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Thread: Pali Zen

  1. #1

    Pali Zen

    Hello friends,

    Would any of you who have a little versing in the Pali Canon (or feel like reading through it) feel like helping me out with a side project; going through and finding suttas that seem to point to Zen from the beginning? I think it would be an interesting exercise, and maybe help break down the "Mahayana vs. Theravada" dichotomy.

    Feel free to PM me if you're interested!

    Metta,

    Perry

  2. #2

    Re: Pali Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicSpud
    Hello friends,

    Would any of you who have a little versing in the Pali Canon (or feel like reading through it) feel like helping me out with a side project; going through and finding suttas that seem to point to Zen from the beginning? I think it would be an interesting exercise, and maybe help break down the "Mahayana vs. Theravada" dichotomy.

    Feel free to PM me if you're interested!

    Metta,

    Perry
    Hey Perry,

    Truly, I have never read a Pali Sutta in which I have not seen "Zen from the beginning" ... especially in the simplicity of the Buddha's main teachings. I suppose it depends on the eyes with which one reads them (we sometimes say in the Zen world 'see with the ears, hear with the eyes, know with the whole body without inside and out').

    When it comes to the Buddha's teachings on Dukkha, the troublemaking dream of 'self' with all its desires and judgments and grasping, Impermanence, the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, Dependent Origination and such ... we are working and wrestling with these same Teachings as much now as then ...

    viewforum.php?f=21

    Yes, Buddhism has changed and evolved over thousands of years, moving through vastly different cultures and times, teaching people with vastly different experiences and needs. Many of the Sutta and Sutra are most contradictory in what they recommend, how they look at things ... although some say that is because of the Buddhist use of "Skillful Means" ... teaching in different voices for people with different ears and needs. Some need Shikantaza, some may need Koan Work or Anapanasati breathing, some may need Amida Buddha in the Western Heaven to lend them a hand. I happen to believe that Shikantaza ... in its radical refusal to feed the 'self' while teaching the self the satisfaction of being and non-self ... is a wonderful medicine that will benefit vast numbers of people in a most profound way (but many ways up the mountain ... anyway, what mountain?!) Later developments in Buddhism may have even worked out a few kinks in the original formula (I sometimes compare the historical Buddha to the Wright Brothers ... but now we can fly a 777. Just because certain teachings ... like the air on which we fly ... are 'timeless" does not mean that they do not adapt and become refined with time!).

    Anyway, getting off topic ...

    I read recently about some practices in the Theravadan corner of Buddhism which may hark of Shikantaza known as "Choiceless Awareness" ... you may wish to have a look ...

    http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 05&start=0

    ... although in some of what I read about it, there is still an element of active mental analysis during Zazen that is not present in Shikantaza ...

    This practice of 'bare attention' is well-suited for contemplating the mental process. Along with observing the mind's particular 'ingredients', we can turn our attention to the nature of the container.

    http://amaravati.org/abmnew/documents/intro/06ref.html
    from
    http://dharma.ncf.ca/introduction/instr ... tions.html

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: Pali Zen

    I have the distinct pleasure of living about twenty minutes from the monastery that is home to the brilliant translator, Bikkhu Bodhi, an American monk who translated ( and assisted in the translation of) Pali suttas, including a wonderful compilation called "In the Buddha's Words."
    He teaches extensively from the Mahjima Nikaya, the "Middle Length Discourses" of the Buddha, and I'd have to agree with Jundo... while it's not quite Shikantaza, such meditation, theory and practice has a great deal in common with Zen practice.

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