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Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Discussion of Theravada Buddhism in the light of Zen.

Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby Meido on Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:57 pm

Caodemarte wrote:In terms of practice, perhaps what is most important is how one practices, how sincere one is, how motivated one is, rather than what one practices.


All important factors, in fact.

How one practices: is the method rightly grasped and applied?

How sincere one is: is the method applied with one's wholehearted engagement, i.e. with body/mind in unity, and to a degree sufficient for it to come to fruition?

How motivated one is: are one's reasons for practicing and aspiration sufficiently profound?

What one practices: is the method appropriate for one's conditions and current capacity, that is, is it rightly prescribed?

Certainly if any one of these factors is missing, it will be difficult for practice to come to fruition. It is a danger not to acknowledge that it is indeed possible to practice wrongly, and to waste one's precious time, if using methods not suited.

However, since the mainstream of practice is rather broad, the path well-mapped, so to speak, and the practice toolbox so diverse, there is no reason for anyone to worry about this if they are doing their best to follow a qualified guide, with good and honest mutual communication. If that situation exists, even some points above if lacking can be transformed over time; one will be constantly asking oneself such questions.

Though I can only speak from a Zen standpoint, I believe all of the above is applicable for someone following the Theravada path as well.

~ Meido
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby Dan74 on Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:34 pm

There are many flavours of Theravada, both in terms of emphasis (scholarly vs meditation, for example) and interpretation. But I think there are two simple differences:

1. The emphasis on Pali suttas as the definitive word of the Buddha. The suttas, while being very variable, are quite different to Mahayana sutras we may be used to, both in style and approach, while content is another matter. Traditional Theravada also puts faith in Abhidamma, while some modern practitioners (and lineages) do not. As for emptiness of phenomena, it is there in the suttas, as is the emphasis on insight, rather than meditative states, which are conditioned and a potential source of clinging.

2. Absence of Bodhisattva Vows and common bias towards practicing for cessation of individual suffering. Though of course many Theravada people do fantastic community work, so it is not generally true, but it is certainly not explicit (with the exception of one little-known sutta where the Buddha praises the motivation of one practicing for oneself and for others as the best of all).

Then, there are different concepts of Buddhahood (vs arahat), annata vs Buddha-nature/Tathagatagharba, human Buddha vs transcendent Buddha of the Flower Garland Sutra, for instance, etc etc. Lots to lose precious time over.

_/|\_
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby flutemaker on Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:02 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:BB,

Theravada is intent on promulgating the perfection of states of meditation (see the Visudhimagga manual, of Buddhaghosa).

Mahayana (e.g., Ch'an-, Zen-, Soen-, Thien-Buddhism) is intent on promulgating the perfection of Wisdom (see the Prajnaparamita literature).

Much depends on which page of the Visudhimagga the reader is at.

Part I—Virtue (Sìla)
Part II—Concentration (Samádhi)
Part III—Understanding (Paññá)

Wherein the perfection of the states of meditation though indeed is entertaining, is but a skillful means.
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:06 pm

Seperated they're similair, together they're different. :geek:
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby TTT on Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:20 am

[quote="Dan74"]People sometimes cite Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest tradition, as sounding quite Zen. He was actually a fan of Huineng and gave talks on the Platform Sutra, which in translation from Thai, is one source of this perception. But there's more than familiarity with Huineng, I think. Forest Ajahns who are deep meditators do sometimes point to the core and sound quite "zennie", IMO. But the actual living tradition is quite different.

_/|\_[/quote)

Same root thought.
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby TTT on Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:22 am

Dan74 wrote:There are many flavours of Theravada, both in terms of emphasis (scholarly vs meditation, for example) and interpretation. But I think there are two simple differences:

1. The emphasis on Pali suttas as the definitive word of the Buddha. The suttas, while being very variable, are quite different to Mahayana sutras we may be used to, both in style and approach, while content is another matter. Traditional Theravada also puts faith in Abhidamma, while some modern practitioners (and lineages) do not. As for emptiness of phenomena, it is there in the suttas, as is the emphasis on insight, rather than meditative states, which are conditioned and a potential source of clinging.

2. Absence of Bodhisattva Vows and common bias towards practicing for cessation of individual suffering. Though of course many Theravada people do fantastic community work, so it is not generally true, but it is certainly not explicit (with the exception of one little-known sutta where the Buddha praises the motivation of one practicing for oneself and for others as the best of all).

Then, there are different concepts of Buddhahood (vs arahat), annata vs Buddha-nature/Tathagatagharba, human Buddha vs transcendent Buddha of the Flower Garland Sutra, for instance, etc etc. Lots to lose precious time over.

_/|\_


I wuld sleep well, meditate good and study?
How is a Bodhissattva enyway?
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby bokki on Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:05 am

How is a Bodhissattva enyway?


LOL the bodhisattva is sick to the bone, about to kick the bucket, crying about the world…
Other than that, he’s fine, smiling, sharing and joking…
:lol2:
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby Dan74 on Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:16 am

Are you seriously ill, bokki?
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby bokki on Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:30 am

no, dan, im hilariously well
and the sicknesses i cary are doing just fine, in fact they r developing
and if u want 2 now about me, think twice
ur friend
b
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby bokki on Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:45 am

oh, i im forgetful, thank you for the peaceful avatar, dan.
and 2 fuki, thnx 4 play.will play some more bout elvis, ur good sir. later
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby Dan74 on Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:24 pm

bokki wrote:oh, i im forgetful, thank you for the peaceful avatar, dan.


no worries!

_/|\_
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby fukasetsu on Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:21 pm

Dan74 wrote:
bokki wrote:oh, i im forgetful, thank you for the peaceful avatar, dan.


no worries!

_/|\_


I loved your avatar Dan, it immediately linked towards me remembering a comment if you should allow your kids to listen to metallica, and wondering if they do by now :lol2:
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby Dan74 on Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:51 pm

Haha, that must've been a fair few years ago! The kids, the eldest plays the drums and the two younger ones, guitars, so they just about could play Metallica right now. After a few years maybe!
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:55 pm

Indeed some years back, that's pretty ace Dan, music in the family is great especially when playing together.
I have 3 uncles playing piano, my mom too and violin, I was the first to pick up a guitar and teached them how to pick.

Well wishes to your family and their tunes.
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Re: Zen & Theravada: Not So Different?

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:52 pm

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:BB,

Theravada is intent on promulgating the perfection of states of meditation (see the Visudhimagga manual, of Buddhaghosa).

Mahayana (e.g., Ch'an-, Zen-, Soen-, Thien-Buddhism) is intent on promulgating the perfection of Wisdom (see the Prajnaparamita literature).

Then, decide: are these different? Read, study, them, first. And if you have a chance, PRACTICE, in a school representative of each, for at least half a decade in each, say, or so. Rgds,

--Joe

That's a little simplistic, as if a main goal of Theravada isn't the cultivation of wisdom.

Differences, if they are to be real differences, must make a difference.

Further, on the practice in Theravada (or Hinayana generally), the practitioner's motivation is to escape the suffering of samsara. Mahayana very much more emphasizes perfecting Wisdom. A real difference... .

But, one's practice will tell. Say, half a decade at least in each camp, as I suggested. Clearly, the difference is experiential: words describe it, but do not convey it.

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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