My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Ryan95227
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My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by Ryan95227 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:07 am

Well, he has been "trying" to attain enlightenment for 40 years. He started off with Buddhism of course, believing that what the Buddha said was true because he "felt" something very sincere in his teachings. After he learned about supernatural things of Buddhism, he began to feel doubtful and moved on to clear cut teachings such as Jiddu Krishnamurti's teachings. He has relied on Krishna's teachings for almost 30 years and he still believes that Krishna's teaching is the best way for modern people like us. Just recently, he came upon a video that had a korean professor talk about zen buddhism and my dad realizes that this is the truest form of buddhism because it takes away all the fluffs, misinterpretation,and supernatural side of buddhism. He has been hooked on ever since this video. He keeps telling me that meditating, acting nicely, speaking right, and etc are all foolish things. He believes you can get enlightened immediately through insight. As much as I like my dad, i find this had to believe. How can one whose mind is filled with all sorts of defilements can ever see as they are suddenly? I believe that you really must follow the noble 8 fold path to build up the foundation for your mind to see as they are. However, he asked me some good question about current buddhism. He asked me "you really believe in some texts that were probably misinterpreted and changed to fit their narratives through those 2500 years?" He also asked me "how you are even planning to read those 80,000 pages worth of buddhist texts?" This is the new era and one must practice something that fits today's era. So I began to question myself and I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable. Can anyone clear this up? :cry:

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robertk
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by robertk » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:08 am

Ryan95227 wrote:Well,. He has been hooked on ever since this video. He keeps telling me that meditating, acting nicely, speaking right, and etc are all foolish things. He believes you can get enlightened immediately through insight. As much as I like my dad, i find this had to believe. How can one whose mind is filled with all sorts of defilements can ever see as they are suddenly? I believe that you really must follow the noble 8 fold path to build up the foundation for your mind to see as they are. feeling pretty uncomfortable. Can anyone clear this up? :cry:
he makes good points.
the 8 fold path is actually the arising of momentary cittas associated with cetasikas.
And apart from the moment when nibbana is touched the path to this is only associated with 5 path factors, not all 8.
So if there is enough right understanding then moments of insight will/can arise anytime.

where I think he goes wrong is thinking that the texts are eithet unnecessary or distorted. Without a very strong correct intellectual understanding there cant be sufficient basis for deeper levels

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robertk
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by robertk » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:10 am

if you have time read over this thread..
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=15952

Bakmoon
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by Bakmoon » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:43 am

Ryan95227 wrote:He asked me "you really believe in some texts that were probably misinterpreted and changed to fit their narratives through those 2500 years?" He also asked me "how you are even planning to read those 80,000 pages worth of buddhist texts?" This is the new era and one must practice something that fits today's era. So I began to question myself and I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable. Can anyone clear this up? :cry:
Buddhism divided into sects with their own collections of suttas, and we can understand a great deal from comparative analysis. Some of the Agamas of the Sarvastivada school were translated into Chinese and when we compare their contents with the Pali Nikayas we find that although there is occasionally different material and the formatting of texts varies quite a bit (sections being moved around, introductions happening in different places, verse summaries being inserted at the end of texts) the core teachings are really quite consistent. Plus you can turn his argument around on him and ask him how does he know that the zen teachings that have been passed down from person to person haven't been misinterpreted or changed? There were many schools of zen in China that disagreed with each other quite a bit, and we really don't know where Bodhidharma got his teachings from, so how does he know that they were correctly passed down from the time of the Buddha until the time of Bodhidharma? The way the Zen schools validated their oral teachings is by trying to prove it matches up with material from Mahayana Sutras, but those are filled with the 'supernatural' stuff, and were composed much latter than the Pali texts.

And the average practicing Buddhist doesn't need to read all of Pali texts. They just need to know the fundamental doctrines and have enough knowledge of instructions to be able to correctly practice the three trainings of ethics, meditation, and wisdom. Teachers obviously need a much more in-depth knowledge, but that's true of every subject.

(By the way, I'm not putting down the Zen school and claiming that it is inauthentic. I am just arguing against that sort of Zen triumphalism.)
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by Santi253 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:48 am

Of all the Mahayana sects, I believe that Zen is closest to what the Buddha originally taught. I started this thread elsewhere:
http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 57&t=11868
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

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Aloka
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by Aloka » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:14 am

He believes you can get enlightened immediately through insight. As much as I like my dad, i find this had to believe. How can one whose mind is filled with all sorts of defilements can ever see as they are suddenly
Hi Ryan,

I think its possible to have temporary moments of profound insight, without that actually being "enlightenment" in the full sense of the word "Nibbana."

Perhaps your father might like the teachings of the late Ajahn Chah of the Theravada Thai Forest Tradition and of his pupil Ajahn Sumedho. Ajahn Sumedho gives wonderful teachings which are very direct and completely free of superstition and the "supernatural". You can find a five volume anthology of his talks here....

https://forestsangha.org/teachings/book ... ge=English

and there are also videos of some of his talks on YouTube.

