Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

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  • Daibh
    Member
    • Aug 2010
    • 68

    Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Dear Treeleaf Sangha,

    Questions I wish to put forth are these:

    Do you feel there is any problem in a Zen practitioner recieving teachings from and practicing the diciplines of other schools & Buddhist traditions?

    Can such an undertaking in your opinion ever be beneficial or do you see it as an unnecessary extra or obstacle to Zen practice?


    I look forward to your thoughts.

    Regards,
    Dave.
    [b:z5iv0uxu]Documenting the Ango - A Hat Full of Rain [/b:z5iv0uxu]
    http://ahatfullofrain.wordpress.com/
    [b:z5iv0uxu]My poetry blog - Subtle Drops[/b:z5iv0uxu]
    http://subtledropspoetry.wordpress.com/
  • Shohei
    Member
    • Oct 2007
    • 2854

    #2
    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

    Hi Dave
    Im no expert but ill toss this out for what its worth.
    I think its interesting to glean beneficial parts from one practice while fully practicing another. (we do metta verses, such as supplemental yet key part of our practices here)That said...sitting on fence between traditions, or picking only what you like while tossing out the rest of each, a spiritual buffet if you will, gets you no where (though no wheres to go or anything to get :lol eventually you will settle on what is right for you.

    you may play football or hockey, but a ball on the ice or skates on the field is not very wise idea(though I may have came up with a new Canadian past time ).

    I know others will have much more or at least concise things to add. and this is just worth the value of the the zeros and ones its written with!

    Good question, Thank you!

    Gassho
    Shohei

    Comment

    • Daibh
      Member
      • Aug 2010
      • 68

      #3
      Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

      Originally posted by Shohei
      Hi Dave
      I think its interesting to glean beneficial parts from one practice while fully practicing another. (we do metta verses, such as supplemental yet key part of our practices here)That said...sitting on fence between traditions, or picking only what you like while tossing out the rest of each, a spiritual buffet if you will, gets you no where...
      Shohei
      Thank you Shohei.

      I believe our views, as per what I have quoted from you above, are not all that different on the matter.

      Hopefully my questions will toss up some perspectives I had not yet considered!
      [b:z5iv0uxu]Documenting the Ango - A Hat Full of Rain [/b:z5iv0uxu]
      http://ahatfullofrain.wordpress.com/
      [b:z5iv0uxu]My poetry blog - Subtle Drops[/b:z5iv0uxu]
      http://subtledropspoetry.wordpress.com/

      Comment

      • gakuse345
        Member
        • Dec 2009
        • 32

        #4
        Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

        What will a man do with three shoes?
        jws

        Comment

        • Daibh
          Member
          • Aug 2010
          • 68

          #5
          Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

          Originally posted by gakuse345
          What will a man do with three shoes?
          Elaborate cartwheels?
          [b:z5iv0uxu]Documenting the Ango - A Hat Full of Rain [/b:z5iv0uxu]
          http://ahatfullofrain.wordpress.com/
          [b:z5iv0uxu]My poetry blog - Subtle Drops[/b:z5iv0uxu]
          http://subtledropspoetry.wordpress.com/

          Comment

          • gakuse345
            Member
            • Dec 2009
            • 32

            #6
            Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

            Wrong.
            jws

            Comment

            • Taylor
              Member
              • May 2010
              • 388

              #7
              Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

              Daibh,

              First of all, welcome! I came from another tradition when I first stumbled upon treeleaf. The Drikung Kagyu of Tibetan Buddhism specifically (Mahamudra school). I am truly grateful for what I learned there, without it I probably wouldn't have ventured into all the nitty gritty of Buddhist philosophy. BUT! It also taught me what trappings are in Buddhism, the "bells-and-smells" if you will. Not that Zen doesn't have its fair share, many *dings* and *sniffs* here too. Just less shit! Pardon :P

              I ended up with a box full of metal doo-hickies for this and that and well, all they do now and look interesting to those who stumble upon them. Is it all really necessary? But I digress... other teachings? Great! If they work for you, even greater! Just don't cut and paste too much, as Shohei pointed out, or you may end up standing on your head chanting "Om mani padme hum" thinking "AH HA! SO THIS IS SHIKANTAZA!"

