Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
T_Hill_616
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Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by T_Hill_616 »

I've been practicing Buddhism in the Theravada tradition as taught by Ven. Ajahn Chah and his disciple monks for the past few years now. My meditation practice has mainly come from those teachings and Bhante Gunaratana. Here is my predicament.
The nearest Theravada temple is about three hours from me. I've been looking for a place to be able to listen to some Dhamma talks and meet some like minded people recently. I've gone to a Vietnamese Zen temple on and off the past year and obviously there is some talk about things not found in Theravada such as the Bodhisatva vows and Heart sutra. This is also a decent distance from me but I found a Korean Zen temple very near that I'd like to check out. My concern is this, I have spent all of my time learning Theravada teachings and Meditatiom techniques and have changed a lot for the better. I've tried them, experienced them firsthand and they really click with me.
Now, should I go to the Zen temple to meet some people and during sitting continue to do my own practice, or take the things that make sense to me that I hear there and incorporate them? I fear this may cause confusion.
The monk at the Vietnamese temple seemed to have a negative attitude about Theravada, insinuating that it's selfish while in Mahayana you strive to help and end the suffering of others and not just yourself.
Seems to me that there are already contemporary Theravada scholars such as Bikkhu Bodhi who ARE actively trying to make a differnce in the world. (buddhistglobalrelief.com) so I don't agree with his statement at all.

I tend to ramble so I'll end it. Thank you for any replies.
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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by LonesomeYogurt »

There is only one truth, the eternal Dhamma, and it isn't relegated just to Theravada or Zen. There's quite a bit I'm sure you can learn - and if you find yourself disagreeing with anything, or seeing it as against the suttas, simply ignore it and go on practicing yourself. I attend a Zen community and their talks are 90% perfectly in line with the eternal spirit of all Buddhisms. With that said, the view of Theravada as the "Lesser Vehicle" is definitely silliness; just ignore it and go on watching the breath, I'd say.

Make sure to keep active in study of the suttas and try to make contact with Theravadins when you can. Otherwise, just take the good from the Zen, and I promise there's a lot of it, and leave the rest behind.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by Khalil Bodhi »

LonesomeYogurt wrote:There is only one truth, the eternal Dhamma, and it isn't relegated just to Theravada or Zen. There's quite a bit I'm sure you can learn - and if you find yourself disagreeing with anything, or seeing it as against the suttas, simply ignore it and go on practicing yourself. I attend a Zen community and their talks are 90% perfectly in line with the eternal spirit of all Buddhisms. With that said, the view of Theravada as the "Lesser Vehicle" is definitely silliness; just ignore it and go on watching the breath, I'd say.

Make sure to keep active in study of the suttas and try to make contact with Theravadins when you can. Otherwise, just take the good from the Zen, and I promise there's a lot of it, and leave the rest behind.
Excellent advice! I practice with a few different groups and one of them is Korean seon. I just ignore all the Buddha nature talk and focus on the fact that these are people committed to living their lives in a wholesome way and who genuinely care about themselves and others. Study the suttas, attend retreats in the Theravada tradition as you can and focus on the good qualities of those around you. May you find true happiness in this lifetime. :heart:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

The Stoic Buddhist: https://www.quora.com/q/dwxmcndlgmobmeu ... pOR2p0uAdH
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com
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bodom
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by bodom »

I've been practicing Buddhism in the Theravada tradition as taught by Ven. Ajahn Chah and his disciple monks for the past few years now...I've gone to a Vietnamese Zen temple on and off the past year and obviously there is some talk about things not found in Theravada such as the Bodhisatva vows and Heart sutra.


I think Zen is great. Just sit! Gets right too the heart of practice doesn't it.?
Ajahn Chah listened to one of his disciples recite the heart Sutra. When he had finished, Ajahn Chah said, " No emptiness either…no bodhisatta." He then asked, where did the sutra come from?" it's repute to have been spoken by the Buddha," the follower replied. "No Buddha," retorted Ajahn Chah. Then he said, " this is talking about deep wisdom, beyond all conventions. How could we teach without them? We have to have names for things, isn't that so?"
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn_ ... n_Chah.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
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bodom
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by bodom »

Another favorite Ajahn Chah story of mine:
A visiting Zen student asked Achaan Chah,
'How old are you? Do you live here all year round?'
'I live nowhere.' he replied.
'There is no place you can find me.
I have no age. To have age, you must exist and to think you exist is already a problem.
Don't make problems; then the world has none either.
Don't make a self.
There's nothing more to say.'

