how does zen differ from theravada?

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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby alan... » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:57 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:I think the biggest difference is that zen is right and theravada is wrong. The biggest similiarity being that they both have an "e" in them.


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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby Raitanator » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:37 pm

2/5 troll, because it got three replies.
Last edited by Raitanator on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby christopher::: » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:52 am

Hi everyone.

daverupa wrote:I'll just set this down here...

SN 54.6 wrote:"Having abandoned sensual desire for past sensual pleasures, lord, having done away with sensual desire for future sensual pleasures, and having thoroughly subdued perceptions of irritation with regard to internal & external events, I breathe in mindfully and breathe out mindfully."

"There is that mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, Arittha. I don't say that there isn't. But as to how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is brought in detail to its culmination, listen and pay close attention. I will speak."


Many interesting observations but this jumped out for me right away as a possible key "difference." The sense I get is that the part in bold is considered an essential prerequisite or foundation for successful practice, in Theravada. But not so in Zen. It may be that the two systems were closer hundreds of years ago, or that in formal settings (such as a Zen training monastery) the approach is similar.

I don't know.

:juggling:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby alan... » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:09 pm

christopher::: wrote:Hi everyone.

daverupa wrote:I'll just set this down here...

SN 54.6 wrote:"Having abandoned sensual desire for past sensual pleasures, lord, having done away with sensual desire for future sensual pleasures, and having thoroughly subdued perceptions of irritation with regard to internal & external events, I breathe in mindfully and breathe out mindfully."

"There is that mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, Arittha. I don't say that there isn't. But as to how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is brought in detail to its culmination, listen and pay close attention. I will speak."


Many interesting observations but this jumped out for me right away as a possible key "difference." The sense I get is that the part in bold is considered an essential prerequisite or foundation for successful practice, in Theravada. But not so in Zen. It may be that the two systems were closer hundreds of years ago, or that in formal settings (such as a Zen training monastery) the approach is similar.

I don't know.

:juggling:



so you mean that these instructions being very in depth about desire and what not and the zen idea of, as Dan74 put it, "what arises, arises" are different in this way?
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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:43 am

alan... wrote:
so you mean that these instructions being very in depth about desire and what not and the zen idea of, as Dan74 put it, "what arises, arises" are different in this way?



Maybe :tongue:

I'm not really sure, as I have not practiced either Theravada or Zen formally with a teacher or sangha. But what I've noticed over the years (from talking with people in both groups) is that for those practicing Theravada the path seems very clear. Buddha laid out the instructions, you follow the instructions, find others (sangha and/or teacher) to support, guide and encourage you, and positive results unfold gradually over time.

With Zen the path seems less clear. Most Zen Buddhists believe a teacher is needed, that much about the path and practice cannot be communicated with words and descriptions, you need to be in close proximity of someone who has mastered Zen. But then some discover this doesn't work, in practice, all the time. The Western Zen community is going thru a bit of a "crisis" right now, with revelations of sexual misconduct by a number of respected Zen teachers.

How could this happen? I think its in part this belief that the path is not easily described, putting too much faith in teachers. Also a lack of emphasis on ethics and moral conduct (sīla), especially in Japanese Zen. Which I think is initially seen as something positive by many drawn to Zen, but then eventually leads to these incidents.

But I'm not sure. It's just something I've observed from a distance, and a problem I've wrestled with as well. Dan probably has a better understanding of this as he has been fortunate to have a Zen teacher who does emphasize sīla. For Zen teachers who have truly mastered the Dharma and recognize how essential each component is they probably provide assistance (and have an understanding of the path) that is closer to what Theravada provides.

Again, just my perspective.

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby Ben » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:46 am

Thanks, Chris!
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:01 am

You're most welcome Ben.

We live in a very interesting time. The Dhamma teachings have only crossed over from East to West in a large scale way recently. Perhaps mirroring of the technological & economical influences crossing from West to East at the same time. The Asian cultures have been transformed by that, the transformation of our cultures is less clear, smaller scale perhaps?

Unfortunately the economic and technological advances haven't decreased suffering. So lets hope the positive influence of the Dhamma continues to spread and deepen.

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:09 am

christopher::: wrote:Perhaps mirroring of the technological & economical influences crossing from West to East at the same time.

Exchange of technology in both directions has been going on for many centuries, maybe millennia. Just one example is the history of ceramics, which involved transfer in both directions.

It seems that the east-west religion transfer lagged far behind the west-east by almost a millennium (possibly because Islam and Christianity are a lot more vocal about selling themselves...).

:anjali:
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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:20 am

Hi Mike,

Yes, good point about the technology exchanges going on for centuries. Though I think the transformations brought by Western culture and technology since the late 1800s is unlike anything that ever happened before. The "landscape" of people's lives - with phones, refridgerators, electricity, television, cars, planes, factories, movies, etc is almost identical from country to country where the influence was eagerly accepted.

And yes, the religion transfer lagged far behind... Though is that because Islam and Christianity were more vocal or more :quote: aggressive?

:guns: :stirthepot: :jedi:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:24 am

P.S. I apologize to everyone for going :offtopic:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: how does zen differ from theravada?

Postby Sambojjhanga » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:16 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:I think the biggest difference is that zen is right and theravada is wrong. The biggest similiarity being that they both have an "e" in them.


Anyone can make such a statement. Unless you are simply being provocative, can you please innumerate some specific incidences where you find zen "right" and theravada "wrong"?
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