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Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:52 pm
by Dharmajim
LisaMann wrote:Greetings and thanks for the invite! :D

As far as Tibetan vs Zen, this is nothing new... hey there've been issues for a millennium, and I guess some Tibetans still see Mo-ho-yen under every bed. "Ban the blasphemer!" Heck, back then we got the boot from the Tibetan plateau, now we just get the boot off a website.

It stinks, but we can choose to, or not to, participate. I'll leave my sandals behind, at least.
One of the most frustrating things for Zen, not just Soto Zen, practitioners is the way Tibetan Buddhism interprets their tradition through the lens of a single historical incident that took place over 1,000 years ago. As a former Zen practitioner I can attest to feeling like I was in some kind of strange surreal realm when talking to Tibetan Buddhists about Zen, unless they had previously practiced Zen. It is common, for example, for Tibetan Buddhists to state that Zen seeks to "eliminate" thoughts. The problem with this is that no Zen Master, no Zen Meditation manual, ever says this. I think this is one of the root sources for the kind of tension that people observe.

Please understand that I am not disparaging the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I am only pointing out how that tradition treats a non-Tibetan tradition in such a way that it gives rise to tensions that have been observed and commented on by posters here.

Best wishes,

Jim

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:19 pm
by Element
I am curious. What are the issues with Soto Zen?

When I google Soto Zen, I come up with Dogen. I was under the impression Dogen was a great teacher.

What are the specific issues the Tibetans have with Soto Zen?

I have noticed on other sites, so-called Zen practitioners appear to repudiate all 'form', clinging to a doctrine of nothingness.

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:36 pm
by tiltbillings
One of the most frustrating things for Zen, not just Soto Zen, practitioners is the way Tibetan Buddhism interprets their tradition through the lens of a single historical incident that took place over 1,000 years ago.
Having seen modern day Tibetan Buddhist polemists wannabes in action, trying to put Zen, Theravada and any everyone else in their proper place, I do not wonder why master Madhyamakin polemist Aryadeva (3rd cent CE) got himself assassinated for being any annoying git.

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:56 pm
by jcsuperstar
Element wrote:I am curious. What are the issues with Soto Zen?

When I google Soto Zen, I come up with Dogen. I was under the impression Dogen was a great teacher.

What are the specific issues the Tibetans have with Soto Zen?

I have noticed on other sites, so-called Zen practitioners appear to repudiate all 'form', clinging to a doctrine of nothingness.
theres a few lines of teachers that dont teach rebirth in soto zen, that see the buddha as more human than other schools etc.

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:05 pm
by Element
jcsuperstar wrote:..theres a few lines of teachers that dont teach rebirth in soto zen, that see the buddha as more human than other schools etc.
Whilst studying little, I always gained the impression that classic Zen teachers like Bodhi Dharma, Dogen, Huang Po, etc, where mostly concerned about the here & now. This style of teaching is what I call 'minimalistic Zen'.

When I raised this once to a moderator from another site on another site who also drops into this site, that two-headed moderator stressed the Chinese sutras were the basis of his Zen or Chaan following. I simply replied he was a Tibetan in disguise. :spy: :spy:

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:15 pm
by Karma Dondrup Tashi
Peter wrote:christopher:::,

I find tension arises when we assume we're all practicing the same religion. When we try to force things like that there is bound to be tension.

Conversely, when we assume we are practicing different religions we can talk civilly, compare similarities, contrast differences, and generally enjoy each other's company.
:goodpost:

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:28 pm
by Cittasanto
Peter wrote:christopher:::,

I find tension arises when we assume we're all practicing the same religion. When we try to force things like that there is bound to be tension.

Conversely, when we assume we are practicing different religions we can talk civilly, compare similarities, contrast differences, and generally enjoy each other's company.

To put it another way...

