Are there any practices in Zen not found in Theravada

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Re: Are there any practices in Zen not found in Theravada

Postby johnny » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:35 am

heck, you all make a very good point: there is almost no point in talking about "zen" as a blanket name for all the schools! it's crazy! there are so many and they are so varied and non unified that there is no way there could be a consensus among them or us on who practices what.

so this topic kind of ended before it started!

i should have been more specific.
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Re: Are there any practices in Zen not found in Theravada

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:55 am

johnny wrote:
Dan74 wrote:I guess Zen is also not one lineage and includes Chinese Chan, Korean Seon and probably Vietnamese Thien.

Within these traditions there have certainly been teachers who have taught jhanas or have considered jhanas as stages along the path. For me it is hard to envisage complete liberation without deep jhanas of some kind but I could be wrong.

I also feel that a bare bones approach is only possible when sufficient garbage has been moved out of the way to make "seeing own nature" possible. Until then it is seeing "garbage" (of the more spiritual and lofty type) and believing it to be it.

The shouting and hitting was probably more of an exception that got promoted into the Zen brand in Ming dynasty as different schools vied for imperial patronage. The Zen way has always been the chick working hard to break out of the shell (of ignorance) and the mother hen helping just on the other side where the chick is pecking. So whatever was the key obstacle was brought as a question to the master ans the master responded appropriately. These were life and death encounters. And they became mondo and koans (kong-an) and later hua-tou. I don't think this is about iconoclastic, non-conformist, anti-thought, cool, etc. This was the heart question put in the most direct way available within that tradition. And likewise with the response. Our modern psychological way of "my mind" "i am thinking" is far more removed and dualistic than "the mind is the Buddha" or "no mind, no buddha" or "not knowing is the most intimate".

Don't you think so?


absolutely. it's a very broad statement too just call it all "zen"! if you include all of those versions they probably contain a vast number of things not found in theravada. i'm kind of thinking japanese zen and chinese chan alone, i should have been more specific.



Have a look at a couple of threads at ZFI - on the sibject of jhanas in Zen, there is a spectrum of views and some interesting info too:

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3973&hilit=jhana

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=4739&p=62498&hilit=jhana#p62498

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7461&hilit=jhana
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Re: Are there any practices in Zen not found in Theravada

Postby Nyana » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:53 am

Dan74 wrote:Within these traditions there have certainly been teachers who have taught jhanas or have considered jhanas as stages along the path.

Yes. For example, Changlu Zongze's Zuochanyi:

    This one teaching of meditation is our most urgent business. If you do not practice meditation and enter dhyāna, then when it comes down to it, you will be completely at a loss. Therefore, to seek the pearl, we should still the waves; if we disturb the water, it will be hard to get. When the water of meditation is clear, the pearl of the mind will appear of itself. Therefore, the Perfect Enlightenment Sūtra says, ''Unimpeded, immaculate wisdom always arises dependent on meditation." The Lotus Blossom Sūtra says, "In a quiet place, he practices the control of the mind, abiding motionless like Mt. Sumeru." Thus, transcending the profane and surpassing the holy are always contingent on the condition of dhyāna; shedding [this body] while seated and fleeing [this life] while standing are necessarily dependent on the power of samādhi. Even if one devotes himself to the practice his entire life, he may still not be in time; how then could one who procrastinates possibly overcome karma? Therefore, an ancient has said, ''Without the power of samādhi, you will meekly cower at death's door." Shutting your eyes, you will end your life in vain; and just as you are, you will drift [in saṃsāra].

I remember many years ago Ven. Heng Sure commenting about one monk from the CTTB who would regularly sit in dhyāna for 5+ hours at a time. And there's the reports of Ven. Xuyun remaining in samādhi for extended periods, once for a period of 18 days, and twice for periods of 9 days each: An Inquiry Into Master Xuyun’s Experiences of Long-dwelling in Samādhi. Granted, these are exceptional cases, but dhyāna requires a dedicated, refined level of practice.

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Re: Are there any practices in Zen not found in Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:41 am

Dan74 wrote:. . . Have a look at a couple of threads at ZFI - on the sibject of jhanas in Zen, there is a spectrum of views and some interesting info too:

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3973&hilit=jhana

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=4739&p=62498&hilit=jhana#p62498

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7461&hilit=jhana
What is amusing about these threads, outside of Ven Huifeng's erudite postings, is the utter bewildering array of notions about jhana and meditation in general, not to mention some silly ideas about the Theravada. It makes the jhana discussions here seem very orderly and very consistent and coherent.
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