Torn between soto zen and thai forest

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Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby Munki » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:46 pm

Hi There,
I have been practising in the Soto Zen tradition for just over a year and was planning to take the precepts fairly soon. However, I was recently introduced to Thai forest and now feel kind've torn between the two. I feel drawn to both traditions for different reasons, and feel that there are alot of similarities,but at the same time do not know enough about Thai forest to make an informed decision. I know that you are not supposed to "mix" traditions, and feel that perhaps it would not be right to take precepts in Soto Zen when I am also leaning towards Thai Forest. I would truly appreciate any advice you have to offer.

Munki :namaste:
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:57 pm

Although I do agree that sticking to one tradition is best, I don't see anything wrong with experiencing another, and I think it can even help in understanding your main one.
if you have a look at this site http://www.forestsangha.org/index.html there are teachings links to monestaries all over the world which may help you decide which one you prefer.
the site is from the Ajahn Chah "School" if you can call it that, and he mentions Zen monks in his talks (book format) I personally think the two are complimentary.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:39 pm

Explore both for a while, then decide. But remember you don't know enough to compare them directly. Rather you are seeing which one appeals to you more, which one inspires you to practice more.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:50 pm

i came from the soto school with 5 years studying under a teacher i loved. i find that i learned much from zen, but the mahayana sutras were too much of a problem for me.
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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Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby GrahamR » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:13 am

Munki wrote:Hi There,
I have been practising in the Soto Zen tradition for just over a year and was planning to take the precepts fairly soon. However, I was recently introduced to Thai forest and now feel kind've torn between the two. I feel drawn to both traditions for different reasons, and feel that there are alot of similarities,but at the same time do not know enough about Thai forest to make an informed decision. I know that you are not supposed to "mix" traditions, and feel that perhaps it would not be right to take precepts in Soto Zen when I am also leaning towards Thai Forest. I would truly appreciate any advice you have to offer.

Munki :namaste:

In my view at the end of the day there are different types of cheese, but they are all still cheese. You can follow slightly different paths and still arrive at the same goal. Follow what you feel comfortable doing.
With metta :bow:
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:00 pm

What a cheesy answer! :lol:
- Peter

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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby Individual » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:44 pm

Munki wrote:Hi There,
I have been practising in the Soto Zen tradition for just over a year and was planning to take the precepts fairly soon. However, I was recently introduced to Thai forest and now feel kind've torn between the two. I feel drawn to both traditions for different reasons, and feel that there are alot of similarities,but at the same time do not know enough about Thai forest to make an informed decision. I know that you are not supposed to "mix" traditions, and feel that perhaps it would not be right to take precepts in Soto Zen when I am also leaning towards Thai Forest. I would truly appreciate any advice you have to offer.

Munki :namaste:

The Buddha did not teach sectarianism. He was neither a Soto Zen nor a Theravada Buddhist. These are terms that originated from sectarian schisms. Rather than trying to find a preferential sect tailored to your views, in my opinion it's best to examine who is actually providing the original teaching of the Buddha, who is most useful, and who is most truthful, whose words are most in accordance in reality. This might be Zen or Theravada, it might be both in some sense, or it might be neither. The point, though, is that Zen vs. Theravada is as much of a false dichotomy as creating a dichotomy between modern vs. Theravada Zen, or between Rinzai vs. Soto, or between individual teachers of these schools.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:00 pm

GrahamR wrote:In my view at the end of the day there are different types of cheese, but they are all still cheese.

Image
mmmm, cheese . . .
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby clw_uk » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:20 pm

LOL :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

:clap:
“ 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: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby DarkDream » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:28 am

Just a couple of my thoughts.

I think whatever tradition you go into it is important to feel comfortable with it. Having said that, I also think it is essential that their is some flexibility in the teachings and there is a great emphasis on experience rather than the metaphysical aspects.

At least for me, I could never join something which says you must believe X, Y, and Z in order to be a part of a group.

