Zen Vs Therevada

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby christopher::: » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:12 pm

The real Buddhism is not books, not manuals, not word for word repetition from the Tipitaka, nor is it rites and rituals. These are not the real Buddhism. The real Buddhism is the practice, by way of body, speech and mind that will destroy the defilements, in part or completely...Though a person may never have seen or even heard of the Tipitaka, if he carries out detailed investigation every time suffering arises and scorches his mind he can be said to be studying the Tipitaka directly, and far more correctly than people actually in the process of reading it. - Buddhadasa Bhikkhu


:thumbsup:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:26 am

Shonin wrote:... However, Zen includes the Nikayas as part of their canon. ...


No it does not.

Though there are Chinese and Japanese translations of the Agamas (not the Nikayas), these are traditionally disregarded in east asian schools as being "Hinayana".

In the modern period, a rare Zen scholar in Japan may look into the Agamas.

In the western version of Zen, quite a few groups use the Theravada Nikayas. This is a new addition, basically never seen in 1000+ yrs of Zen.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:29 am

EricJ wrote:Theravadins seem to practice with a wider array of meditation objects and methods (vipassana and samatha as practices with objects such as the brahmaviharas, breath, kasina objects, jhana, etc.). This seems to be a major difference from "single-practice" traditions such as Soto Zen with shikantaza. I don't know whether or not Ch'an Buddhism encourages a wider variety of meditation practices. Would anyone like to comment on that?


Chan buddhism covers a fairly wide range of meditation topics.

This is basically because the word "Chan" in Chinese is used in general for what we call "meditation" in English (along with "ding"). This includes all the schools, not just the Chan school. But even the Chan school will use a broad range of methods.

If it's meditation of some form, then it can basically be called "chan".
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:30 am

Sobeh wrote:Are there extant comparisons of their Vinayas?


The best comparison of all the Vinayas is that done by Akira Hirakawa. It's in Japanese.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:i used to wonder why the Japanese sangha didn't just go ordain in a Chinese or Theravada lineage, . . . .
Tradition.

Chinese Ch'an I do believe functions in a Vinaya lineage.


Dharmagupta bhiksu/ni ordination, and bodhisattva ordination c/o the Mahayana-brahmajala-sutra (or Yogacarabhumi Bodhisattva Pratimoksa). All this usually fed through the classic east asian Vinaya system of the South Mountain Vinaya School (Nanshan Luzong).
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby lojong1 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:17 am

There are some odd [Dogen?] quotes in 'Respiration and Emotion' by Yutaka Haruki:

http://books.google.ca/books?id=qyTFq5u ... en&f=false

"The followers of Hinayana use the counting of breath to control the breathing, but the pursuit of the way of the Buddha and Patriarchs is very different from that of Hinayana. Mahayana also has a method for regulating the breath: it is to know [when the breath is long] that this is a long breath, and to know [when it is short] that this is a short breath."

Maybe this screwup occurred between jap and eng.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby christopher::: » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:21 am

lojong1 wrote:There are some odd [Dogen?] quotes in 'Respiration and Emotion' by Yutaka Haruki:

http://books.google.ca/books?id=qyTFq5u ... en&f=false

"The followers of Hinayana use the counting of breath to control the breathing, but the pursuit of the way of the Buddha and Patriarchs is very different from that of Hinayana. Mahayana also has a method for regulating the breath: it is to know [when the breath is long] that this is a long breath, and to know [when it is short] that this is a short breath."

Maybe this screwup occurred between jap and eng.


That's a pretty foolish thing to think/say. "The followers of Hinayana use the counting of breath to control the breathing, but the pursuit of the way of the Buddha and Patriarchs is very different from that of Hinayana." Where did the writer think those instructions came from, originally?

:coffee:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:33 am

the counting doesnt come from buddha it comes from commentaries, theres a difference. and those commentaries arent mahayana so dogen isnt really saying anything too foolish
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:43 am

The counting of breath predates Shakyamuni Buddha . All " Buddhist " meditation techniques predate Shakyamuni Buddha.
What is unique about Buddhadhamma is not any meditation technique...its D.O.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:54 am

PeterB wrote:The counting of breath predates Shakyamuni Buddha . All " Buddhist " meditation techniques predate Shakyamuni Buddha.
What is unique about Buddhadhamma is not any meditation technique...its D.O.


I disagree. I recommend a look into Bronkhorst's book "Two traditions of meditation in Ancient India". He - and Wynne too if I recall correctly - argue fairly well that the practice of jhana / dhyana was a new teaching of the Buddha. This was quickly picked up by non-Buddhist groups, such as the Jains, the Mahabharata, the Yogasutra, etc. such that it appears that it was pan-Indian. Apparently, there is no mention of it in pre-Buddhist literature.

Though I agree that dependent origination was also a key teaching of the Buddha, never heard before.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:00 am

lojong1 wrote:There are some odd [Dogen?] quotes in 'Respiration and Emotion' by Yutaka Haruki:

http://books.google.ca/books?id=qyTFq5u ... en&f=false

"The followers of Hinayana use the counting of breath to control the breathing, but the pursuit of the way of the Buddha and Patriarchs is very different from that of Hinayana. Mahayana also has a method for regulating the breath: it is to know [when the breath is long] that this is a long breath, and to know [when it is short] that this is a short breath."

Maybe this screwup occurred between jap and eng.


