Soto)

    For example, I am currently reading "Understanding Our Mind" (more posts to come on that later) which describes a Buddhist model of the mind. I hope to understand how shikintaza and Soto Zen fits into that model. To further clarify that model, I think it would be helpful to understand how koan study and Rinzai Zen fit in that model as well. This doesn't mean I am "shopping" for a different practice, but (I believe) understanding different practices will contribute to my overall understanding and enhance my Soto Zen practice.

  21. #21

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    This doesn't mean I am "shopping" for a different practice, but (I believe) understanding different practices will contribute to my overall understanding and enhance my Soto Zen practice.
    I Craig I agree with you on this!
    But at a certain point, it is necessary to fully do our practice. What I mean is: comparing is normal but each Buddhist path is a good path by itself and we must be aware of the danger of "blending practices". Each path is valuable only if we fully practice them!

    Well, I hope I'm "understandable", sorry but I'm quite in hurry...

    gassho,
    Luis/Jinyu

  22. #22

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Even a centipede can only walk one path at a time.

    Reading about other traditions is wonderful for understanding the greater context, but mixing practices is a separate and more dangerous issue. Each practice was developed on concert with the other practices of that particular tradition. Decontextualized practices often lack the supporting ties to really inform our travels on the path.

    Gassho,
    Eika

  23. #23
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    I don't know if I really see it as dangerous... more like it's harder to gain any depth in anything if you don't study it for longer than a few hours...

  24. #24

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis
    Each path is valuable only if we fully practice them!
    I don't know this to be true, or untrue. This does seem to be what Jundo and Taigu are advocating, and as I am leaning on their expertise, that is the path I will follow for now. But I have no evidence (objective or subjective) to back this up.

    Craig

  25. #25

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    Quote Originally Posted by Luis
    Each path is valuable only if we fully practice them!
    I don't know this to be true, or untrue. This does seem to be what Jundo and Taigu are advocating, and as I am leaning on their expertise, that is the path I will follow for now. But I have no evidence (objective or subjective) to back this up.

    Craig
    Hi Craig

    Please don't "get me wrong on this", my point was just that we need to fully try "the thing" before thinking about changing it by adding this or that!
    I wasn't especially thinking about Treeleaf or Soto... In fact it was quite the contrary.
    In my little experience with other Buddhist traditions, all teachers I met said the same thing!

    But Shikantaza is different, globally we can say there is an evolution in our practice... but in wich directions? what is the goal? wath is the scale to mesure it?

    What I want to express is that they are traditions where there is a real map of meditation. In the theravadan tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw for example, they can say after some interviews with the teacher "look you are here and at the end of the retreat you will probably be at this level"... Sounds nice isn't it!

    But in our Soto tradition, it is not "the same soup"!

    I once heard a nice story on sesshin:
    a monk asks an older monk
    - I'm studying with my teacher for 10 years now, and all we do is sitting facing the wall. Will I attain buddhahood doing this?
    and the older monk answers
    - sit another 10 years with your teacher and then ask yourself the question again!

    I don't know if you understand what I want to mean by all that (sorry it is quite late and I'm in exams so I'm a bit in hurry again) , It is also about trust... trust in this practice

    But to say the truth I like your skeptic (maybe it is not the right word, sorry) "lets see what we get here" kind of view!
    I spent these last years practicing only in this tradition... but I didn't wanted to seam sectarian or what

    gassho,
    Luis/Jinyu

  26. #26
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    I'm glad this question came up, as I'm thinking of checking out a local Ordinary Mind Zen group in my area. As far as I can tell, the differences between that and Soto Zen are subtle, but I am concerned that I will get confused (or, at least, will be biting off more than I can chew). Well, I'll see what happens.

  27. #27

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer G P
    I'm glad this question came up, as I'm thinking of checking out a local Ordinary Mind Zen group in my area. As far as I can tell, the differences between that and Soto Zen are subtle, but I am concerned that I will get confused (or, at least, will be biting off more than I can chew). Well, I'll see what happens.
    See what happens.

    And if anything that they tell you is different from something Taigu and I tell you ...

