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Thread: Dharma in Soto Zen?

  1. #1
    BigDavid
    Guest

    Dharma in Soto Zen?

    In all that I have read, I have not seen anything about the Dharma as taught in other Buddhist traditions ( 4 noble truths and the eightfold path, the paramitas, causation, etc). So, I was wondering what the Dharma transmitted within Soto Zen consists of? Is it the Dharma mentioned above, knowledge of shikantaza, teachings of Dogen Zenji (shobogenzo, etc), or????
    Thanks in advance!

    Gassho
    David

  2. #2
    Hi David

    The dharma in Sōtō Zen includes the four noble truths, eightfold path, the paramitas, pratitya-samudpada, karma and all of the usual teachings you would expect to find in Buddhism. The Mahayana tradition rests on early Buddhism/Theravada teachings but in Zen it is not always explicit.

    In Mahayana teachings, the eightfold path is collected into three catgories - ethics, meditation and wisdom. You will find all of those in Sōtō Zen (our Ango and Jukai currently includes explicit study of the precepts) and the whole purpose of practice is to find a way out of suffering for oneself and all sentient beings.

    Shikantaza is the sine qua non of the Sōtō way, and we tend to worry less about formulations and concepts than many other Buddhist traditions, but all of the teachings are still there, woven through every breath of our practice.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    Last edited by Kokuu; 12-04-2019 at 02:33 PM.
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  3. #3
    Hi David,

    Yes, as Kokuu says, our way in Soto Zen is centered on Shikantaza and the teachings of Dogen Zenji. However, that includes and works from all the principle teachings of Buddhism such as the "Four Noble Truths," Eightfold Path, Paramitas, Causation, Non-Self, impermanence and all the rest. So, I am not sure of your question.

    We do tend to encounter those through a Mahayana lens, and Zen perpsectives, but they are all front and center.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dsomers View Post
    In all that I have read, I have not seen anything about the Dharma as taught in other Buddhist traditions ( 4 noble truths and the eightfold path, the paramitas, causation, etc). So, I was wondering what the Dharma transmitted within Soto Zen consists of? Is it the Dharma mentioned above, knowledge of shikantaza, teachings of Dogen Zenji (shobogenzo, etc), or????
    Thanks in advance!

    Gassho
    David
    Hi David,

    The definition of Dharma has always been difficult for me.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  5. #5
    BigDavid
    Guest
    Thank you for your replies. Jundo Sensei, you and the others have answered my questions. Thank you again.

    Gassho
    David

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi David,

    The definition of Dharma has always been difficult for me.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    One reason is that it is a word, or really three different words, with separate but closely connected meaning.

    First, a "dharma" is something like a "phenomenon" ... a thing, an event, a moment ... that happens in reality. An atom is a dharma, a table is a dharma, you are a dharma, a second of time is a dharma, angry emotions are a dharma.

    Second, "dharma" is something like the way the universe works, reality, the forces of nature and all the other truths of reality. the system of the universe. What's "going on in the engine room" of reality, especially as seen from a Buddhist perspective.

    Third, the "Dharma" (often capitalized) is the Buddha's teachings about that reality and how it works. I think David was referring to this last meaning of Dharma.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    First, a "dharma" is something like a "phenomenon" ... a thing, an event, a moment ... that happens in reality. An atom is a dharma, a table is a dharma, you are a dharma, a second of time is a dharma, angry emotions are a dharma.

    Second, "dharma" is something like the way the universe works, reality, the forces of nature and all the other truths of reality. the system of the universe. What's "going on in the engine room" of reality, especially as seen from a Buddhist perspective.

    Third, the "Dharma" (often capitalized) is the Buddha's teachings about that reality and how it works. I think David was referring to this last meaning of Dharma.
    Just a quick linguistic question, because I have started to learn Japanese a while ago. Does every meaning of the term Dharma have its own Kanji in Japanese?
    For example the second meaning you have mentioned is a bit like the Chinese concept of the Tao in Taoism.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day
    no thing needs to be added

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    One reason is that it is a word, or really three different words, with separate but closely connected meaning.

    First, a "dharma" is something like a "phenomenon" ... a thing, an event, a moment ... that happens in reality. An atom is a dharma, a table is a dharma, you are a dharma, a second of time is a dharma, angry emotions are a dharma.

