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Thread: Devotional Practices

  1. #1

    Devotional Practices

    This is sort of a multi-part question. Are there devotional practices in Zen Buddhism, or in the Zen temples? By this, I am thinking of devotional practices that do not involve meditation, etc., sort of like what SGI espouses. My reason for this is that I know several people who consider themselves Buddhist, but do not have any interest in meditation. They have, however, expressed an interest in having some sort of devotional practice. I do not want to send them to an SGI center, but don't really have any answers for them. How about some input from the sangha here.

    A deep gassho.

  2. #2

    Re: Devotional Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by ianadams
    This is sort of a multi-part question. Are there devotional practices in Zen Buddhism, or in the Zen temples? By this, I am thinking of devotional practices that do not involve meditation, etc., sort of like what SGI espouses. My reason for this is that I know several people who consider themselves Buddhist, but do not have any interest in meditation. They have, however, expressed an interest in having some sort of devotional practice. I do not want to send them to an SGI center, but don't really have any answers for them. How about some input from the sangha here.

    A deep gassho.

    Hi Ian,

    Hmmm. Our Practice here is centered upon the sitting of Shikantaza Zazen, which is heart of Practice. This being a Soto Zen place, Zazen is Zazen. We also take Zazen "off the cushion" into daily life, but also bring it to the cushion each day.

    Accompanying that, we do have times to chant ... the 'Heart Sutra', The 'Identity of Relative and Absolute', and some other things, although we also appreciate the works as statements of Buddhist teaching and philosophy more than purely devotional chanting.

    We may offer bows and words of praise to the Buddha and Ancestors at various points ... but, again, all comes back to the sitting of Zazen.

    In our little corner of the Buddhist world, one cannot have "no interest in Zazen".

    There are other forms of Buddhism, Pure Land for example (which chants in praise of Amida Buddha), which might be of interest to them.

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: Devotional Practices

    Hi there,

    John Daido Loori has a book called "Bringing the Sacred to Life: The Daily Practice of Zen Ritual". Therein it contains many daily liturgy practices and chants, gathas, etc. that your acquaintance (or any practitioner) might find useful. You can also find the Zen Mountain Monastery's Liturgy Manual on Amazon.

    This thread might also be helpful:

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2629&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hi lit=liturgy

    I have been looking for some more daily liturgy rituals in addition to zazen myself, and found these helpful.

    Cheers,
    --
    Matt

  4. #4

    Re: Devotional Practices

    I suppose it depends on your definition of "Zazen" and "Devotion".

    I feel that Zazen is the ultimate devotion to Life as it is. It radiates peace and acceptance of this world just as it is. What is more devotional than that?

    Zazen may also be the Nembutsu for others. For some it may be yoga. For others communion and prayer. And others still the chanting of Om Mani Padme Hum. Different strokes for different folks. If they don't dig the "sit down and shut up" thing, well thats fine. Maybe they haven't given it enough of a shot. Maybe, really, it's just not their thing. Eh, to each their own

    9 bows
    Taylor

  5. #5

    Re: Devotional Practices

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    I feel that Zazen is the ultimate devotion to Life as it is. It radiates peace and acceptance of this world just as it is. What is more devotional than that?
    That's what I wanted to say.

    Nine Bows Back, Jundo

  6. #6

    Re: Devotional Practices

    Personally, I do not understand how someone can be interested in Buddhism, and not be interested in meditation. But both of these guys became interested in Buddhism from dating sisters from Thailand so their only real experience is visiting Thai temples, and I've heard some weird stories about those visits. I have actually decided that I am just going to have to take it upon myself to begin educating them, so they are both getting several books for Christmas.

  7. #7

    Re: Devotional Practices

    Hi Ian,

    The morning email from Tricycle happened to be about walking meditation and the article referenced has five various techniques for mindfulness, the first being sitting meditation but it moves on to walking and then to techniques on developing compassion, etc.. Some of them are Tibetan rather than Zen, but perhaps the development of compassion, metta meditation or similar will spark a fire..

    Best wishes... _/_ Nate

    http://www.tricycle.com/-practice/five- ... d?page=0,0

  8. #8

    Re: Devotional Practices

    Rev master Jiyu roshi used to say that zazen, just sitting, was the loudest prayer you could offer the universe.

    Gassho

    Joe

  9. #9

    Re: Devotional Practices

    Hi!
    To say the truth I see a lot of "devotional " practices in my daily practice!
    Not as we can find them in some other traditions were the accumulation of merits is the purpose.
    But as everything can be zazen, everything can be a devotional practice.

    Surrender to simplicity, to what is, is what I see as a devotional practice. A "practice of total devotion to the practice" (of dropping body and mind). Anything from Zazen to cleaning toilets. Bowing or kinhin are wonderful practices too.
    Sometimes I also feel that the regularity with which I sit is also a kind of devotional practice, a great help and bliss for each day, even if sometimes, when lazy, sleeping can pretty tempting :roll:

    gassho,
    Jinyu

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