              Gassho
              Taylor

              P.s. As for the three shoes? He would wear two and use the other for a flower pot. Well, I would at least.
              Gassho,
              Myoken
              [url:r05q3pze]http://staresatwalls.blogspot.com/[/url:r05q3pze]

              Comment

              • Daibh
                Member
                • Aug 2010
                • 68

                #8
                Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

                Originally posted by gakuse345
                Wrong.
                Wrong?

                Doesn't that create a dualism? :lol:

                Sorry...

                I have a vast sense of humor and I don't play the "zen game"

                Originally posted by Taylor
                ...It also taught me what trappings are in Buddhism, the "bells-and-smells" if you will. Not that Zen doesn't have its fair share, many *dings* and *sniffs* here too. Just less shit! Pardon :P
                Yeah - if I am catching your drift, it is the cultural trappings you are refering to?

                Has been a stumbling block for me in the past. Half the reason why I have asked these questions.

                Thanks for your input Taylor. Is appreciated.
                [b:z5iv0uxu]Documenting the Ango - A Hat Full of Rain [/b:z5iv0uxu]
                http://ahatfullofrain.wordpress.com/
                [b:z5iv0uxu]My poetry blog - Subtle Drops[/b:z5iv0uxu]
                http://subtledropspoetry.wordpress.com/

                Comment

                • Shujin
                  Treeleaf Unsui
                  • Feb 2010
                  • 979

                  #9
                  Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

                  In my limited experience, sometimes studying another tradition can bring your own into focus. I'm reading the Eight Gates of Zen by Loori Roshi this week, and their practice seems starkly different than shikantaza. While taking nothing away from Mountains and Rivers' traditions, and its monumental contribution to American Zen, I see why our school works for me.
                  If I can finish the book in a timely manner, maybe I'll post a brief review a la Reading Rainbow...... but don't take my word for it.

                  gassho,
                  Chris
                  Kyōdō Shujin 教道 守仁

                  Comment

                  • Daibh
                    Member
                    • Aug 2010
                    • 68

                    #10
                    Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

                    Cheers Chris.

                    Your insight / perspective is appreciated.
                    [b:z5iv0uxu]Documenting the Ango - A Hat Full of Rain [/b:z5iv0uxu]
                    http://ahatfullofrain.wordpress.com/
                    [b:z5iv0uxu]My poetry blog - Subtle Drops[/b:z5iv0uxu]
                    http://subtledropspoetry.wordpress.com/

                    Comment

                    • CraigfromAz
                      Member
                      • May 2010
                      • 94

                      #11
                      Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

                      My western, analytical, unenlightened perspective (although after that intro you probably don't want to read it...):

                      It's all SUPPOSED to be based on the Buddha's teachings. In that respect, I think looking at the teachings from different perspectives is useful. I will admit to vast confusion about "how to practice" when I first started reading about Buddhism (since I didn't know the difference between sects at that time, so was reading a real mix of practice advice). I wouldn't recommend that for someone just starting out.

                      However, I think once you get your feet on the ground, reading/hearing about what other "sects" have to say/how they practice can be very beneficial. How do you know Soto Zen is right for you if you have no idea what other Buddhism teaches? In the end, it's your practice and you have to feel the connection or it is probably all for naught.

                      BTW - I went to a "Rinzai" sesshin and sat shikintaza all week. It was a great experience.

                      Good luck,

                      Craig

                      Comment

                      • Risho
                        Member
                        • May 2010
                        • 3179

                        #12
                        Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

                        Originally posted by CraigfromAz
                        My western, analytical, unenlightened perspective (although after that intro you probably don't want to read it...):
                        I agree.. whoops just kidding :mrgreen:

                        Originally posted by CraigfromAz
                        However, I think once you get your feet on the ground, reading/hearing about what other "sects" have to say/how they practice can be very beneficial. How do you know Soto Zen is right for you if you have no idea what other Buddhism teaches? In the end, it's your practice and you have to feel the connection or it is probably all for naught.
                        Well said, this was true for me as well... it took me several months of wtf moments when reading until I started catching on. And I'm still having those moments all the time. lol

                        The variance among different sects of Zen is astounding to me. To count or not to count.. Shikantaza, koan training, etc. I mean Joko Beck, Roshi even does labeling... in Zen! I tried it and it drove me nuts. lol

                        But I agree with you Craig, you gotta try and see what works. I honestly prefer Shikantaza. I did counting for months, but once I started Shikantaza, it was just different... I really feel as if it "fit".