    Second, "dharma" is something like the way the universe works, reality, the forces of nature and all the other truths of reality. the system of the universe. What's "going on in the engine room" of reality, especially as seen from a Buddhist perspective.

    Third, the "Dharma" (often capitalized) is the Buddha's teachings about that reality and how it works. I think David was referring to this last meaning of Dharma.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Thank you for the explanation. I tend to think in terms of the absolute and all the dharma/Dharma return to the One evading definition.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi David

    The dharma in Sōtō Zen includes the four noble truths, eightfold path, the paramitas, pratitya-samudpada, karma and all of the usual teachings you would expect to find in Buddhism. The Mahayana tradition rests on early Buddhism/Theravada teachings but in Zen it is not always explicit.

    In Mahayana teachings, the eightfold path is collected into three catgories - ethics, meditation and wisdom. You will find all of those in Sōtō Zen (our Ango and Jukai currently includes explicit study of the precepts) and the whole purpose of practice is to find a way out of suffering for oneself and all sentient beings.

    Shikantaza is the sine qua non of the Sōtō way, and we tend to worry less about formulations and concepts than many other Buddhist traditions, but all of the teachings are still there, woven through every breath of our practice.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    Thank you for the explanation Kokuu.

    On a separate note, I must say you looked better with a full head of hair. :-)

    Gassho, Jishin, ST

  10. #10
    On a separate note, I must say you looked better with a full head of hair. :-)
    I asked for the full Jishin. Can't help it looks better on you than me!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  11. #11

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    Hi Jundo,



    Just a quick linguistic question, because I have started to learn Japanese a while ago. Does every meaning of the term Dharma have its own Kanji in Japanese?
    For example the second meaning you have mentioned is a bit like the Chinese concept of the Tao in Taoism.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day
    The most common in Chinese-Japanese is 法 (hō) which is "Law." I believe it is applied to all three meanings, as here ...

    https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/D/41

    There may be other Kanji characters that are sometimes used in special cases, but that is most common.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Thanks a lot, Jundo!
    Learning Japanese is full of challenges (but also fun).

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    One reason is that it is a word, or really three different words, with separate but closely connected meaning.

    First, a "dharma" is something like a "phenomenon" ... a thing, an event, a moment ... that happens in reality. An atom is a dharma, a table is a dharma, you are a dharma, a second of time is a dharma, angry emotions are a dharma.

    Second, "dharma" is something like the way the universe works, reality, the forces of nature and all the other truths of reality. the system of the universe. What's "going on in the engine room" of reality, especially as seen from a Buddhist perspective.

    Third, the "Dharma" (often capitalized) is the Buddha's teachings about that reality and how it works. I think David was referring to this last meaning of Dharma.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Thank you for this teaching Jundo.



    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  15. #15
    BigDavid
    Guest
    And Sanbo means three treasure's, right? If so, would namu sanbo mean I take refuge in the three treasure's?

    Stlah
    Gassho
    David Somers

  16. #16
    Hi David,

    Here is a longer post by me related to this. Hopefully it is helpful. Someone new also asked the following ...

    I have studied/practiced Zen on and off for many years, mostly on my own and using books. It has been my experience that most books and websites discussing Zen rarely talk about the basics of Buddhism. For example, the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, etc. Rather, most Zen resources seem to only discuss zazen. While I completely agree zazen is of primary importance (especially in Zen), I always wondered why the other aspects of Buddhism were so rarely discussed, and further, why there was so little discussion of how to integrate them into our lives.
    I responded here ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post220529

    Also, we do have this series for folks newer to Buddhism ...

    Buddha-Basics
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/foru...-Buddha-Basics

    As to "Namu Sambo" ... I have never heard that, and cannot find it being used as a chant. D.T. Suzuki mentions it in a short passage ...

    https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=...mbo%22&f=false

    More common is the Verse of Threefold Refuge (San kie mon 三歸依文) ... A short version is:

    namu kie butsu  南無歸依佛
    namu kie ho  南無歸依法
    namu kie so  南無歸依僧

    Hail refuge in buddha.
    Hail refuge in dharma.
    Hail refuge in sangha

    A longer version here ...

    https://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng...reefold_refuge


    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    BigDavid
    Guest
    Awesome, thank you! Kie sounds like key eh?
    Stlah

    Gassho
    David Somers

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by dsomers View Post
    Awesome, thank you! Kie sounds like key eh?
    Stlah

    Gassho
    David Somers
    Yes. I am surprised that I cannot find it online or in video for you to hear. Hmmm.