I do not have much experience from the Zen tradition, but as the Thai forest tradition, I have met Ajahn Sumedho and have taken retreats by some of his former disciples. What really appealed to me was the emphasis not so much on the exact teachings and metaphysical realities but on the teachings in the here and now.
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby christopher::: » Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:53 pm

I've been most strongly drawn toward Zen, since the early 1980s. For me, the similarities between Zen and the Thai Forest tradition were a wonderful thing to discover. It's provided a bridge, so that I can gain a better understanding of the path of Theravadin Buddhism, and feel comfortable spending time with my sisters and brothers here.

To be honest, I still haven't taken any formal precepts or vows or anything since about 1974, at age 13, when I formally joined my parents' Unitarian Universalist church. I started to meditate on a daily basis in 1987, on my own. Since then I've meditated each morning, about 5 days out of 7, for about 20 minutes, in a corner of the room. My interest in Buddhism and spiritual practice has been a personal thing, which I rarely talked about with others until I stumbled upon E-sangha about 4 years ago. Now I'm a moderator of a Zen forum, but in my 3D life not much has changed.

Everything is Dhamma, Ajahn Chah has said. I think so. Everything that exists is part of the One Universal activity, Soto Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki has taught us. You can make your commitments formal, but you don't have to. You can choose one school, but you don't have to. Listen to the Dhamma, it's preached by great masters, as well as trees. Most importantly, follow your heart.

:heart:

If we have awareness and understanding, if we study with wisdom and mindfulness, we will see Dhamma as reality. Thus, we sill see people as constantly being born, changing and finally passing away. Everyone is subject to the cycle of birth and death, and because of this, everyone in the universe is as One being. Thus, seeing one person clearly and distinctly is the same as seeing every person in the world.

In the same way, everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our physical eye, but also the things we see in our minds. A thought arises, then changes and passes away. It is ''nāma dhamma'', simply a mental impression that arises and passes away. This is the real nature of the mind. Altogether, this is the noble truth of Dhamma. If one doesn't look and observe in this way, one doesn't really see! If one does see, one will have the wisdom to listen to the Dhamma as proclaimed by the Buddha.

Whether a tree, a mountain or an animal, it's all Dhamma, everything is Dhamma. Where is this Dhamma? Speaking simply, that which is not Dhamma doesn't exist. Dhamma is nature. This is called the ''Sacca Dhamma'', the True Dhamma. If one sees nature, one sees Dhamma; if one sees Dhamma, one sees nature. Seeing nature, one knows the Dhamma.

And so, what is the use of a lot of study when the ultimate reality of life, in its every moment, in its every act, is just an endless cycle of births and deaths? If we are mindful and clearly aware when in all postures (sitting, standing, walking, lying), then self-knowledge is ready to be born; that is, knowing the truth of Dhamma already in existence right here and now.

~Ajahn Chah
Dhamma Nature

"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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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:27 pm

Greetings Monki,

Just take your time... and maybe think about which option poses the most roadblocks for you in the future.

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


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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:41 pm

i still kinda sorta consider myself a zen buddhist, but there is a very heavy theravada (and thai theravada) filter there and i always side on the pali cannon side of things and pretty much just ignore anything mahayana... but i think only in zen not other mahayana schools can one do this since theres the whole "outside the scriptures" thing...
its also a very very modern and western thing.. :cookoo:

i think mostly its just some sort of wierd "debt" i still think i owe my old master... :anjali:
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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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby christopher::: » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:44 am

jcsuperstar wrote:i still kinda sorta consider myself a zen buddhist, but there is a very heavy theravada (and thai theravada) filter there and i always side on the pali cannon side of things and pretty much just ignore anything mahayana... but i think only in zen not other mahayana schools can one do this since theres the whole "outside the scriptures" thing...
its also a very very modern and western thing.. :cookoo:


Just curious, what do you mean by "ignore anything mahayana"? I ignore a lot of stuff, but ideas concerning each of us being bodhisattvas and helping everyone to awaken, helping to reduce suffering in this world, those seem positive aspects of Mahayana, to me.