If I say "Buddha said this" and you say "No no no, Buddha said that" well then we've got a fight on our hands.
But if I say "In my tradition we learn this" and you say "That's interesting because in my tradition we learn that" then we have a civil and interesting discussion.
well it can happen even within the same tradition, especially when one thinks they are right and the other is wrong, even when the one who is believed to be always wrong is agreeing with the other they are wrong just by means of words used.
Dogma comes in many forms

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:46 pm
by retrofuturist
Greetings Manapa,

Yes, that is a good point, yet intra-tradition tensions of that kind are unavoidable, and probably to some extent productive. I do wonder though in all sincerity whether there is anything to be gained by one tradition critiquing another. Can such critiquing ever be fully detached from proselytization? Does it improve anyone's practice and help them learn more about their own tradition, or does it simply lead to agitation and fertile soil for Wrong Speech? I tend to get along well with people from other Buddhist traditions, but we usually don't go about critiquing each other's tradition... merely explain and ask questions about what life is like on our own sides of the fence, so that we can understand each other better.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:31 am
by Cittasanto
HI Retro
retrofuturist wrote:merely explain and ask questions about what life is like on our own sides of the fence, so that we can understand each other better.
sometimes we can try but it can be unavoidable even within the same "sect"

I don't generally say I am a buddhist more often say seeker of truth but more incommon with buddhism than another religion, or with buddhists say theravada, but have looked at each tradition, so don't get into the same trifles as others myself, but this too has its draw backs as it can lead or be a reason for misunderstanding, etc
the words we use can cause as much confusion as the language

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:39 am
by tiltbillings
Anders Honore,

[EDIT: Discussion on E-Sangha removed - Retro.]

We each belong to our little group, often thinking it is better than those other little groups, but what do we do with those thoughts? The problem is that the Mahayana has triumphalism and supersessionism built into its structure, which feeds right into the baser feelings. Always a choice.

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:45 am
by clw_uk
Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:48 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings,
clw_uk wrote:Isnt everyone entertaining wrong view when they claim

"I am/we are better, I am/we are equal and I am/we are worse than"
Yes, this is mana, conceit.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:57 am
by Element
tiltbillings wrote:The problem is that the Mahayana has triumphalism and supersessionism built into its structure, which feeds right into the baser feelings.
Indeed. All Buddhist chat sites have this issue, where the Mahayana stalk the threads of the other traditions, like Christian fundamentalists. Funny how many do not see what Tibet was, a theocracy based on feudal slavery.

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:17 am
by christopher:::
I think we should try to be very very careful about critiquing Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, any religion for that matter, other then our own. Once you start it's hard to stop, yet in this Universe so many things are unknown. This is where too much intellectual understanding or knowledge can become a burden for the practitioner, another wall inside of us, as genkaku put it.

All we have is our perceptions. These we need to handle with care. Same goes for other people of course. We need to handle them with care. Where does one find wisdom in all of this, and how do we practice it?

IMHO, Buddha taught an eight-fold path that included right speech for a reason.

Retro put it very well...
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Manapa,

Yes, that is a good point, yet intra-tradition tensions of that kind are unavoidable, and probably to some extent productive. I do wonder though in all sincerity whether there is anything to be gained by one tradition critiquing another. Can such critiquing ever be fully detached from proselytization? Does it improve anyone's practice and help them learn more about their own tradition, or does it simply lead to agitation and fertile soil for Wrong Speech? I tend to get along well with people from other Buddhist traditions, but we usually don't go about critiquing each other's tradition... merely explain and ask questions about what life is like on our own sides of the fence, so that we can understand each other better.

Metta,
Retro. :)
:goodpost:

Re: Tensions within Modern Buddhism, Real or Illusory?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:18 am
by tiltbillings
Indeed. All Buddhist chat sites have this issue, where the Mahayana stalk the threads of the other traditions, like Christian fundamentalists. Funny how many do not see what Tibet was, a theocracy based on feudal slavery.
There bases for critquing the Mahayana, but I am not so sure the structure of Tibets government is one of them, but that is an argument for a different thread, please.

Also, the Mahayana does not stalk threads; it is some Mahayanists who may do that, and like anything, Mahayanists vary as to how they see these things. It is just when they do buy into the triumphalism and supersessionism, they have "divine" reason to do so.