Zazen

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Iconoclast
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Zazen

Postby Iconoclast » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:30 pm

I recently read a short bio of Rinzai and loved it. The man was wild and I can identify with him in a many ways. I'm a life long martial artist so I really get Hakuin's emphasis on being physically fit for meditation. My question is, how does Rinzai and Soto differ? What teaching has emphasis in each school?

Thank you
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kirtu
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Re: Zazen

Postby kirtu » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:58 pm

Iconoclast wrote:I recently read a short bio of Rinzai and loved it. The man was wild and I can identify with him in a many ways. I'm a life long martial artist so I really get Hakuin's emphasis on being physically fit for meditation. My question is, how does Rinzai and Soto differ? What teaching has emphasis in each school?


The differences are summarized as more energetic approach plus koan study = Rinzai while more peaceful overall plus shikantaza = Soto. But these are general rules of thumb. There is also a school which combines both lineages.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Zazen

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:34 am

The saying in Japan is, I am told, that Rinzai is 'warrior Zen' and Soto is 'farmer Zen'. This is based on the fact that Rinzai is associated much more with martial arts training, the 'way of the warrior', the practice of koans and the forceful and even alarming character of its founder. Soto, by contrast, is more contemplative, with its emphasis on 'just sitting' and on contemplation and meditation. But they are two different styles of something which is recognizably the same teaching.
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Re: Zazen

Postby Indrajala » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:16 pm

Wayfarer wrote:The saying in Japan is, I am told, that Rinzai is 'warrior Zen' and Soto is 'farmer Zen'. This is based on the fact that Rinzai is associated much more with martial arts training, the 'way of the warrior', the practice of koans and the forceful and even alarming character of its founder. Soto, by contrast, is more contemplative, with its emphasis on 'just sitting' and on contemplation and meditation. But they are two different styles of something which is recognizably the same teaching.


Historically, as I understand it, Soto was more rural and less aristocratic than Rinzai. This is evident just in the locations of head temples. Eihei-ji is in a remote location, whereas Nanzen-ji, for example, is in Kyoto. Major Rinzai temples also dominated Kamakura (like Kenchō-ji for instance). Throughout the entire history of Japanese Zen until modern times the aristocracy was dominated primarily by military men, so the 'forceful' quality of Rinzai was perhaps a predictable outcome.
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Re: Zazen

Postby jundo cohen » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:18 pm

In some ways, one pushes very hard and walks very far to realize that there is no place to go, nothing to win or lose, no birth or death.

In some ways, one sits very still and allows all to easily flow, all to realize that there is no place to go, nothing to win or lose, no birth or death.

But the best teaching has a time to push and a time to sit very still ... a time for walking forward and and time for allowing ... all to realize that there is no place to go, nothing to win or lose, no birth or death.

In truth, there is absolute stillness at the heart of pushing, and hardness and softness are not two ... one can know how to sit going forward, and walk absolutely still ...

... all to realize that there is no place to go, nothing to win or lose, no birth or death.

That "no place to go, nothing to win or lose, no birth or death" has always been very much prized by martial artists (for obvious reasons), but it is just as much precious for all of us in just changing baby diapers or a tire on the car.

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Re: Zazen

Postby Meido » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:45 pm

Iconoclast wrote:I recently read a short bio of Rinzai and loved it. The man was wild and I can identify with him in a many ways. I'm a life long martial artist so I really get Hakuin's emphasis on being physically fit for meditation. My question is, how does Rinzai and Soto differ? What teaching has emphasis in each school?


Iconoclast, if you have specific questions about Rinzai practice - i.e. what you'd likely actually do if training under a Rinzai teacher - please ask away.

In general my advice is not to give too much weight to Soto vs. Rinzai differences. There are general trends, of course; for example if you train with a Rinzai teacher you're probably going to engage with wato/koan at some point if that methods suits you. But the background, character, ability and specific lineage inheritance of the teacher you choose will also determine the details of your path. Those things can actually vary greatly, even within the larger lineage groupings.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one's True Nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly (according to this understanding), in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

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Re: Zazen

Postby Iconoclast » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:59 pm

Great question, what you'd likely actually do if training under a Rinzai teacher?

:twothumbsup:
"Keep on working in this nothingness that is nowhere..."

"Cast aside cares, strip yourself from thoughts, and abandon your body; for prayer is nothing other than detachment from the visible and invisible world."

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Re: Zazen

Postby kirtu » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:07 am

Iconoclast wrote:Great question, what you'd likely actually do if training under a Rinzai teacher?


Bow a lot, shout some and get whacked with a stick repeatedly ...



Just kidding ....




No, not so much ..... :twothumbsup:


Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Zazen

Postby Meido » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:31 pm

Iconoclast wrote:Great question, what you'd likely actually do if training under a Rinzai teacher?