:anjali:
"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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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:59 am

my zen teacher told me to forget about bodhisattvas and saving others. to just sit. thinking youre gonna save all sentient beings is just ego.

by mahayana i mean all those made up sutras about godlike buddhas and super bodhisattvas, and a true atman or we're all one etc etc
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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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby AlaskanDhamma » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:40 am

To me it always seemed that when Mahayana buddhists talk about bodhisattvas and saving the world,etc., it just meant that by working towards reaching enlightenment they would eventually be helping others someday. Does that make sense? But don't worry, I have met plenty Mahayana buddhists who, despite it being harmful to them, have seemed very egotistical.
"Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace." -Buddha
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:11 am

well in the mahayana sutras they are "real" guys who vow to come again and again to help people, some were even at one point buddhas who regressed(?) into bodhisattvas to help people. there are also buddhas that create worlds and offer salvation to people who "pray" to them... its all "very real" in the sutras, though there are some zen preists who turn it all into metaphor... which is how i used it

kannon is karuna
monju is panna
fugen is sila
jizo is vows or practice...

so i still have those statues and i use them that way.... they are not however on my main altar... although a statue of daruma(indian monk who brought zen to china) is
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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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby christopher::: » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:26 am

AlaskanDhamma wrote:To me it always seemed that when Mahayana buddhists talk about bodhisattvas and saving the world,etc., it just meant that by working towards reaching enlightenment they would eventually be helping others someday. Does that make sense? But don't worry, I have met plenty Mahayana buddhists who, despite it being harmful to them, have seemed very egotistical.


Buddhists on ego trips? Sure. That's a trap everywhere, and Mahayana Buddhists can fall into that just as easily as anyone else. But I don't see that as a problem with the path of Zen, or the ideals of bodhisattva, as much as the usual games the mind plays. As for saving the world, and helping others I've never heard anyone phrase it in terms of something we'll do "someday."

There is no someday. There is only today, right now, the flow of moments. You have an opportunity to help someone, you do it now or you've missed that opportunity. Beginner bodhisattvas have to practice "helping" others every single day. Small acts. Many of us actually view this as being less about "me" as about everyone being bodhisattvas. You may not call yourself that, but if you are constantly doing things for the benefit of others (as most folks in this forum are) then from one perspective you are already walking the bodhisattva path.

BUT, there are many different views on this. We've been having a couple of different discussions on the topic over at ZFI, such as this one here. Some view the bodhisattvas as real, some as metaphors, some as ideals and role models. The vow to save all beings is a kinda koan, imo. There is no way you or I is going to save all beings. Right there is an opportunity to break through, questioning who are "you," who am "I," who are "all beings"? The diamond sutra teaches that if you believe there actually are real beings that need saving one is not viewing things as a bodhisattva.

The Bodhisattva's Vow

The Buddha said to Subhūti: "The bodhisattvas and mahāsattvas should subdue their thoughts like this: All the different types of sentient beings, whether they be born from eggs, born from a womb, born from moisture or born spontaneously; whether or not they have form; whether they abide in perceptions or no perceptions; or without either perceptions or non-perceptions, I save them by causing them to enter nirvana without remainder. And when these immeasurable, countless, infinite number of sentient beings have been liberated, in actuality, no sentient being has attained liberation. Why is this so? Subhūti, If a bodhisattva abides in the signs of self, person, sentient being, or life-span, she or he is not a bodhisattva."


:heart:
"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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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby PeterB » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:44 pm

Is the breath going into and going out of your nose Soto, or Forest Tradition, or is it it perhaps Dzogchen ? :?:
Is it Japanese or Thai or Tibetan ?
All I know is that if we follow it , it can take us home.

:anjali:
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Re: Torn between soto zen and thai forest

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:55 am

Greetings Munki,

So what are your thoughts about your dilemma at the moment?

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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