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Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby eputkonen on Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:19 am

Caodemarte wrote:There seems to an implication in this discussion that one can practice Zen in every activity except zazen. If you can practice Zen in every activity why not in sitting meditation as well? What is this strange reluctance? Is it the reverse of people who fall into "dead sitting?" Is it, frankly, an excuse like those who think they can get fit without exercise by reading fitness books? You are free to practice how you see fit. I just don't get it.


Of course you can do sitting meditation as well. One can practice Zen in every activity...including zazen. The activity does not matter...the inactivity does not matter. Just stay in the Buddha-mind.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Caodemarte on Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:39 am

Bankei (and many, many other Zen teachers like Jundo) is quite clear that one does formal sitting and the rest of life as zazen.

To be clear: if people do not wish to practice zazen, they should follow their mature judgement and not do so. I am not trying to tell anyone how to practice anything. I am just trying to understand what people are trying to say and why they saying it. And hopefully get and give support for sincere practice. :Namaste:
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Guo Gu on Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:42 am

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:Can someone practice Zen/Ch'an Buddhism without being particularly interested in seated, silent meditation?

What if someone is interested in Zen ritual/chanting, koan practice, studying Zen philosophy/doctrine, etc., but without being particularly interested in seated, silent meditation?


boatman bodhisattva,
others have already chimed in, so i'll just be brief. to answer your question in short: yes.
but there are a few points in your question i'd like to point out:
first, chan/zen is not tied to seated meditation.
second, in chan/zen, there's more to meditation than "silent meditation." i wouldn't describe chan/zen meditation as silent meditation. in fact many chan masters highly criticized silent meditation. in chan, to be free grasping onto good vs bad is "sitting"; to see one's self-nature is "meditation." so you may want to explore chan/zen's position on meditation a bit more. see the platform sutra of huineng, works by mazu daoyi, huaihai, huangpo, linji, etc. if you start another thread about chan/zen's position on "seated meditation," i'm sure folks here will chime in.
third, there is precedence for many chan/zen masters in the past who didn't emphasized "meditation" (in the popular understanding). this goes with my first point.
chanting, koan study, doctrinal learning are all part of practice in general. a good teacher will be able to suit the student with appropriate practice.
be well,
guo gu
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby jundo on Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:59 am

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:
jundo wrote:Well, first, the purpose of such exercises in the Theravada is quite different, although apparently the same on the surface, Sadaparibhuta. (TNH is actually a Theravadan Teacher as much as a Zen Teacher, not uncommon in Vietnamese Buddhism, but that is a story for another day). In South Asian Buddhism, the Practice is actually a form of awareness and self-analysis to escape the self in a form of Vipassana Practice.


I could go through the trouble to find passages from Zen masters to quote back to you, but I guess it wouldn't make a difference here. I'm sorry for bothering you.


Please do provide such a quote from the ancient Zen masters. I would be amused to see. Gassho J
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:44 am

Guo Gu wrote:
Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:Can someone practice Zen/Ch'an Buddhism without being particularly interested in seated, silent meditation?

What if someone is interested in Zen ritual/chanting, koan practice, studying Zen philosophy/doctrine, etc., but without being particularly interested in seated, silent meditation?


boatman bodhisattva,
others have already chimed in, so i'll just be brief. to answer your question in short: yes.
but there are a few points in your question i'd like to point out:
first, chan/zen is not tied to seated meditation.
second, in chan/zen, there's more to meditation than "silent meditation." i wouldn't describe chan/zen meditation as silent meditation. in fact many chan masters highly criticized silent meditation. in chan, to be free grasping onto good vs bad is "sitting"; to see one's self-nature is "meditation." so you may want to explore chan/zen's position on meditation a bit more. see the platform sutra of huineng, works by mazu daoyi, huaihai, huangpo, linji, etc. if you start another thread about chan/zen's position on "seated meditation," i'm sure folks here will chime in.
third, there is precedence for many chan/zen masters in the past who didn't emphasized "meditation" (in the popular understanding). this goes with my first point.
chanting, koan study, doctrinal learning are all part of practice in general. a good teacher will be able to suit the student with appropriate practice.
be well,
guo gu


That's very informative. Thank you.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:46 am

Caodemarte wrote:There seems to an implication in this discussion that one can practice Zen in every activity except zazen. If you can practice Zen in every activity why not in sitting meditation as well?


The reason is that I, like many others, prefer mantra recitation to silent meditation. Many Zen masters have, at least for lay people, recommended reciting the name of a Buddha or Bodhisattva as a meditation device, especially if they aren't able to undistractedly meditate silently.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Caodemarte on Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:47 pm

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:There seems to an implication in this discussion that one can practice Zen in every activity except zazen. If you can practice Zen in every activity why not in sitting meditation as well?


The reason is that I, like many others, prefer mantra recitation to silent meditation. Many Zen masters have, at least for lay people, recommended reciting the name of a Buddha or Bodhisattva as a meditation device, especially if they aren't able to undistractedly meditate silently.


Just to be clear I was not asking about your specific practice but about the general tenor of some of the comments here.

