Zen Vs Therevada

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Zen Vs Therevada

Postby convivium » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:56 am

Honestly Zen seems very similar, orthopraxic like Thai Forest, and I am wondering where it goes off from Therevada. I'm also wondering about other traditions of Buddhism too. Thanks for any clarifications.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby PeterB » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:01 am

After quite a long time trying to discover what Zen might be I have to declare that I have no more understanding of it now than I did when I started. Some of its adherents are wont to say that this is proof of its efficacy. I truly don't know.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Reductor » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:09 am

How much stuff from the Thai forest have you read, esp. in regards to practice?

Try this small manual for Zen/Zazen that I've been reading and see if you note similarities or differences.

http://www.throssel.org.uk/sitting-buddha-book

So far the differences seem to be in terminology more than any other thing, but I've just begun learning about Zen and all its ways. The Buddha that is spoken of sounds a lot like the 'original mind' or 'the one who knows'. So far though there is no explanation that the 'Buddha' is also conditioned as we find occasionally mentioned in Thai forest tradition.

In the end I don't know enough about Zen to come to any firm conclusions. But I'm liking.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby PeterB » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:18 am

Throssel Hole priory has its origin in the vision of Rev. Jiyu-Kennett. It is very much mainstream Buddhism. The Sangha keep the Vinaya. The teachings are much closer to Theravada teachings than they are to most Zen teachings , in particular they are very different from Rinzai.
There is no uniform Theravada. There is even less consensus in Zen in my view.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Shonin » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:18 am

At present I know more about Zen than Theravada, however the local Buddhist group is ostensibly Thai Forest, so I'm learning slowly. I think there are similarities. Much Mahayana philosophy can be very intricate, metaphysical even. Zen is a stripping away of a great deal of that, to a meditation-centred practice. To understand Zen you need to practise it, it's not some abstract philosophy. As I see it, the 'disadvantage' of Zen is that it doesn't have much in the way of a coherent agreed theoretical framework (there are several of them), the 'disadvantage' of Theravada is possibly that it can be over intellectual or academic. However, the Thai Forest tradition seems to be very practice-centred.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby PeterB » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:26 am

Interestingly the monks of Throssel Hole are on very good fraternal terms with the Thai Forest monks at Chithurst and Amaravati. They have exchange visits.
I think its worth pointing out that the Zen that the monks of Throssel Hole represent is very different from the "western zen " frequently encountered which often characterised by nihilism.
"I dont exist. You dont exist, Nothing exists. And we will all sit in a classy dojo while we discover that ".
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:59 am

Just some basic (maybe over-simplified) historical background that no-one has mentioned but some readers may not know:
Mahayana split from Theravada a very long time ago and developed a lot of ideas which have never been accepted as legit by most Theravadins.
Zen diverged from other Mahayana traditions more recently and de-emphasised or threw out a lot of those additional teachings.
That makes it closer, in some ways at least, to Theravada than any of the other Mahayana paths.
It's a path I could happily follow, though Theravada is my strongest preference.
:namaste:
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:06 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Mahayana split from Theravada a very long time ago and developed a lot of ideas which have never been accepted as legit by most Theravadins.

The Mahayana did not split from the Theravada. The Theravadins were not actively part of all of that.
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.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby convivium » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:57 am

thanks! what about on levels of virtue, concentration, discernment, and release?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Mahayana split from Theravada a very long time ago and developed a lot of ideas which have never been accepted as legit by most Theravadins.

The Mahayana did not split from the Theravada. The Theravadins were not actively part of all of that.

Hi, Tilt,
I did warn that I might be over-simplifying ... If you feel it could be useful here to be more accurate, go for it, feel free.

Kim
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Shonin » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:34 pm

PeterB wrote:Throssel Hole priory has its origin in the vision of Rev. Jiyu-Kennett. It is very much mainstream Buddhism. The Sangha keep the Vinaya. The teachings are much closer to Theravada teachings than they are to most Zen teachings , in particular they are very different from Rinzai.


The chap who sits with me has practiced with the Throssel Hole people for some years. The main difference from traditional/Japanese-style Zen is that liturgy, dress etc is Western in style. It is Soto lineage. As I understand, the teachings are fully in keeping with Soto Zen. However, Zen includes the Nikayas as part of their canon. The differences from Rinzai are due to it being Soto lineage.