                        But I think it's the nature of the practice that we use our teachers' guidance, but we must find our own way. Master Zuigan's practice, for instance, was to ask himself if he was awake. That worked for him. When I first realized that my practice was up to me it drove me nuts because I wanted to know the way, and I wanted it now! But it's really liberating because it forces the practitioner to really look into themself and do the legwork, and when they find what works it becomes a very, very personal practice.. IMHO (and although I'm a newbie, I'm still finding my feet, but that's my feeling) at least.

                        Gassho,

                        Cyril
                        Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                        Comment

                        • Geika
                          Treeleaf Unsui
                          • Jan 2010
                          • 4980

                          #13
                          Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

                          Originally posted by Taylor
                          Just don't cut and paste too much, as Shohei pointed out, or you may end up standing on your head chanting "Om mani padme hum" thinking "AH HA! SO THIS IS SHIKANTAZA!"
                          You know, I was doing something very similar to this the other day, lol.

                          Originally posted by Taylor
                          P.s. As for the three shoes? He would wear two and use the other for a flower pot. Well, I would at least.
                          I like this metaphor, because it describes how I feel about mixing religious material to suit one's needs. Yes, it is best to stick to the basic "meat" of the structure, i.e., wearing two shoes-- which is useful and how most people go about using shoes. However, a shoe can be used as a flowerpot, just as elements of Zen can be used in other religions and parts of life-- or elements of other religions being used to enrich or broaden one's understanding of Zen.

                          Also, having studied many religions, noticing the similarities between all the different "Nirvana's" and the practices of them all has caused me to wonder if we are all "practicing" "Zen/ Christianity/ Islam/ etc." by various methods all at once and for the same "end."

                          Originally posted by CraigfromAz
                          However, I think once you get your feet on the ground, reading/hearing about what other "sects" have to say/how they practice can be very beneficial. How do you know Soto Zen is right for you if you have no idea what other Buddhism teaches? In the end, it's your practice and you have to feel the connection or it is probably all for naught.
                          This makes me wonder... One could go on and on, studying other religions to find just the right fit... and go on searching forever... I wonder, how can we search for a "truth" which can't be identified if we cease to change our methods?
                          求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                          I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

                          Comment

                          • Jundo
                            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                            • Apr 2006
                            • 39474

                            #14
                            Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

                            Dear All,

                            ALLOW ME TO PRESENT THE 'OFFICIAL' STANCE FROM MANAGEMENT ON THIS ISSUE. 8)

                            It is really very simple.

                            Our 'heart and all being' Practice here is Shikantaza Zazen which, by its very nature, must be experienced as the only and complete Practice, nothing more to do, no other place to go than on one's Zafu, not a single thing to add or take away ... the whole universe sitting as our sitting, as sitting sits sitting ...

                            And what we learn about experiencing life in that "just what it is" way when 'on the cushion' can also come to be taken with us when we rise from the cushion into daily life ... which is 'Zazen' in its wider meaning. I sometimes write ....

                            Every moment of Zazen is complete, sacred, a perfect action, with not one thing to add, not one thing to take away. When we sit Zazen, we are a Buddha sitting.

                            And all of this life and world can be known too as sacred, a jewel, with not one thing to add, not one thing to take away. Perfectly just-what-it-is.
                            THUS, by definition, Shikantaza is a practice of radical non-doing, non-need-to-changing, non-seeking for a promised land 'somewhere else'. The “effect" of Zazen greatly derives from learning to accept the moment with all the body-and-mind, being “at one” with what is as we drop demands and resistance to changing circumstances, thus going with the flow and being just the very flowing itself, finding stillness even as and through the motion of life, dropping desires and demands for how the frustrated “me/myself/I”‘ self wants things to “should be” vs. “life just as we find life”. Yes, if you are having difficulty to sit still, and to drop demands and judgments of “how things should be”… it is because the self resists.

                            But sitting radically to the marrowless marrow with "nothing to attain" does not mean that nothing is attained. Far from it!