With metta,

Aloka :anjali:

binocular
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by binocular » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:58 pm

Ryan95227 wrote: /.../
However, he asked me some good question about current buddhism. He asked me "you really believe in some texts that were probably misinterpreted and changed to fit their narratives through those 2500 years?" He also asked me "how you are even planning to read those 80,000 pages worth of buddhist texts?" This is the new era and one must practice something that fits today's era. So I began to question myself and I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable. Can anyone clear this up?
To begin with, that conversation is taking place between you and your father. There is a hierarchy between the two of you, with him being higher than you. This is so regardless of the friendly terms on which you might be. He's your father, he was there before you, he took care of you, and there is no getting around that. It's this hierarchy that stands in the way for the two of you to have the sort of open discussion as you can have with someone whom you consider your equal. You could probably discuss those questions with your friends without any problems. But discussing them with your father or your other senior relatives or respected others who are senior to you (e.g.: your boss) makes it much more difficult.

Something that previously was a non-issue for you can become an issue when it is raised by your parents or others who are senior to you. This is how the social hierarchies in which we live can affect how we think about things.

"I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Your mother & father. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. If you were to establish your mother & father in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures, you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world.

But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in discernment: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Dealing with one's parents in religious/philosophical matters requires a whole new level of expertise. So be prepared for a lot of work.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

santa100
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by santa100 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:16 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:Just recently, he came upon a video that had a korean professor talk about zen buddhism and my dad realizes that this is the truest form of buddhism...

He asked me "you really believe in some texts that were probably misinterpreted and changed to fit their narratives through those 2500 years?"
At least those texts have been examined, compared, verified, and regcognized by Buddhist scholars and practicing monastics. Simply ask your dad whether that Korean professor's words have any backup suttas or supporting literature? Have they been examined, compared, verified, and recognized by Buddhist scholars and practicing monastics? Apply similar logic to address his other questions, ie. ask him what backup reference/literature he has to validate those "practices that fits today's era"..

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cappuccino
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by cappuccino » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:17 pm

By reading the suttas, doubt is transcended.

As the Bible says, doubt leads to delusion.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:11

lostitude
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by lostitude » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:42 pm

Ryan95227 wrote: He keeps telling me that meditating, acting nicely, speaking right, and etc are all foolish things. He believes you can get enlightened immediately through insight.
Why would he believe this, if it has not happened to him yet? i find that pretty strange. How can anyone give their opinion about how to achieve something they've never achieved?

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CedarTree
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by CedarTree » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:59 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:Well, he has been "trying" to attain enlightenment for 40 years. He started off with Buddhism of course, believing that what the Buddha said was true because he "felt" something very sincere in his teachings. After he learned about supernatural things of Buddhism, he began to feel doubtful and moved on to clear cut teachings such as Jiddu Krishnamurti's teachings. He has relied on Krishna's teachings for almost 30 years and he still believes that Krishna's teaching is the best way for modern people like us. Just recently, he came upon a video that had a korean professor talk about zen buddhism and my dad realizes that this is the truest form of buddhism because it takes away all the fluffs, misinterpretation,and supernatural side of buddhism. He has been hooked on ever since this video. He keeps telling me that meditating, acting nicely, speaking right, and etc are all foolish things. He believes you can get enlightened immediately through insight. As much as I like my dad, i find this had to believe. How can one whose mind is filled with all sorts of defilements can ever see as they are suddenly? I believe that you really must follow the noble 8 fold path to build up the foundation for your mind to see as they are. However, he asked me some good question about current buddhism. He asked me "you really believe in some texts that were probably misinterpreted and changed to fit their narratives through those 2500 years?" He also asked me "how you are even planning to read those 80,000 pages worth of buddhist texts?" This is the new era and one must practice something that fits today's era. So I began to question myself and I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable. Can anyone clear this up? :cry:
I can speak from a perspective of someone that deeply went into Theravada and then found a mix approach with Soto Zen in particular the life lived by Zazen practice as admirably done at Antai-ji and Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery.

I think your Father has a common problem that comes in modernism. He takes a view that is a philosophic backdrop of 1990-2020 or so and applies it as if that is truth.

If his meditation experience either in absorption states (Jhana) or other forms of Theravada meditation have not shown him to move past (let go) of certain world views he will be stuck. Zazen should have brought this out in him.

If he lives in the United States I would recommend while he is in this heavy Zen flavor he go to a place like Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery and practice heavily. It will hopefully move him past a lot of what is holding him back which to be centered around "self".

And yes you are correct without "purity of heart" insight and deep letting go is near to if impossible. This is a teaching strong in Theravada but solely not emphasized enough in Zen.


Practice, Practice, Practice


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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by DNS » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:04 pm

Zen is good. I'd be happy that he's practicing a Dharmic path. It could have been worse; he could have been practicing an A-dharmic path. He could have been doing immoral things and saying you're going to hell or disowning you or other adharmic things.

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m0rl0ck
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by m0rl0ck » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:07 am

If he is looking to avoid practice, unless he has karmic roots, circumstances and insight on the level of say, hui neng, he is deluded.

If you are looking for some sort of reconciliation of theravadan and zen buddhism, you must read this:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

Oh and btw, there is no enlightenment, there is just reality.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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seeker242
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by seeker242 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:29 am

Ryan95227 wrote:He keeps telling me that meditating, acting nicely, speaking right, and etc are all foolish things.
That's strange. Zen masters don't say that..

binocular
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Re: My father believes that zen buddhism is the truest

Post by binocular » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:13 am

lostitude wrote:
Ryan95227 wrote: He keeps telling me that meditating, acting nicely, speaking right, and etc are all foolish things. He believes you can get enlightened immediately through insight.
Why would he believe this, if it has not happened to him yet? i find that pretty strange. How can anyone give their opinion about how to achieve something they've never achieved?
It's common. Very common.
:woohoo:
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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