Perhaps the Zen student glimpsed that the heart of vipassana is no different from the heart of Zen.

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn ... t_Pool.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

See also this thread:

Ajahn Chah Zen Theravada?
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=7346" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
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bodom
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by bodom »

This from Ajahn Amaro:
When I arrived at the International Forest Monastery in Thailand, I had never read any Buddhist books...But when I went there and asked the monks about Buddhism, to explain things a little bit for me so that I could get a feel for what their life was about, the first thing one of them did was to give me a copy of a book of talks by a Zen Master, and he said, "Don't bother trying to read the Theravada literature; it's terribly boring, very dry. Read this, it is pretty much the same thing that we're doing, and it will give you a sense of what our practice is about. And I thought, "Well, obviously these guys are not too hung up on their tradition." The book was 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.'


So as you can see Ajahn Chah's and the Thai Forest traditions teachings as a whole are very compatible with zen practice.

:sage:

:anjali:
This is our foundation: to have sati, recollection, and sampajañña, self-awareness, whether standing, walking, sitting, or reclining. Whatever arises, just leave it be, don’t cling to it. Whether it’s like or dislike, happiness or suffering, doubt or certainty... Don’t try to label everything, just know it. See that all the things that arise in the mind are simply sensations. They are transient. They arise, exist and cease. That’s all there is to them, they have no self or being, they are neither ‘us’ nor ‘them’. None of them are worthy of clinging to.

- Ajahn Chah
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mikenz66
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by mikenz66 »

Khalil Bodhi wrote: Excellent advice! I practice with a few different groups and one of them is Korean seon. I just ignore all the Buddha nature talk and focus on the fact that these are people committed to living their lives in a wholesome way and who genuinely care about themselves and others. Study the suttas, attend retreats in the Theravada tradition as you can and focus on the good qualities of those around you. May you find true happiness in this lifetime. :heart:
I think that this is excellent advice. I've found that mixing a little with dedicated practitioners with other backgrounds (Zen, secular, etc) is useful for the different perspectives it gives, and in breaking down conceit about my particular choice of path...

:anjali:
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retrofuturist
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

If it's not going to give rise to confusion or doubt, then it may well be of use to you.

You're in a better position than us to know whether your foundation in the Dhamma is strong enough for that, so trust your intuition.

Either way, best wishes with your practice.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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hanzze_
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by hanzze_ »

T_Hill_616,

I guess it's a matter if one has already gained the first fruit or not. If one has not jet reached stream entering, one should prove if the general surrounding is one which teaches right view or not, if the ways of living are according right intention or not, and if the common goal is one of a worldly matter or a goal of going beyond.

As Retor said, if you are strong enough (no more doubt) you can go anywhere to go further. If not, I would not risk, we are not that strong as we might believe and fast swept away.

But it is also a matter of what your own goals are at least.
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mikenz66
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by mikenz66 »

Confused and swept away? I thought he was talking about Buddhist groups... :tongue:

:anjali:
Mike
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hanzze_
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by hanzze_ »

I thought he was talking about a personal decision. I am not sure what it means to talk about a "Buddhist group" not sure how to great something like that, and not sure if such ideas are necessary as we could easy identify us with such a thing. :tongue:

*smile*
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mikenz66
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by mikenz66 »

hanzze_ wrote: I am not sure what it means to talk about a "Buddhist group"...
He mentioned a Korean Zen Temple.

:anjali:
Mike
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hanzze_
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by hanzze_ »

Maybe I had the wrong focus ("I've been looking for a place to be able to listen to some Dhamma talks and meet some like minded people recently.") while commenting on this topic.
T_Hill_616
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by T_Hill_616 »

Thank you everyone for your advice. I do realize that different traditions are really just different paths with the same destination. I'll check out te temple and see what I think. I do suppose I'm mainly looking for a nice place to go to keep me motivated and meet some similar minds.
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hanzze_
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Re: Mixing traditions- No Theravada temple near

Post by hanzze_ »

Similar minds, might not change your mind. Mostly it good to go against ones flows and ideas.
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