Many Zen masters have recommended many methods to many people. Some people recite mantras recite silently in a seated posture; some do not. Some Zen masters recommend that you inquire into "who is reciting the name of Kuan-yin (or whatever you are reciting)?" Some recommend just reciting. I would suggest reading Hakuin's letter to a Nichiren nun (http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... Letter.htm). Many old texts on Zen practice, such as "The Chan Whip Anthology" have many references to this kind of practice. What is important is what you recommend for yourself as helpful or not helpful (they are all just methods) in your mature judgement after deep thought and practice. I am writing all this as a fellow practitioner trying to be helpful so feel free to disregard!
Last edited by Caodemarte on Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Meido on Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:59 pm

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:The reason is that I, like many others, prefer mantra recitation to silent meditation.


Boatman, the main point you will hear repeated here does not have to do with the question of seated meditation vs other practices. Mantra recitation is excellent (I also practice it).

It has to do with the word "prefer" in your statement above. Practicing things that are self-prescribed according to one's preferences is not recommended. Why? Because those preferences - along with beliefs regarding one's limitations and strengths, predilections and capacity, even likes and dislikes - all arise entwined with habitual delusion. If, however, one practices correctly according to a teacher's instructions, those things will dramatically change.

So it is not the Chan/Zen way to make strong distinctions between practice paths, or to discount methods that one does not prefer. If one is an actual practitioner, one does not conceive of such limitations, and does not discount or hold aversion (or attachment) toward any one method. One recognizes that all methods are efficacious if conditions are correct for their use. However some, like sitting meditation, are very broadly efficacious...so much so that one truly unable to use them due to some condition would rightfully regret such a hindrance, and one able to use them who has not yet penetrated would be eager to do so.

Finally, if one's motivation for practice has matured, i.e. one has given rise to an aspiration to realize awakening and help all the suffering beings (bodaishin/bodhicitta), then personal preferences are not a factor at all.

~ Meido
Last edited by Meido on Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby ed blanco on Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:40 pm

Boatman, the main point you will hear repeated here does not have to do with the question of seated meditation vs other practices. Mantra recitation is excellent (I also practice it).

It has to do with the word "prefer" in your statement above. Practicing things that are self-prescribed according to one's preference is not recommended. Why? Because those preferences - along with beliefs regarding one's limitations and strengths, predilections and capacity, even likes and dislikes - all arise entwined with habitual delusion. If, however, one practices correctly according to a teacher's instructions, those things will dramatically change.

So it is not the Chan/Zen way to make strong distinctions between practice paths, or to discount methods that one does not prefer. If one is an actual practitioner, one does not conceive of such limitations, and does not discount or hold aversion (or attachment) toward any one method. One recognizes that all methods are efficacious if conditions are correct for their use. However some, like sitting meditation, are very broadly efficacious...so much so that one truly unable to use them do to some condition would rightfully regret such a hindrance, and one able to use them who has not yet penetrated would be eager to do so.

Finally, if one's motivation for practice has matured, i.e. one has given rise to an aspiration to realize awakening and help all the suffering beings (bodaishin/bodhicitta), then personal preferences are not a factor at all.

~ Meido


:rbow:
:heya:
IT SPEAKS IN SILENCE
IN SPEECH YOU HEAR ITS SILENCE

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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby jundo on Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:08 pm

I would simply add to Meido's wonderful comment that the particular flavor of Shikantaza Zazen is radical to the marrow sitting beyond all "preferences" aversions and attractions ... and thus we sit. Sitting itself is the fulfillment of all preferences.

If one Chants, cooks or sweeps, bows, dances and undertakes many other Practices as Shikantaza (because Shikantaza is sitting and many Practices on and off the cushion), all such are also to be undertaken free of preferences and as the fulfillment of all preferences.

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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:43 am

To be honest, I haven't been very "religious" lately. I haven't attended services at a temple for maybe two months, due to my wife recovering from surgery and other health problems. I have barely been reading any scriptures or doing any "religious" activities, other than posting on my Buddhist Tumblr page. I wish things were different, but I've been taking care of three children, including a baby, mostly by myself.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby jundo on Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:23 am

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:To be honest, I haven't been very "religious" lately. I haven't attended services at a temple for maybe two months, due to my wife recovering from surgery and other health problems. I have barely been reading any scriptures or doing any "religious" activities, other than posting on my Buddhist Tumblr page. I wish things were different, but I've been taking care of three children, including a baby, mostly by myself.



Oh, taking care of sick wife and three children is most intense Practice, beyond what any cloistered monastic has even known. Such too can be Shikantaza. It is Service, Ritual, Samu.

And thus we sit each day.

Gassho, J
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen, interaction with other practitioners and teachers & all activities of a Soto Sangha, fully online without charge (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:47 am

jundo wrote:
Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:To be honest, I haven't been very "religious" lately. I haven't attended services at a temple for maybe two months, due to my wife recovering from surgery and other health problems. I have barely been reading any scriptures or doing any "religious" activities, other than posting on my Buddhist Tumblr page. I wish things were different, but I've been taking care of three children, including a baby, mostly by myself.



Oh, taking care of sick wife and three children is most intense Practice, beyond what any cloistered monastic has even known. Such too can be Shikantaza. It is Service, Ritual, Samu.

And thus we sit each day.

Gassho, J


Thank you for the encouragement.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:55 pm

This morning, I was feeling very depressed about my life situation, and then I started chanting the name of Guanyin, and it made me feel much better.
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