    ... well, just listen to us, of course! 8)

  28. #28

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    This thread came along at a perfect time for me. I've just been reading "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist," and the author deals with a lot of these same issues. He spent some years in northern India living as a monk in the Tibetian style of Buddhism (in fact, he was acquainted with the current Dalai Lama when both were young men, and lived in the community of Tibetian exiles). But as time went by he found himself more and more at odds with the dogma/doctrine that must be accepted as literal truth in that school of Buddhism (and reading his take on it, now I see why Watts said the Tibetian take on Buddhism is by far the most mystic flavor out there). The author mentions at one point an intention to visit Japan and see if zen suits his way of thinking, but life got in his way--he ended up marrying a fellow monastic from a Korean school and the two of them moved back to England (where he was originally from) to teach there. But through so much of the book, I find myself wondering how he ever missed Japanese zen--so much of the book is his whittling away the mystic, religious trappings and supernatural claims to get at the core of what the Buddha thought and taught...and he seems to be arriving at a place that's completely consistent with Jundo's and Nishijima-roshi's book "A Heart to Heart Chat on Buddhism." Hopefully I'm not being too unfair to the author--it's quite obvious that he's forgotten far more about Buddhism than I'll ever know, so who am I to wonder about what this guy's missed and what he hasn't? LOL Also, I'm writing this without having actually finished the book yet--I'm just about 2/3 of the way through so far.

  29. #29
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Jundo--

    And if anything that they tell you is different from something Taigu and I tell you ...

    ... well, just listen to us, of course! 8)
    Okay, you guys got dibs. :wink:


    Kevin--

    You might be interested in the podcast/transcription of an interview with Stephen Batchelor here: http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/06/bg ... t-atheist/ Enjoy!

  30. #30

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    There are so many interesting teachings out there, there is only one that is right here, right now, .... but it happens again and again that I am looking for somewhere else.
    :shock:

    From my experience I have been looking around and reading from different teachers/teachings. At the end off the day, I just go to my cushion and sit. It does matter to get inspired and a good book by Thich That Nanh and the Dalai Lama is always inspiring. There is the longing to hear and see what we think we might have missed in one place, ...

    Gassho

    Ensho

  31. #31

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by kfrance0
    The author mentions at one point an intention to visit Japan and see if zen suits his way of thinking, but life got in his way--he ended up marrying a fellow monastic from a Korean school and the two of them moved back to England (where he was originally from) to teach there. But through so much of the book, I find myself wondering how he ever missed Japanese zen--so much of the book is his whittling away the mystic, religious trappings and supernatural claims to get at the core of what the Buddha thought and taught...and he seems to be arriving at a place that's completely consistent with Jundo's and Nishijima-roshi's book "A Heart to Heart Chat on Buddhism." Hopefully I'm not being too unfair to the author--it's quite obvious that he's forgotten far more about Buddhism than I'll ever know, so who am I to wonder about what this guy's missed and what he hasn't? LOL Also, I'm writing this without having actually finished the book yet--I'm just about 2/3 of the way through so far.
    Well he did spend quite a few years in a Korean Zen monastery which is close to Chinese Zen which is where Dogen learned his thing. So I would think he has some solid zen experience.
    /Rich

  32. #32

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer G P
    Jundo--

    And if anything that they tell you is different from something Taigu and I tell you ...

    ... well, just listen to us, of course! 8)
    Okay, you guys got dibs. :wink:


    Kevin--

    You might be interested in the podcast/transcription of an interview with Stephen Batchelor here: http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/06/bg ... t-atheist/ Enjoy!
    Thanks, I'll give it a listen!

  33. #33

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Quote Originally Posted by kfrance0
    The author mentions at one point an intention to visit Japan and see if zen suits his way of thinking, but life got in his way--he ended up marrying a fellow monastic from a Korean school and the two of them moved back to England (where he was originally from) to teach there. But through so much of the book, I find myself wondering how he ever missed Japanese zen--so much of the book is his whittling away the mystic, religious trappings and supernatural claims to get at the core of what the Buddha thought and taught...and he seems to be arriving at a place that's completely consistent with Jundo's and Nishijima-roshi's book "A Heart to Heart Chat on Buddhism." Hopefully I'm not being too unfair to the author--it's quite obvious that he's forgotten far more about Buddhism than I'll ever know, so who am I to wonder about what this guy's missed and what he hasn't? LOL Also, I'm writing this without having actually finished the book yet--I'm just about 2/3 of the way through so far.
    Well he did spend quite a few years in a Korean Zen monastery which is close to Chinese Zen which is where Dogen learned his thing. So I would think he has some solid zen experience.
    /Rich
    Yes, that's where he met his wife. He seems to spend little time talking about the Korean monastery, at least in comparison to the Tibetian material. The chapter I just finished described a schism within the Tibetian sangha--the Dalai Lama on one side and one of his teachers on the other. The schism was largely about the worship or honoring of one particular Tibetian god. After explaining the whole issue and describing some of the events that happened because of it (including a pretty brutal triple murder), the author ended the chapter by essentially saying he just can't deal with all these gods and demons and spirits any more...