Well, as a general overview:

As mentioned, it can vary depending on the teacher's background; also the teacher's ability and depth of realization, and of course the student's capacity and obstructions. So in short, there is no set "curriculum" of practice from beginning to end of one's life. There are some aspects of practice that will be mandatory for those with particular responsibilities; I'm thinking here of priests who will have to learn kuyo (ceremony), and teachers who are expected to fully pass through their line's koan shitsunai (inherited system for using koan) since that is necessary in order for them to see it from the top down and use it to guide others.

But for the average person there are no set rules. Most simply put, the teacher's initial job is to cause the student to have kensho, since all subsequent practice is based on that, and thereafter to prescribe practices by which that may be clarified and embodied. If I were to say what is pretty typical for laypersons, it might go something like this:

1. Direct pointing, according to the teacher's ability, style and inherited means. Student recognizes: begin practicing based on that recognition. Student doesn't recognize: begin practicing to remove obstructions, and keep trying.

2. Zazen, developing samadhi by which obstructions are dissolved and/or recognition of one's nature sustained and integrated: breath counting (susokukan) is a very commonly prescribed method. Chanting of sutras, dharani and mantra also commonly prescribed; these are done in a particular manner which also reinforces aspects of #3:

3. If the teacher's line is one that transmits explicit methods of energetic cultivation, these may be prescribed e.g. tanden soku (hara breathing) and others. If not, at the very least the student will have to learn to breath diaphragmatically (fukushiki kokyu) if this is not happening naturally in the beginning

4. When samadhi power is sufficient, wato/koan may be prescribed. Depending on student's situation, and whether or not kensho has manifested, various wato or koan might be given, and with different intent

5. Meanwhile, practice in activity will be stressed from the beginning: integrating samadhi with physical work, daily activities, the arts, etc. depending on the student's life situation, lacks, and interests.

6. The 3-year secret practice of hokkyo zanmai (jewel mirror samadhi) and hen sho ego zanmai (alternate samadhis of hen and sho) are means by which realization is eventually made one's own, i.e. the path of sustaining and embodying it is made clear. This is integrated into the koan structure to be prescribed at a specific point, but is not tied to koan practice in fact (thus, koan "curricula" should not be seen as rigid systems - a common misperception - but as general structures for one's overall practice throughout life that not only engage koan but also refer to and bring out a great deal of other things).

7. Retreats: sesshin are considered indispensable, and should be begun as soon as one is able. Periods of solitary retreat are also common for persons ready to use them safely. Intensive retreat is particularly necessary for laypersons who may not have the frequency and depth of daily practice that monastics have.

So, there's a grab-bag of things you'd likely bump up against at some point. There are others, but I'm discussing here the most common.

kirtu wrote:Bow a lot, shout some and get whacked with a stick repeatedly ...


Many obstructions, I see! :tongue:

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one's True Nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly (according to this understanding), in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

http://www.korinji.org
http://www.rinzaizen.org
http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org

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Re: Zazen

Postby Matylda » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:10 am

Indrajala wrote:Historically, as I understand it, Soto was more rural and less aristocratic than Rinzai. This is evident just in the locations of head temples. Eihei-ji is in a remote location, whereas Nanzen-ji, for example, is in Kyoto. Major Rinzai temples also dominated Kamakura (like Kenchō-ji for instance). Throughout the entire history of Japanese Zen until modern times the aristocracy was dominated primarily by military men, so the 'forceful' quality of Rinzai was perhaps a predictable outcome.


This is bunch of very strange claims which I have already heard sometimes. What does it mean less aristocratic? Most if not all old soto temples were established by aristocracy, regional rulers - aristocrats etc. And those were kizoku - the samurai aristocracy, not kuge - the imperial aristocrats, who were involved in Nara-Heian temples.
In many rinzai temples soto masters continued their teaching activities. Examples are Nanzenji or Kenninji were for many years Menazan Zuiho taught Rinzairoku. The 'forcefull' quality had nothing to do with aristocracy dominated by military. Aristocracy was clearly divided into kuge, of emperor house and kizoku of shogun/daimyo related families, which by nature was samurai blend.

'Forceful' if we can really talk about it, rather comes from Hakuin personality.. by the way greatly influenced by Shosan - a soto master, and ex samurai. There was a lot of 'forcefulness' within soto premises... it is enough to read authobiography of Sawaki Kodo, or read about Bokusan, Oka Sotan or Akino Kodo and how they led training. And those were soto priests of Shobogenzo race... so not to mention very harsh Denson and his flock in Koshoji and Edo temples which was very harsh and strict.

Today in many places situtation is changed but it also touched rinzai monasteries.


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