octathlon wrote:Another variation on this question I would be interested in is: As a practitioner of Theravadin Buddhism, is it preferable to go to a teacher of another school such as Zen rather than have no in-person teacher at all? Would all the differences in approach, beliefs and practices just cause more confusion and problems?
Zen has what appears to be irreconcilable doctrinal difference with Theravada. I don't know how much confusion it can cause, but the basic thing is this. Theravada and Early Buddhism teaches that we start as ordinary people prone to suffering and through gradual
path and stages (stream, once-returner, non returner, Arhat
) to become liberated from suffering by reaching Arhatship or Buddhahood
. Zen states that we are already Awakened, and already have Buddha-Nature. So while in Theravada you practice to become awakened, in Zen you are merely to recognize that you are Buddha already and don't need to do anything for that would contradict your already perfect nature. ... ... The "practice" itself is an expression of Enlightment rather than a method that leads to it.
Primordial Awareness is in essence perfect and pervades everywhere. How could it be dependent upon what anyone does to practice or realize it? The movement of Reality does not need us to give it a push. Do I need to say that it is free from delusion? The vast expanse of Reality can never be darkened by the dust of presumptions. Who then could believe that it needs to cleaned of such dust to be what it is? It is never separate from where you are, so why scramble around in search of it? - translated by Yasuda Joshu roshi and Anzan Hoshin roshi
So it seems to suggest that we are perfect and don't need to practice to become better. Moreover the idea of practice would go against such statement for to practice would mean that one doesn't know that one is already awakened and doesn't need to do anything more as one is perfect already... I disagree with this.