  34. #34

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    like everything, no simple answer here -- unless you need one, in which case perhaps its best to focus on one approach -- but where some confusion may arise is that i've been focusing on 1 approach for years, but within several schools, and i feel that i see a commonality that rings true within all 3 major schools -- for example, here's a quote:

    "When we talk of the way of awareness we do not mean that awareness is one thing and the way is another, or that there is a technique for applying awareness to life. Awareness itself is the doing, the practice, the action – there is no technique for being aware..."

    hmmmmmm -- sounds pretty "zen" to me -- its actually from my first teacher, about 1975, a theravadan monk from thailand, a teacher of a practice that might loosely be described as "vipassana" -- yes, thats the same vipassana that i've had a scholarly zen monk tell me was all about "labeling" :!: -- well, it itsn't, at least not in this case – and this could just as well be a quote from a teacher in the dzogchen school of tibetan buddhism

    if you want to find teachers in any of the schools who are teaching a very specific approach, you will find them -- some will insist on the uniqueness, or even superiority of their way -- well, we all want to feel special, no? -- and going from this type of teacher to another can be very confusing -- and if you are subconsciously sabotaging yourself, you can postpone settling down to work forever, while you try to "make up your mind", hopping from one to another, like those folks with the 400 tv stations(i tried one of those in a motel once: still nothing worth watching)

    my respect to those who see it otherwise, but the teachers who "ring true" to me are all saying the same thing -- no uniqueness whatsoever -- yes, for some of them i have to edit out a lot of their extra stuff, i mean, they do have egos -- but the core teaching is the same, they're simply observing and reporting on our true nature -- if, like steve hagen says, its "Truth", how could it be otherwise, since by definition it is universal -- the teaching isn't in one specific technique, sometimes its zen, sometimes lsd, sometimes ? -- as joseph goldstein said, it is "one dharma"

    but just so as to not confuse anyone new to this whole thing, "checking out" one school or the other requires a fair investment of time/effort, and is done by solely focusing on that approach -- teachers like stephen batchelor, who was quoted before, jon kabat-zin, or two who i've had contact with, larry rosenburg and myoshin kelley, spent years in one approach before moving on to another -- it is not helpful to be simultaneously dabbling in multiple approaches

    gassho, roky

  35. #35

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Still following this thread and still glad to have posed the question.

    Most interesting answers!

    Cheers everyone!

    Hope you and yours are all fine and well!


  36. #36

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Interesting topic, and an important one at that. '

    Staying solely with one practice, vs. trying many different practices certainly have their pros and cons. but one problem that 'can' come up with staying with only one practice indefinably is; that it can become like putting blinders over your eyes. you can only see things through your practice, and in the perspective on your own practice. I know of/ and here a lot about people who practice so intensely on one thing that it blinds them from looking at anything else. these people tend to become like "if its not Buddhist(or anything else), I don't want to know about it."

    But trying many different things can become confusing and overwhelming and may lead to people just giving up all together.

    So in the end one really has to pay attention to themselves and their state of mind. it is like going to the kitchen for a midnight snack. you have to pay attention to how hungry you are otherwise you might over eat or under eat.

    All practice is good, but not all practice is good for everyone.

    Gassho

    Rafael

  37. #37

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    To be honest on this subject,
    I do read a lot of texts and commentaries from other traditions, I also I've been in retreats in different traditions... And I was a kind of spiritual materialist for years!
    When "at ease" in one practice, it doesn't mean not having any challenges and difficulties in our practice, when we don't try to grasp like a vacuum any kind of spiritual/intellectual knowledge that passes by.