Well, fine ... the problem is that Dogen - like pretty much 99.9% of east asian Buddhism* - pretty much never encountered Theravada in his entire life. What he is referring to is such teachings from the Sarvastivadins.

The funny thing is, that these teachings are stock practice for Tiantai / Tendai (cf. Six Gates to the Sublime), and Dogen was originally a Tendai practitioner. And, as the name of the Tendai text goes - these are for the sake of the Sublime, not merely "to control the breathing".

And the quotation of the Mahayana "method for regulating the breath" is straight out of the Anapranasmrti (= Anapanasati) teachings, pretty much identical for all non-Mahayana schools, and found complete in some Mahayana texts too. (Which is pretty much where the Tiantai / Tendai school got it from.)

* Exceptions: Xuanzang, Faxian, et al who actually made it way down south.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:01 am

I disagree with your disagreement Ven Huifeng . there is clear reference to meditation on the breath including counting in the in and out breath, in pre Buddhists Upanishadic commentary and if you give me some time I will find them.
The salient point being that the practitioners of those techniques did not have the necessary framwork to lead them to the most subtle of the fruits of that practice.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:04 am

PeterB wrote:I disagree with your disagreement Ven Huifeng . there is clear reference to meditation on the breath including counting in the in and out breath, in pre Buddhists Upanishadic commentary and if you give me some time I will find them.
The salient point being that the practitioners of those techniques did not have the necessary framwork to lead them to the most subtle of the fruits of that practice.
There are may be three Upanishads the pre-date the Buddha, and what is the date of the commentaries you refer to?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:06 am

PeterB wrote:I disagree with your disagreement Ven Huifeng . there is clear reference to meditation on the breath including counting in the in and out breath, in pre Buddhists Upanishadic commentary and if you give me some time I will find them.
The salient point being that the practitioners of those techniques did not have the necessary framwork to lead them to the most subtle of the fruits of that practice.


I agree with your disagreement to my disagreement, and respect your right to disagree or agree, as you see fit, whether you agree or disagree to that, or not! :tongue:
(Okay, now the gestures to free speech have been gotten out there, where were we? ...)

Wouldn't mind seeing those "pre Buddhists Upanishadic commentary" stuff.

Though, you did say "All " Buddhist " meditation techniques", and although reference to breath meditation is one thing, it doesn't cover "all". If you could find pre-buddhist discussion on jhana / dhyana, that would be more interesting.

And I agree with your agreement to your agreement (whew!) on the "salient point". :smile:
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby PeterB » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:16 am

I will need time....I was referring strictly to the technique, to the practice of counting breaths which was part of a yogic process to quieten the mind...it was not part of the wider developed practices that included other factors that led to identifiably Jnanic states in the Buddhist sense. There is evidence that a more limited use of such techniques was well known among the kind of mendicants with whom the pre Enlightened Gautama spent time.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:58 am

PeterB wrote:I will need time....I was referring strictly to the technique, to the practice of counting breaths which was part of a yogic process to quieten the mind...it was not part of the wider developed practices that included other factors that led to identifiably Jnanic states in the Buddhist sense. There is evidence that a more limited use of such techniques was well known among the kind of mendicants with whom the pre Enlightened Gautama spent time.


No rush, brother. :smile:

In the meantime: Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India; The Origin of Buddhist Meditation.

Sorry if this is all somewhat :offtopic: but I think it important to sort out some of the basics before going into inter-Buddhist cross tradition comparisons.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby legolas » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:44 am

PeterB wrote:I will need time....I was referring strictly to the technique, to the practice of counting breaths which was part of a yogic process to quieten the mind...it was not part of the wider developed practices that included other factors that led to identifiably Jnanic states in the Buddhist sense. There is evidence that a more limited use of such techniques was well known among the kind of mendicants with whom the pre Enlightened Gautama spent time.


I think it becomes clear through the Buddhas teaching that the jhanas as taught by him were unique. Perhaps other techniques could produce absorption states, but not mindful jhana. Nowhere are the four jhanas referred to, before the Buddha.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:04 am

No doubt Legolas. I was simply making the point that awareness of and counting of the breath in a much more simple form, is preBuddhist. It was not my intention to start a war.. :tongue:
Gary Snyder has an interesting take...he thinks that all forms of meditation were discovered by hunters sitting in clearings or by fishing holes and discovering states of consciousness by becoming absorbed in their pursuit. Later they were codified and developed by being adopted into belief systems.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby legolas » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:52 am

PeterB wrote:No doubt Legolas. I was simply making the point that awareness of and counting of the breath in a much more simple form, is preBuddhist. It was not my intention to start a war.. :tongue:
Gary Snyder has an interesting take...he thinks that all forms of meditation were discovered by hunters sitting in clearings or by fishing holes and discovering states of consciousness by becoming absorbed in their pursuit. Later they were codified and developed by being adopted into belief systems.


I think a war at this stage would be a bit extreme. ;)
As for counting being pre-Buddhist, that could be right since I personally find that this leads more to absorption than mindfullness.
Re "Gary Snyder" interesting idea - what about staring into the flawless night sky (no light pollution), a nicer way to discover meditation.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby christopher::: » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:13 pm

Or watching the flames of a fire at night...

Image

I sometimes wonder if as cultures became more complex and roles more rigid (hunter, farmer, merchant, scholar, priest, king, etc) if most organized religions and formal paths didn't arise as a response to that, to the complexities of language, cultures and roles...

Its like we live within boxes within boxes within boxes, where the illusions of self and other become solidified.

:toilet:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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