Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Justmeagain
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:12 pm

Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Justmeagain » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:53 am

I keep reading that the Soto Zen practice of Shikantaza, 'Just Sitting' with no focus or any sort of analytical investigation into the mind.....can be equated to Sutra Mahamudra practices....can someone clarify how or if this is even correct?

Thanks...

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:21 am

So called sutra mahamudra includes calming meditation with and without object, and insight meditation with and without analysis.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3097
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:27 am

I think it's more a matter of the two practices being taught and practiced in different cultural milieux - Zen being Japanese, Mahamudra being Tibetan.

It's worth remembering that until the 20th century, these two cultures were utterly separate, with very little communication, certainly no notion of 'cross-cultural comparison'. So even though the basic practice seems similar, the philosophical attitude is rather different, as they developed in such different environments.

Actually coming to think of it, it reminds me of an anecdote I once read:

In the early 1970s, two Buddhist masters met in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of them, Kalu Rinpoche, was a renowned Tibetan meditation master who had spent many years in solitary retreat in the remote mountain caves of Tibet. The other was Seung Sahn, a Korean Zen master who had recently come to the United States and was supporting himself by working in a Providence, Rhode Island, Laundromat, slowly planting the seeds of Zen in the minds of those coming to wash their clothes.

At this now famous meeting of enlightened minds, Seung Sahn held up an orange and, in classic Zen dharma combat fashion, demanded, “What is this?”

Kalu Rinpoche just looked at him, wonderingly.

Again Master Seung Sahn asked, “What is this?”

After a long period silence, Rinpoche turned to his translator and asked, “Don’t they have oranges in Korea?”
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:08 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Zen being Japanese, Mahamudra being Tibetan


That might be relevant in some aspects, like robes, instruments, etc., but not in the basic concept of the path. To find a common denominator between Zen and Mahamudra, it is mainly the prajnaparamita teachings. But then, the prajnaparamita is shared among all Mahayana traditions anyway.

Shikantaza is the immediate recognition of the buddhas' wisdom, there are no steps or stages provided. The Dagpo Kagyu tradition provides a step by step instruction on the stages from the preliminaries to the four yogas. That amounts to more than just a "philosophical attitude".
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Justmeagain
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:12 pm

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Justmeagain » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:02 pm

Thanks,

Whilst I appreciate they're different traditions I can't help but feel they're so far apart so as to be almost contradictory.

Shikantaza involves absolutely NO analytical investigation at all...whereas (my understanding) of Mahamudra is that it entails very much an analysis of mind. I was taught the reductive method of identifying the mind as it appears as the object of negation then the subsequent process revealing both its unfindability and its actual nature.

The two practices couldn't be further apart in my opinion.

What do you think?

[...just realised that sounded like a really bad pun...wasn't intended!]

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:21 pm

Justmeagain wrote:Whilst I appreciate they're different traditions I can't help but feel they're so far apart so as to be almost contradictory.
...
The two practices couldn't be further apart in my opinion.


Zen practice begins and ends at non-abiding. Mahamudra provides a gradual path to non-abiding. There is no contradiction in that, they are simply different approaches.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 22178
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:24 pm

Astus wrote:
Justmeagain wrote:Whilst I appreciate they're different traditions I can't help but feel they're so far apart so as to be almost contradictory.
...
The two practices couldn't be further apart in my opinion.


Zen practice begins and ends at non-abiding. Mahamudra provides a gradual path to non-abiding. There is no contradiction in that, they are simply different approaches.



Mahāmudra is non-gradual, actually.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


"Belief is useless."

-- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 8202
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby DGA » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:47 pm

Justmeagain wrote:I keep reading that the Soto Zen practice of Shikantaza, 'Just Sitting' with no focus or any sort of analytical investigation into the mind.....can be equated to Sutra Mahamudra practices....can someone clarify how or if this is even correct?

Thanks...


to make a meaningful comparison, you would need to get instruction in both practices from capable masters, and to practice them. Otherwise, you just have an intellectual exercise.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 22178
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:49 pm

DGA wrote:
Justmeagain wrote:I keep reading that the Soto Zen practice of Shikantaza, 'Just Sitting' with no focus or any sort of analytical investigation into the mind.....can be equated to Sutra Mahamudra practices....can someone clarify how or if this is even correct?

