Zazen and Vipassana

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Zazen and Vipassana

Postby clw_uk » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:41 pm

Dont know if this has already been brought up, is Zazen and vipassana the same?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:57 am

za= sitting
zen= meditation

so i guess it could be

the rinzai version of zazen is pretty much just anapanasati
the soto version is shikantaza
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:29 pm

Thanks Jc

I know you have practiced Soto Zen, did you find and similarity between the meditation method/experience?


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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:23 pm

clw_uk wrote:Thanks Jc

I know you have practiced Soto Zen, did you find and similarity between the meditation method/experience?


Metta


not for a long time.. my meditation seemed to never follow me off the cushion back in my zen days, it was more of a "recharging" type experience than a life changing one. though there could be many reasons as to why (i was a beginer for one), but i've heard the same from many zen students who come to theravada.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby Kare » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:24 pm

clw_uk wrote:Dont know if this has already been brought up, is Zazen and vipassana the same?


I have no Zen training, so do not take my word as a statement of absolute truth.

But from what I have heard and read, I have the impression that Zazen is less structured than most Vipassana (or, more correctly: Satipatthana) methods. Satipatthana teachers usually say: Observe this, observe that. Zen teachers usually say: Sit!
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:06 pm

Greetings,

If my observations at E-Sangha and Zen Forum International are anything to go by, there's vastly different opinions on this matter.

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Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:33 pm

If my understanding is correct, the etymology of Zen derives from the Pāli word jhāna. So, I guess Zen means Samatha rather than Vipassanā.

IMO the instruction to “just sit” is dumb. It disregards all of the detailed instructions given in the Satipatthāna Sutta. Using the right method and acquiring skill in using it requires more specific instruction than “just sit” or “just watch your mind.”

Don't rely only on books or what you read on forums, but take the trouble to spend a significant amount of time with a teacher who can explain the practical method in detail.

You can learn a lot from good books like In This Very Life, but it is still more efficient to get personal instruction.
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:32 am

i think the zen i was taught is closest to this teaching of the buddha from the Bahiya Sutta

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."


but like i said before zazen other than in the shikantaza style is just anapanasati, not vipassana.
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby Dan74 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:17 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:i think the zen i was taught is closest to this teaching of the buddha from the Bahiya Sutta

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."


but like i said before zazen other than in the shikantaza style is just anapanasati, not vipassana.


This is a very interesting Sutta quote, thank you.

It is also how I understand shikantaza (choiceless awareness, silent illumination), although I never had instruction from a Soto teacher.

As for other Zen meditation, I agree with the earlier poster who said that although it resembles anapanasatti it is less structured and maybe somewhat different in spirit.

For example you may get an instruction to observe your breath, and return to it when you get distracted. But getting distracted is also a part of the process as is returning. So while you are making an effort to stay with it, the actual mechanics is far less important than discovering what your mind is like and developing this alert non-judgmental attention.

And then when the concentration is stabilised, one asks: who is paying attention? This is really the crux of zazen - not the concentration on this or that, but the turning around of this focused awareness back on itself. "Show me your mind, so I can pacify it!" Bodhidharma (the legendary founder of Zen) bellowed at Huiko.

This is considered the root of practice - insight into who I really am (or am not). And while there are moments of other sort of insight along the way, they are kind of incidental and not the focus of the practice itself, as I understand it.

Mind you I am not a teacher, and Zen is a diverse tradition so not everyone will agree.

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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby Jechbi » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:52 am

The question is whether the results are the same. That probably will depend on the kamma involved, I guess.
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:58 pm

Jechbi wrote:The question is whether the results are the same. That probably will depend on the kamma involved, I guess.


There is a possibly related thread on mindfulness at the ZFI with some interesting observations:

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1412

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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby bodom » Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:06 pm

Vipassana = Sit on cushion watch breath. Come back to breath when mind wanders.
Zazen = Sit on cushion watch breath. Come back to breath when mind wanders.

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:08 am

Greetings BBB,

bodom_bad_boy wrote:Vipassana = Sit on cushion watch breath. Come back to breath when mind wanders.


Well, that's a limited subset of vipassana... if it were all, the Satipatthana Sutta needn't be so long!

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby bodom » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:13 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings BBB,

bodom_bad_boy wrote:Vipassana = Sit on cushion watch breath. Come back to breath when mind wanders.


Well, that's a limited subset of vipassana... if it were all, the Satipatthana Sutta needn't be so long!

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)


Just a generalization to show the similarities in my opinion of the two and is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation. Ill leave that to the scholars and commentaries. :tongue:

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:31 am

Zazen is not concerned with developing jhanas but rather with realisation of the nature of mind (related to the Theravada anatta).

Mindfulness of the breath and concentration are only the prerequisites, before the attention is turned to what is before thought.

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Re: Zazen and Vipassana

Postby christopher::: » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:00 am

Dan74 wrote:
There is a possibly related thread on mindfulness at the ZFI with some interesting observations:

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1412

_/|\_


Very interesting Dan, thanks.

And thanks everyone for your input here.

I'm trying to figure all this out, now, which may turn out to be an impossibility.

:juggling:
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~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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