    When this kind of playful and more open practice take place, I still find useful and agreable to look at sacred text from other traditions... what are other traditions really... I can point to dozens of passages of the Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Vippassana, ... traditions with all their different and fresh tastes, and they all seem to express the same reality that couldn't be expressed. All the same open and luminous awareness... And when we don't try to pin, to fix these beautiful texts in any kind of way, we can appreciate their simple and open bright experience... and that is priceless and has nothing to do with spiritual materialism!

    But at the very moment I lose the playful and open way, at the moment concepts of knowledge and intellectual meanings appear, When we try to "see" more than the text gives us, these precious teachings are nothing more than words and concepts.

    It's a shame that it is so difficult to just practice what we practice. To just read what we read and fully experience what we experience. So easy to get caught in endless questioning!

    Don't get me wrong doubt is beautiful! But "resting in I don't know" is far more difficult than "resting in I want to know"...
    Sorry I'm a bit out of the subject again! :lol:
    Have a nice practice everyone!
    gassho,
    Jinyu

  38. #38

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    As long as we do not start to think that one practice or school is better than another. All is Buddhism, whether it is Buddhist or not. All lead to the same path, the only different comes whether you are walking on one or not.


    Gassho

    Seiry?

  39. #39

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiry?
    As long as we do not start to think that one practice or school is better than another. All is Buddhism, whether it is Buddhist or not. All lead to the same path, the only different comes whether you are walking on one or not.


    Gassho

    Seiry?
    Many Paths up the Mountain, and many different ways for many different climbers. Anyway, what destination? What Mountain?

    Yet, some paths go in circles, some lead right off a cliff. Beware!

    Gassho, Jundo

  40. #40

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiry?
    As long as we do not start to think that one practice or school is better than another. All is Buddhism, whether it is Buddhist or not. All lead to the same path, the only different comes whether you are walking on one or not.


    Gassho

    Seiry?
    Many Paths up the Mountain, and many different ways for many different climbers. Anyway, what destination? What Mountain?

    Yet, some paths go in circles, some lead right off a cliff. Beware!

    Gassho, Jundo
    But hopefully one is watching their footing... :wink:

    Gassho

    Seiry?

  41. #41

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    In my limited experience, sometimes studying another tradition can bring your own into focus. I'm reading the Eight Gates of Zen by Loori Roshi this week, and their practice seems starkly different than shikantaza.

    It's very different, but I've gotten a tremendous ammount of wisdom from Daido Roshi. I've also found tremendous insights into my life and practice in "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" by sogyal Rinpoche, which, despite Dzogchen's similarity to Zen, is still firmly rooted in the Tantric practice of Vajrayana. I find a lot of brilliance in the Western/Abrahamic faiths and their offshoots as well. I guess what I'm saying is simply don't throw away genuine wisdom just because you don't like the brand name.

  42. #42

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyu
    To be honest on this subject,
    I do read a lot of texts and commentaries from other traditions, I also I've been in retreats in different traditions... And I was a kind of spiritual materialist for years!
    When "at ease" in one practice, it doesn't mean not having any challenges and difficulties in our practice, when we don't try to grasp like a vacuum any kind of spiritual/intellectual knowledge that passes by.

    When this kind of playful and more open practice take place, I still find useful and agreable to look at sacred text from other traditions... what are other traditions really... I can point to dozens of passages of the Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Vippassana, ... traditions with all their different and fresh tastes, and they all seem to express the same reality that couldn't be expressed. All the same open and luminous awareness... And when we don't try to pin, to fix these beautiful texts in any kind of way, we can appreciate their simple and open bright experience... and that is priceless and has nothing to do with spiritual materialism!

    But at the very moment I lose the playful and open way, at the moment concepts of knowledge and intellectual meanings appear, When we try to "see" more than the text gives us, these precious teachings are nothing more than words and concepts.

    It's a shame that it is so difficult to just practice what we practice. To just read what we read and fully experience what we experience. So easy to get caught in endless questioning!

    Don't get me wrong doubt is beautiful! But "resting in I don't know" is far more difficult than "resting in I want to know"...
    Sorry I'm a bit out of the subject again! :lol:
    Have a nice practice everyone!
    gassho,
    Jinyu
    Right on! This rings very true to me. I am working on being less "This way is only this way, that way is only that". Occasionally I will still slip into it, thinking that only Soto applies to Soto, Seon to Seon, Rinzai to Rinzai. I'm trying to read more and feel more of what I read rather than placing it in its Rinzai, Thein, or Tibetan Box. Obviously there are differences in form and focus, but eh.