Peter, real Zen practice often has little in common with the 'stuck in emptiness' metaphysical guff found sometimes on Internet forums. Being primarily a practice rather than a philosophy, I don't think Zen translates well to the Internet.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby PeterB » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:36 pm

Many years ago Shonin, I had contact with Zen people through the London Buddhist Society...in those days Jiyu Kennett and MyoKyo -Ni were around quite a bit. They had no truck at all with we "are all already Buddhas and anyway we don't exist and we don't need teachers to tell us so "..in fact they were to all intents and purposes completely mainstream..very much like Ven Nonin on ZFI.
More recently my knowledge of Zen has been indeed through websites, and I don't recognise much of it at all as what Jiyu Kennett and Myokyo-Ni and visiting teachers like DT Suzuki were teaching.
One chap on one website identifies himself as a student of Myokyo-Ni while regularly coming up with stuff that MyoKyo-Ni would completely disassociate herself from..." no teachers, we are all Enlightened blah blah.. "
Those teachers I met all stressed meditation practice, sila, the precepts etc And they each revered the Buddha. If they were aware of If you meet the Buddha on the road etc they didn't make in a central part or indeed any part of their presentation of Buddhism.
I do accept the fact that websites can left to their own devices become a little self selecting in the traffic they attract. Which in the case of Zen websites seems to include a proportion of those who are still working through their anger at mom and pop and by extension all authority figures.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Annapurna » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:56 pm

convivium wrote:Honestly Zen seems very similar, orthopraxic like Thai Forest, and I am wondering where it goes off from Therevada. I'm also wondering about other traditions of Buddhism too. Thanks for any clarifications.



Two major branches of Buddhism are recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Theravada—the oldest surviving branch—has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and Mahayana is found throughout East Asia and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, Tendai and Shinnyo-en. In some classifications Vajrayana, a subcategory of Mahayana, is recognized as a third branch. While Buddhism remains most popular within Asia, both branches are now found throughout the world. Various sources put the number of Buddhists in the world at between 230 million and 500 million,[3] making it the world's fourth-largest religion.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Goedert » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:34 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Just some basic (maybe over-simplified) historical background that no-one has mentioned but some readers may not know:
Mahayana split from Theravada a very long time ago and developed a lot of ideas which have never been accepted as legit by most Theravadins.
Zen diverged from other Mahayana traditions more recently and de-emphasised or threw out a lot of those additional teachings.
That makes it closer, in some ways at least, to Theravada than any of the other Mahayana paths.
It's a path I could happily follow, though Theravada is my strongest preference.
:namaste:
Kim


Hello friend,

In fact the mahayana split from the mahasanghika wich come from the fisrt sangha.

Theravada buddhism come from the Vibhajjavada and the last come from Sthaviravada wich comes from the Fisrt Sangha.

:namaste:
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Monkey Mind » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:33 am

The Zen are influenced by the Lotus Sutra. The Theravada are not.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:37 am

Monkey Mind wrote:The Zen are influenced by the Lotus Sutra. The Theravada are not.
And that is a big difference.
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.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby OcTavO » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:47 am

I've recently sat in various Zen centers around my local area and they are a world apart from the local Theravadin Wat. The first I attended was an affiliated school of Kwan Um (which is a bit of a mix of Rinzai and Pureland). They were a very pleasant school, but deeply focused in ritual and with an emphasis on Koan and a meditation that was quite similar to that described in the Satipatthana sutta.

Then I sat with a Soto school who don't do Koan but practice Shikantaza ("Just Sitting"). I didn't find this method to be effective at all for me... it had practically zero structure and most of the sesshins were spent in overly complicated ritual.

Zen is tremendously diverse, no two schools I've visited have been the same. As for how it differs from Theravada - I've never heard much of an emphasis placed on the teachings of the Pali Canon in any of the schools. The emphasis is always on some kind of practice, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby EricJ » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:02 am

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?
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:57 am

convivium wrote:Honestly Zen seems very similar, orthopraxic like Thai Forest, and I am wondering where it goes off from Therevada. I'm also wondering about other traditions of Buddhism too. Thanks for any clarifications.


I think Zen and Therevada both focus on simplicity and mindfulness.

P
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Re: Zen Vs Therevada

Postby nameless » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:38 am

My knowledge about Zen is from reading stuff here and there, so if anyone has more accurate information please correct me:

Zen has a lot of unique practices that don't necessarily reflect traditional Buddhism, or at least, are very different from the way the Buddha taught his disciples as portrayed in the suttas. And I suppose there's a variety of different Zen schools with different practices too. Some places the teacher takes a stick to whack students when they are meditating.

There was a book written by a Japanese Zen monk where he described his path from ordination onwards, he said that his master said that if he cannot trust him absolutely, don't bother training. Then he also described a part where he tried to talk to someone and his master said "he does not know his own nature, he is not fit to talk!". So in this case at least, there doesn't seem to be a lot of compassion or interest in developing compassion (if he wanted the pupil to be silent there are better ways to say it). There is the sense the teacher gives that "I am enlightened and if you want to train under me you should aim to be enlightened too otherwise don't waste our time". Which is all fine, and the monk who wrote the book was satisfied with his experience in the end, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Some schools of Zen also emphasize "sudden" enlightenment, whereas it seems that in Theravadan suttas a gradual achievement is emphasized.
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