                            To realize that you are never, from the outset, in need of change is a VERY BIG CHANGE! There is absolutely nothing about you and the universe (not two) to add or take away, and tasting that there is "nothing to add" is an important addition!

                            And how do you realize that non-realization?

                            By Just Sitting to-the-marrow, radically dropping all goals, judgments, attempts to get somewhere or to achieve some realization. That gets you somewhere, and a revolutionary realization!

                            Truly understanding that everything is completely beyond need for change is a complete change, and finding that there was never a place to get to is finally getting somewhere.
                            What is more that is the reason for being (and non-being) of this Sangha, and no other practices or perspectives should be taught here to the degree they take away from the above, the central message.

                            HOWEVER, Zen teachers often talk out of two sides of their no-sided mouth!

                            Just because there is "nothing to change about us" ... does not mean that there is "nothing to change about us". :shock:

                            Perhaps a fellow sits down to Zazen for the first time who is a violent man, a thief and alcoholic. He hears that “all is Buddha just as it is“, so thinks that Zen practice means “all is a jewel just as it is, so thus maybe I can simply stay that way, just drink and beat my wife and rob strangers“. Well, no, because while a thief and wife-beater is just that … a thief and wife-beater, yet a Buddha nonetheless … still, someone filled with such anger and greed and empty holes to fill in their psyche is not really “at peace with how things are” (or he would not beat and steal and need to self-medicate). In other words, he takes and craves and acts out anger and frustration because he does not truly understand “peace with this life as it is” … because if he did, he would not need to be those violent, punishing ways.

                            If the angry, violent fellow truly knew “completeness“, truly had “no hole in need of filling“, “nothing lacking” everything “complete just as it is” … well, he simply would not have need to do violence, steal and take drugs to cover his inner pain.

                            You see … kind of a self-fulfilling Catch-22.

                            Thus, our “goalless sitting” in Zazen is –not– merely sitting on our butts, self-satisfied, feeling that we “just have to sit here and we are Buddha“. Far from it. It is, instead, to-the-marrow dropping of all need and lack. That is very different. Someone’s “just sitting around” doing nothing, going no where, complacent or resigned, giving up, killing time, is not in any way the same as “Just Sitting” practice wherein nothing need be done, with no where that we can go or need go, for all is faced ‘head on’ and energetically as already whole and complete … even while we realize that the choices we make in life have consequences, that how we choose to walk the walk in this life, and the directions we choose to go, do make a difference!

                            more here:
                            http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p ... nt94847378
                            Thus, to the extent some other practice might further someone in realizing the Buddhist teachings ... and speaks to them (even if not strictly "Buddhist" ... such as for our several Christian friends here) GO FOR IT! HOWEVER, DO NOT LOSE THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF SHIKANTAZA ALONG THE WAY BY STUMBLING INTO SEEKING, NEEDING, RUNNING FOR THE "GREENER GRASS OVER DISTANT HILLS" (missing the greenness of the grass where you sit).

                            In this Dojo (this school and practice place ... no different from a Judo school which teaches a certain style of Judo), we teach a certain style .... "Just Sitting" Shikantaza. We may discuss some other practices, and adapt a few, but carefully. One reason is that not all practices will appeal to all people here, much as Christianity or chanting the Nembutsu will speak to some but not to others here. What is more, we do not adapt any practice which seems to conflict with Shikantaza's message of radical non-seeking.

                            And as mentioned by Shohei and others ... read widely, experience widely, find the practice(s) right for you ... but do not treat practice as a cafeteria. We should not play basketball with ice skates on, nor hockey with a baseball bat. 8)

                            Here, we keep our aimless aim focused like a beam on Shikantaza.

                            Gassho, Jundo (and I think I speak for Brother Taigu too).
                            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                            Comment

                            • Taigu
                              Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                              • Aug 2008
                              • 2710

                              #15
                              Re: Teachings Practices from other Schools / Traditions

                              Hi all,

                              Yes Jundo and Shohei said it all and I also mentioned this in the last video. One practice is enough. Practice one thing and everything opens. Spiritual sight seeing, window shopping, meditation shop lifting are materialistic practices. The way is not a supermarket or a buffet. We find what suits us and then get on with it.

                              gassho


                              Taigu

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