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The Thinker
02 Jun 12, 14:25
i was trying to talk to a Zen Buddhist monk about the teachings in Zen, then he hit me with a stick on my head and answered me. dont ask question find answer you self.
why did he do that?

I my self comes from Theravada tradition

Abhaya
02 Jun 12, 14:51
The act: One traditional method of snapping intellectually curious Zen students back to reality involved striking them with a stick, a practice upheld during the Tang dynasty (years 618-907). If distracted or focused on nonsense, the teacher would do everything possible to bring the student back to the present. Usually, Zen monks in the West no longer hit people with sticks unless the student wishes to experience this traditional method for redirecting attention.

The words: Zen emphasizes self-realization, a path walked by the practitioner him/herself without excessive reliance upon others. In this way, Zen is experiential as opposed to philosophical. A person must experience truth for themselves rather than rely on others to explain it philosophically.

The reaction: What will you do? If you return, you can ask not to be hit again. A modern Zen community should understand and respect this. If you return, don't expect anyone to give you the answers. Investigate for yourself, whether there or elsewhere.

The Thinker
02 Jun 12, 15:02
Thank you for your answer :)

Hope its not wrong of me to ask one more question. i only do that to understand Zen tradition a bit better.
How can you become enlightened in Zen if you cant ask about things you dont understand in your practise? for me as a Theravada buddhist i am used to get guiding sometimes from monks at my local temple :) and i feel it help my own cultivating

But again, thank you for a very good answer

The thinker

Abhaya
02 Jun 12, 15:08
A person can ask all they want about things they don't understand, but the expectation that an answer will be given is something to be abandoned. In the community I attend, I listen much more than I speak, and this has been to my advantage.

Teachers will differ between and even within traditions. If the monk you spoke to does not seem helpful, find another to speak to and notice any patterns that emerge. It may be frustrating, but the process will surely teach you something about yourself.

The Thinker
02 Jun 12, 15:20
Thank you for your helpful answers abhaya :) I think i will continue my journey as a Theravada buddhist :) i feel that is they right path for me :)

I wish you all the best and happiness with your cultivating.

The thinker

Abhaya
02 Jun 12, 15:23
Good luck and best wishes on your path.

:hands:

Trilaksana
02 Jun 12, 18:14
The reason that they don't answer your questions is because ultimately the Dharma cannot be understood through purely intellectual means. It must be understood experientially. If they give you an explanation you may misunderstand and if you become attached to that explanation then you will not understand what they meant by it.

The Thinker
02 Jun 12, 18:27
If my friends ask me about my understanding of Buddhism then i always answer first "from my understanding of the teaching" and then i kind of feel more safe about my answer, but if i later find that my answer was not totally true then i will tell my friends that i gained more understanding and i will give them my new understanding :) that i feel Zen Buddhist could do too :)

Gus4U
07 Jun 12, 14:37
What are all these Zen and Theravada discussion posts doing in this thread? Don't they have a home of their own ?
:bow: :peace:

The Thinker
07 Jun 12, 14:49
maybe i posted it in wrong tread. sorry

Aloka
07 Jun 12, 16:04
What are all these Zen and Theravada discussion posts doing in this thread? Don't they have a home of their own ?
:bow: :peace:

Well, this thread is called "about Zen Buddhism" isn't it and Zen is Mahayana so its in the right forum - and there's nothing wrong in TheThinker having said he practices Theravada when writing the OP #1. ;D


Just as an aside, I think that we need to be very clear about whether we are joking or not, because some of our members from around the world don't have English as their first language :hands:

Goofaholix
07 Jun 12, 20:01
Hope its not wrong of me to ask one more question. i only do that to understand Zen tradition a bit better.
How can you become enlightened in Zen if you cant ask about things you dont understand in your practise? for me as a Theravada buddhist i am used to get guiding sometimes from monks at my local temple :) and i feel it help my own cultivating


Practise is a question.

If you are asking questions about how to practise then all well and good, if you are asking questions that you are supposed to find the answers to yourself through practise then a good teacher might try to find a way to point you back to practise.

You may not have liked being hit with a stick at the time and maybe he got it wrong but be open to how the shock may have changed the way your mind was operating.