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Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis - Page 4 - Dhamma Wheel

Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Prasadachitta
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:10 pm

"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:41 pm



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kc2dpt
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:11 pm

Personally, if I am asked my opinion of another's practice, Buddhist or non-, I will give it. If no one asks though, I don't feel any need to volunteer my opinion. Also, if I ask for someone's opinion I'm not going to then criticize them for offering it.

Also, I think it a good general rule when speaking of another's tradition to be as generous as possible. So for example...

My opinion of Zen is it seems a tradition that depends heavily on qualified teachers. I think the bulk of the questionable behavior we see comes from students speaking about things they are not yet qualified to speak about. I think this is not the fault of the religion itself but rather due to the wide availablity of books websites.

Conversely, Theravada seems to rely more directly on scripture which I think makes it easier for everyone to get on the same page (no pun intended) and making Theravada an easier fit with our information rich society.
- Peter


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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:26 pm



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jcsuperstar
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:41 pm

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

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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christopher:::
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby christopher::: » Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:41 am

"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

Tikki
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Re: Theravada and Ch'an

Postby Tikki » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:38 pm


Bankei
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby Bankei » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:09 am

I was original drawn to Zen Buddhism and still have a soft spot for it.

I am attrached to the old Chinese Chan of the Tang and Song Dynasties, masters such as Linji, Mazu etc

What strikes me as appealing are the simple stories without complex theories. Such as the 2nd Patriarch when he was talking to some disciple who told him their mind as at unease. He (can't remember the name now) said show me your mind and I will pacify it.

Also the death poems (jisei) of mainly Japanese masters are great. I like the simplicity of language where maybe 4 chinese characters can express something which would need a whole page of English if translated.

Also I like the non-attachment to the traditional aspects of the religion, such as Buddha statues, temples, suttas etc. Sometimes I think Theravadins get too caught up in these sorts of things.

But this can be taken too far, when for example, some say we shouldn't be attached to precepts. The Japanese Daruma school of Nonin may be an example.

The more I studies Zen the more I found that these sorts of things I was attracted to were not really present in Zen. Maybe they never were, maybe they were just idealised stories that were read back into history.

In Japan, modern Zen is no different to the other sects. It is mainly just funeral business Buddhism. Monks are not really monks, but priests who may only spend a short time of intense study at a training monstery and then go back to the family temple which they inherited from their father where they will live with their wife. They will chant sutras for the dead for money as this is their job. This reminds me one of the old Zen masters said chanting Sutras with the aim of benefiting the dead was like reciting recipes to help alleviate hunger - this is the sort of stuff I love.

I was surprised to learn that Eisai or Yosai, the monk who introduced Rinzai Zen to Japan spend a lot of time chanting sutras to try to benefit the nation. It is not a matter of recent Zen changing. This was from the 1100s, Zen masters concerned with political stuff!

Another aspect which I wasn't really into was the Mahayana theology behind Zen. I could never really understand all this stuff. When you start to read some of the works of Dogen for example, it is really hard to understand without knowing much about Mahayana theories.

so this lead me to Theravada which I found to be much simpler, and closer to the original teachings of the Buddha. But I still like the simple idealistic Zen stuff.


Bankei
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Bankei

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Mexicali
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby Mexicali » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:46 pm

I find most western Zen people insufferable. A lot of the Japanese-derived Western Zen lineages teach things that I don't even really consider Buddhism. I practiced in a Chan/Pure Land tradition which, while it ultimately has its own problems, still kept precepts, the noble truths and noble paths, monasticism, and other basic teachings of the Buddha. Western Zen often just throws it all out and reduces Buddhist teachings to 'hey, live in the now, dude.' Point out that this isn't what Buddha taught and maybe you'll be treated to some kind of stupidity about how 'the Buddha never said a word' or whatever. There have been some great Chan/Zen/Son teachers, but there have also been a lot of unethical fakes with a tendency to form cultish groups around themselves, and a lot of 'monks' who don't even keep 5 precepts and use "crazy wisdom" and/or enlightenment to justify everything they do.

Sorry if I seem ungracious, but years of hearing white zennies perfecting their David Carradine act will leave its mark. :cookoo:
"We do not embrace reason at the expense of emotion. We embrace it at the expense of self-deception."
-- Herbert Muschamp

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christopher:::
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:56 am

I have yet to find a tradition that didn't have it's share of arrogant egoists, greedy teachers, fundamentalists, fakes and hypocrites. At the end of the day, we each must do the best we can to follow the Buddha's teachings, all of which were meant to help us.

Walk the path, suffering decreases, compassion and wisdom grow. Deviate from the way- the dharma- and problems will arise.

Basic dharma, it applies to all equally.

:group:
"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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Guy
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby Guy » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:39 am

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby Individual » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:25 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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christopher:::
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby christopher::: » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:42 am

No one ever really dies. No one ever gets enlightened. There is no self that continues on. Knowing that that is unborn, luminious, there is nothing to fear.
"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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zerotime
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby zerotime » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:45 am


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christopher:::
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Re: Theravada and Zen - a comparative analysis

Postby christopher::: » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:06 am

From a Zen perspective, that was brilliant. How are the views of Buddhadasa Bikkhu regarded these days, by Western Theravadins? My sense is many people's thinking has become more conservative in recent decades...

[EDIT: In the interests of keeping this discussion on-topic, if you wish to respond to Christopher:::, please do so at viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1758 . Thank you for your assistance - Retro.]
Last edited by retrofuturist on Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Insert link and mod note for Buddhadasa side-discussion
"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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