Thanks...


to make a meaningful comparison, you would need to get instruction in both practices from capable masters, and to practice them. Otherwise, you just have an intellectual exercise.



Yes, and that will take many years. So better to pick one and practice it. Choose well!
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


"Belief is useless."

-- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

Justmeagain
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:12 pm

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Justmeagain » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:50 pm

But I think the process of practice is a given.

One is utterly without form, the other its antithesis.

Do both practices lead to the same end?

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 8202
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby DGA » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:59 pm

Justmeagain wrote:But I think the process of practice is a given.

One is utterly without form, the other its antithesis.


This is all speculation and hearsay unless and until you have received explicit oral instruction from competent masters in both traditions, and practice to see for yourself.

Competent masters of shikantaza are very rare birds, by the way. Ask about this in the Soto Zen forum.

Do both practices lead to the same end?


So I've heard. But why take my word for it, or that of any other dork you meet online?

User avatar
Nyedrag Yeshe
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:06 am
Location: Brazil

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Nyedrag Yeshe » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:06 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Mahamudra being Tibetan.

Mahamudra came straight from India.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनु फश भर हेये स्वाहा॥ सर्व मङलम
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:14 pm

Malcolm wrote:Mahāmudra is non-gradual, actually.


Although one can say that "Mahamudra cannot be taught" and "it doesn't have an identity to show", there is still a gradual path employed to train in it.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 22178
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:18 pm

Astus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Mahāmudra is non-gradual, actually.


Although one can say that "Mahamudra cannot be taught" and "it doesn't have an identity to show", there is still a gradual path employed to train in it.


Mahāmudra and Dzogchen are both paths of self-liberation. There is no gradual training for either.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


"Belief is useless."

-- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

Justmeagain
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:12 pm

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Justmeagain » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:21 pm

DGA wrote: So I've heard. But why take my word for it, or that of any other dork you meet online?


Well we could say that regarding any enquiry in here :shrug:

But, as it happens I did receive Mahamudra teachings some time ago and have only recently been given direct teachings on Shikantaza from a respected Soto Zen priest. However, access to 'my teacher' is limited and I also trust the opinions of (some) in here :bow:

I guess my concern is that I don't want to waste my time on a practice that is not as effective as another.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:54 pm

Justmeagain wrote:But I think the process of practice is a given.
One is utterly without form, the other its antithesis.
Do both practices lead to the same end?


All Mahayana traditions have buddhahood as their goal. As for any of them being better, quicker, higher, etc., while that can be an entertaining topic to discuss, when it comes to walking the path, the inclinations and opportunities of the individual decide what is fitting.

I guess my concern is that I don't want to waste my time on a practice that is not as effective as another.


Effective is always what works for you. As you may have already heard, zazen is good for nothing and in mahamudra there is nothing to do.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 22178
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:55 pm

Astus wrote:
Justmeagain wrote:But I think the process of practice is a given.
One is utterly without form, the other its antithesis.
Do both practices lead to the same end?


All Mahayana traditions have buddhahood as their goal.


Well, no. Some have buddhahood as their basis.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


"Belief is useless."

-- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:00 pm

Malcolm wrote:Mahāmudra and Dzogchen are both paths of self-liberation. There is no gradual training for either.


Do you then call the rest what? Preliminaries? Still, they are preliminaries somewhat specific in each tradition.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6284
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Astus » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:01 pm

Malcolm wrote:Some have buddhahood as their basis.


It is still the goal/fruit as well, isn't it?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 22178
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Astus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Mahāmudra and Dzogchen are both paths of self-liberation. There is no gradual training for either.


Do you then call the rest what? Preliminaries? Still, they are preliminaries somewhat specific in each tradition.


The principle of both mahāmudra and the great perfection is to distinguish the mind from the nature of the mind. That is accomplished on the basis of the intimate instructions of a qualified guru. But in both cases there is no gradual path.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


"Belief is useless."

-- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu


Return to “Mahamudra”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests