I am one individual practicing in my limited way some of the sublime teachings and practices that come under the umbrella of Mahayana Buddhism and more specifically Zen. But really I am just one man trying to make sense of life, accept it, to be with it fully, to bring compassion rather than suffering to it, to help others do likewise and ultimately perhaps awaken to Reality as it is. Where does "my path is superior to yours" fit in here? I fail to see.
Likewise I fail to see how anyone who is sincerely concerned with similar goals would bother with this kind of one-man-upmanship and the various types of party politics - "this is my party line and it is different to yours. Ours is correct!" Better put in more effort, more commitment into my practice and leave all squabbles and sceptical doubts aside!
Right on the money, Dan.
I think there is a rivalry going on between modern Western Therevadin, Zen and Tibetan Buddhists, about who's past is "best." You don't see us bashing Soka Gakkai or Pureland. We could be, and I know that historically here in Japan there used to be such rivalries and bickering.
The present situation may stem from the fact that very few of us were born into our schools of practice. Instead we looked at all the different vehicles and made a very conscious choice, just like you might when buying a car. And at some level that's what is happening when we put our tradition up on a pedestal or criticize another. I think this is cause our 3 traditions are most similar, actually-- as all three focus on meditation practices as core method-- and so people are trying to assure themselves that they made the right choice.
Problem is, as soon as we fall into such discussions we lose focus. We are no longer talking about our practice
- about driving, the journey, the challenges of being on the road. Instead we are objectifying and identifying with our paths, and it becomes pissing matches about who has the best car, and what the faults may be of other cars.
Seems no different to me then ego-centric ramblings where we brag about our beautiful wife, mansion and pool in the back yard. It's a form of indentification with your chosen path, which can become a trap when conceptualized this way. We become like drivers who are no longer driving, who have pulled over to the side of the road, kicking one another's tires and arguing, instead of driving.
Anyway, that's why I'm with Dan and Retro. When I talk with a Tibetan Buddhist or Therevadin I am not looking to raise up or put down, to discuss what might be superior or inferior. That very thought process is a trap.
What i want to know is which Tibetan or Therevadin teachers spoke most wisely about the dharma, about the path, about daily life, meeting challenges, cultivating bodhichitta, working thru bad habits, abandoning clinging, meditation methods, etc...
I want to support fellow Buddhists on their journey and gain any information and tips (from any school) that will help me learn how to be a better driver, aka dharma practitioner
In line with that, some excerpts from a Chan/Zen Buddhism text that I know Retro likes, and really gets to the heart of this matter, imo...
HSIN HSIN MING: Verses on the Faith Mind
by The 3rd Zen/Chan Patriarch, Seng T'san
The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect like vast space when nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess. Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things.
Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial. To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth. Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source. At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance. Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions. Do not remain in the dualistic state -- avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion. Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when such a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way. When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish. Things are objects because of the subject (mind); the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).
To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute; the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited; even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going. Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed.