Dan74 wrote:Hmmm.... I think you may be getting an incorrect impression here, johnny.
Every tradition has its unique flavour and unique approach to practice. And those here who have practiced both Zen and Theravada would confirm that there are not the same, at least as far as methods are concerned.
As for a bare bones approach, I don't think you get that in Zen, what with all the emphasis on form.
For my money, in terms of emphasis and the core, I find Thai Forest tradition to be closest, but I am sure if anyone actually spends significant amount of time in a Thai forest temple and a Zen temple, they will be quite different experiences too.
i have practiced both, zen for years and now theravada for years. i find differences in flavor, and great differences in doctrine, but i can't find a single zen practice (physical practice such as meditation, walking meditaiton, chanting sutras, etc.) that is not also found in theravada (other than koans and shouting and hitting). do you know of any that are very much the zen tradition that are not found in theravada? as opposed too "some zen schools chant amitabha", or "some zen schools use prayer beads and count the number of times they bow too a statue of the buddha" (actually i think this is done in theravada too some extent too lol!) or "some zen schools practice kung fu" so excluding things like that, that are just a broad mahayana practice or cultural influence and not really related to the core zen practices. what is unique too zen that is not found in theravada and is not a practice from another school or cultural influence?
i suppose you could answer here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=13338
and how is it not bare bones? "not relying on words or speech" and all that? they teach too practice only on the mind, skip the jhanas, go straight too your true nature as directly as possible. that's kind of the whole point isn't it? it's stripped down too the kernel of ultimate truth and drops everything but practices leading too that truth. they emphasize so many stories in which people reach enlightenment in odd and illogical ways that are uniquely zen and incredibly simple. zen is seen in every day life and can be realized at any moment. the simplest thing or a deceptively easy practice can lead one too awakening. not asking questions, finding enlightenment in silence, getting back too the natural mind, getting whacked with a stick on the head and seeing your own true nature. sounds pretty straightforward and simple too me. it is a direct and no nonsense approach.
if zen is not the bare bones school i don't know what is. or perhaps, if any school is bare bones, it's zen. excluding modern inventions that are deliberately bare bones that may be considered "schools". as far as the main traditions of buddhism in history, zen is the only one that comes too mind when associating with a "bare bones" approach. i think it's the taoist influence, which didn't change the doctrine, just gave it this wonderful flavor, naturalness, simplicity. i love it!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.
There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five