    I will look some more.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    BigDavid
    Guest
    Thank you.
    Getting back to the thread at hand. When one says that they have received Dharma Transmission, does that mean that they have been taught, and memorized these Dharma teachings by heart, and has the ability to explain them?

    Gassho
    David

  20. #20
    When one says that they have received Dharma Transmission, does that mean that they have been taught, and memorized these Dharma teachings by heart, and has the ability to explain them?
    Hi David

    In my opinion it is far more that they embody the teachings and their practice. Academic Buddhists understand the teachings and can teach them but may or may not manifest them in their life.

    A Zen teacher should teach with everything they do - every movement, every word and every breath. They are a full and complete expression of the Buddhadharma, albeit still with their own quirks and flaws at times!

    There is also the necessity of learning something about the tradition, its history and ancestors and the specific rites and practices associated with it in order to pass on the Zen way to others.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  21. #21
    BigDavid
    Guest
    Thank you for your reply.

    Gassho
    David Somers

  22. #22
    A Zen teacher should teach with everything they do - every movement, every word and every breath.
    Yeah, that's a bit optimistic!

    Let's just say that they should be good living examples most of the time, although not robots or golden statues. A master violinist does not hit every note right, a master surgeon can sometimes make a bad cut. Generally, however, you should hear harmony and beauty from the strings of the maestro, and the doctor's patients should walk out alive.

    The moon is always shining, seen or unseen, even on the days of rain.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yeah, that's a bit optimistic!

    Let's just say that they should be good living examples most of the time, although not robots or golden statues. A master violinist does not hit every note right, a master surgeon can sometimes make a bad cut. Generally, however, you should hear harmony and beauty from the strings of the maestro, and the doctor's patients should walk out alive.

    The moon is always shining, seen or unseen, even on the days of rain.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Bubble burster

    Gassho
    Anna
    stlah
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yeah, that's a bit optimistic!
    I should also say that I am not sure how much "teaching" I am doing when I am sitting on the sofa, eating chips, scratching myself and watching reruns of Sherlock (I suppose it is in there somewhere). Even "Zen teacher" does not operate 24/7 ... although, of course, we are always beyond "time." I am sure that even the Buddha and Dogen had "me" time.

    The moon is always shining, seen or unseen, even when on the sofa watching Sherlock.

    Gassho, J

    STlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Hi,

    Although being the object of the messiah complex can be fun, I think Jundo would like to be left alone by his students. Itís kind of like psychotherapy. The goal is to go to therapy until one realizes that therapy is not necessary. Good therapists wish that all their patients get well and donít came back. Same goes for good teachers. They want their students to go away and donít come back. Ultimately teachers have nothing to teach. Sort of like that saying, if you see the Buddha kill the Buddha. Hanging out in a Sangha and practicing as a group is a different story. Just friends with similar interests having a drink at the local pub.

    Sorry Jundo. Gave away your secret wishes.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi,

    Although being the object of the messiah complex can be fun, I think Jundo would like to be left alone by his students. It’s kind of like psychotherapy. The goal is to go to therapy until one realizes that therapy is not necessary. Good therapists wish that all their patients get well and don’t came back. Same goes for good teachers. They want their students to go away and don’t come back. Ultimately teachers have nothing to teach. Sort of like that saying, if you see the Buddha kill the Buddha. Hanging out in a Sangha and practicing as a group is a different story. Just friends with similar interests having a drink at the local pub.

    Sorry Jundo. Gave away your secret wishes.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Truly, I would like to close this place, maybe turn it into a site for cute cat videos. No kidding. For sure, we would get more internet visitors!



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27

    Dharma in Soto Zen?



    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

    PS: The video above is the best example of Shikantaza that I have ever seen.
    Last edited by Jishin; 12-06-2019 at 03:20 PM.

  28. #28
    Cats are truly Zen masters.

  29. #29
    Cats prove that the world is round; if it were flat they would have pushed everything off.

    gassho, Shokai
    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

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