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KoolAid900
09 Sep 10, 22:13
I noticed that there are only two posts in Mahayana folder! So making a shout-out to any other Mahayana Buddhists on the board... what tradition do you practice with? Maybe we can come up with some topics in here...! I'm mostly associated with the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and have some very limited experience with Zen, and even less with Chan, though it looks really cool. Would be interested in hearing about other traditions.... :)

Esho
09 Sep 10, 23:23
Hi KoolAid,

I am a Soto Zen practitioner. The school with which I practice zazen, the core aspect and the main concern of Soto schools, was founded by Roshi Taizan Maezumi. Along the path, he realized that it was needed a kind of astringency for the practice of Dhamma. It is peculiar to this Soto school the fact that it has drop out some of the classical Mahayana suttas like the Lotus Sutta, the Bodhisattva ideal and other "add-ons" typical to Mahayana tradition. In this way we have given a significant meaning to the Buddha Dhamma over the traditional suttas of the Mahayana.

This has result in considering the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path as the central aspect of our knowledge and because of that we are more closer to Theravada than to Mahayana. We keep some Zen core teachings like the Third Ancestor Sutta, a few Shobogenzo Koans, The 10 Bulls, and the Sekito Kisen's Sandokai. We also consider the Pali Canon more relevant for our understanding than the Mayahana's Prajnaparaimta Suttas, always keeping Zazen as our main practice.

We do neither seek for enlightenment nor Nirvana as is understood in the Mahayana tradition. We look for Right View as a mean for understanding and overcoming suffering. As far as I can understand this is more less the way of this particular Soto Zen school.

;D

londonerabroad
10 Sep 10, 04:51
I am a Mahayana Buddhist - Tibetan schools - I am practicing the generation of bodhicitta in order to facilitate an awakening and the end of suffering in all beings.

halfcajun
10 Sep 10, 16:20
Hi KoolAid:
Tibetan Buddhist here. You'e not alone!

KoolAid900
10 Sep 10, 23:37
Hi back, Kaarine. It is interesting to hear your view. A lot of the time I was studying Zen (some of which I'm sure was related to Soto) I thought the emphasis seemed considerably less focused on the bodhisattva ideal and Mahayana philosophy. I was actually kinda shocked to learn that it was considered Mahayana, because of this. I was very much drawn to this approach as well. After learning more I kinda figured that as Buddhism moved through China and then Japan it was still based on the same teachings but became more direct experience based and eventually the underlying philosophical structure either dropped away and has just been hanging out in the background. I did not know that that certain Mahayana sutras were excluded.... huh. I thought the Soto sect was founded by Dogen, am I thinking of someone else?

KoolAid900
10 Sep 10, 23:37
Hi KoolAid:
Tibetan Buddhist here. You'e not alone!


WooHoo! LOL

Esho
11 Sep 10, 00:17
A lot of the time I was studying Zen (some of which I'm sure was related to Soto) I thought the emphasis seemed considerably less focused on the bodhisattva ideal and Mahayana philosophy.

Yes... Zen is not really a Mahayana tradition. It has developed in accordance to the Japanese temper, a kind of direct insight about things. This emphasis makes Zen nearer to Theravada than to Mahayana. This directness is given because its support in the core teachings of the historical Buddha that are direct by themselves. But in other ways some Soto schools resembles the Dzogchen discipline mostly in its meditation skills. Zazen, the core practice of Soto explains by itself this feature. Zazen is Vipasana and Samatha at the same time in a way that we still the mind and go through direct insight. In zazen that is not divided.


After learning more I kinda figured that as Buddhism moved through China and then Japan it was still based on the same teachings but became more direct experience based and eventually the underlying philosophical structure either dropped away

Yes... Soto is bare of any kind of philosophical speculations... the practice is supported in meditation and I have fitted well in this approach. I am not so good with philosophical reasoning and metaphysical speculation.


I did not know that that certain Mahayana sutras were excluded....

Particularly this Soto school has. Mainly the Lotus Sutta and other Prajnaparamita suttas as well. Taisan Maetsumi was convinced that a return to the Four Noble Truths and also to the story of how the historical Buddha finally awoke is very important and is enough to awake when there is a deep commitment with this teaching and the branching that gives through practice and study. This branching eventually take you through the Canon Pali and again this attitude is more in accordance to Theravada approach.


I thought the Soto sect was founded by Dogen, am I thinking of someone else?

Yes, Dogen Zenji is the main ancestor of Zen Soto schools. There are Soto schools that are supported just in what Dogen told in his Shobogenzo. In the particular case of the school with which I practice we have in high esteem the Bendo-Wa and the Gengo Koan. The others are just for contextual references if needed.

:hands:

Esho
11 Sep 10, 00:26
WooHoo! LOL

:P

Aloka
13 Sep 10, 08:07
Maybe we can come up with some topics in here...!



New topics always welcome in any of the forums !

qixuan
21 Sep 10, 18:39
I study Chan, centred on the Heart Sutra, zazen, silent illumination and hua-tou. I'm interested in whether people with other practices have used hua-tou or practised silent illumination?