    All the splitting takes away from the luminosity, and sometimes I feel that I need to step away from Dogen, Uchiyama, Suzuki, et. al for a book or two and take a look from a different angle. Keeps me on my toes!

    Gassho,
    Taylor (Myoken)

  43. #43

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    All practices is essentially the same, all practice essentially leads to the same goal; to have a happy more compassionate life. But the philosophies are very different. This difference is there because there are many different types of people. What works for one,won't work for another. And all because a practice worked for you once doesn't mean it is always going to work in every instance. I think exploring other practices, and even other religions can be good. It's a good reminder that despite all the outside difference, we are all trying to do the same thing...

    Just my thoughts....

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  44. #44

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    I asked about this once before, and Stephanie and Taigu had some words that helped sort things out for me, so perhaps reading their responses from earlier might help......

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2374

  45. #45

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    I hope you won't mind me resurrecting an old thread. I have been faithfully sitting shikantaza and will continue to learn more about the tradition as time goes on but I still practice metta and anapanasati each morning and do puja in the Theravada style. I don't foresee me letting go of these at present but would be interested to know what, if any, the drawbacks may be of practicing in this way. Metta to all!

    Mike

  46. #46

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Khalil Bodhi
    I hope you won't mind me resurrecting an old thread. I have been faithfully sitting shikantaza and will continue to learn more about the tradition as time goes on but I still practice metta and anapanasati each morning and do puja in the Theravada style. I don't foresee me letting go of these at present but would be interested to know what, if any, the drawbacks may be of practicing in this way. Metta to all!

    Mike
    Hi Mike,

    Here is my personal feeling on this ...

    We also encourage everyone in our Sangha to practice a recital of Metta each day ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1199

    ... and we have other folks around here who are Zennies while also Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, chanting to Amida or Thor and the like.

    So long as one sits (and is sat by) Shikantaza each day, Whole and Complete, Sacred and Still, with not one thing to add or take away, no other practice needed (not while seated anyway) to make being there more Whole and Complete ... not any other place to be, not one other thing to do in all time and space in that moment of sitting ...

    ... then when one rises from the cushion, one may wash the dishes or watch TV, have salad for lunch or a sandwich, pray to Jesus or not, chant to Amida or not, engage in anapanasati breath awareness meditation or not, take a doctor's medicine for a bad kidney or not, engage in Puja (acts of devotion) such as bowing or making offerings or not (and finding the sacredness of life and Buddha in other ways of expression ... e.g., I do not see any distinction myself between the sacred act of lighting incense on an altar and the sacred act of changing my daughter's soiled diaper, but that is just my personal feeling and I practice both!).

    Hopefully, at some point, the "to the marrow" Wholeness and Completeness and "nothing more in need of obtaining or attaining-ness" of Shikantaza will come to underlay and bring to life all of that ... from washing dishes, to praying or not, to breathing, to changing diapers, to chanting metta ... all of life, on and off the cushion, not separate.

    I hope that answers the question.

    Gassho, J

  47. #47

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Rev. J,

    I truly appreciate your kind response. That definitely helps! Mettaya!

    Gassho,

    Mike

  48. #48

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by gakuse345
    What will a man do with three shoes?
    juggle

  49. #49

    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    All practices is essentially the same, all practice essentially leads to the same goal; to have a happy more compassionate life. But the philosophies are very different. This difference is there because there are many different types of people. What works for one,won't work for another. And all because a practice worked for you once doesn't mean it is always going to work in every instance. I think exploring other practices, and even other religions can be good. It's a good reminder that despite all the outside difference, we are all trying to do the same thing...

    Just my thoughts....

    Gassho

    Seiryu
    Seiryu, I like what you say here. I think it is important to learn about different ideas and approaches to practice. I also think it is important ultimately to pick an approach that works and really stick with it. Maybe these somehow go hand-in-hand.

    Nobody here suggests that folks should avoid even reading about other approaches and practices, correct? There must be some possibility of beneficial cross fertilization of ideas. If we are to light unto ourselves mustn't we have the discretion and maturity to decide what is and is not beneficial and skillful?

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