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Thread: WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 6 - Beliefs and Ethics - Bottom of P. 67 to end

  1. #1

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 6 - Beliefs and Ethics - Bottom of P. 67 to end

    Dear All Good People,

    Zazen is a formless Practice, often speaking of realizations beyond "right and wrong," "good vs. bad." So, there is the possibility for such a teaching to be understood as a kind of amorality, and there is even the possibility of misusing the teaching as excuse to go a dark way in which killing or not killing, robbing or not robbing are just the same. After all, in the teaching of "Emptiness," there are no separate beings to kill or be killed, no birth and death, nothing to take and nothing lacking, so in that sense, killing and taking seem not to be killing and taking at all.

    However, to believe so would be a grave misunderstanding of Zen and the Buddhist teachings.

    Our way is one beyond excess desire, anger and violence, divided thinking in ignorance. The world is known as somehow Good and Whole beyond all the suffering, war, sickness and injustice often seen in the world. The Precepts remind us of this fact, keep us pointed in good directions, living in a beneficial and gentle way for ourself and for others (self and others, not two by the way).

    Our discussion this time is about the Precepts, and connects nicely with our ongoing Jukai preparations and Precept reflections here at Treeleaf.

    Gassho, J


  2. #2
    Member Koki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Parma Ohio (just outside Cleveland)
    Thank you Jundo !


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  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo. =)



  4. #4
    Thank you, Jundo. I liked this part of the chapter, the discussion of the Precepts being studied on three levels, the literal, the compassionate, and the absolute. I also liked the positive form of the Grave Precepts paired with the negative forms. I also appreciated the statement"There is no universal Zen council that pronounces on social issues for all Zen Buddhists..." This reading complements our discussion of the Precepts in general.


  5. #5
    I found this section very interesting, I was surprised by the strength of the argument about the influence of Judeo-Christian tradition on our thinking around the Precepts; and that when Zen first arrived in the West there was little emphasis on the Precepts and ethics in the personal sense until the 1980's. I'm now wondering if this is particular to Zen or also applies to other flavours of Buddhism. I felt this whole passage was making some very important points that I hadn't really been aware of before, certainly not within the Tibetan tradition, although I realise that here too, there are Western Christian and cultural influences. I had always assumed that the Precepts were a driving force in practice, it surprised me to read that this hasn't always been the case.
    How important is it, in understanding our practice today, to have a good understanding of how practice was when it first came to the West? Is there a comprehensive history of Zen in the West and how much value would it have to study it? I recently read the biography of Ruth Fuller Sasaki, which was a great book, but I admit I had some difficulty in understanding exactly how and what Fuller practised besides sitting.
    Very grateful for all the the thought provoking!
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  6. #6
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Given all the other recent reading material on the precepts, I found this a refreshing approach and so Onkai's comments above resonate with me. Despite being a little sceptical about the Q&A style to begin with, I've found this book to be an enjoyable easy read, so far. Looking for to NF visiting Treeleaf soon.


    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

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