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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.
I mean no disrespect to forum members on my ignore list. Gassho. __/\__

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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.
I mean no disrespect to forum members on my ignore list. Gassho. __/\__

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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!
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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
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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


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: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.
I mean no disrespect to forum members on my ignore list. Gassho. __/\__

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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.

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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.
I mean no disrespect to forum members on my ignore list. Gassho. __/\__

"Reciting the name of the Buddha constantly... His own body is the limitless body of Amida, the treasure trees of seven precious gems, the pond of the eight virtues." - Hakuin Ekaku

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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.
I mean no disrespect to forum members on my ignore list. Gassho. __/\__

"Reciting the name of the Buddha constantly... His own body is the limitless body of Amida, the treasure trees of seven precious gems, the pond of the eight virtues." - Hakuin Ekaku

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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:11 am

In the future, I might return to the Jodo Shinshu temple, but with a Zen interpretation of the teachings. This is with the understanding of the Nembutsu as awakening the Buddha-nature within, rather than petitioning an external being.

As D. T. Suzuki and Rev. Koshin Ogui have shown, Zen and Jodo Shinshu need not be mutually exclusive. Many Zen masters have, at least for lay people, recommended the Nembutsu as a meditation device.
I mean no disrespect to forum members on my ignore list. Gassho. __/\__

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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:00 am

Is there a reason for reciting this mantra? That might also influence the flavour of this practise.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:50 am

macdougdoug wrote:Is there a reason for reciting this mantra? That might also influence the flavour of this practise.


In the words of D. T. Suzuki, “We find our inner self when NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU is pronounced once and for all. My conclusion is that Amida is our inmost self, and when that inmost self is found, we are born in the Pure Land.”
I mean no disrespect to forum members on my ignore list. Gassho. __/\__

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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:36 pm

How do you understand this proper way to pronounce it "once and for all'?
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:03 pm

macdougdoug wrote:How do you understand this proper way to pronounce it "once and for all'?


What he means is saying the Nembutsu with a sincere heart and mind.

Zen masters throughout history, especially in China and Vietnam, have recommended reciting the name of Amida Buddha as a meditation device, with the understanding of Amida as our true nature, and the Pure Land as the pure mind.

This is from the Platform Sutra:

While ignorant men recite the name of Amitabha and pray to be born in the Pure Land, the enlightened purify their mind, for, as the Buddha said, ‘When the mind is pure, the Buddha Land is simultaneously pure…

If we can realize the Essence of Mind at all times and behave in a straightforward manner on all occasions, in the twinkling of an eye we may reach the Pure Land and there see Amitabha.
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... nswers.htm


This is from the Sutra on the Contemplation of Buddha Amitayus:

Then the World-Honored One said: Now do you not know, Vaidehi, that Buddha Amitayus is not very far from here?…

Every Buddha Tathagata is one whose spiritual body is the principle of Dharma-nature, so that he may enter into the mind of any beings. Consequently, when you have visualized Buddha, it is indeed that mind of yours that possesses those thirty-two signs of perfection and eighty minor marks of excellence which you see in a Buddha.

In conclusion, it is your mind that becomes Buddha, nay, it is your mind that is indeed Buddha. The ocean of true and universal knowledge of all the Buddhas derives its source from one’s own mind and thought.
http://web.mit.edu/stclair/www/meditationsutra.html


This is from the Surangama Sutra:

It is the same with those who practice concentration on the name of Amitabha - they develop within their minds Amitabha’s spirit of compassion toward all sentient life…

…just as one associating with the maker of perfumes becomes permeated with the same perfumes, so he will become perfumed by Amitabha’s compassion, and will become enlightened without any other expedient means.

Blessed Lord! My devotion to reciting the name of Amitabha had no other purpose than to return to my original nature of purity (Buddha-nature) and by it I attained to the state of non-rebirth perseverance (enlightenment).
http://www.mountainrunnerdoc.com/surangama.html


The Buddha’s last words were to be a lamp unto yourself, seeking no external refuge. How do we square this with the Nembutsu, since Namu-Amida-Butsu means “I take refuge in Amida Buddha”?

The name Amida means “boundless light.” Amida, rather than an external refuge, is the boundless light of our own Buddha-nature. In reciting the Nembutsu, we awaken to the True Self, the lamp within.

Rather than a literal flesh and blood man who attained Buddhahood ten kalpas ago, billions of Buddha-lands to the west, Amida is Dharma-body itself, the Buddha-nature in all things and beings.
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Re: Zen/Ch'an for Lay Householders

Postby bokki on Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:54 pm

hi boatman
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.

i am very sad to hear, and wish u courage, perseverance and faith. good health for your wife and you.
ALL d following in my honest opinion only!
This is with the understanding of the Nembutsu as awakening the Buddha-nature within, rather than petitioning an external being.

its mostly said that WE awaken to the buddha within,altough in awakening iner and outer buddha is one, without in and out.
relinquishing an outer amida, still one makes distinction and now puts him "inside"
dts
We find our inner self when NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU is pronounced once and for all. My conclusion is that Amida is our inmost self, and when that inmost self is found, we are born in the Pure Land.

this is imo a reference to the awekening,d moment of. imo
macdougdoug
How do you understand this proper way to pronounce it "once and for all'?

i suspect this is a zen question, 1 2 answer, imo
platform sutra
If we can realize the Essence of Mind at all times and behave in a straightforward manner on all occasions, in the twinkling of an eye we may reach the Pure Land and there see Amitabha.
Sutra on the Contemplation of Buddha Amitayus:
In conclusion, it is your mind that becomes Buddha, nay, it is your mind that is indeed Buddha. The ocean of true and universal knowledge of all the Buddhas derives its source from one’s own mind and thought.
Surangama Sutra:
Blessed Lord! My devotion to reciting the name of Amitabha had no other purpose than to return to my original nature of purity (Buddha-nature) and by it I attained to the state of non-rebirth perseverance (enlightenment).

very nice
strong practice and good luck!
these r citations of the above, all directly pointing.
thnx Boatman
b :heya:
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