Differences In Methods.

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Differences In Methods.

Post by sherab zangpo on Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:43 am

Does Zen, Chan have any unique methods that other Mahayana schools don't have?
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by zenzen on Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:26 pm

I am not aware of a single "technique" that would be applicable everywhere in the context of chan / zen. But I am aware of the methodology of "direct pointing to the mind". You are probably aware of the basic principle: the teaching is passed with pointing directly to the mind's essence rather than describing the thing with words. IMHO, that's the most typical thing that defines chan / zen. Okay, bear with my understanding, I do not know all the mahayana schools very well and they probably have something similar elsewhere too. Please educate me in this sense. Smile 
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by sherab zangpo on Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:00 am

zenzen wrote:But I am aware of the methodology of "direct pointing to the mind". You are probably aware of the basic principle: the teaching is passed with pointing directly to the mind's essence rather than describing the thing with words. Smile 

Katsu?
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by zenzen on Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:28 pm

Katsu is quite special indeed. However, I do not have experience of katsu, but the wikipedia article on 'zen' gives quite a good description about what direct pointing is: Because the Zen tradition emphasizes direct communication over scriptural study, the Zen teacher has traditionally played a central role. Generally speaking, a Zen teacher is a person ordained in any tradition of Zen to teach the Dharma, guide students in meditation, and perform rituals. An important concept for all Zen sects is the notion of dharma transmission: the claim of a line of authority that goes back to Śākyamuni Buddha via the teachings of each successive master to each successive student. This concept relates to the ideas expressed in a description of Zen attributed to Bodhidharma:

A special transmission outside the scriptures; (教外別傳)
No dependence upon words and letters; (不立文字)
Direct pointing to the human mind; (直指人心)
Seeing into one's own nature and attaining Buddhahood. (見性成佛)[21]


Last edited by zenzen on Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by zenzen on Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:34 pm

Now, one could say that this description is rather extreme in the sense that it includes a silent assumption that such silent dharma could be transmitted only from qualified teachers from bodhidharma's tradition. The question follows that if Big B got it once then someone else might have come to the same realisations elsewhere too. Right? Wink So perhaps the independence of scriptures, words and letters and seeing one's own nature are the really important factors?
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by sherab zangpo on Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:12 am

zenzen wrote:Now, one could say that this description is rather extreme in the sense that it includes a silent assumption that such silent dharma could be transmitted only from qualified teachers from bodhidharma's tradition.
Dear zenzen
Do you know who holds that direct lineage today?



sherab
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by zenzen on Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:17 am

sherab zangpo wrote:
zenzen wrote:Now, one could say that this description is rather extreme in the sense that it includes a silent assumption that such silent dharma could be transmitted only from qualified teachers from bodhidharma's tradition.
Dear zenzen
Do you know who holds that direct lineage today?
sherab
Of course not! Very Happy  It seems to me that so many people claim to pass the real and authentic teaching of some kind of an original thing. Most claim to have inherited some sort of an authority from someone. To tell who is the most direct in some of the millions of lineages out there would be foolish from me. Personally I have nothing to teach so it would also be said that I do not follow any certain lineage myself. 
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by christopher::: on Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:17 pm

sherab zangpo wrote:Does Zen, Chan have any unique methods that other Mahayana schools don't have?

The most unique aspect of Zen imo is the focus on meditation and mindfulness practiced throughout the day. Quite similar to some Theravadin schools, actually. I've heard some say Zen is similar to Dzogchen, but have heard others say that is absolutely false.

The emphasis on shunyata, emptiness, and inner silence is what attracts many Westerners to Zen. Some are critical of this, saying we don't study the teachings of Buddhism enough.

This may be true, in some cases.

All the above represents my personal opinion only and should not taken as facts about this matter.

afro
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by zenzen on Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:01 am

christopher::: wrote:
sherab zangpo wrote:Does Zen, Chan have any unique methods that other Mahayana schools don't have?

The most unique aspect of Zen imo is the focus on meditation and mindfulness practiced throughout the day. Quite similar to some Theravadin schools, actually. I've heard some say Zen is similar to Dzogchen, but have heard others say that is absolutely false.

The emphasis on shunyata, emptiness, and inner silence is what attracts many Westerners to Zen. Some are critical of this, saying we don't study the teachings of Buddhism enough.

This may be true, in some cases.

All the above represents my personal opinion only and should not taken as facts about this matter.

afro
I agree about what you wrote here. Smile 
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by sherab zangpo on Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:28 pm

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Miscellaneous/ChanZenStudies.htm


Questions of Method

Chan/Zen studies are on the whole divided between textual/philological and historical approaches on the one hand, and hermeneutical and philosophical approaches on the other. In this sense, they have not succeeded in going beyond the paradigm established by Hu Shih and Suzuki in their well-known controversy.

The philological-historical approach remains predominant in the field of Buddhist Studies. It emphasizes literati traditions and tends to rely heavily on Sino-Japanese erudition. Many Ph. D. dissertations are still monographs of the "Life and works of so-and-so" variety.

The hermeneutical approach, influenced by Gadamer and Ricoeur, is characteristic of Religious Studies as it developed in the U. S. It focuses on the interpretations of religious phenomena and on the meaning of symbols. It has not on the whole greatly influenced Chan/Zen historians. On the other hand, several scholars like Peter Gregory, David Chappell and Robert Buswell have focused on a properly Buddhist or Zen hermeneutics. Gregory has studied in great detail the hermeneutic system of doctrinal classification (panjiao) elaborated by Zongmi. The question of hermeneutics was at the center of a conference organized by Donald Lopez in 1984, which led to the publication of Buddhist Hermeneutics (Lopez 1988).

The philosophical approach remains the main method used to understand Buddhist and Confucian texts, and this approach sometimes hinders the development of other methods. Some of the major texts of the Buddhist tradition, and in particular Chan texts or texts related to Chan, have been in this way reduced to a philosophical perspective that is alien to them. One example of half-baked philosophical comparativism is Edward Shaner's The Bodymind Experience in Japanese Buddhism, which turns the founders of Shingon and Sôtô into precursors (or disciples?) of Husserl.
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by zenzen on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:01 am

Comment regarding the red ink: Isn't it a real pity that this has happened? So many people will read that stuff. Luckily we still have koans to wonder about.
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Re: Differences In Methods.

Post by Antigen on Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:07 pm

Ch'an practice is an eclectic combination of things, many of which are not part of Zen practice. Besides the sitting meditation, there is also elements of Pure Land recitation, as well as qi cultivation.

The easiest way to explain it, is that Ch'an is a book, and Zen is but one of the chapters. Neither greater or lesser than the book, just only 1 part of it.
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