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Thread: The Big Question (All over again)

  1. #1

    The Big Question (All over again)

    Ok, I know this has probably been talked about ad nauseum, and has been touched upon on some of the other posts I've been in on, but this is something that's been nagging at me.

    There are more schools of Buddhism out there than I at first knew. Each one approaches enlightenment, attainment, kensho, realization, Nirvana, etc. a little differently. We "just sit", Sanbo Kyodan hold koans, Korean Son use a form of conversation, Pure Land chants the name of Amida to find salvation, some schools are almost eclesiastic while others are more philosophical while still remaining spiritual. We've all said things like "all paths up the mountain", "all Dharmas are the Dharma", "fundimentally, there is no seperation between you and me, your way and my way, it's all the Way." etc. In the thread on taking lives, there was a bit of a .....shall we call it passionate discussion between Chet and Anista about attaining Nirvana where Anista referred to his view on Buddhism and being more Theravadan in some ways. Even Jundo, our resident priest and Grand Poobah has said he is a "different strokes for different folks" kind of guy, and has spoken to us all to find a practice that resonates with us.

    So, my question is this (I bet you know where I'm going with this one) if as we say, realization is realization of the Truth, of understanding fully the original state, the buddha state of all things, and that our goal is to become enlightened which is supposed to remove all the false images, concepts, and attachments we have to the things that stop us from realizing the natural and original nature of all things, why so many differences?

    If it is all comming from Shakyamuni in the first place, if it is the "same water poured from vessel to vessel" why all the different ways of doing it? Shouldn't there be one way? One proven path that mirrors that taken by Shakyamuni? I understand that the sutras and sermons of the Buddha weren't written down until well after his death, but if the true teachings were transmitted to someone who was ready to understand and accept them, shouldn't they have continued to pass from person to person, undimmed by the inacuracies of human memory?

    I hope I didn't start another Dharma war........ :shock:

  2. #2

    Re: The Big Question (All over again)

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    If it is all comming from Shakyamuni in the first place, if it is the "same water poured from vessel to vessel" why all the different ways of doing it? Shouldn't there be one way? One proven path that mirrors that taken by Shakyamuni?
    Most, if not all, of the major schools of Buddhism claim exactly this--that their approach is the most like Shakyamuni's. Theravada claims it is so because it closely follows the original suttas. Zen claims it is so because the practice of zazen is most like what the Buddha did under the Bodhi tree. Vajrayana and other Mahayana schools claim to offer advanced teachings that cut right to the heart of reality and therefore most powerfully embody the teaching of the Buddha (many Mahayana sutras claim to be the words of the Buddha, giving teachings that surpass his original teachings and were saved for only the most advanced followers).

    We want the security of "one true way," but there is no such thing. There's one Reality but many paths to it. You can't escape Reality. The particulars of any path are just like clothing. You can wear a million outfits but those outfits are all covering the same naked you, just like all the "outfits" of religion just cover the same naked truth. Some people wake up to it--and I'm convinced that there have been awakened individuals of all faiths and walks of life--and some don't. And I really think that has a lot less to do with the particular path one is following than religious propaganda (Buddhist or otherwise) would have you think. It has to do with courage, honesty, determination, wisdom...

  3. #3

    Re: The Big Question (All over again)

    Hi JohnsonCM,

    Listen carefully to Stephanie because she 's as close as you can be to a real answer...

    One true way? A fascist way? Are you kidding? There are so many ways one can phrase in music, so many ways one can dance So many ways to the countless one.
    My best advice would be to give yourself away to one way until you realize how many more they are. If you stay out of the game, trying to find the right way, the best way as some other people would try to get the best package for their next holiday...Forget it!

    Sorry to be so direct, but the question behind the question ( and Stephanie has got it perfectly right when she says: We want the security(...)) deserved to be addressed.

    No Dharma war.

    Just sit on the cushion and experience it for yourself. Ten years. Twenty more. And ...

    The many guys here ( and style of practice) are a living proof that truth has more than one taste, even if it taste at a time.


    getting better...

  4. #4

    Re: The Big Question (All over again)

    No, Taigu, there is never a need to appologize for directness. If I didn't want a direct and real answer, one that I could trust, I wouldn't ask the question. I believe you are correct on the security, both you and Stephanie, because knowing that one is really on the path provides a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself. However, in this teaching we know that there isn't really a self, so nothing to be bigger than, and how can one be bigger than everything, especially when all form is emptiness? It's a jagged pill to swallow, believing that you could, quite conceivably, stand on your head and play the banjo, but if you some how reached enlightenment from doing that, that it would be the same enlightenment that I might reach studying Soto Zen.

  5. #5

    Re: The Big Question (All over again)

    The problem is that we are so attached to our thinking and feeling that we fail to see the truth that is right in front of us. This sitting meditation that every flavor of Buddhism is doing (and many Christians also) is just the best posture to practice and experience this. AS a Christian I say 'Let go and let God' as a Buddhist I say 'What is this?'


  6. #6

    Re: The Big Question (All over again)

    A random group of ten people watching an event from the day before often can't agree on exactly what happened, so that such is the case over many centuries and many cultures is not surprising. But Stephanie hit the nail on the head first time out and I couldn't have said it any better (if I'd even thought of it!).


  7. #7

    Re: The Big Question (All over again)

    Everyone has said it so nicely ...

    The same keys on the piano, yet look at all that can be played on them ...

    The same kitchen, yet taste all the flavors that come from there ...

    From a historical perspective, I found the following writing very helpful ... although also a bit with a "too broad brush", and the writer (a Pure Land practitioner) seems quite misguided on some of his descriptions of Zen Practice. But, worthwhile reading nonetheless for its "in a nutshell" description of the several visions of the indescribable target of this thing ...


    Gassho, J

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