KoolAid what would you like to ask about Chan?

metta

Esho
21 Sep 10, 21:41
Hi qixuan,

Wellcome to BWB... :hug:

Sounds great... I am a Soto Zen practitioner. Our central teaching are the Four Noble Truths and the discipline of Negemisho or silent learning. We do not know anything about illumination, just understanding. Our core practice is zazen too, as it is the strength of our school.

:hands:

qixuan
24 Sep 10, 13:38
Hi Kaarine

Please tell me more about silent learning.

Silent Illumination is a method of practising zazen. For example, many people begin by counting the breath and may move onto noticing the breath as a method of deepening insight. Silent illumination is a method where you maintain full alertness without any attachment, the mind is silent but aware (source of illumination). Perhaps you know this method by a different name?

Chan does have schools that are basically Soto and Rinsai, there is also a Pure Land School. My Dharmaheir was Master Sheng Yen, he was Dharmaheir to all 3 schools. I would not be surprised to see a synthesis of all 3 schools within Chan teachings but I do not know enough about individual schools.

Perhaps you can spare some time to explain what makes Soto, Soto?

Metta

Qixuan

Esho
25 Sep 10, 01:11
Hi Kaarine

Please tell me more about silent learning.

Hi qixuan dear,

Well, I will try to do my best... Silent learning started with Maha-Kashapa. The very first Ancestor of Zen way of learning. It is told that he smiled at a revelation given by the historical Buddha when he was turning of a flower. Maha-Kashapa just smiles while the assembly was just silent expecting a discurse. The teaching was not expressed by words but specially transmitted beyond teaching.

Soto leans on this kind of direct insight. Teishos are really short. We do not endure in long discurses when a sutta is being read. Silent learning is a consequence of zazen brought into daily life. To be aware about dukkha, anatta, anicca. This brings you a direct insight about things in daily life.

In a conventional teisho we read a sutta... then silence... we read it again... and again silence... after a few times... we procede to zazen... interpretation comes from time to time and it is just an observation to the teaching in case of mental tension after or before zazen.


Silent Illumination is a method of practising zazen. For example, many people begin by counting the breath and may move onto noticing the breath as a method of deepening insight.

Of course, this is one of the main stages of zazen. But we do not think or even we do not talk or seek for illumination or enlightenment. It is not part of what is in practice. We talk about Right View. Just that.


the mind is silent but aware (source of illumination). Perhaps you know this method by a different name?

The silent mind is Shi or Concentration and belongs to what is meant by Samatha and the awareness of mind is Kan or Observation and belongs what is meant by Vipasana. Zazen is done just because without any purpose. If you have any purpose, even a subtle one... there is a tension so it is better to stop for a while and wait for it until it is a natural need.

:hands:

qixuan
30 Sep 10, 21:25
Hi Kaarine

It seems the word illumination is misleading as we also do not have purpose. Silent illumination is a practice to bring about the right state of mind for silent learning, it is barely the beginning of right concentration.

It is nice to know that different words in fact uncover the same truth.

Soto and Chan share a great deal, we rarely discuss anything, the core of Chan is the special transmission as described above by yourself.

Wuwei, wuxin - without mind, without thought

metta

Esho
01 Oct 10, 17:48
the core of Chan is the special transmission as described above by yourself.

True... that is why zazen is so meaningfull... makes room in the mind for Right Understanding... I highly recomed to go to the Sammaditthi Sutta. (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.009.ntbb.html)

:hands:

qixuan
05 Oct 10, 17:58
Thank You

Esho
06 Oct 10, 14:39
Thank You

:hands:

kilroydavek
04 Jan 11, 02:11
I am a practioner of Chinese Pure Land, yet I believe the Sangha is comprised of Buddhists from all traditions. I learn from enlightened beings, whatever label they may choose to put upon themselves.

Aloka
04 Jan 11, 04:36
Welcome to the community, Kilroydavek.

I doubt you'll find that any of us here are enlightened though ! ;)

Esho
04 Jan 11, 15:30
I doubt you'll find that any of us here are enlightened though !

Yes, very true.

:P

Red Thread
10 Jan 11, 19:20
Hi Koolaid,
I have begun practicing a form of Mahayana, chanting and studying various Sutras dealing with the practice of a bodhisatva for the benefit of all sentient beings. I can't pin down the particular school of thought, as I'm still very early in my practice. I guess I started practicing what I thought was most appropriate for my mind, and then went to find what lineage to which that practice belongs.
Cheers!

peace-and-daisies
18 Apr 11, 07:08
Hi Koolaid and others!
I'm new to this website and just had a look at all the forums and saw this one. I have been learning Mahayana practice for a few years off and on. I am very fortunate to have such a loving, kind and extremely patient teacher - (he has to be patient with all the questions I fire at him). :)

David843
24 Apr 11, 13:48
My current teacher is Tibetan (Gelug). I have studied and practiced under Soto Zen and Theravadin teachers as well. I avoid labeling myself as I find that tends to bring about self imposed limits. I simply work with whatever qualified teacher is available to me.