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Interested in Zen Buddhism?

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Daneko
Posts: 16
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(@daneko)
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Joined: 16 years ago

Hello
I know we have a few Buddhist's or people interested in Buddhism on here, but is anyone specifically interested in or a Zen Buddhist?

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Energylz
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(@energylz)
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Joined: 20 years ago

I think I have book on it somewhere (I really should dig it out and have a read), but to be honest I haven't got around to finding out what Zen Buddhism is about in relation to other forms of Buddhism.

Can you tell a little about it?

All Love and Reiki Hugs

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Daneko
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(@daneko)
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Hi Giles

First of all let me just say it's impossible to explain something that you experience and that's how Zen Buddhism differs from other schools. When the Buddha sat and attained enlightenment he did not have a collection of Buddhist books to read or indeed a Buddhist Teacher. What he did have, that indeed all of us have, is a collection of experiences that had brought him to that point.
So Zen Buddhism is more about experiencing the teachings rather than reading them. However great insight can be gained from reading the teachings, which in turn leads you further along your experiential path.

Daneko.

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Energylz
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(@energylz)
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Hi Daneko,

*nod* I understand that these things have to be experienced. It's a little like the Practical Philosophy course that I am attending. We have "teachings" given to us and we discuss things in a group, but the real core of it is taking something away each week and putting it into practice, then going back and discussing it again.

Are other forms of buddhism not about experiencing the teachings too? From the Buddhist meditation classes (NKT) that I've attended, those have a topic of teaching each time and we then meditate on that topic and are also asked to take it away and put it into practice in our daily lives.

I know buddhism is a vast area and can't all be covered here in a thread, but I'm still trying to understand how Zen buddhism differs from, say, Mahayana Buddhism?

All Love and Reiki Hugs

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Daneko
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Hi Giles

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism, but how it differs varies from school to school depending upon what type of Zen you practice. Like you say it's far too in depth to discuss on a forum but if you are really interested Wikipedia explains it quiet tidily.
I think as long as you are happy with your teacher and/or teachings then it doesn't matter what school of Buddhism you follow.
You can't be too fussy anyway there aren't that many teachers or schools around.

Daneko.

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Energylz
Posts: 16602
(@energylz)
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You can't be too fussy anyway there aren't that many teachers or schools around.

LOL, true. I just went to the NKT website and found over 400 different class locations where they do meditation workshops, just in the UK alone.

πŸ˜‰

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Lilyflower1
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Joined: 15 years ago

I have done my own research on this over the years.

The thing with Zen Bhuddism is this...

Bhuddism was taken from India, through Tibet and other countries, anyway, it ended up in China.

The Chinese could not understand the bhuddist teachings. So they were translated.

Some of the folks who translated the teachings and as it spread throughout the country, it mixed with China's already strong beliefs and philosophies, like Confucianism for example.

So in a very basic way of describing it, Zen Bhuddism is a mix of traditional Mahayana Bhuddism, with Chinese Philosophy.

It is explained well in a book by Adelene Yen Mah called ''Watching the Tree'' her grandfather (Ye Ye) was a Zen Bhuddist and she tells of it's history in China and her talks about religion with her Ye Ye.

If you guys want I will dig out the book and post some quotes that relate to Zen?

Another thing I have learnt about Zen is that it teaches that the goal of the path is nirvana. Nirvana for anyone who doesn't know, is personal liberation from suffering.

This differs from the teachings given in NKT where the goal is to liberate ALL sentient beings from samsara by becoming a bhudda.

Lily xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Energylz
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(@energylz)
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Interesting stuff Lily,

If you'd like to post some short quotes from the book that are relevant that would be good to see to (don't put yourself out with lots of typing though). Thanks

All Love and Reiki Hugs

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Daneko
Posts: 16
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Another thing I have learnt about Zen is that it teaches that the goal of the path is nirvana. Nirvana for anyone who doesn't know, is personal liberation from suffering.

This differs from the teachings given in NKT where the goal is to liberate ALL sentient beings from samsara by becoming a bhudda.

A common mistake I have found that many people make with Zen Buddhism is that they believe it to be quite a selfish path, in that they believe students sit in meditation hoping to achieve enlightenment for themselves. When the truth is the more you sit the more you realise there is no difference between you and everything else.
Zen Buddhism is also a school of Mahayana Buddhism (The Great Vehicle) which emphasisized compassion and the path of the bodhisattva (the devotion of one's entire life to helping others).
Many of the Zen schools in London recite the Shigu Seigan Mon (The Four Vows) one of which is 'Beings are numberless; I vow to free them'.

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Lilyflower1
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Thanks for that Daneko, I must admit being puzzeled about the mahayana path being attributed to Zen if it was purely just in search of personal liberation. However I had previously thought that being Mahayana does not necessarily mean you want to free all suffering sentient beings as mahayana is as you rightly said ' the great vehicle ' meaning that it teaches both sutra and tantra. so thanks for that.

Anyway, here are some quotes from the book ''Watching the tree'' by Adeline Yen Mah (Harper Collins 2001).

''The roots of bhuddism came from India around 500BC, when a splinter group broke away in revolt against Hinduism. In the middle of the second century Bhuddism spread to China, where it merged with Taoism and Confucianism to become syncretised into a special kind of Chinese Bhuddism called Zen Bhuddism'' ~pg74

''Approximately 100yrs after Gautama's death... (Siddhartha Gautama was the first to become enlightened under the bhodi tree in India he lived from 563 - 483 BC and began the movement of Bhuddism which broke away from Hinduism)... a schism occured and his community devided into two schools...

...the Elders continued to ahere strictly to the original Pali doctrine by withdrawing from the world. This came known as the Theravada or Hinayana (small vehicle) and is the form of Bhuddism practised today in Sri lanka, Burma, Thialand, Loas and Cambodia.
The second school, known as the Mahayana, spread to China, Japan, Korea, Nepal and Tibet. Mahayana Bhuddism holds a much more liberal, tolerant and pliant view on the interpretation of the Pali Canon...

...Mahayana teachings... ...allow far greater freedom in the development of new ideas to conform with local customs and beliefs. Consequently, Tibetan Bhuddism became markedly different from Zen Bhuddism, although both belong to the Mahayana school. Over the centuries Zen took on an uniquely Chinese flavour and diverged more and more from other types of bhuddism.'' ~pg78

''The aim of Zen is to awaken the student to the realisation of his own enlightenment.....
.... Zen has no creed and does not involve committing ones self to certain definate rules of behaviour.'' ~pg79

''(Adeline's grandfather speaking) ''I believe Zen's success may have been due to its progressive integration with the philosophy culled from ancient Chinese classics'' ''

Lily xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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(@stevie2tone)
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Joined: 12 years ago

How do you go about learning about Buddhism, are there meetings or gatherings for people interested in learning more. I am in the Essex area and would appreciate any information on this please

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Posts: 12
(@21st-century-boy)
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Joined: 10 years ago

I've been an on-off practitioner for a few years, not enough of it really...

I need to start up properly again, I am also looking into Shingon Buddhism as an extra to my Zazen.

21st Century Boy

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